Archive for October, 2014

Thanksgiving Entertaining – Your Countdown Checklist

Posted on October 31, 2014. Filed under: Entertaining Tips, Time Management | Tags: , , , |

Will you host a Thanksgiving gathering this year?  The thought of all of the work that goes into it can be overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time host.

It is possible to host the big gathering and still have enough energy to enjoy your guests, however. The key to stress-free entertaining is preparation.

Happy Thanksgiving Fine Dining Table Place Setting In Purple, Wh

Our Thanksgiving entertaining checklist gives you a few things to do each week so that entertaining isn’t an overwhelming task. (We’ve also included a downloadable PDF version). Follow our checklist and get ready to enjoy yourself!

4 Weeks

  1. Make your menu (and shopping list).
    You might already have a traditional menu. Starting early this year, however, gives you the chance to be creative.
  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 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 send your invitations.
  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 decorations in the guest bathroom? Does your lawn need sprucing? Do you need the decks cleaned? Make your list, and decide who will take care of these tasks.
  6. Take stock of your decorations, fine china and silverware.
    Your fine china hasn’t been used in several months, and your decorations have been in boxes for almost a year. Inspect them to decide what you need to clean, repair, or purchase.

3 Weeks

  1. Place your order with the caterer.
  2. Schedule your house cleaning.
    The best time to have a professional cleaning service perform a detail cleaning is the week before a holiday.  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 6 or more hours aside 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

  1. Shop for your non-perishables.
    Buy everything that you do not need to purchase fresh. This can include canned goods, beverages, and spices. Shopping 2-3 weeks before Thanksgiving 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.
    You’ll get the best selection of decorations by buying them now.

1 Week

  1. Get your home cleaned.
    A week before is the best time to clean your 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 at least 6 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

  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 perishable items (flowers, vegetables, fruit, etc.).

Thanksgiving Eve

  1. Walk-through.
    The night before Thanksgiving, walk through the areas your guests will be visiting to see if there is anything that needs to be cleaned or repaired.
  2. 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.

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 your Thanksgiving feast. Feel free to comment and share your entertaining tips.

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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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6 Reasons People Don’t Hire House Cleaning Services

Posted on October 24, 2014. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Time Management | Tags: , , |

 

atlanta maid service picture of cleaning ceiling fans
You know you’d like to hire a house cleaning service.

You can’t wait to feel the way our client Judy does:

… coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles.

So, what’s stopping you? If you haven’t hired a professional Atlanta house cleaning service yet, one of the following myths is probably getting in the way.

Myth #1 – “They” Will Judge Me

My team is there for one reason – to get your home sparkling clean.  My customers provide the business that I have had since 1981 so that I can employ a wonderful team of Sparklers and stimulate the economy.

In short, we are not judgmental. We are grateful your home needs to be cleaned.

As our client Bantley writes:

I have been using this cleaning service for at least 22 years. Their employees don’t come and go but stay with the company, which gives me a great degree of comfort…. I feel like they are part of our family!

 

Myth #2 – I Need to Clean a Little – First

This myth is related to first one.  A trained, professional house cleaner can get your home top to bottom clean in a fraction of the time. So don’t pile the stress on yourself, call the experts!

Myth #3 – House Cleaning Services are Only for Rich People

This is a uniquely North American myth. House cleaning services are not just for the wealthy. In fact, in most countries around the world, middle class families have a full-time housekeeper (and chauffeur) on staff.

 

As our client writes:

They are always on time, never miss an appointment, and are friendly. I could probably have an individual (instead of a commercial group) for less, but I feel like this is so well-run and reliable that it is worth it. Also, I get the sense that they treat their employees well, which matters a lot to me.

Myth #4 – It’s for Lazy People

House cleaning services are for people who want to work smarter, not harder. What is a better use of 2 hours – spending time with friends and family or cleaning the bathroom?

Imagine – what could you do with an extra 28 days a year? That’s the average amount of time (685 hours) spent cleaning.

