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Organizing vs Cleaning: What Matters Most?

September 28, 2021 by emilysmaids

Organizing Vs Cleaning What Matters Most Emilys Maids


Cleaning and organizing play a key role in our everyday lives. They usually go side to side: if your home is messy, it’s probably lacking a little bit of both cleaning and organizing.

However, when it comes to priorities, what do you do first?


The thing about cleaning


Cleaning is an everyday activity whether you like it or not. Every time you take a shower, or do the dishes, or brush your teeth, there’s cleaning involved. Nothing beats taking a hot shower and feeling brand new to start your day off. Cleaning is, for the most part, methodical and consistent: you pretty much clean the same every day, and then maybe once a week or a month you deep clean each room.

You are taught since you were little to clean yourself and your surroundings. That’s why it’s very uncommon for us to go a full day without brushing our teeth or doing the dishes, or without changing clothes unless we’re having a busy or complicated day.

It’s also a steady routine: most people clean a similar number of belongings, or rooms, or take roughly the same time doing so.

Scientific studies have proven that cleaning your home is correlated with positive affect, that is, experiencing positive emotions, to be in a good mindset.

Cleaning Woman with Gloves


The thing about organizing


Organizing, on the other hand, it’s a much more variable practice because it’s based on three factors: the number of stuff you keep, the average time that your rooms stay tidy, and the frequency of organizing. And this can vary a lot depending on the size of your home, the number of rooms, your belongings and the way you interact with them, and so much more.

You might be a very organized person, yet it takes you hours to go through your entire office or closet every time you declutter. Or you might be more of a sloppy kind of individual and put your entire home in order in just an hour or two.

Research also tells us that if you work in a messy environment, you’re less accurate than in a tidy environment. If you’re working from home and you noticed you’ve been making errors often, this might be the reason.

Related: The 20-10 Method for Cleaning Your Home

Folding clothes and organizing


Organizing and Cleaning As Part of Your Well-being


As the aforementioned studies have shown, cleaning and organizing play a key role in your well-being. But this is also true the other way around. Having extremely unorganized or dirty rooms over extended periods of time might be happening in the first place because you are feeling unmotivated, overwhelmed, or constantly tired.

This means that you might need to take a step back and consider how to improve your current mindset. If you achieve to do so, this will reflect on your environment eventually. The secret to both organizing and cleaning is to start slow and build a habit rather than having ups and downs.

Being consistent with a decently kept home is much better than doing a cleaning spree once every 6 months and then going back to clutter and mess. And this can only happen if you also stay more or less consistent with a healthy state of mind. Place your mental wellbeing first and then you’ll be seeing your rooms clean and tidy sooner than you think.

Read more: Dividing Housework for Happier Homes

Messy desk drawer


Conclusion


Organizing and cleaning are just two sides of the same coin. They are important for you to stay focused, to live in a healthy environment for both your body and your mindset.

If you have to choose between one of the two, what do you like doing most? You might have more fun or feel more at peace organizing rather than cleaning or vice versa. You can’t be everywhere at the same time so it’s up to you to decide whether you lean towards organizing your rooms and your belongings, or if you prefer cleaning and sanitizing. And you can always keep your home clean and tidy by hiring a professional cleaning service, and problem solved!

Just remember to balance out your organizing and cleaning days and start small if it’s not part of your routine. Good luck!

How to Clean Your Bathroom Step by Step

September 22, 2021 by emilysmaids

How to Clean Your Bathroom Step by Step Emily's Maids

 

Bathrooms are usually one of the most challenging places to clean. Even though they are usually the smallest rooms in the house, they seem to take so much work.

The thing is, bathrooms are usually filled with moisture and, in many cases, lack sunlight and natural ventilation. This creates a setup for bacteria and mold to grow and that’s why we always have a hard time dealing when cleaning our bathroom.

And if you haven’t hired a cleaning service yet and you are thinking about tackling this on your own, keep reading so you can find out tips to clean each important component of your bathroom.


How to Clean Your Bathroom Sink


The sink is usually filled with residues of saliva, soap, and toothpaste. For starters, fill the sink with hot water. If you let that sit for a while the process will be so much easier. You can start cleaning something else in the meantime.

Optionally, you can add half a cup of white vinegar. After 10 or 15 minutes, scrub using a non-scratch scrubber. Clean Bathroom Sink


How to Clean Your Toilet


For obvious reasons, the toilet is the one component that needs the most thorough cleaning. Using disposable towels is the most sanitary way to proceed here. To clean your toilet seat and outside surfaces start by mixing one cup of baking soda and ½ teaspoon essential oil. Next, apply to the surface, and spray vinegar over it. Then, scrub with a brush and let sit for 10 minutes. Finally, rinse with plenty of water.

If you don’t need a deep clean and you’re just looking for a light touch-up, just spray with vinegar, and after letting sit for 5 minutes, wipe using a disposable towel.

The same goes for your toilet bowl: add baking soda and essential oil, but this time instead of spraying vinegar just add two cups of white vinegar. Scrub and flush the toilet after 10 minutes.


How to Clean Your Bathtub


For bathtubs, you can mix one cup of baking soda, three spoons of dish soap, and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Rub all over the surface and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with plenty of water.

