1. Prepare before the house cleaner arrives
If you want your house cleaner to focus on cleaning, it's smart to clear away clutter that would get in the way. Also, keep in mind that cleaners don't usually move furniture. If you want a hard-to-reach area cleaned, consider moving items out of the way ahead of time to make it accessible.
You may want to secure jewelry, valuables and highly fragile items, particularly if you're using a new service or if your cleaning company frequently rotates personnel
2. Communicate clearly with your cleaners
Communication plays a vital role in successful house cleaning experiences. In the beginning or if you want to make changes, do a walk-through of your house and provide a written list of priority items to be cleaned.
Let your house cleaner know if there are particular products and supplies you want used.
Speak up if you have concerns about the quality of work. Poor communication is sometimes the source of unsatisfying experiences.
3. Respect your house cleaner's time constraints
Be aware that house cleaners typically have limited time to complete their work. If you're present during the cleaning, allow workers to focus on their job as much as possible.
A well-intentioned offer of food, drink or conversation could actually hinder a busy house cleaner.
4. Tip house cleaners
Owners of highly rated cleaning services say tipping is not expected or required. At year's end, a cash bonus or other gift can be a nice way to show appreciation, but doing so is always your decision.
What to know before you hire cleaning servicesDo your research before hiring an individual house cleaner, or granting a house cleaning service regular access to your home. Find out whether the cleaning service is appropriately licensed, insured and bonded. Ask questions, including if the company hires employees or uses independent workers, and if they are subjected to background checks. Ask if your home will be consistently cleaned by the same individual or crew.
Find out whether the service provides supplies or if that is your responsibility. Check online reviews and contact references. Meet any prospective cleaners in your home, and do a walk-through. Make a written list of cleaning priorities and any pertinent details.
At A Clean Home we help busy women stay busy by cleaning their house. You have a dirty house but not after we clean it.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugarMarket Pantry Granulated Sugar - 4lbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flourMarket Pantry All-Purpose Flour - 5 lbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. I like to use a number 50 size scoop. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.
Divide the work into tasks that can be completed in small chunks of time throughout the week preceding the party to reduce the stress of party preparations. Give each day a cleaning theme, and finish that day's tasks in an hour or less. You can slip in many of the tasks among other daily activities. Start here:
Day 1: Strategize
Day 2: Brighten the Windows and Entry
Day 3: Clean the Bathrooms
Day 4: Clear Guest Areas
Day 5: Attack the Kitchen
Day 6: Polish the Party Spaces
Day 7: Do Touch-Ups
Day 1: Strategize
On the first day of party cleaning, the task is evaluation: See what needs to be done, and devise a strategy to accomplish the chores in an efficient way.
Check out these three easy tricks for recognizing important cleaning tasks and developing an achievable strategy for accomplishing them. By planning first, you'll save time cleaning and be able to see your progress throughout the week.
Pretend you're a guest. Amid the routine of daily life we often overlook clutter and dusty corners. Walk through your home with a visitor's eye, and use these tricks to get a new perspective on your home. First, identify imperfections.
- Stand at the curb and look to your front door. Make a note of debris on the sidewalk, dust on the steps, bushes intruding onto the walkway, and anything else that impedes a guest's entry.
- Stand at the front door. Jot down anything that needs to be cleaned up: cobwebs in the corners, smudged glass in the door, dirt on the floor, or other clutter.
- Move to the foyer or entryway. List anything that guests might notice as an inconvenience, such as obstacles in the walkway or an overstuffed coat closet.
- Continue to the living area. Write down anything that distracts: Fingerprints on glass, dead plant leaves, dust on bookshelves, clutter on tables, and mussed furniture. While you're in the main party spaces, list anything you'd like to put away for safekeeping, such as fragile glassware.
- Eye the kitchen. Make a list of areas that need special attention, such as the top of the refrigerator and the pantry floor. Because you're making a list of all the tasks you want to complete before the party, go ahead and add cleaning out the refrigerator and clearing countertops.
