Archive for March, 2012

Think Cleaning Service Prices are Out of Your Budget?

Posted on March 25, 2012. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle | Tags: , |

Picture of an Atlanta House Cleaning Professional - Sponge & SparkleDo you think hiring a house cleaning service is only for the wealthy? Nothing could be further from the truth. You do not have to be Thurston Howell III in order to afford, or benefit from, having your home cleaned on a regular basis.

Here are some points to consider.

1. Are we doing too much?

The work ethic is one of the best things about America, and yet it can sometimes cause us unnecessary stress. In many developed countries, it is customary for a middle class family to have a full-time housekeeper. (The same is true for many “underdeveloped” countries). Yet in America, many people think that having a maid service come in a twice a month is a sign of sloth.

2. What are the emotional costs of an untidy home?

Do you feel free to entertain whenever you wish? What is the first thought that comes to mind when an unexpected guest wants to drop by? If you are avoiding socializing because of the state of your home, what is being able to spend time with friends and loved ones in your home worth to you?

When you clean your home yourself, every smudge or stain can lead to recrimination. It’s a reminder of jobs undone, things you said you would keep in order. When a professional is cleaning your home, he or she passes no judgment, and has no emotional ties. His or her job is to clean thoroughly, as fast as possible.

3. Who does it best?

When you hire a professional cleaning service (which means they have employees who have been screened and trained) you benefit from their expertise. Since cleaning is what they do all of the time, they have a system, checklists, the right tools and materials to get the job done right.  A cleaning job that will leave you exhausted and take you several hours can be completed by professionals in a fraction of the time – and done right!

4. Who is accountable?

Have you ever had the experience of being so exhausted in the middle of scrubbing an area that you took a break, only to end up not finishing the job? When you hire a professional cleaning service, this simply does not happen. Professional cleaning services have standards and guarantees – they are accountable to you, and must finish the job.

5. Is a house cleaning service really out of your reach?

The hundreds of clients who rely on us to clean their Atlanta homes are not billionaires, but they know that the time they save and the peace of mind they experience is worth the small investment.

As they say:

We’ve been using Sponge & Sparkle for over a year now. I enjoy coming home from work to a clean, fresh house. Full review

We have used Sparkle many times over the last several years and they always exceed our expectations. Great customer service and very reasonable prices. Full review

… the best cleaning job I have ever had and I have used housekeepers for 15 years! Full review

great customer service skills. I have used sponge and sparkle for over 3 years and have recommended them to friends. Full review

I always love to come home after they’ve been here cleaning. They use natural products that smell good and get the job done. Full review

6. Are you asking the right question?

Instead of saying, “I can’t afford a house cleaning service,” try asking “How can I afford a house cleaning service?” You may find items you routinely spend money on that are nowhere near as important to you as having a clean home.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service.(404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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Home Organization Tip – Are You Overlooking This Storage Solution?

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Clearing Clutter, Household Tips |

11 ways to organize door

Doors. We open them, we walk through them, we shut them behind us. But did you realize that the back of a door can be your storage solution?

People use the backs of their bedroom and bathroom doors to organize belts, handbags or robes. If that is all you are doing, you are missing many opportunities for reducing clutter.

With a little bit of time and creativity, the back of any door can be used. What can you store? Spices, cleaning supplies, canned foods, craft supplies, jewelry – you are only limited by your imagination.

Use these clever, inspired ideas from the Organizing Made Fun blog to come up with ways to use the back of your doors as storage space.

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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House Cleaning Tips – 4 Simple Rules for Keeping Chaos at Bay

Posted on March 12, 2012. Filed under: Clearing Clutter, Household Tips |

Here they are:

The 4 Unbreakable Rules for a Chaos-Free Home

Never, ever, break these rules!

  1. Everything has a home.
  2. Use it or lose it.
  3. Never ignore or pass anything that needs to find its home.
  4. Use “little minutes” every chance you get.

These rules are very simple and easily to implement – I don’t think much explanation is necessary.   

The 2nd rule refers to the fact that if something is not being used, then there is really no need to keep it.  Pass it on!  I love the quote “have nothing in your home that you do not believe to be either beautiful or useful.”

Here’s an example of the 4th rule in action. You can easily straighten up a problem drawer in just a few minutes, maybe while you are waiting on the water to boil, or while waiting for your husband to get ready. 

We have all kinds of opportunities to easily and very quickly transform  chaos into order just one small step at a time.  It really  only takes a few minutes, and also that way you are forced to keep it simple and just focus on the one small task right in front of you.  It is extremely satisfying too. A tidy organized drawer or shelf is just wonderful!  It makes you feel good! 

Make these simple rules part of your life and your life will be easier and definitely more organized!

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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Countdown to Easter – Checklist for Stress-Free Entertaining

Posted on March 11, 2012. Filed under: Clearing Clutter, Household Tips | Tags: , , |

Picture of Easter dinner table

When you are preparing for a festive gathering such as Easter dinner, the key to stress-free entertaining is preparation.