If your bathtub requires a deep clean, after doing the previous routine, add some bleach and scrub with a non-scratch scrubber. Clean bathtub and toilet


How to Clean Your Shower


Keeping track of cleaning your showers is not easy. Since it is a flat surface that has water running constantly, it’s not surprising to see mold, mildew, and yeast growing in it. If you see any potential bacterial or fungal growth you can use bleach to remove it. Spray bleach over the surface, scrub using a brush or broom and rinse with plenty of water.

Remember not to mix bleach with any other cleaning product. Wear gloves, a facial mask, safety goggles, and keep your windows or doors open for airflow.

The shower faucet is usually left out of the cleaning routine, and it deserves some cleaning once in a while! What you can use is a Ziploc bag! Tie a Ziploc bag around the showerhead filled with vinegar. Let sit overnight and voilà! Shower Faucet


How to Clean Your Bathroom Mirror


Glass is always a little tricky, you don’t want to leave any streaks or spots. Here’s a tip: newspaper used to work great for cleaning glass, and mirror is not an exception. Since newspaper hasn’t been around for years, coffee filters are a good replacement!

Sprinkling water and wiping it with coffee filters will mostly do the job. For a deeper clean, apply a one-part white vinegar, one-part water mix. Remember to scrub in a soft, circular motion.


Conclusion


There you have it! All the main areas of your bathroom. Take your time and try to clean your bath at least once a week, if possible, do a 10-minute cleaning every day as well, to keep things nice and tidy.

Don’t forget all the safety measures: gloves, a facial mask, safety goggles, and open doors and windows. If you want a professional to take care of this, remember to contact us!

What’s In Your Cleaning Cupboard? 5 Household Chemical Products and How to Handle Them

September 14, 2021 by emilysmaids

Household Chemical Products Emilys Maids


Maybe if you’re team DIY/Green/Homemade, your list of chemical products is reduced to vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and ammonia. On the other hand, you may prefer to keep a wide set of household chemical products for cleaning with all kinds of concentration, uses, and even fragrances.

Some of them might even have a commercial name but time went by and now you have no idea what they can be used for. Here’s when it comes into play the scientific name.

It’s time to go through a bit of a Chemistry class! Here’s a rundown of 5 chemical products that are probably sitting right now in your cleaning cupboard. Let’s find out what you should (and shouldn’t!) be using them for.


Ammonia, Powerful And Strong


Nitrogen trihydride is the correct scientific name, but It’s very uncommon to call it that way, even in the scientific world. This product is an effective degreaser and therefore useful for appliances and surfaces with a continuous presence of oil and grease.

It’s also effective at eliminating odors. Always keep your rooms well ventilated when using ammonia, and use all the protective measures.

It should be handled with extreme care, though, and you should never mix it with other products.

Spray Household Chemical Product Emilys Maids


Sodium hydroxide or Caustic Soda, A Tricky Household Chemical


Caustic soda is a very well-known cleaning agent that is mostly used to unclog drains. This is a risky technique because once the caustic soda reacts with water and it cools down, it solidifies, creating an even bigger problem. On top of your clogged drain, you would also have solidified caustic soda.

The secret here is to keep hot water running before and after caustic soda. This will help caustic soda to run through your drain normally, thus stopping it from setting in your plumbing.

Caustic soda is usually present in oven cleaners as well. It’s not a good idea to let our skin or our breathing come into contact with it so remember to wear gloves, a facial mask, safety goggles, and keep the room with proper ventilation.


Sodium hypochlorite or Bleach, Your Go-to Whitening Agent


Bleach is a great cleaning agent. As you might’ve heard already, it’s used as a whitening agent. Bleach is great if you want to clean and whiten at the same time. This means that you shouldn’t use this on anything that can be decolored such as clothing and floors.

Mixing bleach with any other chemical product is dangerous, especially if they are acidic. For example, mixing bleach with vinegar will create chlorine gas, which can be harmful to your nostrils and lugs.

If you mix it with ammonia, it’s even worse. A gas called chloramine is released, causing irritation to your eyes, nose, and throat.

Your health can be at serious risk if there’s a high concentration so please avoid mixing bleach with any other chemical product.

The exception here is baking soda. Mixing baking soda and bleach can be used for your laundry or for removing mold.

Clorox Bleach Container Emilys Maids


Sodium Bicarbonate or Baking Soda, The Perfect Household Chemical To Combine With Others


This is another popular product known for its service as both a kitchen ingredient and a cleaning agent. It creates an effective cleaning mix when combined with vinegar, releasing salt and water.

There are dozens of combinations with other ingredients to create a cleaning mix for every use you can think of. It can be used for cleaning your washing machine, your floors, your furniture, your clothing, your plumbing, and much more.  


Your #1 Must-Have Household Chemical: Acetic Acid or Vinegar


Vinegar is one of the most versatile, beneficial cleaners that can be found in both your cleaning cupboard and your kitchen. Depending on the concentration, it can be used for cooking (up to 5%) or cleaning (6% and up).

Vinegar is safe to use on most kinds of surfaces. It helps with sanitizing surfaces, removing stains, cleaning glass, and deep cleaning your belongings.

It can be mixed with (among many others) lemon, baking soda, detergent, essential oil, borax, salt, or even just plain water, and create an all-purpose cleaning product.

You can read more cleaning solutions using vinegar here.

