Time Management

7 Tips for a Calmer, Less Stressful Holiday Season

Posted on December 17, 2015. Filed under: Entertaining Tips, Time Management | Tags: , |

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

The holidays can be a very busy time, which can result in a great deal of stress. You can just plow through it all, fainting in a heap on January 2nd, or you can take the proactive approach of simplifying the holidays.

keep-calm-this-holiday

Here are some suggestions you can use:

1.    Be careful of back-to-back events.

Don’t host your holiday party on the same day as your child’s school chorus event.  You will be rushed, your kids will be tired, and you won’t enjoy the party.  You should also avoid having events two days in a row. Being festive and cheerful is hard work. Give yourself at least a day’s rest between each event.

2.    Buy consumable gifts.

Be careful of giving things like figurines or other such things that will sit on a shelf collecting dust. The best gifts are things that will actually be used like piano lessons, wine, or even cookies.

3.    Create a list of every single thing you have to do.

The best way to relax is to stop obsessing over everything you have to do. Once you get it written down on paper, and begin crossing off tasks, you will see your progress and be able to relax and enjoy the process.

4.    Schedule rest time.

While crossing off your holiday tasks are important, it is also important to do them well. If you are tired, you will surely get sloppy and careless. Make sure you plan for a full night sleep every day, and a break after every 2 hours of work.

5.    Get help. Don’t try to do it all yourself.

a.    Recruit family members to help you decorate, prepare for festivities, and make gifts. Not only will the work go faster, but you will also have great bonding experiences.

b.    Get your friends to shop with you. Remember, there is safety in numbers, and if you pick someone who is task oriented, having company will make the time fly.

c.    Outsourcing is a smart way to get help.  Hire a cleaning service, have someone string and/or remove your outdoor lights. If you are short on time and creativity, there are services that will completely decorate your house for you for the holiday season.

6.    Stick to your budget.

You don’t want to suffer for the next three months because you over-did it in December. If you like to splurge during the holidays, next year, you may want to consider joining a “Christmas Club” type account at your bank to set aside funds for this time of year.  If you put away just $100 a month, you will have plenty of extra money to spend on the holiday festivities.

7.    Consider gift certificates.

Shopping for gift certificates is easy on the back, and is actually appreciated more and more, especially for the person that has everything. Be sure to get something that is thoughtful, and unconventional, such as pre-paying for their next mani-pedi, or hiring a house cleaning service.

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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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The Perfect Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

Posted on December 10, 2015. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta House Cleaning, Time Management | Tags: , |

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

“It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Steve Jobs

Give the gift of time

  • Is there a person or two on your gift-giving list that appears to have everything, and you don’t know where to begin shopping for them?
  • Are you looking for a creative, thoughtful gift for someone you are trying to impress?
  • Are you having trouble finding items that will express your love and appreciation to your mother or your spouse?
  • Are you struggling to locate a gift that is will be both useful and give delight to someone who prefers practical things?

 

Atlanta House Cleaning Service Gift Certificate

Then you are not alone.  Very often, locating the right gift for that special person is a very difficult task.

Well, have you considered giving the gift of time?  Whether their homes are big or small, or even if they live in an apartment, there are two things that everyone on your holiday list could use: time and a clean home.

With most people spending over 600 hours a year cleaning, a gift of our professional maid service will save your recipient an incredible amount of time and effort.  Your gift will be both thoughtful, and valuable, and will be sure to impress your recipient.

As our customer, Judy, says:

It’s wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles.
We have had Sponge & Sparkle for a few years now and I am a fussy homeowner. They do a fantastic job–coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles. Baseboards, blinds, all the surfaces are spotless. And they come on time every time. Great cleaning service. Read more Atlanta house cleaning reviews here.

By giving the gift of a cleaning service for your friend, family member, or loved one, you are telling them that you value them, you value their time, and that they deserve a little pampering.  They can reclaim their time catching up on other chores, dabbling in a hobby, or just relaxing with friends like you.

