June 2, 2017by adminBlogs By JillCleaning CompanyMoving Out
“Selling a Home is So Much Fun,” said No One EverMy parents are selling their home. It’s not exactly my childhood home. In fact, it’s more than that. I moved a lot as a child. From Ohio to Poughkeepsie, Miami to Buffalo, and a longer stay in NJ. That’s what we did with a Dad in sales. I didn’t mind, really. It helped me to be adaptable or, at least, that’s what I tell myself. It may have just made me antsy and always looking for a change. Either way, I survived all of the moving, but one place always stayed the same. We spent summers at the lake. Back then, we owned a cabin. I called it my “summer house” to friends, but with no HVAC, phone (yes, that was before cell phones), television or washer and dryer, it really wasn’t more than a glorified cabin. And, I loved it. When my father retired, he and mom moved to the lake. It was shocking, to say the least. Mom was never a fan of it up there. Then again, what mother of three children would be without a phone or a TV? And, don’t get her started on the lack of a washer and dryer. I’m sure she spent at least a full day each week at the local laundromat. Somehow, however, Dad convinced Mom to buy an actual house at the lake, and there they have lived for the past 20+ years. The lake has continued to be the place we go. The kids, the grandkids…we all gather there for the 4th of July and any other occasion we can coordinate. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends…they’ve all been there with us. It’s our happy place. Our home. And, now, they’re selling it. Lakes are beautiful, calm, and serene. They’re also a lot of work. The docks, the boat, the beach…it’s all hard to take care of. So, mom and dad are looking for a simpler life in an “active adult” community. Now, the fun begins.
The Nitty Gritty“Selling a home is so much fun,” said no one ever. On the contrary, it’s work. A lot of work. And, stressful. And, let’s not forget, emotional. Most people focus on the work, and the stress. Those are the parts that wear us down, or so we think. But, the reality is, the logistics of selling a home are manageable. All we need to do is find the right people to help us.
RealtorIt starts with the realtor. A realtor is someone we have to trust. We have to believe they are working for us. Of course, every penny matters to them. It’s how they make a living. But, if they’re good at their job, each house is one of many. A realtor’s goal should be to make their clients happy. Happy clients refer realtors to friends. Smart realtors understand this. So, look for a smart, good realtor and that part should go rather smoothly.
Repair PersonOf course, no home is sale ready from the get go. A realtor can help to identify the things that obviously need repair. We also know all of the hidden issues like the loose faucet, receptacles that don’t work, and floor boards that are exceptionally squeaky. Our teenagers helped us to discover the latter one when they came in after curfew. A good handyman, or contractor if the problems are really big, can help us make the repairs. Some of us lucky people may have a handyman in the house. (Note: this is not the time to build your spouse’s ego by reassuring him he’s handy. Make sure he actually knows how to fix things.) Many of us may actually be the handymen, or should I say, handywomen. When preparing to sell a home, we shouldn’t go crazy fixing everything. We should focus on the things that may pop up as potential buyers are walking through the house. The inspection will come later. That’s when they’ll decide what needs to be fixed. If it doesn’t come up, don’t worry about it. They’ll discover it eventually, but that will likely be after they’ve signed on the dotted line. It’s their problem then.
Cleaning ServiceThe really fun part comes when the showings begin. That’s when we have to figure out how to clean up all of the kids’ toys, get the dirty dishes out of the sink, and get the sleeping baby out of her crib all in a matter of minutes because a realtor is down the street and his clients just noticed your home. The mad dashes out of the house are bad enough, but keeping the house clean day after day is enough to drive any parent of young children absolutely mad. This is a good time to let go of the ego, and remember there are people to help with this too. It might be impractical, and far too expensive, to have a daily cleaning service. But, if there was ever a time to splurge on it weekly, now’s that time. And, don’t forget, most cleaning companies offer deep cleaning and moving cleaning services, too. These can absolutely take the pressure off as we deal with all of the other details of selling a home.
Other ServicesOther services to look for when listing a home might be: decluttering companies, storage units, moving trucks, and lawn services. Don’t forget a good massage therapist for when things get too stressful. In general, it’s important to remember that we sometimes have to spend money to make money. And, when it’s a matter of our sanity, the services are absolutely worth it.