Ammonia In Spray Bottle


Conclusion


Remember to keep a proper tag for each cleaning product you keep at home. If you lost the original tag, printing out a new one with instructions and warnings would be great.

Also, read carefully the ingredients of your cleaning products. Many of them contain ammonia or caustic soda, for example, and these are two products that need to be handled with care.

Using the right cleaning agent for every situation can take you time to learn, as well as a few errors along the way.

You can always hire a cleaning service if you want to let professionals take care of cleaning your home, including dealing with dangerous products so you won’t have to.

The 20-10 Method for Cleaning Your Home

September 7, 2021 by emilysmaids

The 20-10 Method For Cleaning Your Home


Keeping your home clean and organized is not easy. One of the hardest challenges is to create a mindset that allows you to declutter and clean for long hours in the first place. That is, if your home is a real mess and you have a lot of work to do. If you hire a cleaning service, you’re good to go. But what if you want to tackle this on your own and don’t know where to start? Here’s where it comes into play the 20-10 cleaning method.

Rachel Hoffman created a strategy to help people avoid feeling overwhelmed or burned out after a cleaning spree. It’s called the 20-10 cleaning method and, in fact, it’s not revolutionary by any means. Let’s take a look at its predecessor as well as guidelines so you can apply this method for your daily cleaning and organizing (or even your spring cleaning).


The 20-10 Rule: Pomodoro Applied to Cleaning


There’s a technique for increasing your productivity called the Pomodoro technique. It’s based on the classical kitchen timer with a tomato shape. This strategy consists of setting a timer for the time you should be working or studying and the time you should be resting. This creates combinations such as 25 minutes of work and 5 of resting, 45 and 15, 52 and 17, and so on.

Applied to cleaning, you have the 20/10 method! It’s the same principle: organize, declutter, or clean for 20 minutes or rest for 10. Of course, you can adapt this to whatever you want. The goal is to set a timetable to follow through.

In the long run, you’ll feel less burned out because you’ve been resting from time to time and didn’t spend 4 hours straight cleaning and decluttering.  On the other hand, it will create a structure that won’t let you work for 5 minutes and rest for 5 hours (yes, that happens).

You can start with the 20/10 timer and adjust as you go. What you want to achieve is consistency and set reasonable standards: it’s not worth it changing it to 45/5 if you’re going to quit after the first try. Start slow and work your way up.

Pomodoro Timer Emily's Maids


What Can You Clean In 20 Minutes With the 20-10 Method?


Now you might be asking yourself: what can I possibly achieve in just 20 minutes? And the reason this might seem like such a short time is that it’s meant to be used as a day-to-day cleaning routine. You’re probably not going to declutter your entire closet in 20 minutes. But here are some things you will be able to do:

Make your bed. This is not supposed to take you any longer than 60 seconds. Any more than that and you’re probably doing it wrong. Remember that you’re not looking for perfection here, you’re looking for consistency. Plus, if this is the first task you do in the morning, it will set you up for accomplishing bigger tasks throughout the day.

Organize your house.  What you want to achieve here is to bring back everything to its original place. Empty coffee mugs on your desk? Back to the kitchen. That sweater you left on your couch? Back to the bedroom or entryway. Are your office supplies invading your work area in your studio? Back to cabinets and drawers. This can easily take you 20 minutes or less, and you can bring in other family members if you have a big home.

Clean your floors. Depending on your type of floor, you may require sweeping, vacuuming, and/or mopping every day, every other day, or twice a week. This is a huge priority if you want to preserve your floors. Again, if possible, divide your task among the household members. This way, once you’re done sweeping, someone else can start mopping and so on.

Do the dishes. Not doing dishes can turn your kitchen into a mess faster than you think. You can do the dishes by hand or load your dishwasher after every meal. This would take you 20 minutes tops at the end of the day if you prepped a quick meal. Just like everything else: don’t let the mess build up. It’s more hygienic and smarter.

Sets of books and notes


Conclusion


If you want to organize your cleaning time, the 20-10 method helps you to become structured and create a habit rather than tackle a huge task and be exhausted afterward or disappointed for not accomplishing an unrealistic goal. It’s about adapting to a cleaning routine rather than fighting it.

Give it a try, start slowing, and don’t give up. Creating a habit can take weeks or even months, so be patient and persistent.

 

 

Clean Your Drain The Right Way

August 31, 2021 by emilysmaids

Clean Your Drain The Right Way Cover Emilys Maids


Your drain has seen it all, probably. If you’re a Texas cuisine aficionado, bacon and grease might be an everyday ingredient in your kitchen and, at the end of the day, it ends up in your drain. Whether it’s in your kitchen, your bathroom, or your laundry room, it’s time to give it a fresh new start the right way. Pick up your cleaning supplies and let’s clean your drain so it does the job properly.


Clean your drain with the baking soda + vinegar trick  


If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes googling cleaning tricks, you’ll probably have read by now about the magical combination: baking soda and vinegar. Although effective, you need to do this the right way to maximize your success at cleaning.

When you mix vinegar and baking soda, it creates an acid-base reaction. This means that they neutralize each other and release carbon dioxide, salt, and water.

While vinegar is the ultimate all-purpose cleaner, what you want to do here is remove all the grease and fat buildup and this mix just won’t cut it.