We have added a very special touch of lovingly packaging our gift certificates in an attractive teacup set. This will provide the hint that so your special gift recipient should relax and enjoy a sip tea while we clean for them.  We also provide free local delivery, or you can pick up the gift certificates from us. Call us at (404) 633-9652 to find out about our holiday gift packages.

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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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Give The Gift of Something Priceless

Posted on December 4, 2014. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta House Cleaning, Time Management | Tags: , , , |

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

“It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Steve Jobs

Give the gift of time

  • Is there a person or two on your gift-giving list that appears to have everything, and you don’t know where to begin shopping for them?
  • Are you looking for a creative, thoughtful gift for someone you are trying to impress?
  • Are you having trouble finding items that will express your love and appreciation to your mother or your spouse?
  • Are you struggling to locate a gift that is will be both useful and give delight to someone who prefers practical things?

 

Atlanta House Cleaning Service Gift Certificate

Then you are not alone.  Very often, locating the right gift for that special person is a very difficult task.

Well, have you considered giving the gift of time?  Whether their homes are big or small, or even if they live in an apartment, there are two things that everyone on your holiday list could use: time and a clean home.

With most people spending over 600 hours a year cleaning, a gift of our professional maid service will save your recipient an incredible amount of time and effort.  Your gift will be both thoughtful, and valuable, and will be sure to impress your recipient.

As our customer, Judy, says:

It’s wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles.
We have had Sponge & Sparkle for a few years now and I am a fussy homeowner. They do a fantastic job–coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles. Baseboards, blinds, all the surfaces are spotless. And they come on time every time. Great cleaning service. Read more Atlanta house cleaning reviews here.

By giving the gift of a cleaning service for your friend, family member, or loved one, you are telling them that you value them, you value their time, and that they deserve a little pampering.  They can reclaim their time catching up on other chores, dabbling in a hobby, or just relaxing with friends like you.

We have added a very special touch of lovingly packaging our gift certificates in an attractive teacup set. This will provide the hint that so your special gift recipient should relax and enjoy a sip tea while we clean for them.  We also provide free local delivery, or you can pick up the gift certificates from us. Call us at (404) 633-9652 to find out about our holiday gift packages.

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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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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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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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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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A Gift Idea For The Person With ‘Everything’ – Time

Posted on December 12, 2013. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta House Cleaning, Time Management | Tags: |

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

Atlanta House Cleaning Service Gift Certificate

  • Is there a person or two on your gift-giving list that appears to have everything, and you don’t know where to begin shopping for them?
  • Are you looking for a creative, thoughtful gift for someone you are trying to impress?
  • Are you having trouble finding items that will express your love and appreciation to your mother or your spouse?
  • Are you struggling to locate a gift that is will be both useful and give delight to someone who prefers practical things?

Then you are not alone.  Very often, locating the right gift for that special person is a very difficult task.

Well, have you considered giving the gift of time?  Whether their homes are big or small, or even if they live in an apartment, there are two things that everyone on your holiday list could use: time and a clean home.

With most people spending over 600 hours a year cleaning, a gift of our professional maid service will save your recipient an incredible amount of time and effort.  Your gift will be both thoughtful, and valuable, and will be sure to impress your recipient.

As our customer, Judy, says:

It’s wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles.
We have had Sponge & Sparkle for a few years now and I am a fussy homeowner. They do a fantastic job–coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles. Baseboards, blinds, all the surfaces are spotless. And they come on time every time. Great cleaning service. Read more Atlanta house cleaning reviews here.

By giving the gift of a cleaning service for your friend, family member, or loved one, you are telling them that you value them, you value their time, and that they deserve a little pampering.  They can reclaim their time catching up on other chores, dabbling in a hobby, or just relaxing with friends like you.

We have added a very special touch of lovingly packaging our gift certificates in an attractive teacup set. This will provide the hint that so your special gift recipient should relax and enjoy a sip tea while we clean for them.  We also provide free local delivery, or you can pick up the gift certificates from us. Call us at (404) 633-9652 to find our about our holiday gift packages.