Our checklist gives you a few things to do each week, so that entertaining isn’t an overwhelming task. Follow our checklist and get ready to enjoy the Easter festivities along with your guests.

4 weeks before

  1. Make your menu (and shopping list).You probably already have a traditional Easter menu. Starting early this year, however, gives you the chance to be creative.  Perhaps this is the year to try lamb instead of ham?
  2. Recruit volunteers.Volunteers can be your children, your spouse, or friends. Ask for help now so that everyone is ready to do their part. Here are a few tasks to assign to volunteers: preparing a side dish, watching your children while you grocery shop, preparing the Easter eggs, choosing games, or polishing the silverware.
  3. Make your outsourcing decisions.Will you handle all of the cooking or enlist the help of a caterer? Do you plan on cleaning your home yourself, or hiring a house cleaning service? Decide what you will handle, and what you will outsource.
  4. Create your guest list, and invite your guests.
  5. Take stock of your home.Walk through your home, and take a fresh look through the eyes of your guests. Do you need to refresh the towels in the guest bathroom? Does your lawn need sprucing for the Easter Egg hunt? Do you need the decks cleaned? Make your list, and decide who will take care of these items.
  6. Take stock of your decorations, fine china and silverware.Your fine china hasn’t been used in several months, and your Easter decorations have been in boxes for almost a year. Inspect them to decide what you need to clean, repair, or purchase.

3 weeks before

  1. Place your order with the caterer.
  2. Schedule your house cleaning.The best time to have your cleaning service perform a detail cleaning is the week before Easter. It stands to reason that this week is also the busiest time for home cleaning services. Make your appointment now to reserve your space on the schedule.
    If you decide to do the cleaning yourself, set several hours aside time the weekend before to get your home in tip-top shape.
  3. Finalize your shopping list.If you haven’t already, it is time to finalize the shopping list. Highlight the non-perishable items that can be purchased ahead of time.

2 weeks before

  1. Shop for your non-perishables.Buy everything that you do not need to purchase fresh. This can include canned goods, beverages, spices, and decorations. Shopping 2-3 weeks before Easter also has the added benefit of helping you avoid the crowds.  Tip – clear space in the your pantry and refrigerator before you go shopping so that you have somewhere to store your items.
  2. Buy your decorations and Easter basket supplies.Get the best selection of decorations and Easter basket items by buying them now.

1 week before

  1. Clean your home.A week before is the best time to clean the home from top to bottom. If you’ve scheduled an appointment with a house cleaning service, this is a task you can easily check off your list.  If you haven’t, get your supplies and block off several hours.
  2. Prepare your food.Are there any dishes (or portions of dishes) that you can prepare and freeze ahead of time? Go ahead and get those out of the way.
  3. Polish your silver, and wash the fine china.While you are getting your home cleaned, go ahead and clean your silverware and  fine china. Better yet, have your teenagers handle this task.

1 to 3 Days before.

  1. Decorate.If you do not have small children, you can probably set up your decorations several days to a week in advance.
  2. Set up your dining room.Get your table and service areas as close to ready as you can. This provides another opportunity for you to make certain you have enough serving dishes and utensils.
  3. Shop for fresh items.Buy flowers, vegetables or fruit.
  4. Walk-through.The night before Easter, walk through the areas your guests will be visiting to see if there is anything that needs to be cleaned or repaired.

The Night Before

  1. Prepare the food.This is probably when you will be preparing most of your dinner. Our tips will help you keep your kitchen clean while you are cooking.
  2. Hide the eggs.If you are having an Easter egg hunt, hide the eggs the night before or early in the morning.  Hopefully, this is a task you assigned to a volunteer!

Before your guests arrive.

  1. Prepare your last minute dishes, making sure to keep your kitchen clean as you do.
  2. Do a last minute walk-through.
  3. Relax, and get ready to enjoy your guests.

I hope this checklist comes in handy as you prepare for Easter entertaining. Feel free to comment and share your Easter entertaining tips.

What are your secrets for a stress-free Easter dinner?

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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Easy Furniture Scratch Repair Recipe

Posted on March 4, 2012. Filed under: Household Tips | Tags: |

Cat on scratching post

If you have pets, you know about unsightly furniture scratches.

There’s an easy way to repair most minor furniture scratches – shoe polish!  It is the perfect camouflage.  It is opaque.  It comes in a variety of colors and it is removable.  If you don’t  like  the way it looks, wipe it away with mineral spirits.

To fill a scratch, look for a shoe polish paste that matches the furniture ‘s finish. If you cant  find a close match, then mix 2 or more polishes together on a paper plate with a cuticle stick.

When you have achieved the desired color , apply the polish to the scratch using a cotton swab.

Let the polish dry  10 to 15 minutes and then gently buff with a soft cloth.

From Real Simple  magazine

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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