The trick is to add hot water. If possible, boiling hot (Just make sure you don’t get burned!), before and after adding your vinegar + baking soda mix. Hot water will help soften your fat and grease buildup, thus making your solution more effective.

The right order is to begin by adding hot water through the drain. This will prepare the ground, so to speak. Add two spoons of baking soda and then pour enough vinegar over it. You can try straight vinegar or mix it out with hot water. This will trigger the reaction and help clean and sanitize your drain.

Baking Soda and Vinegar


Caustic soda: the heavy artillery 


If you’ve tried everything else to no avail, you can use sodium hydroxide, commonly known as caustic soda or lye. To clean your drain out, pour some boiling water, then lye. Let sit for 5 minutes and then add more boiling water. Let plenty hot water run as much as possible.

Remember to leave it as a last resort because it needs to be handled with extreme care. It’s also not the best idea because you need to use boiling hot water or it may go solid inside your drain, and once it’s solid it will be extremely hard to remove.

Always make sure to use rubber gloves and safety glasses, as well as old clothes that cover your arms. Lye can be very dangerous especially if it gets in contact with your eyes so think it twice before using it.


Keeping your drain clean


After working hard to clean your drain, the smartest move is to avoid clogging it again. Avoid anything that can cause this, such as fat and oil. This includes lard, cooking oil, shortening, butter, and margarine. It’s best to through them away when they’re solid, directly into your trash can.

If it’s your bathroom’s or laundry room’s drain, avoid greasy soap and install a hair catcher so it won’t clog it. Fortunately, your vinegar and baking soda trick will also work with clogged hair.

Drain strainers are a must for both your kitchen and your shower, and even your laundry room if you use it often. They are lifesavers.

An old myth is that coffee grounds help to keep your drain clean. Not only this is false, but it’s actually the other way around: coffee grounds will clump together and clog your drain just like fat or grease does.

Caustic Soda


Conclusion


You probably won’t be able to keep your drain spotless. Don’t worry, they won’t break or clog overnight. Try to keep an eye on it because if you don’t debris will start accumulating and it won’t be nice.

Every two or three months, try to take a mental note of how long it takes water to go down the drain. If you see that it stands too long before slowly going down, or if you sense an unpleasant odor coming out of it, then it’s time to clean that up!

Green Cleaning Tips: How to Join the Eco Friendly Movement

August 24, 2021 by emilysmaids

Green Cleaning Tips How to Join the Eco Friendly Movement Emilys Maids

Green cleaning is a popular trend nowadays that is part of an Eco Friendly movement, in order to reduce our impact on ecosystems.

Climate change has been upon us for some time now. Pollution caused by excessive consumption of single-use plastics has devastating effects on the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, between 2017 and 2019 ExxonMobil and Dow were building 17 new polyethylene plants and lines along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

Fortunately, there are ways for you to help fight climate change. Here are some recommendations for reducing your carbon footprint and incorporating eco-friendly solutions into your household.


Avoid Plastic


Most products come in one-liter bottles or even smaller sizes, and most of them are used only once and then disposed of, which is part of the problem. Here are some plastic-free options for your household:

Bamboo brushes for your teeth or for doing the dishes.

Glass products in all shapes & sizes such as containers, mason jars, carafes… you name it. They look great and can be reused as many times as you want, just make sure you handle them with care!

Personal care products are also following the plastic-free trend. Stainless steel razors, shampoo bars, handmade soaps… Most of these products, if not all, are free of plastic and harmful chemicals, vegan, and cruelty-free!

Bulk shopping is cheaper, you can buy the exact amount of food you want, and you can bring your shopping bags and reuse them hundreds of times.

Personal Care Green Eco Friendly Products Emilys Maids


Bring Your Own Bottle


According to the U.S. EPA, over 35,000 tons of plastic were generated in 2018.  Water bottles are among the most common plastic items found in the ocean. Just make sure to bring your own bottle every time you go out! Staying hydrated is important and you never know how long you may be out. Even better, you can buy your own stainless-steel thermos or travel mug: they are resistant, easy to clean, and can last for years or even decades. The same goes for your shopping bags.

Also, plan your trip to the grocery store! Buy as much as you can in a single trip and plan out your food consumption for the next week, fortnight, or month. This will allow you to save some money because you will spend it wisely. You will also maximize your time and energy. Finally, you will be reducing your car’s gas consumption.

Some stores offer personal care and cleaning products in gallon-sized bottles that you can use multiple times, thus reducing the use of smaller-sized, one-time plastics.

Aluminum and Glass Eco Friendly Water Bottles Emilys Maids


Support Smaller Companies With Green Cleaning Alternatives


Plastic is cheap. Big companies like that. Fortunately, now there are dozens of smaller companies that offer green, plastic-free cleaning products, and you can find them in the entire U.S., including Dallas. They offer alternative packaging that doesn’t involve single-use plastics such as cardboard, paper, or biodegradable containers.

The same goes for grocery stores that now offer the choice of buying in bulk. Find the one nearest your home and voilà!

Sustainable Eco Friendly Packaging Cleaning Personal Care Emilys Maids


Everyday Green Cleaning Products


Now, the great news is that you can create your own “green” or eco friendly products at home, for both personal care and cleaning. Everything from all-purpose cleaning solutions to body soap and shampoos.