The Emotional FactorThe only service we really can’t hire, is the one that removes the emotional factor from selling a home. That’s the truly hard part. Saying good-bye to our happy place is like saying farewell to a best friend. It’s letting go of the ties that bind us, the comfort, and the familiarity. It’s letting go of a part of us. Despite the frequent moves, nothing prepared me for letting go of the one constant in my life. I know it’s the right thing for mom and dad. I know new adventures await us and we will find a new happy place. Hopefully, anyway. But, saying good-bye will be the hardest part for sure. Fortunately, we have one last 4th of July. I think we may need to stock up on tissues.
May 11, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
The Madness and Messiness of FamilyMy son comes home tomorrow. The end of his freshman year in college. His twin sister returned a few weeks ago. Our home will finally feel whole again. It may also feel like complete chaos. Family is messy, and not just in the literal sense of the expression. Yes, there will be more dishes in the sink and more laundry to do. I will need to go to the grocery store more often, cook more, and, in general, spend more money. Somehow, more bodies around will not equal more helpers in the house. Just more stuff. It will also mean more disarray and turmoil for all of us. My youngest and I have gotten used to the calm and quiet of just two of us in the house. It seemed strange at first. We were once a family of five in a large home with two dogs. All of a sudden we were two, in a small house, with one little dog. It took some adjusting, but we have our routines now and we have gotten quite comfortable in our new norm. Life seems far simpler than it did. With the return of her siblings, rivalries start stirring again for my youngest. Arguments over who is meaner to whom, which child is, in fact, the golden child, and whose turn it is to walk the dog will start permeating our days. The twins, being twins, have always had their sidekick, so there’s a constant two against one mentality among the three. And, I will repeatedly be trying to bring peace without demonstrating any favoritism. If I scold one this time, it must be another the next. Adding divorce into the equation makes things even more complicated. My youngest follows a specific schedule for where she stays and when. Her brother has agreed to generally go along with that. His twin, on the other hand, is far more interested in convenience. “Where do I want to sleep tonight and for what reason?” seems to be her mantra. Considering she’s almost 20 (OMG!), it’s a bit nonsensical to demand she follow a specific schedule, but it definitely creates more confusion as to who is coming and going. There will undoubtedly be moments when I am holding my breath, counting the weeks until college starts again. I’m sure the same can be said for my oldest two as well. And, I know my youngest will announce at least once a day that she can’t wait until her brother…or her sister…or both, go back to school. But, there will also be moments when I never want the time to end. I will look around at the messy house and thank God that I still have all three kids coming home. I will hopefully ignore the arguing and sibling rivalries, and remember to savor the time we have together. I will count my blessings and remember that not everyone is so lucky to have the madness, and messiness, of family.
May 4, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
It’s Clean to MeIf I’ve discovered anything as a divorced woman, it’s that not all men clean their homes equally. I suppose the same can be said of all women, but that’s not the issue for me. It makes me wonder, however, if there’s some appropriate level of cleanliness. We all seem to have our own standards. Clutter is okay, but not dirt. Dust is ok, but not junk. The countertops must pass the white glove test, or as long as there aren’t any creatures crawling around anything is acceptable.
Setting StandardsI was a slob as a child. At least, by my mother’s standards. When I moved out, I became a bit of a neat freak myself. Life gets in the way though. Keeping a home neat and tidy with young children around becomes a lesson in futility. As they, and you, get older, you just don’t seem to care quite as much. At least, I don’t. Still, I have certain expectations. Personally, I like a home to be relatively neat and tidy with no obvious dirt and grime laying around. It’s okay if there’s a pile of papers on the counter as long as it’s stacked neatly. A few dishes in the sink are tolerable as long as they’re not piled above the edge and covered with dried and crusty food. A sweater tossed on a bed that has been made is acceptable, while things thrown on the floor ought to be picked up.
