Clear out the Clutter, 10 Minutes at a Time!

ClutterIf you have a busy lifestyle, home can be a place to drop your things and go back out. The idea of getting rid of all the clutter that builds up can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for making progress in your home when you only have ten minutes at a time.

  • Magazines. If you have a pile of magazines that you’re waiting to find the time to read, quickly flip through each one. When you find an article that sounds interesting, tear the pages out and keep them in your purse or coat pocket. They’ll be easy to access on a train or while standing in line. You can then recycle the rest of the magazine without wondering what you missed.
  • Books. Books can be so hard to let go, but if they’ve been sitting on your shelf unread, they take up a lot of space. Choose five books to let go of. You can drop them in a donation bin at your local library or leave them in the break room at work. You may even have a certain person in mind for one or two of them!
  • The junk drawer. Every kitchen has at least one. Spend ten minutes emptying out this one drawer and sorting things into piles of what you actually need and what can be recycled or thrown out. Of the things you decide you need, find homes for them other than in the kitchen junk drawer. Having one empty drawer is very satisfying!
  • Choose 5 things you don’t use but are in good shape. Do you ever use your crock pot and toaster oven? How many empty vases are sitting in a cabinet under the sink? Is there a coat in your closet that doesn’t fit like it used to or you think is out of style? Take a few minutes to post photos of these items on a local tag sale site or find a local chapter of freecycle.org. You can also drop them off at a charity resale store. This will free up precious space in your home without adding to a landfill. It’s environmentally safe and will help others!
  • Dump out your bag. This could be a briefcase or purse you carry to work and back daily, your gym bag, or a diaper bag for a child. These bags make it easy to carry too much stuff around that you never actually need. Take everything out and decide what you don’t need to be carrying around anymore. Recycle or toss it, and literally take a weight off your shoulders!

You don’t need to set aside a holiday weekend to clean up your home. With just ten minutes a day for a week or two, you will see a real difference in the amount of clutter in your space!

Four Simple Steps for Making Time For Yourself

Making time for yourselfThe holiday season is here and your to-do list is growing by the day. Remember: making time for yourself is just as important as anything else on that list. Giving yourself the gift of “me time” will tame tension and help you deal with the challenges this time of year brings. As an added bonus, a less stressed-out you creates a happier holiday season for the family, too! Making time for yourself is as easy as following these four steps.

1. Gauge where your time is going.

If you’ve ever tried to create a budget, you know the first thing many money-mavens suggest is to keep a record of outgoing cash so you can see where your money is going. You can use this same tactic to see how you spend your time for a few days. You may find something as simple as running more errands in a single trip frees up the “me time” you’ve been missing. Next, pinpoint places where you can pencil in an appointment with yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there.

2. Create a to-do list that’s all about you.

Think of this as the grown-up sequel to the wish list you made for Santa. Write down the activities you want to do, and annotate how much time you need for them. Graduate your list from activities that take a short time — such as five minutes to do some deep breathing — all the way up those that take several hours, like watching a favorite film. When you see an opening on that time record you just made, match up the available timeframe to the treat!

Consider these simple ways to treat yourself:

  • Reading a chapter of your favorite author’s latest title
  • Seeing a movie or play that only you want to see
  • Taking a long bubble bath (add a do-not-disturb sign on the door!)
  • Attending a group activity like a book club or knitting circle
  • Exercising (a leisurely stroll on your own street counts!)
  • Crafting, scrapbooking or coloring in an adult coloring book
  • Planting a windowsill herb garden

3. Delegate to lighten your load.

When you review your time record, you’ll probably find you spend a lot more time cleaning, clearing clutter, and doing laundry than you thought. These tasks can eat up a lot of your day year-round, but they become especially time-consuming when you add in the extra work that comes along this time of year. The most important thing you can do for yourself is ask for help. The burden of housework shouldn’t fall on one person’s shoulders, so speak up! Post a chore chart that assigns each family member his or her share of routine cleaning, plus all those extra tasks that come along with prepping for guests.