There are a bunch of online tutorials to make every possible cleaning or personal care product you can think of. Don’t worry, it won’t take a BSc in Chemistry to create them. In fact, you probably have ingredients in your kitchen right now to create a handful of them. You can check this guide, for example.

These products will be cheaper to produce and will reduce your plastic consumption. You can also create your own, custom mix (e.g., adding your favorite fragrances or no fragrance at all). Beware that it might take a while for your body to get accustomed to some homemade personal care products.

Green Cleaning and Personal Care Products Emilys Maids

 


Conclusion


Going green can be a slow process. Be sure to get on track as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable with, just give it a try!

And if you don’t know where to start, you can always leave it to the professionals! We are more than familiar with using natural or organic products per our client’s request.

Dividing Housework for Happier Homes

August 20, 2021 by emilysmaids

Happier Homes

Relationships aren’t always easy, especially among the people we live within the closest proximity to – our partner, family, or roommate. Conflicts can erupt over all sorts of things, and frequently, they may revolve around household chores like ‘who’s going to wash the dishes,’ ‘who’s going to vacuum,’ or ‘who’s going to scrub the bathroom?’ A well-maintained home benefits everyone in the household, but when a member(s) habitually fails to do their fair share, conflict is often the result.

There are decided benefits to sharing household chores responsibilities. First, it eases stress. When each household member does their fair share of work around the home, there are fewer to no confrontations about cleaning, disinfecting, organizing, etc. When people get along and live in a well-kept environment, home can feel like a stress-free sanctuary. Also, when the work is shared, everyone has more time for other activities. Fair balance supports healthy relationships. Moreover, breaking gender roles regarding housework leads to more respect among household members too.

Dividing Chores in Marriage

Happier Homes

In a November 2016 research study, Pew Research Center reported that 56% of heterosexual couples stated that sharing household chores was important for their relationship. In another study conducted by Pew, more than 1,800 parents claimed to split their household chores evenly. However, the results were still skewed, with women performing more household chores overall. When women work full time, nearly 60% of respondents reported that chores were performed with equality, but about 30% reported that women still do the bulk of the housework.

Not surprisingly, household labor inequality can lead to conflict. In a recent article, NPR reported that “the pandemic has laid bare ‘grotesque inequality’ that exists within many families.” Gender inequality concerning household work isn’t merely about who does the laundry. According to the article, “there’s a whole body of research around what’s called the ‘mental load.’” It concerns all the work concerning planning, scheduling, maintaining family ties, etc.

Consequently, the need to divide labor fairly remains an issue for many couples and their families. In the following article, we’ll outline a wide array of tips to help couples and other household members perform home chores with a great sense of shared responsibility.

Tips to Divide Chores with a Spouse / Partner

Happier Homes

Here, we’ll examine some key ways couples can divide their load of housework to achieve better balance.

Prioritize

Not all chores are created equal. During a hectic week, it’s not uncommon for people to prioritize those chores that must be accomplished, such as washing the dishes and walking the dog. Ensure that you and your partner understand which duties merit top priority status.

Create a Chore Timetable

A visual timetable helps prevent partners from forgetting what chores need to be accomplished. A daily / weekly chore list can help keep housework on track. You might create a timetable that includes a daily schedule so that you don’t have to devote most of the weekend to housework.

Communicate

Good communication between partners concerning household tasks is essential, but just remember that it can quickly degenerate into bickering and nagging when tasks aren’t performed. Discuss the importance of completing the work responsibility. If you or your partner can’t get to a chore when expected to, communicate your difficulty and willingness to trade chores or simply that you will get to the work as soon as you can.

Appreciation

Positive communication that supports the appreciation of one another can ensure that chore sharing never becomes a ‘thankless job.’

Maintain Fairness and Take Turns

Fairness is tough. Let’s be honest. It’s easy to divide up chores on paper. In real life, however, plans can quickly go awry. Someone has to work late, someone unexpectedly has to bring the car to the shop, someone gets the flu, someone receives surprise concert tickets; maintaining fairness requires mindfulness. Try to ensure that there is balance even when plans change and impact household schedules. Also, try to change up the chores, so one individual isn’t always stuck with toilet cleaning!

Don’t Micromanage!

Often, one partner outshines another when it comes to home cleanliness. Everyone tackles housework a bit differently. Try not to criticize one another when work isn’t performed entirely as to how you’d do it. Criticism can erode positive feelings like gratitude.

Dividing Chores with Your Roommate

Happier Homes

Having a roommate may or may not be a permanent situation, but it’s important to divide up the household chores evenly, even when living with someone temporarily. Here are few tips to keep in mind:

Discuss Chores

Have a frank conversation with your roommate from the start. Discuss that you value shared household work, and then discuss the types of chores that will have to be accomplished. Also, remember to define your vision of a “clean home.” Your version of clean and orderly might not be theirs. Try to come to some agreements before conflicts arise.

Create a Cleaning Schedule

There are different ways to approach cleaning schedules. You might alternate cleaning tasks each week or divvy out daily tasks. Don’t rely on a verbal schedule. It’s too easy for someone to say (and mean) “I forgot.” Write the list down on paper or even a whiteboard.