What We Teach Our ChildrenThere’s a fine line, I know, between what is okay, and what is not. And, I’m sure my standards are not easily decipherable by my children. This could be their excuse as to why they don’t bother to pick anything up, but I think it comes down to something else. They know I’ll do it. And, I will. I know there are some parents who are champions of teaching their children how to do household chores. I am not one of them. I could worry that my lack of expectations will create a set of young adults who have no idea how to keep a house clean. If that were true, however, I would have no idea what I was doing. My mother requested very little of me in terms of helping her around the house. I guess I could say she led by example. I choose to believe I am doing the same. But, what am I teaching them? What is acceptable? What isn’t?
What Our Homes Say About UsAs women, we don’t generally invite people into our homes unless we have them show-ready. Of course, there’s always the threat of a drop-in guest, but that doesn’t seem to happen much these days. I think we’re all too conscious of our own homes to drop-in on someone else. Men seem to be different. (And, please, don’t make this some sexist argument. I’m just talking from personal experience. I’m really not trying to make a broad, political statement about the difference between men and women. Of course, there are exceptions on both sides.) In some ways, they seem more real. It’s almost a this-is-who-I-am mentality. Of course, that’s assuming they make a conscious decision as to how to present their homes. I highly doubt that much thought goes into it. Yet, it tells you a lot about someone. Interestingly, I discovered that the cleanliness of a man’s home really matters to me. I’m not looking for the perfectionist who demands everyone removes shoes before entering his house, or requires coasters under every glass that may touch a table. I’m also not interested in the guy who has three-day old pizza boxes on the counter or cat hair covering his pillows. I suppose what I’m looking for is a person like me. How we keep our homes is a reflection of our priorities. It’s our own determination of what is acceptable and what is not. There is no right way of doing it. There’s only what’s right for me, or you. That said, there are days when I really don’t feel like cleaning. Yes, it matters, but I’m just too damn tired to do anything about it. That’s when it’s good to know that services like those offered by Immaculate Clean are available.
April 19, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
Wash, Dry, Fold and Repeat (and Repeat, and Repeat…)The never ending cycle of household chores. You put the clothes in the wash, then the dryer. You fold the clothes, and put them away. Next, you turn around, and the laundry basket is full and ready to be washed again. Same goes for the dishes, and the groceries. You make your bed just so you can sleep in it. You sweep and the kids track dirt in as your putting the broom away. The counters need to be wiped down every time the sun shines in, and the shower door has a never-ending film of soap scum. Let’s not even talk about closets. Or, junk drawers. You take everything out, buy the necessary organizational tools, put everything neatly away, and it all looks great. Fast forward a few months…or weeks…or days, and it looks the same as it did before you spent all of the time organizing. There are those few, rare individuals who never seem to have anything out of place. They’re the really smart ones who put something away as soon as they’re done with it. And, even better, they put it back in the same place they found it. I may have used the word ‘anal’ to describe someone like this at one time or another. Truth be told, I’m just jealous. I wish I had that trait. Instead, I inherited the “Oh good God, do I really have to clean again?” gene. Not sure from where I got it. Certainly, not my mother. She’s one of those enviable, everything-is-always-clean types. I’m not like her. In fact, the only time my house looks even close to how hers always does is when my mother is coming to visit. It also looks good when she leaves, but that’s only because she keeps it that way. Truly, I’m not sure how people do it. Then again, I can’t stand the opposite either. It drives me nuts when my house is a mess. I see every crumb on the floor, every hair on the bathroom sink. I hate dirty dishes in the sink and the clothes all over the floor in my daughter’s room. And, the non-dated leftovers in the refrigerator drive me batty. I just wish I wasn’t the one who had to do something about it all. I always loved the book, The Cat in the Hat. You know, the part where the cleaning thingamajig comes in and cleans up the house. It’s like a dream come true. If only someone could create such a thing. In the meantime, I’ll have to stick to doing things the old-fashioned way. I’ve got to get off my butt and do what needs to be done. Of course, having a cleaning service can make things a lot easier. Even if you can’t have service on a regular basis, a one-time cleaning will certainly help. Call Immaculate Clean for more information, (410) 549-0727.