 4. Pamper yourself with a professional cleaning.

Is there too much to do, too little time, and too few helping hands? Give us a call! Custom Cleaning of the Treasure Coast, Inc. has been cleaning Treasure Coast homes, offices and commercial businesses since 1991. Contact us today at 772-220-7915 to schedule your free estimate.

Tips For Deep-Cleaning The Overlooked Parts Of The Home

Cleaning Tips & TricksParts of the house that you don’t think of as “dirty” may actually be harboring more harmful bacteria than the toilet or the shower, simply because they don’t jump out as something that needs cleaning. It’s therefore important to give these areas a regular and thorough cleaning, since they can become even filthier than a garbage can if they are neglected for long enough.

  • The Dishwasher

Most dishwashers don’t completely sterilize their interior with each wash cycle. That means a lot of lingering food bacteria that is constantly multiplying if the dishwasher isn’t manually cleaned. Things get much worse if dishes are allowed to collect for days before being run.

A good cleaning solution designed specifically for dishwashers or even a cycle run with just a cup of white vinegar is usually fine for cleaning out the interior. Don’t forget the door gasket, however, as bacteria can hide out underneath it. Pay special attention to these with a damp towel and some spray cleaner or white vinegar.

  • The Bed

In general, people change and launder their bed linens far too infrequently. It’s common to go weeks or months without washing sheets or pillowcases, but they really should be in the weekly laundry.

Pillows generally don’t require much washing if they’re covered properly with a pillowcase, but should still be washed at least once every six months in a hot cycle to kill off dust mites. Mattresses should be cleaned once every six months too, again provided they have been covered with sheets the whole time and spills haven’t soaked into them. To clean a mattress, first vacuum it with an upholstery attachment, then sprinkle baking soda over it and let it sit for 24 hours before vacuuming it up.

  • The Carpet

Carpets generally don’t reflect how dirty they are, especially if they are dark in color. Try to keep in mind all the bacteria being regularly dragged across them thanks to feet, food spills and pets, and have them steam cleaned at least once every few months, possibly more frequently if kids and pets are constantly all over it.

Cleaning Tips & Tricks: Replace These Four Harsh Chemicals With Vinegar and Baking Soda

If you’re looking to make your home cleaning routine “greener,” head to the store and purchase a gallon of white vinegar and a big carton of baking soda. You’ll probably spend five dollars or less, and you’ll come home with replacements for a bunch of harsh chemical cleaners you’re probably using. Here’s how to use those two safe and natural products in place of toxic cleaners.

Fabric Softener

Fabric softener is loaded with artificial scents that can irritate your skin and your sinuses. Instead of using fabric softener (or fabric softening sheets), just add about a cup of vinegar to the water during your washing machine’s rinse cycle. It will prevent static cling and leave your clothes feeling plush and soft.

Toiler Cleaner

Toilet cleaner is one of the harshest cleaning products of them all. Thankfully, there’s a simple substitute. Add a cup each of baking soda and vinegar to the toilet. Let the mixture foam up, removing grime and killing bacteria. Use a toilet brush to scrub the toilet, and then give it a flush.

Scouring Powder

Most scouring powders contain bleach. While they’re good at removing soap scum and stains in sinks, they’re harsh on you hands. Baking soda will do the same thing, and it’s completely safe to use. Mix some with a little water to make a paste, and then apply it to a rag and scrub away at your sink or tub.

Window Cleaner

Window cleaner is formulated with ammonia, which can irritate your airways and the airways of your pets and children. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and use it just as you would regular window cleaner. The results will be shiny and streak-free.

With all of the green and healthy cleaning products available today, why would you stick with harsh cleaners? If you’re looking for someone to clean your home professionally with green products, contact us today.

Making Time For Yourself During the Holiday Season

New interior with Christmas tree, presents and fireplace. Postcard.