Accountability

What’s the consequence of failing to live up to cleaning obligations? It’s unfair for one roommate to be stuck with picking up the slack for another. Think about how you can hold each other accountable for completing cleaning tasks on time.

How to Include Your Kids in Housework

Happier Homes

Teaching kids the value of housework and instructing them to care for their home helps kids develop essential skills. Naturally, you’ll want to focus on age-appropriate tasks, but even young children can learn to contribute to the household’s care needs.

Simple Tasks

Assign young children simple tasks. For instance, even toddlers can learn to put their toys in toy bins or replace books on a shelf. They may be able to scoop the dog’s dry food into its bowl or help parents with tasks like dusting.

Age-Appropriate Chores

As kids age, they can take on more challenging chores such as:

  • Washing dishes
  • Emptying dishwasher
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Walking the dog
  • Vacuuming
  • Making their bed and others

Use Chore Calendars & Reward Systems

Create a fun visual calendar that you and the kids can refer to. Each day, they can see what they’re responsible for. As kids live up to the responsibilities, be sure to reward their hard work. Create a rewards system to help them stay on track and motivated to perform chores well.

Involve Children in the Decision-Making Process

Kids may appreciate having some say-so in when to perform chores. For instance, they may want to complete their chores on school days to have the weekends free. Discuss their wishes and try to make compromises when you can. When kids contribute to the plan, they may become more invested in its success.

Benefits of Including Your Kids in Housework

There are many benefits to assigning kids chores around the home. Certainly, it’s nice to get some help, but kids don’t always perform chores at the level that an adult will. Even so, there is substantial value in helping them to improve their skills. Here are some benefits for including kids in the housework:

Success

Kids who perform household chores routinely while growing up often experience a greater level of success. Performing chores helps them develop skills that can influence their self-discipline, time management skills, and self-confidence.

Responsibility

Kids are capable of maintaining responsibility. When they accomplish a chore, they’ll realize that they are capable of being responsible individuals.

Self-Esteem

As kids learn to perform housework and become good at it and good at being responsible, they’ll develop self-esteem. They’ll learn that their contributions are valuable to the home and their family.

Including Everyone

Including the entire household in housework can strengthen family bonds. When you include everyone, everyone understands that they have an important role to play in the home.

Age-Appropriate Chores

Happier Homes

Here’s a list of some chores to consider assigning your children according to their age:

Ages 3 to 6

  • Put away toys
  • Set the table for meals
  • Make their bed
  • Help feed pets
  • Sweep the floors (outfit them with a small broom)
  • Wipe surfaces with water
  • Dust low-to-ground furnishings

Ages 6 to 9

  • Dry dishes
  • Fold clean towels
  • Gather dirty dishes and return them to the kitchen
  • Remove dirty linens from beds
  • Collect and put away toys throughout the house
  • Wipe surfaces clean with water and dish soap
  • Put their clean laundry away

Ages 9-12

  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Assist with basic cooking tasks (i.e., peel potatoes, operate toaster)
  • Pull garden weeds (with gloves)
  • Carry groceries from the car and help put them away
  • Dog cleanup in the yard
  • Vacuum
  • Clean mirrors with glass cleaner
  • Maintain their bedrooms for cleanliness and order

When everyone living in a household pitches in, there’s bound to be less chaos and disorder. You can prevent stress and conflict from occurring over housework by keeping these cleaning tips in mind.

 

Originally posted on Porch.com

 

How to Clean Your Nespresso Machine Inside and Out

August 17, 2021 by emilysmaids

How to Clean Your Nespresso Machine Inside and Out Emilys Maids

Who doesn’t like coffee?

If coffee it’s your go-to beverage first thing in the morning, at midday, or even in the evening, you probably own (or are considering buying) a Nespresso machine.

Having an espresso machine is going to give you amazing coffee to start your day, but it might also be a little intimidating, especially when it comes to cleaning. Let’s read some strategies on how to clean your Nespresso machine.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Nespresso Machine

Nespresso machines are very effective and give great results. Coffee is known for its pleasant taste and smell, but if you don’t clean your machine often, this can get changed for the worst, adding an unpleasant or strange flavor.

This happens because every coffee maker works using water, which leaves small limescale and mineral residues every time you make coffee. If they don’t get cleaned, they will start to get mixed with your coffee and it will taste a little off.

Even worse, if limescale keeps building up, it might clog the water flow to a point that causes your coffee machine to stop working completely.

Besides this, you need to clean your Nespresso machine on the outside as well, to avoid growing bacteria and attracting insects to your kitchen. Here’s what you can do:

Man serving coffee using a Nespresso machine

Descaling Your Nespresso Machine: Is it Necessary?

Descaling means removing limescale and residues from your coffee maker. You should do this at least every 3 months, especially if hard water is common in your area.

Hard water contains a higher number of minerals, and this depends on your area. For example, Texas has very hard water in comparison to other states.

Coffee companies usually sell their own de-scaling agents, which are mostly based on citric acid or lactic acid. You can either buy your coffee maker’s descaling agent or proceed at your own risk and create your own DIY descaling agent. If you have an expensive espresso machine, you should buy de-scaling agents.

The most popular DIY descaling solutions are made with either citric acid or vinegar.

Particularly, the Nespresso company recommends you avoid using vinegar for descaling. This is because vinegar is allegedly too aggressive and can damage your machine’s pipes.

