Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Sanity

Thanksgiving Sanity
By Nicole Hubbard, Hubbard’s Maid Service

Do you feel guilty that you are not yet prepared to celebrate, Thanksgiving?  Shouldn’t you be calling the blended family to see who is coming to the Thanksgiving Meal and who isn't?  Worse yet, the turkey hasn't been purchased and you haven’t even cleaned the powder room!
For many people, especially women, Thanksgiving is not fun.  It is the season for Prozac.  Just remember, the reason we love Martha Stewart is because it is a fantasy and not real.  Fantasy is fun.  It can be an ideal to strive towards, but it is not real and neither is the Norman Rockwell painting of an American family enjoying that turkey you haven't yet bought.
On the other hand, Thanksgiving should be a time of peace.  An inner peace for oneself, and a time of reflection and gratitude for all the good things that have come our way, however small.  It’s not about having the house picked up and sparkly clean.  It’s about having enough grace to be patient with that annoying relative who is sitting beside you at the dinner table.  That is much more beautiful than a perfectly manicured home.
But I am concerned with providing you some tips and tricks that might help you to create a successful Thanksgiving celebration. 
First, if you don’t have enough time for a heavy cleaning of your home before the holidays, just before the guests arrive, spray some diluted bleach around the house.  (Just make sure that you don’t spray it on any fabric or painted item). When people smell bleach in a room, they are assured that the room has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized
Another very basic tip which you have heard of before, and it really works –(I use it!) is to have the appropriate cleaners stashed in each room. This cuts down on the time you have to spend running from room to room, from the kitchen pantry, to under the sink, to the broom closet, to get the items you need to clean with.  Have all the cleaners you would need for the bathroom in the bathroom and duplicate the same process for each additional area.  It may cost a few extra bucks to have extra cleaners in each room, but if it is already there, with accompanying cleaning rags and paper towels, what you will save you in time and efficiency will be priceless.  An additional bonus will be that with the appropriate cleaners close to hand, you are much more likely to actually use them! It may seem kind of silly or OCD, but once you have the system in place you will love it.  Life is so busy you really have to pay attention to the seconds and the minutes to maximize your efforts.
Another tip is to utilize an ostrich feather duster.  Make sure you purchase an ostrich feather and not a turkey feather as the turkey feather is inferior.  Feather dusters are a great tool to do a quick dusting.  Just use big even strokes, moving the dust from up high to down low where you can sweep or vacuum the dust out of your house.  Good ostrich feather dusters are expensive, but more cost effective than Swiffer dusters, as they will last about 1-2 years if used regularly and if taken care of properly.
Also, if time is minimal, think strategically.  You don’t need to have your WHOLE house clean if guests are coming.  Close all the bedroom doors.  Guests will be in the kitchen, dining room, powder room, and living room. Focus on these areas only. To add a little sparkle, use wax or furniture polish on your sink handle and faucets to give them a little shine. The more clean smelling, shiny and glossy your home looks the less likely anyone is going to notice the dingy baseboards.
Most importantly remember, it isn’t about perfection, it’s about peace.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cleaning For A Reason

 "You have cancer."
Probably one of the scariest sentences a woman can hear from a doctor.
Often times while women are battling for their lives after this statement, the last thing they have energy for is keeping their homes cleaned. Their hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows are falling out and they only have enough energy to survive. Six years ago Cleaning For A Reason was founded by Debbie Sardone who had an epiphany for a type of service that would assist women who were suffering from cancer. She is the owner of a Texas maid service that began providing free cleanings to women who were undergoing chemotherapy treatment, which has blossomed into a nationwide non-profit foundation that has ended up being mentioned by Oprah herself on prime time television. Debbie began this service after she had quoted a woman who had cancer a price for cleaning her home. The woman explained that she could not afford it at the time because of her illness and though Debbie had felt sorry for her she had turned her away. Later she had contemplated why she had not just given it to her. She resolved from then on that any woman who called again with the same scenario would receive cleanings for free. Her simple philosophy was, "I can't help everyone, but I can help someone."

The foundation call center screens and qualifies requests before passing them onto a residential cleaning business to service. The foundation matches patients with qualified cleaning businesses who have pledged to provide 4 free cleanings for women while they are undergoing treatment for cancer. Also, Cleaning For A Reason Foundation recruits licensed, insured, and bonded cleaning companies who do background checks on their employees to provide these in demand services. The companies that participate pledge to donate funds to the foundation and do all of the cleanings 100% free for the women.
To date there are close to one thousand cleaning companies participating in the United States and Canada and over one million dollars of free cleanings have been donated. Here in our area, Hubbard’s Maid Service is a local cleaning company participant and they can take on more patients. One can contact the Foundation directly at cleaningforareason.org, or can call Hubbard’s Maid Service at 912-961-9131 for more information. The screening process involves filling out the online application and faxing a doctor’s note stating the patient is undergoing treatment. If you know of anyone who would qualify, please let them know this service is available. This act of service is a wonderful gift to the community. When a woman's life is in chaos, at least having a tidy home can be a major morale boost. For many women, their homes are part of their identity and having a clean home can make all the difference in the world. Having a clean home is one less thing for a female cancer patient to worry about.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Baking soda - - - Fascinating!