April 7, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
How Can I Clean When I Can’t Remember Where I Put the Broom?I have to admit, I never realized there was such a thing as perimenopause until I started going through it. Menopause is bad enough, but we all know that it’s coming…eventually. We’re prepared for the night sweats and mood swings. We’ve been forewarned. But, there’s a benefit, too. We finally get to bid farewell to our monthly visitor who has been visiting far too long at this point. The purpose of his visit (And yes, it has to be a male. No female would do this to another female.) has long past. But, perimenopause? What the heck? When did this become a thing? The word doesn’t even pass the spell check test. I don’t remember learning about it in my fifth grade sex-ed class. And guess what? It lasts a long time. Like years. Multiple years. According to WebMD, “The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years.” Stop right there. 10 years? Are you kidding me? Most of us have no idea when it actually starts. One day you’re blaming everything on PMS, and the next, your gynecologist is telling you that it must be perimenopause. You’re experiencing all kinds of crazy things. Mood swings? Check. Night sweats? Check. Weight gain? CHECK! Chin hairs, hot flashes, urinary leakage when coughing or sneezing (or laughing, I might add). Check, check, and check. And, let’s not forget forgetfulness! Oh Lord, the forgetfulness. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve lost it with our kids over something stupid like a dirty glass left in the sink. Or, we start sobbing for no apparent reason. I actually went out of control once because I couldn’t find my tweezers. No, not any pair of tweezers would do. Only MY tweezers actually worked to pull out all of those chin hairs. And, don’t get me started on all I’ve forgotten to do. My poor youngest child. Thank God I have divorce as an excuse for some of the items we have not been able to locate. “It must be at your dad’s house,” has become my standard response for anything that’s missing. Yeah, sure. I just have no idea what I did with it. Okay. Seriously now. This is a lot to deal with. When you look at the big picture it’s a bit overwhelming. Perimenopause doesn’t just hit us like a brick wall. No, it sneaks up one chin hair at a time. And the worst part, it’s often hitting women right during our kids’ teen years like some cruel joke. The kids are at their worst, and so are we. Sometimes I wish I could see a visual of all of the hormones flying through the room when a 48ish-year-old woman is arguing with her twin teenagers. I picture thousands of evil, germ-like characters crashing into each other and breaking into barroom brawls. At least that’s what it feels like. Yet, with all of this stuff going on in our bodies, and heads, we’re supposed to just get on with life. Take care of the kids. Do our jobs. Maintain the household. Of course, I realize there are worse things in life. I get that. It’s just the absurdity of it all that’s so intriguing. Fortunately, most other women our age are going through the same thing. It’s really our only saving grace. The kids certainly don’t get it. Nor do any husbands or male significant others. They just think we’re crazy. And, somedays, that’s absolutely how we feel. So, if you can’t find the broom, give yourself a break. You’re dealing with a lot. Rather than getting worked up over the missing broom, skip cleaning that day. Or, better yet, call a cleaning service. And, yes, I recommend Immaculate Clean.
March 30, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
Remembering the Crazy Days of MotherhoodThe amazing, Dawn Fiscella, Owner of Immaculate Clean, recently suggested I write about how crazy life can be for us moms. She’s right. I know that. I remember it well. The thing is, it’s not my life anymore so I was struggling with how to write about it. Then it occurred to me, that’s the point. My life is different now. But, how, and why, did it change? The answer is rather simple. I stopped. I stopped running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I stopped saying yes to everything that was asked of me. I stopped feeling guilty about saying no. I stopped caring if I was everyone’s image of the perfect mother. And, I stopped beating myself up for my failures. Yes, the answer is simple. But, how I got to it was a lot more complicated. It’s not like I set out to change the craziness of life. I wasn’t searching for the answer to slow it all down. And, in all honesty, I’m not sure I’d want to go through it all again. Yet, I am absolutely thrilled to be where I am today. There was a time when I was a married, business-owner, mother of three who got the kids off to school in the morning, went to the gym, and spent the next five hours in her store. The second half of my day started when the kids got home from school. I somehow fed them and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening running them around town. Bedtime came after they were all asleep and the house was at least livable. Of course, there were also the dogs to take care