- Check out the bathrooms. Note any countertop, bathtub, or shower clutter. Give your medicine cabinets and linen closets a critical review.
- Scan the bedrooms and other private spaces. You might not intend for guests to wander into your bedroom or office, but sometimes they will. Record any elements you want to straighten, refresh, or put away.
Consolidate your list. After you've finished your walk-through, it's time to organize the list into achievable tasks.
- Combine like tasks so you only have to pull out equipment, such as the vacuum cleaner, once or twice during your cleanup effort.
- Organize some chores by room so you can complete a space, see your progress, and move on to the next item on your list.
- Consider ways to maximize your efficiency. For example, plan to wash throw rugs early in the cleaning process. By the time you're done with your floors, the clean rugs will be ready, too.
Assign tasks. Gather family members to help clean for the party. When you split the task list among the family and by day, the chores will be finished more quickly than you expect.
Tip: Make cleaning for the party into a game so kids will be more willing to participate. Have a dance contest while you dust. Race to put away toys, clutter, or laundry.
Day 2: Brighten the Windows and Entry
On the second day of your party-cleaning effort, it's time to get down to the dirty work. If you follow these hints, you'll spend only an hour or so on each day's cleaning tasks.
Stick to your list. Avoid distractions, such as a messy drawer or a stack of photos you intend to add to a scrapbook. Those extra tasks drag out the time it takes to finish your list and undermine your cleaning efforts. Be sure to include cleaning time in your daily schedule.
Start by giving your whole house a brighter outlook.
- Wash the windows in your party spaces. It's amazing how much prettier clean glass is. Even if your party is at night, the glass will glow and shimmer in candlelight or party lighting.
- Vacuum the window screens. Get rid of dust and cobwebs that give windows a dingy feel.
- Clean the glass in your front door.
- Sweep your front porch, steps, and walkway. Brush away cobwebs, and clear away any obstacles. Give your entry a fresh, welcoming appearance.
- Damp-mop the baseboards to add a little shine near the floor.
- Toss window and shower curtains in the laundry. Take a little time to press them, too. The fresh, clean smell will begin to permeate your house, and the crisp, pressed look highlights the newly cleaned windows.
Day 3: Clean the Bathrooms
Impress your guests with a sparkling-clean bathroom or powder room. Take care of the messy work early, and the bath will only need a quick refresh on the day of the party.
- Scrub the toilets.
- Clear the counters of clutter. If you don't have enough storage space to put everything away, tuck the toiletries into a small basket. Leave the basket on the counter for everyday use until party day. On the day of the party, hide the basket in a closet, under a bed, or in some other discreet spot.
- Clear the tub or shower, and scrub it until it shines. Either neatly arrange bath essentials in an organizer, or nestle them in a container to be hidden away just before party time.
- Organize the contents and clean the surfaces of your medicine cabinets. People are nosy by nature. They will peek. Tuck away anything you want to keep private.
- Straighten the bedrooms. Store any clutter out of sight.
Day 4: Clear Guest Areas
In the middle of the cleaning effort, it's time to make sure guests have plenty of room to mingle during the party.
- Review your list of fragile or irreplaceable items. Put them in safe places on high shelves or tuck them away from errant elbows and messy spills.
- Clear the clutter from your living areas. Use an empty laundry basket to gather odds and ends, stray clothing or shoes, papers, books, magazines, toys, and other items that have been left on tables or the floor. If you have time, put everything in its proper place now. If you don't, tuck the laundry basket into an out-of-the-way spot such as a laundry room, closet, garage, or basement storage area.
- Straighten the entryway and coat closet. Make room for guests' outerwear. Consider moving your family's outerwear to another closet or other temporary storage until after the party. Add extra hangers for guests, if necessary. Clear away backpacks, briefcases, shoes, scarves, gloves, sports equipment, and other items that are typically left in the entryway (a laundry basket makes a convenient temporary container).
- Scan your living spaces for unnecessary everyday items. Even things you use regularly might be in the way during a party. Clear your walkways and tabletops to make plenty of room for guests to rest plates or glasses.
- Wash your throw rugs and set them aside until the day of the party.