It’s hard to find the time and energy to do anything besides prepare your home for the holidays during this time of year. If your schedule is already jam-packed, keeping the house tidy and clean can take a major toll on not only you, but also your family. You certainly might not need a daily housekeeper, but consider having someone come into your home or business once or twice a month to give you more time to do the things you enjoy, or maybe even take some time to pamper yourself! Below are some great reasons why you should hire a cleaning service for the holiday season, and possibly into and throughout the new year!

1. You can’t clean everything.

  • Let’s face it, we all have the couple of cleaning tasks in our home that we tend to get behind on, no matter what we do. With your already jam-packed schedule, it’s completely okay to hire a cleaning service to do the stuff you hate. Think about how much more you would love life if you never had to dust the ceiling fans again! What would you do with your extra time? Perhaps you would meet an old friend for a coffee, or run across town to try out that new lunch spot everyone has been talking about.

2. Keeping the house clean saves money in the long run.

  • We have to remember that when we continually maintain our homes, it rewards us by maintaining its overall value. Floors, baseboards, walls, tiles, countertops, and furniture all need regular cleaning to stay in good condition. If you let oils, dirt, and dust build up on these surfaces, you may have to turn to refinishing and sanding to undo the damage. By having a cleaning service come into your home, you are actually investing in your single largest investment, your home! With this saved money, what will you do? Maybe indulge in a manicure and pedicure, or take the kids out for spontaneous ice cream cone!

3. Time is more valuable than money.

  • If you normally spend your Saturday or Sunday cleaning the house, then think about how could spend that day if it was given back to you. The money that you budget to employ a cleaning service is time that you give back to yourself and to your family. This time is priceless, even more so during the holiday season.

If you have decided to take the plunge and hire a cleaning service, click here to schedule a free estimate. The only thing we want to see this holiday season is your smile!

A Surprising Area You Forget to Clean

 

Baking soda, lemon with sponge and towel for effective house cleaning

Looking for some cleaning tips & tricks to freshen up your home? You may think that your kitchen sink and disposal system don’t need to be cleaned. After all, aren’t you constantly washing dishes in it with hot water and soap? Most people are surprised to find that they need to sanitize this area. Cleaning your kitchen sink and disposal isn’t hard, and it can be done with all natural ingredients!

Materials Needed

  • liquid dishwashing soap
  • distilled white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • ice
  • salt
  • lemon (or any other citrus fruit)

Tools Needed

  • old rag
  • paper towels
  • toothbrush

Now let’s get down to business!

  1. Rinse sink with warm water.
  2. Sprinkle the baking soda all over the surface of sink. Rub in, working it into a paste. Rinse.
  3. Soak paper towels in vinegar. Line sink with paper towels and let sit for 25 minutes. Remove towels.
  4. Rinse sink with hot, soapy water.
  5. For areas that are a little harder to get to, like the handles and faucet, use a toothbrush with warm water and soap. Once finished, rinse everything off a final time and dry with an old rag.

For Disposal System:

  1. Place a half cup of baking soda into the disposal. Then pour in one cup of vinegar. Here’s the fun part: this mixture will bubble, pop, and fizz. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
  2. Boil several cups of hot water. Once boiling, pour down the drain.
  3. Put two to three cups of ice into the disposal. On top of the ice, pour a cup of salt. Run the disposal with cold water running out of the faucet, until the ice is gone. The salt loosens old food particles and grime from the inner parts of the disposal.
  4. Cut your citrus fruit in half. Add to disposal, one at a time, with water running and disposal on. This step will ensure that the system is completely deodorized and will have the whole kitchen smelling fresh in no time!

 

4 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Cut the Clutter

 

View of a untidy and cluttered desk

Once clutter creeps into your home or workspace, it can become so overwhelming that you lose the desire to address it. This situation often leads to a snowball effect–more clutter arrives, the problem grows, and you become even more complacent. The good news is, by changing the way you think about unnecessary stuff and focusing on the positive effects of removing it, you can motivate yourself to cut the clutter!