Myth # 5 – I Don’t Want People In My “Stuff”

The only time you need worry about security is if you hire a “trunk slammer” and not a professional cleaning service. All of our employees go through background checks and training. In addition, our employee retention is 15 to 20 times the industry average. While the industry turnover is 3 to 4 months, our employees stay with us an average of 5 years – and many have been with us for much longer.

As our client Ann writes:

They are always careful with our “stuff”–no breakage in 15 plus years. They are totally flexible when I need to change our regular cleaning day. And they are so very nice and friendly!

 

Myth #6 – My Mother Could Do It – Why Can’t I?

Life is much more complicated than it was even 30 years ago. More information, more toys, more choices, a longer commute and a much longer workday means you are juggling more than your parents ever dreamed.

Isn’t it time you stopped measuring yourself against an unobtainable standard?

Make a list of what you are going to do with an extra 685 hours a year and call Sponge & Sparkle at (404-633-9652) to get your home sparkling clean.

You deserve it!

 

 

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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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5 Halloween Events for Kids (2014) – Atlanta, GA

Posted on October 16, 2014. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , |

by Raina Raflo, Atlanta House Cleaning Expert

Looking for a fun Halloween event for the kids? From pony rides to costume contests, there is a lot to do. Here are 5 interesting events around Atlanta.

Chamblee Halloween Spooktacular

Goblins in the Atlanta Botanical Garden!

Sunday, October 19

10:00 am to 4:00 pm

1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA, 30309

(404) 876-5859

Dress the kids in their Halloween costumes. The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a fun day of games, train rides, pony rides, activities and more. Suitable for all ages.

Click here for more information.

 

Scarecrows in the Atlanta Botanical Garden!

October 2014

1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA, 30309

(404) 876-5859

Every October the Garden is stuffed with nearly 100 scarecrows handcrafted by businesses, individuals, schools and organizations.

Click here for more information.

Halloween Spooktacular in Chamblee, GA

Saturday, October 24, 2014

11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Keswick Park

3496 Keswick Drive

Chamblee, GA

Bring the kids to this 5K Costume Road Race & fun run and experience pumpkin painting, a corn hole game, Spooky Fun House, contest, pony rides and more. Click here for more information.

 

Spookley’s A-Maze-ing Adventure at Stone Mountain Park

Weekends in October

Stone Mountain Park, GA

(770) 498-5690

Help Spookley the Square Pumpkin and friends, as you wind your way through our fun filled maze. Suitable for ages 2-7.

Visit the Website for more info

Brick-or-Treat at the Legoland Discovery Center

Every weekend in October

October 25 & 26, 2014 – Costume Contest

Trick-or-treating, contests and more!

Visit the website for more information.

 

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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.

Photo Credit: City of Chamblee

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Free Cleanings for Women Battling Cancer

Posted on October 2, 2014. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta House Cleaning, Cleaning Industry | Tags: |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 805,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in women in 2014. Cleaning for women with cancer

Battling cancer is tough. When a woman is sick and can’t take care of her home the way she would like to, it adds to her stress.

This is why we are privileged to be a member of  the Cleaning for a Reason foundation, a national organization which puts women undergoing cancer treatment in touch with member cleaning companies that want to donate their services. Sponge & Sparkle has been part of the Cleaning for a Reason network since 2007.

The Cleaning for a Reason foundation has 1,100 companies in its network throughout the United States. In order to be approved for the network, a  professional residential maid service must be insured or bonded and perform background checks on their employees. These professional cleaning companies have provided more than 15,000 cleanings to cancer patients, valued at more than $4,000,000.

How it Works

Once a patient calls the Cleaning for a Reason foundation, they will verify her eligibility and put her in touch with a professional house cleaning service provider in her area.

The number of cleanings varies by provider; we typically give each recipient 4 cleanings of 2 hours each with 2 people.

If you know of a woman fighting cancer who could benefit, please tell her about the C4R website.

 We love to clean and we want to help.

 

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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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