of, and so on, and so on. I’m sure this describes most of you. Especially those of you with younger children, and the energy to keep it all going. It’s definitely become the norm of parenting. Of course, it doesn’t really get any easier when the kids get older. Their activities get more intense, issues more significant and your worry level skyrockets. The overall craziness seems to intensify. That was my life until other things started to get in the way. First of all, I got divorced. Divorce changes things. As a parent, it changes how much time you have with your kids and who is responsible for what. It forces you to let go of some things. You’re pushed to allow your ex to handle things that you would have otherwise. When you’re going through divorce, you’re also an emotional mess. It gets easy to say no to things because you know you’d be worthless at getting it done anyway. Besides, you really don’t want to have to force your miserable self on anyone so it’s easier to just stay away. And, since your kids are now the product of a broken family, how bad is it if you forget to send their lunch to school? Seriously, most people expect it. “You’ll have to excuse them…Their parents are going through a divorce.” The comments seem harsh at first, but after a while you learn to just go with it. It makes things easier. Of course, shortly after getting divorced, I developed a major hip problem. When you can’t walk very well, it’s difficult to do much. Again, it makes it very easy to say no. And, when you have a full brace and crutches after surgery, people don’t even bother to ask. The pressure to work out every day also diminishes when walking is a challenge. That gave me at least an extra hour or so each day to do whatever else I needed to do. Over the next few months, I moved, stopped working, and two of my kids went off to college. All of these things brought more challenges and stress, but they also put things in perspective. Life is complicated. There is no doubt about it. And, it is oftentimes overwhelming and seemingly out-of-control. But, if we stop, if we take a deep breath and figure out what’s really important, life can be even better. Yesterday, I took my daughter to soccer practice, in her cleats. Of course, it was an indoor practice on a gym floor where cleats are not allowed. A few years ago this would have totally stressed me out. I would have been yelling at my daughter, flying down the highway to pick up her sneakers and rushing back just so she could join the group for the last twenty minutes of practice. This time, I looked at her, said, “oops,” and asked her if she was staying or coming home with me. I have learned that the kids will survive despite my failures. In fact, they might learn from my mistakes. And, I’ve realized that whatever activity they are involved in now, may not be their passion in a few more years. To get all upset over a missed practice, is really pointless. I understand now that if I say no to something, someone else will say yes, and it will get done. And, I’ve learned that I may not be a perfect mother, but I love my children with all of my heart and I’m doing my best. So, yes, parenting can be crazy. And, there are probably a million ways to slow it down. (Hiring a cleaning service is certainly one way!!) Hopefully, all of you can find easier ways to do so then I did. But, whatever it takes, try. It’s far more enjoyable.
March 23, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
A Different Perspective on CleaningI’ve been spending a lot of time on the floor lately. It’s the only place I can truly stretch all of my aching muscles. One of the many joys of getting older. As I was laying there today, I started looking around. Big mistake! From the upright perspective, my house seemed rather clean. Definitely not the case from the floor. It started to make me wonder…what’s really hiding in places I can’t normally see? I decided to get some evidence. Armed with my cell phone and a selfie stick, I started taking pics of surfaces I generally ignore. Here’s a look at some of what I found: View from above an island pendant From the top of a table lamp Close-up of a wall air conditioning unit Close-up of a bathroom air vent And, of course, there were the socks, dust and other miscellaneous items under the beds. Now, I’m not lucky enough to live in the service area of Immaculate Clean. Even if I did, I wouldn’t expect they would always clean all of these surfaces. The reality is, it would take anyone an extraordinary amount of time to clean every inch, of every surface, and it could get expensive to have it done on a regular basis. But, once you get up, and down, and start looking around, you realize it might be time for a deep clean. Another option would be to get an estimate for some add-on services. Of course, it’s always an option to climb a step-ladder or crawl under the furniture and do it yourself. Now that I’m aware of the dirt that’s hiding, it’s time to get rid of it. Hopefully, the next time I’m on my floor I will not be distracted by all of the dust under the nearby cabinet. The sit-ups and leg lifts are far too important.