Tip: Draft laundry baskets as organizing tools. Label a basket for each member of your family. As you're clearing clutter from your living spaces, drop the items into the owner's basket. Ask each family member to put away the items in his or her basket.
Day 5: Attack the Kitchen
You'll need your kitchen in tip-top shape for party prep. Scrub now so everything is ready when it's time to prepare and serve the party food.
If you've been able to keep your kitchen relatively clean, this deep-cleaning will be a breeze. Pay attention to areas you typically save for spring cleaning, and then check the kitchen off your list.
If your daily obligations have caused some kitchen cleanup tasks to build up, now is the time to attack them with vigor. Use the party deadline to make progress.
Clean out the refrigerator. Discard any expired food and leftovers that have outlived their edibility. Make room in the refrigerator for party food. Move large containers and infrequently used items to the back. Make room in the freezer for ice for the party.
Wipe down the refrigerator, including the top, and all large and small appliances. If they're not needed, tuck small appliances away to give you more working room on your countertops.
- Clean the range or cooktop, including all the surfaces and grates.
- Use an appropriate household cleaner to wash off cabinet doors, frames, drawers, and handles.
- Clean the floor.
- Empty recycling containers into outdoor bins or take material to be recycled to the recycling facilities.
Day 6: Polish the Party Spaces
As the day of the party approaches, turn your attention to polishing the spaces where guests will spend the most time during the party.
Don't fret over the spaces. Follow your list and imagine the area filled with mingling guests. Take this opportunity to make sure the party area reflects the atmosphere you want to present to guests.
- Every party space will have unique cleaning requirements. Start with these basics.
- Dust all surfaces, including bookshelves, framed photos and art, knickknacks, displayed china, and other decorative pieces.
- Dust the ceiling fans. Guests will notice the brighter look, and it might even make the air seem a bit fresher.
- Sweep the entryway. Add decorative touches to your front door as desired.
- Clean the kitchen sinks. Giving them a good scrub now will make quick work of refreshing them just before the party. Wash the dish drainer, too.
- Handle any specialty cleaning you noted in your original list. If something bothered you when you did your original walk-through, take care of it before the day of the party.
- Party time is drawing near. The tips on the next page will help you breeze through last-minute cleaning.
Day 7: Touch Up for the Party
A few things always have to be finished just before guests arrive. Use this smart strategy and a cleaning checklist to have your home shipshape in plenty of time for the party.
All of these tasks are intended to simply refresh the hard work you've already completed. To make the touch-ups go even faster, ask your family to help with these easy jobs.
- Don't linger on these cleaning tasks. You've done the hard work ahead of time. Now the spaces just need a final polish.
- Use household cleaner and paper towels to give bathroom surfaces a quick shine. Pay attention to water spots and residue on the faucet and liquid soap dispenser. Hide toiletries and countertop clutter in an out-of-the-way spot.
- Clean bathroom mirrors. A sparkling mirror reflects the light and makes everything brighter.
- Use a damp towel to clean the bathroom floor.
- Apply toilet bowl cleaner, and give the toilets a quick brushing.
- Hang fresh hand towels in the bathrooms. Put out fresh hand soap or fill the liquid soap dispensers.
- Vacuum the carpets and use a dust mop on hard-surface floors in your living spaces.
- Fluff sofa cushions and pillows. Straighten stacks of magazines or books. Fold or arrange throws. Make sure tabletops are clear of clutter and dust-free.
- Damp-mop the kitchen floor.
- Polish kitchen counters, faucets, and sinks with household cleaner and paper towels.
- Empty the trash from the containers throughout the house. Wipe off the outsides of your trash receptacles. Insert clean liners. This simple detail makes the kitchen and all your guest spaces feel fresher.
- Set up your party area. Arrange fresh flowers. Light candles. Turn on music. Set up your food and beverage stations. Finish food preparation.
Don't let cleaning eat up your party preparation time. It needn't be the thing that fills your days. Use these hints and tips for cleaning to develop a plan that leaves you relaxed and confident with a home that shines.
