We’ve just come through the busy bliss of the holidays and often times – our bank accounts, nerves, and homes reflect it. With the New Year comes New Year’s Resolutions and one of the famous ones is the resolution to keep a clean home. For some, this can be a daunting and time consuming task and that’s why The Clean Sweep is here to help. In addition to professional help, our housekeepers have crafted a list of things that can help you clean your home one step at a time.
- Downsize – While Christmas has come and gone, we’re sure that it has left a mess in its path. With new toys, clothes, shoes, and books for each member of the family – rooms can appear to be a bit cluttered. Consider instituting a new post-holiday rule, for every new item received, two items have to go. By implementing this rule, you will cut down on holiday clutter and be able to donate your unwanted items to families in need.Once you’ve finished with gifts – move onto holiday decorations. Were there any decorations that you didn’t use this year? Or do you have any decorations that have been worn down by years of use? Chances are you won’t need them next year.
- Organize – Divide and conquer! Before you hop to it, dividing your home into sections makes the task much more manageable. Once you’ve decided where to start, take each room one at a time.Here are some general organization tactics that our housekeepers recommend.Label – when you know what’s in boxes, it is much easier to find things and to know where to put items when they are no longer needed.
Donate – As you’re going through the house, it is almost guaranteed that you will find some things that are no longer useful or necessary, these items are perfect for donation! Gently worn clothes, toys, and shoes, are perfect items for donation.
Throw out – Get rid of items that are no longer useful to you – and that would not be useful for others. If you longer need something, or if it no longer has a place in your home, get rid of it.
- Set a Schedule - Now that you’ve organized and cleared out clutter, cleaning should be a breeze. When cleaning, clutter is what makes cleaning seem difficult and overwhelming. We recommend starting your organized new year cleaning routine by setting aside an hour multiple days a week to get the job done.For example: Laundry is Monday nights; bathrooms are Saturday morning; trash is Sunday nights, etc. This ensures nothing is overlooked. It also spreads the work out into more manageable chunks of time throughout the week.
I don’t know about you, but the holidays always sneak up on me every year. No matter how early, or how late I start, there is always someone that I forgot to buy a gift for, or in making my grocery list – there is something that I left off. Can you identify with my angst?
So. after Christmas last year – I made a list of everything that I needed to remember for Christmas this year. It has made such a difference in how I approach the Holiday season, so I thought that I would share it with you.
- Who do I need to buy gifts for outside of my family (gardener, teachers, friends, co-workers, etc.)?
- Do I need to restock any gift supplies (tissue paper, ribbon, wrapping paper, gift bags)?
- Do I need to buy anything to decorate the house with for next year?
- Did I run out of something I need to replace?
- Are there appointments I need to make? Like getting your housecleaned for instance…
- What worked or didn’t work this year that I would like to do better next year?
- Did I come across any decorating or food ideas that I would like to try next year? (Write them down before you forget!)
- Are there any gift ideas that I want to remember for next year?
Now, the most important step: record your answers, ideas, etc and put them somewhere safe! So that when next year comes around, you will be a pro. I think that these tips are rather useful and may I be the first to wish you Happy Holidays, 2015!
Houses seem almost magic during the month of December, with seasonal music, warm blankets, and family surrounding you – being at home is the most enjoyable thing to do. When you’re cozying up on your couch with a hot tea and a good book, we want cleaning to be the last thing on your mind. While The Clean Sweep Housekeeping Agency offers many services to assist you during this wonderfully busy season – but here are some tips our housekeepers recommend in between housekeeper visits.
Start with the most difficult room and make your way back to the easiest room. Additionally, set at timer and stick to it – it will make your cleaning more efficient and give you more time to do other things
Always save sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping until the very end. It will make your house smell, appear, and feel clean.
This is a season full of guests, so in order to make sure that your guests are seeing a clean house – stand in your front door and identify cluttered or problem areas and tackle those first
Our housekeepers cannot emphasize keeping a clean bathroom when hosting an event. Start with the mirrors, wipe down the counters, and scrub the toilet clean
The holiday season is one of the busiest seasons of the year and there is essentially no time for de-cluttering. Therefore, find a quick place to store all unwanted clutter and pick a date to go through and clean it out once the holiday rush is over
Our housekeeper understand how daunting after party clean up can be. Especially after dinner – dishes, pots, and pans seem to form mountains in sinks. One highly recommended tip is to purchase a stainless steel sponge (a sponge made of stainless steel, not made for) and let dishes soak for about 10 minutes before scrubbing them down with your sponge. This trick is guaranteed to save you time and stress
Here are a few of our favorite time-saving tips. Because we know that even if you have professional housekeeping help there’s still plenty of things to do in between visits.
- Once every six months or so give your wood cutting boards a good oil-down with vegetable oil. Let it stand overnight and wipe off the residue in the morning, the oil keeps the board from staining.