March 3, 2017by adminBlogs By JillCleaning Company
Just Say ‘Yes’ To Hiring a Cleaning PersonMany of us struggle with the decision to hire a cleaning person. It seems so extravagant to some. Others, like my mom, worry if anyone can actually clean up to our standards. It might be a matter of trust, awkwardness, or money. Whatever it is, there’s a lot to consider before employing someone to clean our homes. Personally, I’ve always used two main criteria: 1) How busy am I; 2) How much ‘’extra’ money do I have. The assumption was that the busier I was, the more money I had coming in, and, therefore, I could justify hiring a cleaning person. The problem is, I’m now less busy than I have been in years, and have far less money, but my need (or is it a want?) for a cleaning person is just as great. It’s time I face the fact: I just don’t like to clean. Is that enough reason to indulge in the luxury of having someone do it for me? I believe the answer is yes, and here’s my rationale:
Why should I hire someone to do something I can do myself?Well, I can grow vegetables, but I buy them at the store. I can cook, but I often go out to eat or have food delivered. Heck, I can do all kinds of things that I hire others to do for me. Why is it wrong to hire someone to clean? I suppose it goes back to the days of class privilege. It seems wrong to make someone do something as undesirable as clean up after me or my kids. I’m sure few people grow up saying they want to clean for a living when they grow up. But, it’s work. It’s admirable, hard work. My hiring someone helps them to have a job. What’s wrong with that?
What if they don’t clean up to my standards?There’s nothing that says I can’t clean before or after the cleaning people are here. It just makes my job easier. They may not wipe the baseboards as often as I would like, but if that’s all I have to do this week, it’s a lot easier than cleaning the whole house. And, there’s always the reality that I can just ask them to do things differently.
Should I trust someone in my home?Word of mouth is pretty valuable when hiring someone to work in my home. If a friend trusts them, shouldn’t I? In this day and age of online reviews, it’s also easy to see what others have to say. Hiring a reputable company, like Immaculate Clean, makes the process even more secure with insurance and background checks for their employees.
Can I really afford it?I suppose it comes down to two other questions: how much do I value my free-time; and, how much do I care if my home is a mess. For me, I place a huge value on my time to do things with my kids. And, when I’m not with them, or working, I’d much rather be meeting up with friends or doing a DIY project than cleaning the house. As for having a messy house, I don’t mind stuff as much as I do dirt. I can pick up the stuff in a matter of minutes. The dirt takes a lot more time and effort, and it’s what really bothers me. There’s honestly few better feelings than walking into my home when it’s just been cleaned by someone else. For me, the answers to these questions justify my hiring a cleaning person. It’s time I do so. For the rest of you, you might have more questions before making your final decision. Visit the Immaculate Clean FAQ to help you decide. Or, call them at 410-549-0727.
February 24, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
Spring Cleaning…Already?I swear I was just writing about preparing your home for the winter. How is it the middle of February already? And, the weather is just adding to the confusion with temps in the 60s. Personally, I love the nice weather, but it really does draw attention to all of the dirt I’ve been avoiding. After a weekend of extraordinary temperatures, I noticed a few things I need to get to as soon as possible. A deep cleaning will come eventually, but for now, here are a few things to kick-off the process:
The WindowsIt really is a bummer when the sun is shining in and all I can see are the spots all over the windows. Not to mention, when I go to open them, I notice the cobwebs and dead bugs caught between the windows and screens. It’s definitely time to give them a good cleaning. Use a good window cleaner and a lint-free cloth on the glass. Spray the cleaner on the window and give it a minute to set before wiping it clean. Make sure you wipe the outside of the windows too. If your windows are difficult to reach, it’s worth calling a window cleaning company for best results. After wiping the glass, give the frames and sills a wipe down. A vacuum hose works great for this task.
The FloorsThe mud season is rapidly approaching so now is the time to get rid of the winter residue. Start with the area rugs. If washable, throw them in the machine to get them clean. Otherwise, take them outside and give them a good shake. While the rugs are getting some fresh air, tend to the hard surfaces and carpeted areas. For hard surfaces, make sure to get rid of dust and debris before mopping. The professionals at Immaculate Clean suggest using a handheld vacuum rather than sweeping. When mopping, vinegar diluted in water is sufficient for wood floors, but Mr. Clean Professional Floor Cleaner is highly recommended for the best clean. Wipe down the baseboards for a complete cleaning. As for the carpeted rooms, start with a good vacuuming and edging around the baseboards. However, they’re probably also due for a professional cleaning. As we learned in What’s Hiding in Your Carpet?, professional cleaning on a quarterly basis is recommended to best maintain your carpets.
