July 2012 Keep-It-Together Checklist Stay calm and in control with Real Simple's monthly to-do list. Sign up to have a manageable list of 4 tasks delivered to your inbox every week. Save this checklist! Progress Saved Your progress has been saved **You've changed this checklist.** Remember to save your progress. See Your Saved Checklists | All Checklists done! Plan an affordable vacation. Before finalizing your family’s summer plans, use these smart tips to plan a memorable getaway that won’t burn a hole in your bank account. Sail the seas at a great price by cruising from a port close to home. Or, jet to a foreign locale by flying from a smaller airport and choosing an airline that won’t charge for checked bags. Not sure you’re ready to book? Check members-only discount sites and Twitter for travel-related offers. When you think you’ve spotted a deal, let Bing’s price predictor help you decide whether or not to book your vacation. done! Scour the home stores. If your home needs a decorating facelift, July is the time to buy. done! Plan a date night. Whether you schedule a night out with friends or a romantic dinner for two, use these tips to ensure the kids are in good hands. done! Build a better burger. Title of grill master is within reach if you learn how to create the perfect patty. done! Tackle summer’s toughest stains. It can be difficult to keep those whites…well, looking white, all season long. Don’t rush to the dry cleaner just yet. A few simple at-home remedies will make that ketchup spot or the ice cream splatter disappear. Even the most stubborn marks, like grass and grease stains, won’t stand a chance. done! Keep tabs on your health. Monitor target numbers like blood pressure and BMI to ensure you stay healthy. done! Manage your mail. Create an easy-to-maintain filing system to keep bills, magazines, and other correspondence orderly. done! Make the most of your commute. These simple tips will turn even the most grueling commute into a stress-free and productive one. done! Make over the playroom. If the kids are home all summer long, there's a possibility that some of their favorite things (building blocks, dolls, art supplies) could creep into every inch of space. Luckily, this tug-of-war over territory doesn't require a major overhaul to establish order. Is there a secret? Embrace it. Frame favorite drawings with colorful tape and save the others by scanning them into the computer before packing them away. Use the leftover wall space to hang craft supplies and stuffed animals from a Velcro or magnetic strip. Even decorative suitcases can make it easier to corral clothes and smaller toys. done! Eat smart when dining out. Order off a menu with these simple tips in mind. done! Keep your pet happy and healthy. Easy advice for avoiding the most common pet-owner mistakes. done! Start a craft project. Enjoy an afternoon with the kids making toys out of spare household items. done! Shop smarter at the grocery store. Tempted by the blooming flowers at the front of the market? You’re not the only one. It’s actually a tactic grocers use to communicate freshness to customers as they make their way to the next section: produce. Ever wonder why that bakery is tucked in the corner? Retailers hope it’ll kick start your appetite, which tends to make you buy more as you browse. Even those free samples may slow you down. Knowing all of the secrets behind your grocery store’s layout will not only make your shopping trip faster, but it’ll also keep your spending in check. done! Pack a book for the beach. These reader-recommended summer reads are sure to captivate you. done! Spice up your barbecue. Revamp the old standbys with delicious homemade rubs and marinades. done! Decorate with shells. Put your kids' collections to creative sea-inspired use. done! Organize your kitchen. If your cooking space is difficult to navigate, a no-fuss weeknight meal can seem just as complicated as hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t throw in the towel just yet. An efficient layout and a few simple tricks like utilizing extra wall space, keeping essentials within arm’s reach, and arranging a proper work space can really get things cooking. done! Master your makeup routine. Look your best at any age by avoiding popular makeup mistakes. done! Plan a family outing. Spend an afternoon at the local theme park without breaking the bank. done! Listen to your body. Learn the meaning behind the small aches and pains to keep tabs on your health. Progress saved Progress SavedYour progress has been saved**You've changed this checklist.**Remember to save your progress.