As we know, vinegar is a versatile cleaner and it won’t necessarily harm your machine, but descaling solutions will make minerals take longer to deposit. Eco alternatives are also available on the market.

If you do end up using vinegar, make sure to use white vinegar and not balsamic vinegar, apple vinegar, or any other kind.

The Descaling Process For Your Nespresso Machine

Start by removing coffee pods, take your water reservoir and pour any remaining water out of your coffee machine, as well as any built-in water filters (if any).

If you bought a de-scaling agent, follow instructions. Each one has a different process depending on the company and the type (liquid or tablets).

If you’re going with the DIY route, using citric acid is better than vinegar, because it’s softer. You can mix the juice of two lemons with enough water to fill the water reservoir. Remember to strain your lemon juice.

You can use vinegar as a last resort. Mix 2-parts distilled water, 1-part white vinegar. This mix will be helpful because using pure white vinegar will be too aggressive for your coffee maker. Create enough mix to fill the water reservoir completely.

Deactivate automatic shut-off and place a mug under the tray beneath the spout. Start the brewing process. This mug will collect your de-scaling solution, along with your coffee machine’s limescale residues.

As soon as the brewing process ends, toss the water in the sink. Run your coffee machine 3 to 4 more times using only clear water, in order to completely remove your descaling solution.

Man serving coffee

Basic cleaning and maintenance

Once you descale your Nespresso, it’s time for some additional cleaning.

As always, you can go with the natural route or just pick your favorite cleanser from the supermarket. For this case, add ½ spoon baking soda to one cup of vinegar.

Apply this mix to your machine on the outside, let sit for five minutes and then add soap and water, scrubbing gently with a clean sponge. Remove any remaining soda and soap using a microfiber cloth and water.

Cup of Coffee

Conclusion

It’s important to clean your Nespresso machine regularly so that it continues working properly and give you great coffee. Besides descaling, it’s also important to keep it clean on the outside, so your kitchen remains clean, tidy, and safe.

And if you are so busy and can’t manage to clean constantly, remember you can always reach out and get additional help.

10 Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Home

August 16, 2021 by emilysmaids

10 Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Home

Is there anything better than that feeling when you know your house is clean? Not just the usual once over, but a good old thorough deep cleaning.

We don’t think there is, and the benefits of a clean home are not only felt by you but your family too. In fact, clean homes have proven to be vital for our long-term physical and mental health as is highlighted by the University of Minnesota.

But let’s be honest, the actual idea of doing a deep clean can be tiring in itself. Therefore to help you we have put together a list of great tips and tricks that should be enough to get your home sparkling in no time.

1. Decluttering Is Key

Before beginning any deep cleaning an important but often forgotten step is decluttering. Over the years it is normal for families to accumulate things but you may be surprised by just how much you have!

Avoid being sentimental and ask yourself, “Have we used this in the last 6/12 months?” If the answer is no then the next step is easy. Either sell, donate or bin, but be decisive.

Post the items to sell online or take those other items to the charity store that week. If you underestimate the call of nostalgia and leave it for too long, you may find them still in your home when you next deep clean!

2. Take on the Whole House

One of the reasons deep cleaning can seem eternal is because when one room is done, one look into the next one is enough to demoralize even the most motivated among us.

A tip for deep cleaning the house to help take the edge off is to focus on tasks rather than rooms. Whether sweeping, dusting, or mopping, once one room is done, move onto the next.

This way even when you stop for an all-important coffee break (or glass of wine!) you can still enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

3. Keep Your Tools With You

Although deep cleaning is the opposite of a speed clean, any way to save time is appreciated. One good way to speed up and increase that valuable “you time” afterward is being organized with the tools of the trade.

You can use a tote bag, bucket, or caddy to put them in, but keep your sprays, cloths, and the like all together. That way you can have everything you need with you as you make your way through your home.

4. High to Low Is the Way to Go

Deep cleaning the right way means getting things done once and moving on. Yet an area that we have done can still appear to accumulate dust while we are finishing up.

Often this comes down to having an erratic strategy rather than thinking things out. One basic rule used by professional deep cleaning services is to start high and finish with the floors. Focus on cleaning high hard-to-reach spots like light fittings and cabinet tops and then on the areas that tend to be bigger problem areas like the floors.

Working to a good system like this can make a deep clean seem like light work.

5. Make Sure Your Tools Are Clean

One of the reasons that professional home deep cleaning services are so good comes down to the cleaning equipment that they use. But we can all up our cleaning game if we follow their lead and regularly clean what we use.

Brooms and vacuum cleaners are far less efficient when dirty, so take the time to clean them from time to time.

6. Tackle a Kitchen Problem Area

No deep cleaning house checklist would be complete without some words on the kitchen. The heart of the home is also guilty of being the hub of grease and other dirt that are normally the trigger point for us to think, “I need to deep clean!”.

While cleaning a kitchen could be a whole post in itself we will focus on one useful, but not-so-well-known tip.

As any busy family knows, although the microwave is a lifesaver it can be a hub of grime.

Freshen yours up by putting lemon slices in a bowl of water along with a few tablespoons of vinegar and leave it to boil for 5 minutes. The mixture won’t only make it smell better but should soften up any caked-on stains that have been decorating it to be wiped off easily.

