Archive for July, 2012

7 Surprising Benefits of a Clean Home

Posted on July 24, 2012. Filed under: Cleaning Bedroom, Clearing Clutter, Household Tips | Tags: |

Atlanta House Cleaning - Sponge & Sparkle Team MemberA clean home has more benefits than impressing visitors. It improves your quality of life in many ways.  Here are seven surprising benefits of a clean home.

1 – More Romance

There’s nothing worse than hearing your spouse walk in and announce that the house is still dirty, as if you hadn’t noticed.  Such a greeting does not bode well for a romantic evening.

There’s always the option of spending the whole day scrubbing and making sure the house is spic and span before he or she gets home, but then there’s the problem of falling to sleep over your dinner plate.

This is why cleaning together, or better yet, hiring someone to clean for you leads to a better sex life.

2 – Tidier Finances

Have you ever had a bill slip your mind time and time again? If so, changes are your billing system needs to be more organized.

Having a clean house will prevent you from letting mail pile up unread, and hence you will avoid the dangers of being clueless about your financial situation.

Another financial benefit: having a clean house will prevent multiple purchases for those items that tend to disappear into the clutter.

3 – A Clear Mind

If you’ve ever walked into a boutique hotel room you know just how relaxing these environments are.  It’s not because these rooms are spacious and have expensive furniture, because they don’t.  They are simply neat and clean.  A clean room really does lead to an uncluttered mind.

4 – Ethical Treatment

According to a Brigham Young University study, a clean smelling environment leads to fairer and more ethical treatment.

5 – Guilt-Free Leisure

Having a clean house removes that nagging inner voice telling you that you need to clean this, or organize that.

You are able to focus on things you enjoy like reading a book, watching a movie, or just sitting still and taking a deep breath without the guilt of feeling that there is something else you should be doing.

6 – A Healthier Family

A dirty home can exacerbate asthma, pass around colds, and spread dangerous bacteria. Your home doesn’t have to be sterile; a clean, dust-free environment can help keep all family members healthier.

Cleanliness will also prevent accidents in the home like tripping over toys, and getting injured on dangerous objects left lying about.  This is especially important if you have small children who aren’t in enough control of their motor skills, or are too busy rushing around to pay attention to where they are going.

7 – More Fun With Friends

Humans are social beings – positive social interaction leads to a happier, higher quality life. When your home is clean, you are much more likely to invite people over.  On the other hand, people who are embarrassed about the state of their home are much less likely to have close friends drop by.

In addition, an untidy home may make friends feel ill at ease, which means they will be reluctant to visit again.

Want to experience the benefits of a sparklingly clean home without the hard work?

If you are in Atlanta, turn your house cleaning over to us. We simply love delivering dazzle.

Join the conversation by commenting below:

What benefits do you experience from 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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Hiring a “Trunk Slammer” To Clean Your Home May Lead to Legal Trouble

Posted on July 15, 2012. Filed under: Cleaning Industry | Tags: |

ARCSI Seal of Excellence for Sponge & Sparkle. A sobering article from Dave Crichton, Co-Founder, Global Cleaners Association about the dangers of hiring a “Trunk Slammer” to clean your home.  As Dave writes, is that $20/$30 difference in rates really worth the  risk(s)?

Dave explains the differences between an established legal, cleaning company like Sponge & Sparkle and the independent workers  – known in our industry as trunk slammers … and, more importantly, what it means to you.

Raina Raflo

What the heck is a Trunk Slammer? A Few Truths About Hiring the Cheap & Unlicensed Cleaning Company

Author: D. Crichton
Co-Founder, Global Cleaners Association

In years past, you would often overhear conversations in places like  beauty salons, community clubhouses, cocktail parties and fancy restaurants  that would start something like this…
“Wow, I just found the best house cleaner and…they are really  cheap!”

This conversation was usually one of the ladies (or gentlemen) boasting about  the cleaning person they had just hired to clean their home and this home was  usually located in a high-income neighborhood because, after all, years ago  only the wealthy could afford hired helpers in the home.

Well…times have changed…kind of…
The days of only the wealthy using hired help inside the home are gone! It’s  not that the wealthier don’t use house cleaners any longer, it’s the fact that  today’s average homeowners (especially the two income earner households) are  seeking outside help with home maintenance because of time constraints, lack of  energy to clean after putting in a 40+ hour workweek, etc. The market for  independent cleaning contractors has skyrocketed over the past 10-15 years!

Along with this “boom” in demand has come the “boom” in  independent contractors who are working without occupational licenses,  insurances and may well lack the experience needed to “safely” clean  the many varied surfaces that exist in today’s homes.