Cleaning house thoroughly before putting up holiday decorations leaves you with less to clean around and lets you move on to other (possibly more fun) preparations as the holidays get nearer. Things to be sure to hit before putting up your decorations:
Dust: Dusting surfaces with a damp cloth will make everything feel fresh and help you (literally) breath easier as the post-Thanksgiving rush begins. And who wants to hang stockings on a mantle covered with old, dead skin cells?
Floors: A good vacuum or mopping of the floors will ensure that corners behind the tree are clean and clear with no surprise dust bunnies lurking behind gifts on Christmas morning. Plus, if you're entertaining over Thanksgiving, chances are you've had lots of feet treading in and out of your house; even more reason to re-clean between holidays.
Ceilings: Swiping ceilings with a feather duster or brush head of your vacuum will clear away any cobwebs that may have gone unnoticed before the holidays. But with twinkle lights and tree toppers drawing the eye upward and lighting the ceiling, now's the time to clean overhead.
Kitchen: Your kitchen may have been working double duty preparing for Thanksgiving, so now's the time to freshen it up by cleaning the oven, counters, cabinets, floors, stovetop, and sink. Starting with a clean, blank slate will make holiday cooking and baking much more enjoyable than working on top of a mess that's already there.
Closets: Cleaning closets and purging unneeded items is the perfect thing to do now. You'll make room for any house guests you may have in the coming weeks to put their things, or simply for party guests to hang their coats in a coat closet for an evening. Plus, you'll be freeing up space in your closet for any wardrobe-related gifts you might receive over the holidays.
Windows: While spring cleaning is often the time folks hit their windows, late fall is an extremely apt time to do so, as well. Shorter days and longer nights mean less sunshine making its way inside, so clean windows will let in as much sunlight as possible during this darker time of the year. Plus, twinkle lights in a clean window are multiplied and beautified by the sparkle and shine; grimy windows can put a damper on all of those decorations really fast.
What pre-holiday (or between-holiday) cleaning do you usually tackle after Thanksgiving? Do you find that a deep-cleaning at this time of the year enhances the celebratory season, or is there simply not time for it?
- Avoid Perfection at All Costs – getting most of it done in a quick fashion does not allow you to get into detailed cleaning.
- Understand why you are doing the quick cleaning. Is it the usual Monday clean up? Or are you cleaning up for a special event (kids birthday party, cocktail party, or thanksgiving). Once you know why you need to clean up – it’s easier to decide where to spend the most time. If the kid’s birthday party is outside – spend your time cleaning up the outside, the bathroom, their bedroom and the kitchen. If you’re having an adult cocktail party, focus on the living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. If it's thanksgiving, dining room, kitchen, bathroom living room?
- When cleaning and de-cluttering, I suggest moving left to right around the house. Stand at your front door and continue to organize and clean. Remember everything behind you is now considered a clean, clutter-free zone and everything ahead of you requires attention. Using this method always you to measure what you’ve done and what’s left to do. If you don’t need to clean a particular room, close the door and move on.
- Use a timer, set for 15 to 20 minute increments.
- Keep calendar or notepad next to you, that way you can write down ideas and reminders that come to you and you don’t have to stop and go to another room to write down a note (which creates distractions).
- Select the kind of music that will make you move quickly. Slow classical music creates slow movements when dusting or doing dishes. When you are “up” and dancing and smiling – we automatically move faster!
- Before you start cleaning, decide what your system will be for this quick clean up? Create four or five tasks that you will do in the room. Cleaning up means different things to different people.
- Start with the most important room or the most difficult room and set the number of minutes you will spend cleaning it.
- Keep a basket with you as you clean. When you find items that don’t belong in the room you are cleaning, toss them in the basket and keep cleaning. We loose time when we walk each individual item back to it’s proper location.
- Understand whether you are more likely to clean in the mornings, afternoons or evenings. Stick with what works. I know I’m a morning person, so I power through my cleaning first thing to make sure it’s done and I can get on with the day. Others are late night people and the cleaning can be a relaxing way to wind down the day.
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