Miscellaneous

Five Ideas for a More Sustainable Home

Posted on January 14, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , |

greenhouse - eco-friendly construction

These days we’re hearing about and experiencing a lot more about climate change-related drought, floods, forest fires, and extreme weather events. While some still doubt it, our modern lifestyles do affect these changes. We also often hear about “Sustainability” and “Sustainable Living.” These terms refer to a range of choices each of us can make in our daily lives to minimize our impact on natural resources and the environment without sacrificing our own comfort or that of future generations. Here are five major ways you can make your home more sustainable:

1. Reduce your Energy Use.

Most of the electricity generated in America is produced by burning fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Save energy by changing your air filter regularly—ideally every three months. A dirty filter slows down air flow and makes the system work harder. Also have your system tuned up annually to maximize efficiency and comfort. Installing a programmable thermostat is another important way to save energy.

If you need to replace your home’s heating and cooling system, consider installing ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment. The Energy Star program also certifies the most efficient home appliances, lighting, and windows and doors. Visit http://www.energystar.gov for detailed information.

2. Waste Less Food.

Some sources estimate Americans trash as much as 40 percent of our food supply every year. To minimize food waste, start by monitoring what you throw away. When you shop, plan meals, use grocery lists, and avoid impulse buys. Especially in the summer, when fresh produce is readily available and so tempting, wait until perishables are all used up before buying more. When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires. And eat leftovers!

3. Buy and Use Environmentally-Friendly Products.

Consider the environmental impacts of your purchasing decisions. Take your own reusable bags when you go shopping. Look for locally-produced food. Buy in bulk rather than single-serve consumables when feasible to reduce packaging waste. Buy recycled-content products when feasible. For everyday cleaning, use inexpensive and highly effective white vinegar and baking soda rather than harsh chemicals. Use refillables rather than disposables for liquid soap and other similar household products. Use rags rather than paper towel whenever possible. Buy well-made, durable appliances that will last, rather than less expensive versions that will likely need to be replaced soon.

4. Maintain Durable Items and Reuse More.

By properly maintaining household appliances they will last longer and work more efficiently. Whenever possible, fix an item rather than discarding it and buying a replacement. Repurpose used items. For example, use an old shower curtain liner as a tarp for painting, and cut up old towels to use as rags. Use wide-mouth jar lids as under-liners for your plants. Cut up waste paper to use as note pads. Challenge yourself to come up with creative ways to reuse something before discarding it.

5. Use Water Sustainably.

Less water going down the drain means more water available in our lakes, rivers and streams. Replace your shower heads with water-efficient models and switch to the use of water-efficient lawn and landscaping sprinklers. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and be frugal when washing dishes by hand. Run full loads in your dish and clothes washers.

If you’re remodeling your bathroom, select water efficient fixtures such as those recommended by the WaterSense program. (http://www.epa.gov/watersense/. Old toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home. They can consume as much as 6 gallons of water per flush. By contrast, water-efficient toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush or less, while still providing equal or superior performance.

And if you’ve been buying bottled drinking water, think twice. Almost half of the 50 billion bottles of water currently consumed in the U.S. actually comes from municipal supplies. Transporting the bottles and keeping them cold, and then collecting and processing them for recycling, also burns fossil fuels. If you’re worried about the quality of your tap water, have it tested. Also consider installing a water filter and use refillable containers.

By adopting these practices you’ll be making your home more sustainable and save money too!

What our Customers Say

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

Sponge and Sparkle House Cleaning Services

I have been using this agency for 3 plus years and have been delighted not just with their good work and professionalism but how personable their employees are at all times. They are able to accommodate emergencies including cancellations which I am sure puts them at a hardship but do so with a smile and with compassion. Please try them and use their detailed cleaning services at least once and you will be in for a treat. More importantly they use environmentally friendly products that is a huge plus for me.

Satisfaction Guaranteed!

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. If anything is not just right, the owner herself will either come out or send someone to redo it. I feel like they are part of our family! Also they are using “green” products more than ever.

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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.

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What To Do With Your Pumpkin After Halloween

Posted on October 29, 2015. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , |

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

close up of carved halloween pumpkins on table

After Halloween – 3 Uses for Leftover Pumpkin

Halloween is in a few days. On November 1, the jack-0’lantern would have done its job.   Now what?  Don’t just trash it.  Here are several beneficial uses for it.