The industry refers to them as…Trunk Slammers.
When a homeowner (especially those homes where both parents are working full  time just to cover expenses) goes looking for help with home maintenance,  “price” is always a huge part of the decision on just who will be  hired and…there’s nothing wrong with that…provided the potential consumer  “knows what they are paying for” and…”the possible liabilities  they are exposing themselves to” when selecting a cleaning service  provider based solely on price.

What liabilities?

When hiring a worker who is working for “under the table” wages that  are not going to be reported to the IRS as income, you (technically) become  that worker’s employer and (technically) you become responsible for income,  Medicare, social security and unemployment taxes at the Federal level and,  depending on the state you live in, may be responsible (technically) for some  of the above…again…at the state level.

When hiring a worker who is working for “under the table” wages that  are not going to be reported to the IRS as income, you (most certainly) will be  paying for that worker’s retirement also. Not today but when they retire and  realize that they have little or nothing in their Social Security retirement  account to live on , they will go on any one of a number of public assistance  programs that your hard earned tax dollars (remember them…there the one’s you  worked for and paid taxes on years ago…) will be paying for.

When hiring an uninsured worker, you become responsible (technically) for any  medical expenses for “your employee” should “your employee”  become injured while working in your home. In most states, you “should  be” paying workman’s compensation insurance for “your employee”.

When hiring an uninsured worker, you will assume all liabilities for damage,  breakage or theft of anything in your home. This may not sound like much of a  liability on your part but…remember we mentioned, “experienced”  earlier? Inexperienced people can, and do literally thousands of dollars worth  of damage to the many new surfaces in today’s homes. Things like marble,  granite, hardwood flooring, fiberglass tubs…. and the list goes on and on and  on.

Oh, one other thingyou are breaking the law by hiring these individuals.  Unwittingly (or maybe knowingly) you have become “complicit” in tax  evasion, operating (in most municipalities/states) an unlicensed business and,  in some states, operating a business without adequate liability insurance or  workman’s compensation insurance. Claiming ignorance of your cleaner’s business  status will not help. You as the purchaser of services are responsible to  investigate the legal status of “any” outside contractor who performs  “any” services on your home and you should never be afraid to ask for  documentation from those service providers. (Remember the old  “Caveat-emptor” phrase…its true!)

“Yeah”…you’re saying…”I know all this stuff already and  anyway, no one ever gets caught for this kind of stuff!”

I say…”Oh Yeah”…a little research on the subject (your  Due-Diligence) will quickly reveal that people, often unsuspecting people, are  being caught and fined everyday of the week on just these circumstances. Check  with the IRS if you don’t believe me.

The whole matter becomes an especially “different” kettle of fish if  your worker/employee is also an undocumented alien but…that’s for another  letter.

Makes you wonder…is that $20/$30 difference in rates really worth the  risk(s)?

Your money…your decision.

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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 Tips for Home Serenity and Organization

Posted on July 6, 2012. Filed under: Clearing Clutter, Household Tips | Tags: |

9 Tips for a serene, happy home. Here is an excellent short article from Gretchin Rubin’s blog The Happiness ProjectMy favorites are No. 1  and No. 9

Raina

Overwhelmed?  9 Quick Tricks For Keeping Your Home Feeling Serene And Organized

Because of the subject of my next book, Happier at Home, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about—you guessed it!—how to be happier at home.

Here are a few very simple suggestions. These aren’t the most profound things you can do to make your home feel more serene and organized, but they’re steps you can take fairly quickly.

1. Be wary of bargains, sales, hand-me-downs and give-aways.

Do you really need this thing? Or love it? Beware: because of the “endowment effect,” we value things more once we own them. Once that thing enters your home, it will be tough to get it out again.

2. Never label anything “Miscellaneous.”

3. Remember: most decisions don’t require extensive research.

Aim to be a sacrificer, not a maximizer.

4. Don’t let yourself fall into “empty.

Keep cash in the house. Keep gas in your tank. Keep an extra roll of toilet paper squirreled away. Keep your phone charged.

5. Don’t keep excessive amounts of anything.

Those glass vases that come from florists. Those ketchup packets that come with take-out food. A house with two adults probably doesn’t need fifteen mismatched souvenir coffee cups.

6. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Lower the bar. Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending a weekend cleaning out the basement.

7. Clean while you cook (literally and metaphorically).

8. Put things away in a specific place.

It’s much easier to find things later, and it’s oddly satisfying to slot things into their precise places. “Ah, this particular basket on this shelf is the place for the AAA batteries.”

9. Make your bed.

I know it sounds trivial, but it’s a bigger happiness booster than you’d expect.

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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 ( 1 so far )

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