  1. Workplace clutter can significantly impact your productivity and overall job performance; it slows you down and becomes a distraction you can’t escape. Cutting the clutter will not only clear your desk, it will clear your mind–the mental burden of being surrounded by stuff will lift and work quality will improve (as will your supervisor’s impression of you). Think of de-cluttering as a way of getting yourself one step closer to that bonus or promotion!
  2. If you regularly go all Mad Hatter on your way out to work, school, or social engagements (“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!”), consider how nice it would be to actually arrive on time anywhere because you’re not at home searching for your phone, keys, or the right jacket in the clutter. You’ll also be less stressed when you arrive at your destination (and therefore work better/study better/enjoy it more) if you don’t spend your final moments at home in chaos.
  3. Everyone wants more “me time” these days, but you don’t get much after you’ve devoted a chunk of your day to digging through piles of books to find a needed piece of paperwork or rearranging the contents of your kitchen counters just to prep a meal. If you counted all those wasted minutes you spend wading through stuff, they’d quickly add up to hours–hours you could spend doing crossword puzzles, coloring, reading, binge watching… whatever you enjoy spending time doing more than coping with clutter!
  4. You hear the phrase “focus on the big picture” all the time, right? Well, when de-cluttering, it pays to focus on the small picture. If you motivate yourself to just clean off the coffee table or simply clear out your desk drawer, the sense of accomplishment from completing that one small (yet somehow monumental) task could be the impetus to move you throughout your entire home or office. And once you get that ball rolling, it has the potential to change everything!

After you de-clutter your home or office, reward yourself by having your space professionally cleaned. With 25 years of experience, we deliver prompt, reliable cleaning services throughout the Treasure Coast. Contact us today to learn more.

 

Holiday Cleaning: A Festive First Impression

Christmas living room interior decoration, Christmas and New Year concept

If holiday cleaning is creeping toward the bottom of your to-do list, it’s time to prioritize. Cleaning in advance will not only give you a home you can be proud of, it will help you feel less overwhelmed in the days leading up to the big event. Here are a few pointers to keep you on track with your holiday cleaning.

  • Guests get their first impression of your home the moment it is in sight, so put your “best foot forward” with crystal-clear windows. Window cleaning is often overlooked by homeowners, but it’s an important part of proper upkeep. We encourage our clients to have their windows cleaned regularly, and the holiday season is an excellent time to get started. When you see how great your home looks after your windows are professionally cleaned for the first time, you’ll want them to sparkle all year long.
  • Doors deserve a little extra attention, too. Clean handprints and marks off of glass storm doors with a window-cleaner spray. Wipe down entry doors with a damp microfiber cloth, including the doorknob and strike plate. Eliminate scuff marks at the bottom of the door with an eraser-type sponge. Clean moldings where cobwebs may lurk, and make sure outdoor lights’ switchplates are smudge-free. Add a pretty holiday wreath to the door and voila — a festive and welcoming front entrance!
  • Placing mats outside doorways is an effective way to lessen the amount of grime and dust that gets tracked into your home, but that’s no excuse to let ground-in dirt make them look dingy. Vigorously shake mats out (outside, of course), and go over them with a cordless vacuum. Don’t forget to sweep leaves and debris from the porch, too.
  • This is a great time to clean and declutter the entryway or foyer since it’s where you will greet your guests. Overnight guests need somewhere to sit their bags and suitcases down, so move unnecessary items like that little-used shoe rack or the ever-present collection of extra green bags. Add a mat inside the doorway to further prevent mud and dirt from getting tracked in, but be sure to use one with a non-slip backing (or add a “rug gripper” underneath) to prevent falls.
  • It’s a good idea to thoroughly clean your home before you start decorating so you won’t have to clean “around” the holiday decor. Consider creating a schedule of tasks that need to be completed in each room, prioritizing areas like guest bedrooms at the top of the list. Next to each chore, annotate a timeline of how long it will take and a date it should be completed by. Imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel when you cross those tasks off (So long, seasonal stress!).