Make a planter

When your jack-0’lantern is done, you can use it as a planter.  Plant a colorful fall mum in the hollowed out pumpkin and plant it in your garden.  As the pumpkin decomposes, it will fertilize your new plant.

Feed the wildlife

If you have woods nearby, feed the wildlife. Bambi and her friends will love it. Plus, if you don’t want to eat them yourself, you can dry and toast the pumpkin seeds and give your backyard birds a treat.

Make a facial rub with it

Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E—all great ingredients for a healthy complexion. Grind up some of the remaining pumpkin meat into a puree.  Mix about five teaspoons with three teaspoons of brown sugar (a natural exfoliate) and a tiny splash of milk.  Apply to your face and gently rub in a circular motion.  Allow the masque to do its magic for about 20 minutes and voila – you’ll enjoy the results!

Try one of these ideas and you’ll get a bigger return on your investment than just scaring the goblins away for one night.  Happy Halloween!

What our Customers Say

Phenomenal Job for a Picky client

The quality of the work and the people at Sponge and Sparkle are top notch for this busy working single mom.

Reliable Cleaning Service

My family has used sponge and sparkle for years. They are reliable, flexible and professional. They are excellent as both a regular, recurring cleaning service and willing to do custom cleanings as well.

Wonderful Service

I have been a client of Sponge & Sparkle for almost 15 years. They do an outstanding job, have wonderful customer service and a very friendly and professional crew. They also are extremely trustworthy (they’ve had the key to my home since the beginning). I can highly recommend the company!

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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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20 Tips for a Low Stress, Slimmer Holiday Season

Posted on December 19, 2014. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , |

20 tips for a relaxed holiday

 

During the holidays, things can get a little frenetic. The tendency to overeat, schedule too many activities and spend too much money can make for a rude awakening on January 2.

This article in the MindBodyGreen blog shares 20 quick tips to help you have a peaceful, joyful and mindful holiday. Read the article for action steps that will help you:

  • Curb overeating.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Avoid spending too much.
  • Make the most out of reconnecting with the family and friends.
  • Get some rest so that you are refreshed, rather than exhausted, when the holidays are over.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve over the years. We wish you and your loved ones peace and joy this season and always.

Raina

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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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5 Kid-Friendly Halloween Events – Atlanta, GA

Posted on October 4, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , |

by Raina Raflo, Atlanta House Cleaning Expert

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

Chamblee Halloween Spooktacular

Goblins in the Atlanta Botanical Garden!

Sunday, October 27

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.

Halloween Spooktacular in Chamblee, GA

Saturday, October 26, 2013

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, and the Spooky Fun House. Register online for the costume contest.

Faerie Stories & Homes in a Magical Forest! – Decatur, GA

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Woodlands Garden

932 Scott Boulevard

Decatur, GA 30030

Fun Families, join our very faerie Miss Lady Bug and storyteller extraordinaire, Christy Foelsch of Kids Go Wild, in the enchanted forest of Woodlands Garden. Enjoy charmed fairy tales and create biodegradable tiny homes. Advance registration is required. Click here for more information.

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

9/27/2013 – 10/26/2013

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain, 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

Pumpkin Patch Halloween Festival

Tucker Recreation Center

4988 Lavista Road

Tucker, GA 30084

(770) 270-6226

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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: Brookhaven Patch

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Is This the Key to Eating Less?

Posted on August 15, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , |

America is in the grip of an obesity epidemic, and overeating is one of its primary contributing factors. According to brain imaging studies by  the Oregon Research Institute, obese people enjoy food less than lean people.

An attractive place setting might help you enjoy your meal.

An attractive place setting might help you enjoy your meal.

Perhaps if we enjoyed our food more, we would eat less.

An interesting article on the mercola.com health website shares simple strategies anyone can use to get more enjoyment out of their food.

The article makes the case that having eating rituals aids in enjoyment.

Here are a few examples of eating rituals.

  1. Giving thanks.
  2. Dividing your food (ex., a chocolate bar) into halves and eating each portion at different times.
  3. Savoring your food by eating slowly.
  4. Preparing the meal.
  5. Setting the table and/or lighting a candle.
  6. Turning off distractions (TV, etc.) while eating.

The article is worth a read.

Share your comments:

Do you have eating rituals? Do you find they cause you to eat less?

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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: Dinnerseries on Flickr.

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