Today’s Top Tip

Consider replacing older mops, brooms, and other cleaning tools. Many such utensils become less effective over time as the work surfaces wear down, and newer models are often lighter and easier to manipulate.

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Today’s Top Tip

Midsummer is a great time to overhaul your household’s emergency kit, especially if you’ve faced severe storms, power outages, or other complications recently. Remember, stress and anxiety can exacerbate pain and fatigue, so look for easy-to-use supplies. For example, consider supplementing or replacing your current flashlights with lightweight models (including at least one “quick-crank” version). Include some dried foods – especially those which don’t need rehydrating, like fruits and some vegetables – in your kit: they take up much less space and weight than do canned goods, and you won’t need to use a can opener. And keep some smaller bottles of water available for small tasks, so you don’t find yourself hefting a heavy jug each time.

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Today’s Top Tip

Many stone fruits and berries are most flavorful and nutritious in late July and early August, and they’re well worth preserving for future use. Berries are easy to freeze intact; alternately, purée fresh berries and strain for a delicious juice that can be frozen and added to smoothies, sauces, and baked goods. Stone fruits are best roasted with a little fat and sugar (and perhaps a sprinkle of lemon) before freezing: expect some changes in color and consistency, but the flavor should remain intact.

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Today’s Top Tip

Summer is the best time to look around the exterior of your home for any damage or dilapidation that may have occurred over the winter. Plan to make necessary repairs as soon as possible: as fall approaches, so do wind and rain that can make matters much worse.

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Today’s Top Tip

If you or a member of your household will be heading back to school this fall, it’s getting close to crunch time: some schools begin classes in just three weeks. Help smooth the transition by developing your school-day schedule now. If you’ll need to change your morning routine, meal times, or other components of your daily life, start identifying ways you can make the process easier – setting out clothes and meals the night before? arranging carpools? cooking extra food during the weekends? – so that when the school year begins, you’ll feel less stress and will be able to perform more effectively.

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Today’s Top Tip

Whether they’re positive or negative, surprises can cause us emotional turmoil and increased stress – and can even prompt flares. When life throws you curveballs, do your best to remember and practice your favorite stress-management techniques. This can help you manage the situation and any new responsibilities you may have more effectively and efficiently. When possible, set aside a little extra time for yourself when facing these challenges, especially if they involve grief or loss.

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Today’s Top Tip

Lightweight, breathable layers keep you warm without overheating. When shopping, look for newer fabrics like Coolmax or Supplex. [As always, be aware that new clothing can create problems for sensitive skin.] Cotton is both breathable and lightweight, but it’s also highly absorbent – so it retains sweat, becoming heavy and damp.

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Today’s Top Tip

Hauling heavy garden hoses is fatiguing, but installing a proper irrigation system can be expensive. Narrow-gauge coiled garden hoses are much lighter than traditional garden hoses as well as less likely to kink – they tangle quickly, but they untangle just as quickly. These hoses are available at most hardware stores and garden centers.

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Today’s Top Tip

Hosting a social gathering during the summer? You’ll likely need more seating and shade than otherwise: people often prefer to sit when it’s excessively hot. Have sunscreen available for your guests, plus loads more ice and nonalcoholic beverages than you might otherwise offer. And skip the hot food in favor of make-ahead cool dishes.

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Today’s Top Tip

Planning a fall or winter vegetable crop? Depending on the variety and your climate, it may be time to get your seeds in the ground. Plant as closely to your doors as possible to limit the time you spend outside in inclement weather. Try using hanging baskets and containers so that plants aren’t waterlogged by heavy precipitation. And most importantly, make sure that the seeds you’ve selected are suitable for fall and winter gardening!

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