Want to get that to-do list taken care of in one fell swoop? Custom Cleaning of the Treasure Coast can handle it! We customize our services to fit your needs, and we’ll get the job done on time. Contact us today at 772-220-7915 to schedule a free estimate.

Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Keeping the House Neat Every day

Zoom of white wooden furnitures in child room

Keeping the house clean is a constant battle for many, and if you have kids in the mix it leads to even more laundry, more dishes, and more people to clean up after. Here are some cleaning tips and tricks you should do every day in order to keep up with the housework and maintain a higher level of neatness in the house:

Dishes after Every Meal

Dishes and laundry are two things in every household that never stop. The moment you stop working on them is the moment they pile up, start to stink, and become a real chore that takes more than twenty minutes to accomplish. A simple, but often neglected trick for keeping the dishes under control is to wash them quickly by hand and dry them after every meal. Skip out on using the dishwasher. Why? Because it is just one more step in the process and the more steps you cut out, the quicker you can get things done. Washing and drying them quickly will help keep the sinks and counters empty and clean.

1 – 2 Loads of Laundry a Day

Laundry is the next thing that must be worked on every day if it is to stay under control. Do a load of laundry every morning and if you have the laundry and the time, do another load later the same day. If you can fold and put the laundry away that same day, it would also help to keep things looking neat and clean.

Wipe the Counters/Stove after Each Use

The stove top becomes a real mess very quickly – with every splash, spill, and splatter the stains and crumbs cake on and if you do not wipe it off after every use it will become dirty and harder to clean with every hour it remains. Wipe off the countertops and the stove top after each use.

Clean/Wipe out the Fridge after Each Grocery Trip

Another area that becomes stinky and gross if it is not cleaned out on a regular basis is the fridge. Instead of waiting till you have unknown leftovers and an unidentifiable smell emanating from the fridge, try to clear things out and do a quick wipe down after each grocery trip so that you can put new food in a clean fridge.

Declutter Daily

The best tip/trick for keeping a clean house is to constantly pick up after yourself and to declutter on a daily basis. Stuff accumulates regularly, which means you need to clean just as regularly in order to keep up.

Cleaning Tips for Electronics

 

hand with yellow glove cleaning a laptop

Have you really looked at your TV remote lately? If it’s like many people’s, it’s probably a little grimy. The same goes for many other electronic items we handle a lot but rarely think of cleaning:

  • Phone
  • Computer keyboard and mouse
  • Tablet
  • Game controller

Follow these tips for cleaning your electronics:

1. Remove the power source by either unplugging it or removing the batteries.

2. If it’s a keyboard or similar item, tip it upside down and shake it gently to remove crumbs.

3. Spray it with compressed air or vacuum it with a soft brush. If you use canned air, it’s best to do it outside or in the garage because dust will fly everywhere !

4. Wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe or soft cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. This is not the same as the rubbing alcohol commonly sold in stores. Rubbing alcohol is diluted with water. Look for isopropyl alcohol that is 91-99% pure; it will evaporate more quickly making it ideal for use on electronics.

5. Use a screen cleaning wipe on the touch screen, if it has one.

6. Dip a cotton swab in the isopropyl alcohol and scrub around the buttons and any other nooks and crannies. Replace the cotton swab with a fresh one as needed. Depending on how grimy the device is, it may take quite a few.

7. Wipe it dry with a microfiber or other lint-free cloth.

8. Once it’s thoroughly dry, reconnect it or reinstall the batteries.

These items are probably the most handled in the house and are germy hotspots. That’s why they need regular cleaning. After all, you know you wash your hands regularly, but you’re probably not the only one handling these items.