Summer time dinner with group of friends/family

Sustainable Summer Tips for Busy Families

Even busy families can enjoy eco-friendly summer vacations regardless of whether they choose to travel or stay in their own backyard. You can save money and reduce your family's carbon footprint by implementing these simple, common-sense ideas for summer sustainability.
Family & friends in kitchen for summer dinner

Summer is in full swing, so here's some tips to consciously make the most of it without breaking the bank or creating extra waste.

Summer is a time for vacations, school breaks, scrumptious snacks, and fun in the sun. This time of year is also a great time to emphasize the importance of environmental sustainability. Everyday choices that are simple to make have the potential to make the world a better place for all. 

Even busy families can enjoy eco-friendly summer vacations regardless of whether they choose to travel or stay in their own backyard. You can save money and reduce your family's carbon footprint by implementing these simple, common-sense ideas for summer sustainability.

Sustainable Summer Tips

1. Use fans

We get it—summer time is hot! And while we all love the warm summer days, that means our energy bills go up. Instead of cranking up the temperature of the air conditioner to cool off individual rooms in your house, you might want to think about using fans instead. Fans of any kind, including those that hang from the ceiling and those that are more conventional and stand alone, consume a lot less energy than air conditioning does. 

When the weather is mild or the evenings are cool, running a fan and opening the windows to let in some fresh air will help remove odors from the home that you may not even be aware of. Additionally, if you use an air conditioner in conjunction with a ceiling fan, you may be able to select a temperature that is in the middle of the temperature range and potentially reduce the amount of time the air conditioner needs to run on days when the heat is particularly intense and air conditioning is an absolute necessity.

Summer time woman cooling off with fan

2. Let natural summer light in!

Allowing the summer sunshine into your home can have a very positive effect on your mood. Feel free to let the light in by drawing back the curtains and opening the blinds. Natural light has been shown to have a number of positive effects on people's mental health, and it also reduces the amount of electricity needed to power artificial lighting. 

According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, exposure to natural sunlight improves our sleep patterns, as well as one's mood, level of physical activity, and production of vitamin D.

Woman opening curtains to her home in summer
Woman in bed waking up with peace sign

3. Use appliances sparingly

This summer, let's try to be more mindful of our large appliance use. Chances are you'll also see an improvement on your energy bill. Not only will using your clothes dryer, hair dryer, and the drying cycle on your dishwasher cost you money in terms of your electric bill, but these appliances will also add heat to your home, which will increase the amount of energy you will need to use to cool it down.

  • If you hang your clothes outside to dry, not only will they be less likely to shrink, but the scent will remind you of the clean, crisp air outside.
  • Letting your hair dry naturally helps it to keep its natural texture by preventing it from becoming dry and frizzy, which in turn helps to prevent it from becoming dry in the first place.
  • Put your dishes somewhere where they can air dry on their own, or even better, grab a hand towel and get to work! Clearing clutter off your countertops and completing a quick, simple chore will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and may assist you in refocusing your thoughts.
Sustainable home using no appliances to dry clothes

4. Buy summer veggies at your farmers' market

During the warm summer months, it is a great idea for families to get together and participate in an activity that is also beneficial to the environment by visiting the farmers' market in their community. You can shorten the distance that your food has to travel to reach you by purchasing produce directly from local farmers and giving them your support. 

When your food doesn't have to travel as far, you have more options that are as fresh as they can possibly be, and it's better for the environment because it results in fewer emissions and more efficient use of fuel. The majority of farmers' markets offer a selection of other locally made goods to purchase in addition to offering entertaining activities that are appropriate for children. While you're getting your fresh, organic groceries, why not give your children some time to run around outside?

Selection of flowers and vegetables at farmers
Smiling woman shopping at open market

5. It's summer -- let's eat at home

Cooking your own meals at home is not only a financially and nutritionally sound decision, but it also frees up valuable time.

Sandwiches and refreshing salads that require little effort to put together and can be enjoyed during the warm summer months when it's too hot to turn on the stove. If, on the other hand, your hectic schedule makes it difficult to cook meals at home on a regular basis, you can begin by reducing the number of times per week that you eat at restaurants.

Family and Friends at dinner table in home

6. Summer picnic? Avoid the disposables

We know—it is so much more convenient to use disposable plastic utensils and Styrofoam plates when having a summer picnic or family get-together. On the other hand, Styrofoam is unlikely to ever decompose, and the breakdown of plastics can take thousands of years. 

Both of these materials are known to contain substances that can cause cancer, and they are derived from fossil fuels. Instead of purchasing products that are disposable, you might want to think about reusing containers that you already own for your summertime sweets. If you absolutely must use disposable plates, consider looking for paper plates that are uncoated and biodegradable.

7. Meatless Monday -- Start this summer and keep it going

Ever considered giving up meat one day a week? This summer is a great time to start, but why not keep it going all year? It has been shown that reducing or eliminating meat from one meal per week can have a positive impact on a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and kidney health. It is possible that this will reduce your carbon footprint by lowering your exposure to greenhouse gases, which are a contributor to climate change. The Monday Campaigns, a public health initiative organization, reports that (according to their findings) more greenhouse gases are produced by the production of livestock than by all of the world's cars, trucks, planes, and trains combined.

8. Get (and USE) a reusable water bottle

A stainless-steel water bottle is an excellent example of a reusable item, and this is a good reminder to bring one with you! When you leave the house, don't forget to bring your wallet, water bottle, and keys. Reusable water bottles are a great way to keep yourself hydrated this summer while reducing the amount of plastic waste and avoiding the additional expense of buying bottled water while on the go.

Woman holding pink reusable water bottle

9. Eat more ice cream cones

This is probably our easiest (and yummiest) tip on this list. This summer, use a cone instead of a cup and a plastic spoon! It's so easy, but you'll save a lot of waste! 

Girl eating ice cream cone in summer

And last but definitely not least...

There are few better times of year than summer for decluttering your home, closet, and workspace. When you purge your belongings and only keep what you need, you feel empowered. It's possible to achieve a sense of accomplishment and serenity through minimalism and organization. 

But here's the catch: ...tossing it all in the trash is not an option. So really, it's a no-brainer--recycle and find new uses for what you already have! Furniture, books, toys, and other household items can be donated to thrift and secondhand stores. In addition to recycling electronics, small and large appliances, many municipalities collect these items as well. 

Contact Helpsy Collect if you have any old or unused clothing, shoes, jewelry, or other trinkets, our team will help you locate the easiest way to recycle these items. Helpsy uses clothing drives and home pick-ups, combined with thrift store partnerships and clothing collection bins in 11 states, to collect nearly 30 million pounds of clothing each year for recycling or reusing. 

When the time comes to add to your wardrobe, shop your new favorite secondhand online site: Helpsy Shop. Your busy schedule and wallet will thank you for shopping Helpsy online, buying secondhand and saving fuel. Every order you place on our website helps close the fashion loop when you choose secondhand over new. 

Make your summer guilt-free with a few thoughtful decisions. Simple choices and lifestyle changes can make a world of difference to our planet, and you can feel good about your summer activities, knowing that you've made a positive impact on our environment. 


This summer, kickstart your sustainable wardrobe by shopping secondhand. Here's our top suggestions!

Shop secondhand clothing from top brands sold at Revolve