Lots of fall cleaning going on around us! When we do a residential cleaning walk thru the two most common requests (in addition to the housecleaning services we provide) are for windows and carpet cleaning - but those aren't in our wheelhouse. You are probably familiar with the adage a jack of all trades, master of none. We prefer to be the master of housecleaning and let others be the masters of carpet and window cleaning. Here's why we defer to the masters:
Carpet cleaning is an easy answer. In order to do a good job you need a truck mounted steam extractor, and knowledge of chemical composition of both stains and products used to treat them. Here in northern Minnesota we are lucky enough to have a steam cleaning company that not only cleans carpet (and rugs, tile, grout, air ducts, etc.), but they've taken their chemical composition knowledge and created a commercial product line for rug cleaning. You can learn more here.
Windows, on the other hand, seem like a no-brainer. Here's the thing - we don't LIKE doing windows - they inevitably look great when we are done, the client comes home with the sun in a different position and suddenly streaks appear in new places. It is a tough job, and another one of those best left to the professionals (of window cleaning). We love messes - not window cleaning. We want our clients to have the best service possible, which is why we suggest they contact a company that deals specifically with windows, like Exterior Professionals.
Happy fall cleaning, my peeps! Do you have cleaning tasks you hate doing and outsource? Please comment below - I'd love to hear how others deal with them!
Travel….it can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Personally, a good jolt out of reality and routine does me good…occasionally! If you know me, you know I’m a creature of habit and I like my comfort zone.
Recently I zeroed in on the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) conference as a chance to hone some of We Love Messes’ cleaning skills, and to connect with other professionals in the field. I was apprehensive about attending the conference solo…but hey, the edge of the comfort zone is where things start happening! I attended lots of seminars, walked the trade show floor, and met people like Amar, Chris, and Courtney (in the picture) who run the Zenmaid software we use.
I mixed a little fun in there, too – forcing myself out of my hotel room (where I usually hole up after a day of networking and talking to people). My quick tips for being a tourist - in Vegas or elsewhere?
Even in the land of ten thousand lakes where water abounds, many of us appreciate the serenity of garden water fountains - and as fall approaches - these need our cleaning attention, too. Thank you to Sally Perkins, busy mom and homeowner, who is sharing her tips for cleaning those outdoor fountains.
Tips for a Clean Fountain
A fountain makes for a beautiful and eye-catching centerpiece for any back yard or large garden. Although it may be running on water, it still requires regular maintenance to ensure it is free from buildup and mold. Your fountain will run better with a little care and attention, so getting in a professional to clean it regularly may also be of benefit. If you're ready to do this on your own, grab the following items before tackling the cleaning:
So you think your closet is messy? Scientists estimate there are more than 100 million pieces of space junk in orbit, posing a growing threat to future space exploration. It is easy to ignore the things we can't see everyday... until one day we are faced with the reality that something just needs to be done.
Piles for donation. Boxes for recycling. Bags for consignment stores. We have options for our extra "stuff", people. But what about that space junk? In December Japan launched an epic cleaning machine into space, designed to gather debris and do a little spring cleaning of its own. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and the "space junk collector" malfunctioned and burned up upon re-entry into the atmosphere. So they have to try again.
We (collectively as the planet's population) can't just ignore that we are sending up junk into space that has to go....somewhere. And we also can't ignore the overflowing closet. We have to look under the bed. We have to stare down the piles in the garage.
Ignoring the problem-piles and hoping they won't affect us too much just isn't a doable option. So we have to get creative, get working, and be OK with the idea that we just might not get it right on the first try. Organizing is not a one-size-fits-all experience! We just have to make sure we try again.
If you need a little help with the trying, give me a call or send me an email!
Move over 3 Rs - the 5 Rs are here with an even better plan! It is almost April - yay! - the perfect time to celebrate all things "Earth". I also want to introduce you to the new and more effective 5 Rs for taking care of this little place we call home. They not only make sense - they align with everything we try to do here at We Love Messes.
This is too good not to share again! One of my very creative fellow Professional Organizer's shares her take on a holiday classic:
'Twas just weeks before Christmas, when I looked 'round my house
And feelings were stirring that I couldn't douse.
The clutter was piled up in mounds all around,
And piles, dust and overwhelm all did abound.
No visions of sugarplums danced in my head,
Just feelings of angst and confusion and dread.
The papers were piled on the table so high
There's no chance of mealtime, I thought with a sigh.
I thought of the guests that would come all too soon
And started to panic and wish it was June.
Aackk! People are coming! Oh, where will they stay?
I must move this clutter. It's all in the way.
I want to have family and friends to enjoy,
To entertain, decorate, bake and ah, oh boy.
"I meant to get to it", I heard myself whine,
But now it's December and I'm down to the line.
I thought I could do it myself if I tried,
But it was too much and my brain felt so fried.
I needed some help and I knew whom to call
A Professional Organizer who's on the ball.
My organizer friend was so lively and quick
Before I knew it I was ready for St. Nick!
She helped me to think in a rational way.
I still had some time; they're not coming today.
She settled me down and said, "You'll be alright.
Now take a deep breath and this clutter we'll fight.