7. Get Your Windows Squeaky Clean

Attention to your windows is vital if you want to get your deep cleaning right.

As well as using a standard window cleaner, the homemade solution of equal parts dish soap and white wine vinegar along with two parts water is very effective. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it evenly before wiping it away.

8. Hook, Line, and Sink Cleaner

It is usually during a deep cleaning that we decide to tackle things that we have noticed for some time. Near to the top of that list is always slight blockages in sinks.

However, instead of rushing to the store for a drain unblocker, you may already have some things in your home that can do the job. It’s our friends again baking soda and vinegar!

The steps are quite simple. First, pour boiling water into the drain in question. Afterward, pour down 1 cup of baking powder and then a liquid solution made up of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. Be sure to cover the drain for 10 minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain again.

9. Fridge Focus

Although deep cleaning a fridge can seem like the most laborious task, we’re sure you agree that there is nothing like the feeling of opening it afterward to see the fruits of your labor.

Get it done right by first sorting through what is out of date. Remember, things that are close to their use-by date can still be frozen, so waste not, want not!

Next, take out all of the shelves and make a solution with 1 liter of warm water and 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. This is great to soak them in before scrubbing them clean with a sponge. Then there is nothing more to do than place them back and refill your fridge.

10. Pet Peeves

Although we love our extended furry members of our family if we don’t get our deep cleaning right their presence can still leave us feeling like we haven’t fully finished.

One area that tends to linger is their smell. But again, a home remedy can be great at neutralizing particularly that dog aroma. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet but particularly on the dog bed and leave it for 15 mins vacuuming it up afterward for a return to a clean, neutral smell.

Take the Stress Out of Deep Cleaning

We hope that you enjoyed our rundown of some of the best deep cleaning tips.

There is however only one true way to enjoy a deep clean in your home and that’s by leaving it to the professionals. We at Emily’s Maids offer a one-time deluxe deep clean that can provide your home with sparkle unlike any other.


Article written by Mike, our friend at No More Chores.

Is Cleaning Important? Here’s What Science Has to Say

August 10, 2021 by emilysmaids

The importance of cleaningIf you’re reading this, you probably know already that cleaning is important. But would you be able to say why?

Having an organized, decluttered, and sanitized space affects the way you interact with it. It can even change mood and behavior outside of your home.

Let’s find out why cleaning has a positive impact on your mind, body, and soul.

Cleaning is important for your mind

If you are feeling overwhelmed, that can be the cause or the consequence of a decluttered, messy space. If you have a lot on your plate right now and you don’t know how to structure your tasks, the same will happen in your home.

Research has shown that a messy space impacts your focus and your accuracy when working and studying. Cleaning and organizing your environment is easier as a short-term goal, but keep in mind to organize yourself and your activities throughout the day as a goal in the long run.

What you want to create here is a structure that lets you keep things under control, within reason. You always have a lot to do, either in or out of your household. This is why you need to plan things out: it will increase the chance of achieving multiple tasks during the day, and multiple days during the week, and so on.

Dedicating time to cleaning is a good sign. We only have 24 hours and 7 days a week so it’s all about finding the right time for each task. Depending on your schedule, cleaning a little bit each day will be possible, especially if you create a habit.

This will also benefit your state of mind because you won’t see cleaning as that chore you never end up doing because you forgot, or because you were exhausted and didn’t feel like it. Create a plan for your day and your week and make sure to include some cleaning time!

Clean Organized Space

Cleaning is important for your body

To an extent, cleaning is like exercise. You don’t necessarily enjoy it, but you enjoy the results in the long run.

Cleaning will help you stay healthy. There are hundreds of studies that show that keeping your home cleaning will reduce the amount of bacterial, microbial, and fungal contamination you are exposed to.

For starters, this study proves that vacuuming every day significantly reduces the amount of house dust mites present in the room. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that increase your sensitivity if you have asthma or allergies, for example.

Of course, cleaning and sanitizing will also reduce the presence of fungi such as mold and mildew. Scientific research proves that they may cause respiratory issues and eye symptoms, among others.

And once again, just like exercise, cleaning will improve your physique! Of course, within reason and in accordance with your age and physical abilities. If you end up exhausted after sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing your surfaces, that’s a sign you went through a demanding physical activity!

Cleaning is important for your soul

Then, we also have to talk about the impact on spiritual and emotional balance. There’s also scientific backup for this: positive feelings are associated with a clean, tidy space. If you describe your home as messy or stressful, there’s a higher chance that you are not in a great mood or that you have mood swings throughout your day, whereas a more stable emotional range correlates with describing your home with positive attributes such as “calm” or “peaceful”.

If you work on improving your emotional stability, eventually you’ll end up having to improve the space around you. This involves considering how many things you own in the first place, how often do you clean your belongings and surfaces, and how do you manage to balance out this while enjoying other areas of your life, such as your work, hobbies, and relationships.

Cleaning Stressful Situations

Conclusion

The ability to maintain your home tidy, organized, and cleaned, is (more often than not) a sign that you are doing your best in keeping things in control. This translates into a positive balance in your mind, body, and soul.

Whether we like it or not, a clean, decluttered space will help us stay in shape, focused, and in a good place emotionally. If you have a lot going on and cleaning constantly is not an option, just hire a cleaning service and let them do the heavy work for you.

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