- Do you have lint on your dark colored clothes? Remove it by adding a cup of white vinegar to the wash, and stop putting towels in with black shirts! Also your black clothes will not fade as fast if you wash them inside out
- Cleaning silk flowers is easy: just put them in a paper bag with some salt and shake, shake, shake. The salt with absorb the dust and leave your flowers looking like new.
- Spray your Tupperware with Pam before pouring in a tomato-based sauce and there won’t be any stains!
- To remove stuck-on food in your casserole dish, fill it with boiling water and add a few tablespoons of salt or baking soda. Let it stand overnight if necessary.
- To remove rust from baking pans, scour them with a cut potato dipped in powdered cleanser.
- Brown grease marks on your pots, chrome burner rings, etc.? You can soak them in ammonia overnight to get rid of the stains.
- To remove a water stain from a glass vase, simply fill with water and drop in a couple of Alka Seltzer tablets.
- Get rid of the smell of garlic on your hands by rubbing them on stainless steel- you would have never guessed.
- Boiling a cup of water in your microwave oven will loosen the particles and all you have to do is give it a quick wipe.
- Use liquid body wash in the shower instead of soap and never deal with soap build-up again. How easy is that?
- Make quick work of getting out a blood stain by using hydrogen peroxide available at any drug store.
Okay, that’s the dozen for the day. What housekeeping tips can you add?
Bathroom cleaning is essential part of maintaining a clean house, everyone can agree with that. But it doesn’t have to be such a big chore, if you take it little by little.
- Keep wipes on the vanity in each bathroom. There are tons of different wipes out there, pick the one that suits your family’s needs and keep them in a place where they are easily accessible.
- Do a wipe down every morning. After the morning routines, do a quick wipe down of the sink, faucet, and vanity area. Wipe off any spots from the mirror.
- Keep the counter clean. When your vanity or counter doesn’t have clutter, the bathroom won’t feel as cluttered, but rather clean and organized.
- Use liquid body wash and say goodbye to soap scum.
- Keep a towel bin. Keep a bin to put wet towels in as soon as family members get out of their shower.
All of these things can easily be done in just a couple of minutes each day. They’re simple and easy to do and will leave your bathroom looking fresh and clean!
The following tips are primarily for those of us who do not have professional housekeeping help. If you do have outside help, we recommend that you refer to our post – “Speed Cleaning Tips: Cleaning in Between Housekeeper Visits“
Our housekeepers recommend that you commit these principals to memory, practice them. Once mastered, you will be amazed at your proficiency and efficiency. You are sure to dazzle and amaze your friends and your family.
Anyone, yes, anyone can master these fundamentals. Try them. Adapt them. You’ll see a difference.
- Work in orderly manner. You’ll accomplish far more in less time if you train yourself to work from left to right and top to bottom all the way around the room.
- Keep your supplies close. Take out the ones that you will need for a particular room, and put them in a caddy to take with you – this will be a major time saver.
- “If it ain’t dirty, don’t clean it” Unless you’re a real cleaning fanatic, or have lots of extra time on your hands. You don’t need to clean everything, every week.
- Keep cleaning products to a bare minimum. Look for products that can be used on a variety of surfaces such as multi-surface cleaner that can be used virtually everything – including glass. In addition, dish soap and warm water can clean everything from counters to floors. And lastly, good microfiber cleaning cloths can clean most anything with just a little water.
- Don’t Scrub. Let your cleaning products work for you – spray and let it set up, then wipe it down. The dirtier the surface, the longer you need to let your cleaning product sit. So, spray the tub clean the rest of the bathroom and then go back and clean the tub.
- Read and follow the directions. Every time.
Sometimes, even the smallest changes will pay off Remember, every step pays off in greater speed and less fatigue.
But always remember – a super clean “you-can-eat-off-the-floor” house is NOT the most important thing in life.
Over the years, it has been our pleasure to represent housekeepers from nearly 20 different countries. Often times, they have been well-educated: doctors, lawyers, bank administrators, teachers, and so forth. However, their English speaking skills were not good enough to pursue their former careers. Without exception, we have found them to be conscientious, dedicated, and willing workers!
When dealing with housekeepers who do not speak English it can be a little frustrating. So here are some tips to make communications a little bit easier:
- Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid the temptation to raise your voice or talk to them as though they are a child.
- Ensure that you are understood. Most of us feel a little embarrassed when we don’t understand what someone is saying. So, you should just ask if they understand in order to avoid confusion.
- Provide written instructions. That way, they can have a place to double check that they are doing the right thing.
- Avoid Slang or Idioms. One of the most difficult things about learning English – aside from the crazy spelling – is that English slang has words that are unable to be translated.
Overall, although the communications gap can be difficult to over come, treat your housekeeper with kindness and understanding, as they truly are doing their best to please you and meet all your needs.