By Nicole Hubbard, Hubbard’s Maid Service
Would you read an article about baking soda?
This is the season of baking, after all. But I am the supposed cleaning expert so we’re going with that slant. I googled “baking soda” and it has over 3 million results so I could write a thing or two about it. The reason baking soda has floated over to the center of my frontal lobes is because I have Corian kitchen counters that somehow were inflicted with a hideous blueberry stain. That stain taunted me for several days. Then I applied a paste of baking soda and water over the stain and scrubbed it with a rag and voila! The stain was gone. I did the same thing in the shower that had acquired a rust stain and the same thing, it was gone! So I am quite impressed with baking soda.
Besides using it in baking to make batter rise baking soda has many other uses. You can use it to wash garbage cans. It helps remove grease and odors. And also on that subject of oil and grease  -- stained clothing washes out better with baking soda added to the washing water.
Eliminating odors from your home can be accomplished by baking soda. This is especially good if you are looking for the non-toxic route. It absorbs kitty litter odors. That has got to be one of the skunkiest smells around. Cover the bottom of the kitty box with 1 part baking soda; then add a layer of three parts kitty litter on top. Now to eliminate dog odors or just freshen up the air, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet where your dog lies and vacuum up. Leave the soda on the carpet for half an hour. It also eliminates odor in your vacuum after it has been vacuumed up. It’s a great way to freshen up your home air during the winter when everything is closed up. You can also remove that intense smoky smell from ashtrays with baking soda and water. Don’t you hate it when your hands smell like garlic or fish? Clean them with baking soda – it really works! It will sweeten sour dish towels too.
Baking soda is powerful on barbecue grills. You can use it to scrub on as a paste, soak and then rinse off. You can apply the same method to any type of cooking pans as well to get off burned-on food. Baking soda can be used in place of dish washing detergent as well to give your machine an extra good cleaning.
Baking soda can also be used for personal care. Putting 2-tablespoons of baking soda in your baby's bath water will help relieve diaper rash irritations. It can be used as a mouth wash, baking soda will relieve a canker sore. You can also use it as an underarm deodorant if you’re in a pinch.
Using baking soda is a successful and non-toxic way to preserve our environment and it is readily available and economical for all sorts of uses in the household. If you have any unusual baking soda uses not mentioned here, let me know about them and I will feature it in my monthly newsletter. You can send your ideas to 22nicole22@comcast.net. I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

To Clean Or Not To Clean

. . .that is the question!  Several days ago I was speaking with a client, who will go unnamed, who was returning full time to the professional work force.  She was trying to budget in-maid service for her home because, with her new work schedule, house work was going to be very difficult for her to get to.  As I was explaining different price options to her, and she was listening intently, I stopped in mid sentence.  Now, I don’t ever like to turn business away, but to me, good business is always thinking about what is best for the client as opposed to oneself.  I could tell in her voice the uncertainty she was feeling about going back into the work force full time and the regret she was feeling about having to do so.  It is unfortunate that for so many of us, we need dual incomes to support our families.  There is an intangible value to a parent pursuing a career in the home, as opposed to the professional world, that is often not recognized or appreciated.  Pursuing a career in the home often requires the same hard work, self- sacrifice, and dedication that professional occupations such as the Military and Highway Patrol require.
Anyway, I stopped in mid-sentence during my conversation with the client because she was going to increase her maid service budget with me because she was going back to work. However, was going back to work really in her best interest? How much of her paycheck was she really going to keep after she paid for gas, the wear and tear on her vehicle, eating out, dry cleaning, new office clothes, new makeup, lawn care, maid service, and child care.
These are just a few of the obvious expenses.  Then there are the intrinsic expenses which I won't even begin to delve into.
Sometimes, I wonder if it is really worth the price to go back to work for the few dollars that one can make when the value of staying at home is so precious?  Now, for many, that is not even a choice, and I understand that, trust me, I understand.  I’ve made a business out of it.  But sometimes the answer is not in going back to work when there is an economic crisis.   Sometimes the answer is not what you make, but what you keep.  One good thing about the recession is that there is a wealth of information out there now on how to live on the cheap.  Couponing resources are excellent.  Also, a lot of women have amazing skills that can be turned into cash flow without having to go and retain a job that has a lot of expenses.  For instance, good with social media? A lot of women are, but most businesses are clueless.  Offer your expertise,   People will pay good money for that, and you can do it at home! Bi-lingual? Offer tutoring classes for high school students.  Like to garden? Sell your transplants and cuttings.
There are many ways to succeed financially and thrive off a one person income, it just takes some creativity and ingenuity.  The rewards can be far greater than any additional income.  But in case that is not an option or even a goal, you can always give us a call at Hubbard’s Maid Service. We will keep your house clean so that precious time that belongs only to you can be utilized in the manner that you want it to be.
Ashley & Nicole Hubbard
Hubbard's Maid Service
Office: 912-961-9131


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