The GarageBetween the car tires and kids’ boots, the garage floor is a disaster by this time of year. Of course, I’ve also dumped a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want to deal with in the cold weather like cardboard boxes to be recycled and exterior holiday decorations that I didn’t get around to putting away. Take advantage of the nice weather by pulling everything outside and really cleaning the floor. As with the other hard surfaces, sweep first, then mop. Mildly soapy water is perfect for the concrete surface. Don’t forget to clean any windows and wipe down the corners where spider webs might be hiding. Once the floor dries, you can start organizing what needs to go back in and what you can get rid of. I’m thinking a blog on organizing the garage is on the horizon.
The ExteriorNow that the snow is gone, I can see all of the trash and debris that has collected on my yard. Having just gone through a renovation project, I’m finding all kinds of construction scraps, too. Personally, I’m not a yard-work type person. I generally leave it to the professionals, but there are some basic things needed to be done to ensure a minimum level of curb appeal. Start by getting rid of any leftover holiday decorations and dried out planters. Next, pick up the trash and any large branches that may have fallen. Finally, sweep off the walkways and porches. It may not be worthy of a landscaper’s stamp of approval, but it’s a start. Spring hasn’t totally sprung yet, but it’s not too early to get started. You want to get going before the mud of the upcoming season makes its way in the house. If you’re too overwhelmed with everything else going on in life, leave it to the professionals at Immaculate Clean. Give them a call at 410-549-0727. Voted the “Best of Carroll County” for the past 7 years!!
February 15, 2017by adminBlogs By Jill
How to (Hopefully) Get Your Kids to Clean Their RoomsI remember asking my kids a few years ago to go clean their bathrooms. After years of having a cleaning service do it for them, it was probably the first time they had to do it on their own. It didn’t take long for me to realize they had no idea what I was actually asking them to do. It dawned on me then that cleaning, like most things in life, was something they had to learn. Sure they had pushed a vacuum around the living room, and probably used a broom to sweep, but I had never taken the time to explain what it meant to clean a room. The more I thought about it, the more I recognized that the idea of cleaning a room entails a whole lot of things. First of all, do you mean “clean” or “pick-up”? Then, is it a quick surface clean or a deep down one? If the idea is complex for a “mature” adult like myself, imagine what goes through the mind of a 10-year old when asked, or told, to clean his/her room. I wish I could say that I took all of that knowledge and used it to create some sort of cleaning system that worked flawlessly from then on. That’s not what happened. I’m sure I yelled at them for not doing what I expected, got frustrated and ended up doing it myself. But, in hindsight, I think there was a better way. I’m trying it out with my younger daughter; in bits and pieces, anyway. So, here’s what I came up with:
- Teach the Basics What does it mean to dust?
- Stop Saying “Go Clean your Room” Try to be more specific. Try “Please put your clothes away.” Or, “Can you take off your sheets and put on a set of clean ones?”
- Keep it Simple Nobody likes spending hours cleaning. Least of all, your kids. Pick and choose what is most important and have them do one or two things each time you ask. Which leads to my next suggestion…
- Make a Checklist or Schedule It might be a list of simple steps to be completed every day, or a schedule of different things to do each day.
- Pick a Consistent Time of Day Every night before bedtime, or as soon as they get home from school. It doesn’t really matter when, just keep it the same for best results.
- Have the Supplies Ready Think in advance about what they are going to need. Bags for trash? Clean sheets? More hangers? The easier it is for them to do, the more likely they are to do it.
- Finally…Choose your Battles One of the best lessons I learned from my mother was that sometimes you just have to close the door and walk away. (Yes, this is how she dealt with my mess of a room when I was a teenager.) In the realm of things to worry about, does it really matter if your kid’s room isn’t clean.