Atlanta Maid Service - Facebook Atlanta House Cleaning - Twitter Atlanta House Cleaning Service - Blog RSS


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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Quick Window Cleaning Tips

Posted on August 22, 2013. Filed under: Household Tips, Time Management | Tags: |

cleaning windows

Considering we are officially in the midst of summer, if you haven’t had your windows cleaned yet you are behind schedule.

Fortunately, this Good Housekeeping article has tips that will help you  get your window cleaning done in a jiffy.

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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: Martin Pulaski via a Creative Commons License.

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Time and Tasks – Worrying About Working on the Wrong Things?

Posted on July 19, 2013. Filed under: Time Management |

worriedIn this piece in the Zenhabits blog,  Leo Babauta posted a very interesting piece regarding the nagging background worry that we be doing the perfect thing now.   I had thought it was just me always trying to figure this out!  So I was actually surprised to learn this is a normal phenomenon – to always wonder if this is the thing that I should be doing at this moment.  And when I do something,  dozens of other things come up asking well, maybe I should do that….

This is his 3-step plan for dealing with the nagging worry.

Step 1 – Notice the worry coming along with you.

That’s okay. Put your arm around it’s shoulder, and go along the path together, happy in your new found friendship.

Step 2 – Set an intention to stick with the task.

Before you actually start the task, make an agreement with your friend worry.  You’re going to stick with this task, at least 5 minutes, without switching or following the urge to check other things.  For these glorious 5 minutes, you will be sure of one thing: you will do the task, no matter if it’s the perfect task or not.  Because, actually, the perfect task does not exist, and the search for it is a grail-quest.  Instead focus on this one task, and be sure you’re going to stick with it.

Step 3 –  Stick with the task.

The worry will come up – notice it, smile, embrace it like that friend you have who’s always doing crazy things, and then…stick with it.  You’ll be fine.  It’ll be great, in fact, triumphant and exultant!

Wonderful advice!  Thank you zenhabits!

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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: Photoloni via Creative Commons License

 

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Are These Myths Stopping you from Hiring a House Cleaning Service?

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Time Management | Tags: , , |

atlanta maid service picture of cleaning ceiling fans
You know you need 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.

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.

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.

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!

Atlanta Maid Service - Facebook Atlanta House Cleaning - Twitter Atlanta House Cleaning Service - Blog RSS


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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4 Solutions to a Chronically Messy Home

Posted on January 17, 2013. Filed under: Cleaning Bedroom, Clearing Clutter, Household Tips, Time Management |

Life happens, and an occasionally messy or cluttered home is to be expected. A home that is always untidy, however, is a source of stress and embarrassment to everyone who lives in it.

Picture of messy bedroom via CC License

You can conquer clutter and mess.

Here are 4 tips to get you started.

Messy Home Solution # 1 – Use Containers.

Using containers creates a uniform look that is peaceful and pleasing to the eye.

I’m using the term containers to refer to anything you use to keep like items together – magazine files, baskets, filing cabinets, etc. You can use containers for container lids, cleaning supplies, paper, and much more.

Here are a couple of rules for using containers:

  1. Make sure your containers are uniform. Use the same color, same style, or same materials.
  2. Measure the area before going container shopping. It is so frustrating to come home with a stack of containers only to find out they aren’t the right size for the area or the items you want to keep organized.

Messy Home Solution #2 – Label Everything.

Using labels takes away the guesswork of having to remember what goes where. If your kids aren’t able to read, use pictures to label their areas. Label your shelves. Label your file cabinets. Label your laundry baskets.

Get in the habit of labeling, even if you live alone. This is a one-time task that pays huge dividends. Although labeling may seem extreme, those seconds and minutes you save will add up.

Messy Home Solution #3 – Get the Kids Involved.

If you blame most of the messiness on “the kids,” you are not alone. Children are, however, a wonderful resource known as free labor! Even the tiniest tyke can be trained to pick up.

Messy Home Solution # 4 – Invest in Regular, Professional Maid Service.

What is your peace of mind worth? Investing a little bit in a professional maid service to clean once or twice a month provides a clean, clutter-free slate without any of the hassle.

Setting up a regular, ongoing appointment with a maid service (ex., the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month) will not only translate into lower fees, it will also mean one less item on your to-do list!

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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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