11 Essential Summer Hacks So You Can Spend More Time Partying

The first days of summer are spectacular: school’s out, the sun is shining, and there are months of barbecues, beach days, and vacations ahead. Summer goddess that you are, you’ll celebrate every way you can — until you get those inaugural mosquito bites. And then, the first sunburn of the season.

But you won’t let a little thing like that ruin your summer, right? To get you through the dog days, we rounded up our greatest, most ingenious life hacks, from DIY repellant to instant sunburn relief. After all, it’s summertime — let’s make the livin’ easier.  

Image: Pierre-Olivier Bourgeois/Flickr

Put a Lid on It

We know you’ve seen enough Mason jar DIYs to last a hipster lifetime — but trust us, this is one you actually need. Jar salads mean less work for you at your next cookout…and less chance of funky, vinegary spills. Back to Her Roots shows us how to layer up, starting with dressing at the bottom.

Image: Karen Booth/Flickr

Clip It

While you’re busy being queen of all things al fresco, make your own hassle-free picnic utensils. Our genius friends at Oh Happy Day attach them to a clothespin, so they’re all divied up and ready to go.

Image: Oh Happy Day

Bake Me a Waffle

Waffle cone or cake? It’s too cruel to make you choose — so Studio DIY shows us how to get the best of both worlds. Wrap your waffle bowl in foil and use it as you would a cake mold. No shame if it becomes dessert for one.

Image: Studio DIY

Paper Trail

Maybe you went a little happy with the waffle bowls. Now, you’ve got a nice stack of unused cupcake liners — so let’s put them to good use. Oh Happy Day turns them into candle wax holders, but they’d be just as good as a catch-all for popsicle drips.

Image: Oh Happy Day

Get the Scoop

Got company for dessert? Take the guesswork out by portioning your ice cream ahead of time and placing the scoops in the freezer. Bonus points if you go all out like Oh Happy Day and make a ridiculously large banana split.

Image: Oh Happy Day

Balloon Up

Water balloons aren’t just for backyard battles. Make a batch, freeze them, and use them to keep your drinks cool — minus the icy mess. Of course, when they thaw out (completely!), you have our full permission to throw them at your friends.

Image: stiangd/Flickr

Smooth Operator

Another mind-blowing use for your freezer? Aloe vera ice cubes. Grab a bottle of 100% gel and squeeze it into an ice tray. You’ll thank us after a day at the beach.

Image: Andreas Issleib/Flickr

Bug Out

No one likes mosquitoes — but no one likes the smell of DEET at a cookout, either. For a fragrant, all-natural repellant, cut a couple of lemons in half and stud them with cloves. New Leaf Green Energy breaks it down.

Image: William Warby/Flickr

Head Case

Now that you know how to hold down the summertime fort, make sure you look good doing it. Sugar and Cloth has a ridiculously easy DIY to transform your average floppy hat into an accessory worthy of the beach at Saint Tropez.

Image: Sugar and Cloth

Pop It

On nights like these, you can’t beat a summer flick and some popcorn by your side. Studio DIY shows us how to give your run-of-the-mill snack bag a little flair.

Image: Studio DIY

Buzz, Buzz

When all’s said and done, you deserve an iced coffee — and a strong one, to boot. Honestly Yum’s ingenius coffee cubes will keep things cool without watering down your drink. Here’s to the best summer yet!

Image: Honestly Yum