We'll start in one room and just put things away
Stuff with no 'home' won't be able to stay."
We cleared and we sorted, we put things away
I was so glad I had not waited just one more day!
We purged and we sorted and made such a clatter
The donation bags just got fatter and fatter."
Soon tabletops showed up and floors all got cleared
There's so much more room now, it almost feels weird.
With Karen's help I got so much more done,
She's taught me the process, we even had fun.
I love it! I said as I looked all around.
I couldn't believe all the lost stuff I'd found!
I'd managed quite well while the stuff was all lost
But realized I'd be fine if most just got tossed.
I could go on but I think I'll stop here
And wish every one of you holiday cheer.
Oh, and by the way, if your shopping's not done-
If you choose gifts that they'll want, need or use up, you've all won!
Karen here now, all done butchering this poem,
Wishing each of you joy and peace inside of your home.
And so I'll exclaim as I send my newsletter Merry Christmas to all! Be a clutter go-getter!
© 2014 Karen Sheesley
It is impossible to make a decision about an item if we don't know how many or what kind we have. Sorting is an essential first step to a sustainable, organized space. Ever bought something only to realize that you already own it? Happens all the time.
To know what we own, we have to sort into like groups in one spot to give us visual representation. I once worked with a family that didn't have closets in the bedrooms (old house built when storage wasn't really a necessity!), so clothes were all over the house. We talked about quantity, and Mom guesstimated that her daughter had about 25 sweatshirts. When we got them all together there were over 70. Mom was a bit surprised. Actually, I was too!
Let's use a pantry for example. Pull out all the canned goods, stacking each type of food in a separate spot. Baking supplies go in another area, pots, pans, lids in another. You get the idea. I like to wipe down the shelves as I go - or get the kids in the house to help out - let's make this a 2 for 1 deal!
What space in your house needs a good sorting? We all have them! So let's get started - especially before any gifts come wandering through the door!
Load. Wash. Empty. Reload. It's like the circle of life....the dishwasher gets loaded. Cleaning commences. In a perfect world someone else unloads it....and the cycle starts over again. Load. Wash. Empty. Reload.
Yup. That's how it *should* roll (and you all know how much I dislike that word). In reality, does the dishwasher get loaded and unloaded routinely or does it all pile up until someone takes the initiative to do it?
Organizing systems are much like that - they can be in place, patiently waiting for us to use them (think hangers in the closet), and until we do they are useless. They also aren't a "one and done" kind of thing. To *be* organized, one must WORK to stay organized. I know, I know, it isn't what we want to hear. Just remember, 15 minutes a day can be the answer! Slow and steady wins the race.
Admit it. It feels so amazing to have that sink stay somewhat clean. It's also a big bonus when we don't run out of spoons... So whenever you just aren't sure you can muster the energy to keep up with the plan, remind yourself of the feeling you get when it's done.
Good luck! Feel free to reach out - sometimes what we are grappling with is what others are struggling with as well. You could be inspired, and you could inspire others! :)
We were doing some under-the-kitchen-sink organizing for a client and saw this bottle of Windex Multi-Surface Vinegar cleaner. Which got me thinking about how we've gotten away from the DIY cleaners of days past and now are coming back around to them being a marketing gimmick (all that is old becomes new again....and I'm thinking about the *gasp* bell bottom jeans I just saw advertised in the Target flyer!).
A review on the Windex website states "I NEVER write reviews on manufacturers websites. But I'll make an exception for this cleaner. A No residue, remove grime, leave shine and fragrance acceptable cleaner. Even my husband raves about it and he fights cleaning anything....no other cleaner I have used comes close to the performance of this one".
Ummmm.....really? It's vinegar and water, peeps....and according to the Windex website, it also has two "wetting agents", several surfactants, lactic acid, and fragrance. None of which roll off my tongue easily when trying to pronounce! Yes, vinegar does have an odor to it, but it dissipates relatively quickly.
Okey dokey - here's the scoop - I do ALOT of cleaning. So much, in fact, that I tend to be very aware of costs and "green-ness" of products. Target sells this Windex product for around $3. The same amount of our DIY cleaner (which we make by the gallon and pour into reusable spray bottles) costs about 45 cents. We also know, and can pronounce the name of, every item in the DIY cleaner.
Do the math, think about the environment - what ARE we buying? What are we bringing into our homes and exposing our families to? I believe in moderation and understand that there are those certain jobs which require a bit more than we can always tackle ourselves, but we also need to consider what we can do as we spend money on cleaning supplies.
SO... do you make any of your own cleaning supplies? Why or why not? What are your favorites? I would love to hear from you!
One of the things I appreciate most about what I do is the opportunity to learn from others, and hopefully to help others learn along the way as well! Some inspiration from Samantha Nienow of Red Zest Design sparked this analogy and opportunity for learning - which I think we can all apply to our lives. So - are you a Crock-Pot kind of person or zap-it with a microwave kind of soul?
Do you take your ingredients in the morning and put them in the Crock-Pot, planning in advance for the evening meal, then walk through the door after a long day to delicious smells wafting through the house? Or do you grab a smattering of leftovers and *hope* you don't over-zap them in the microwave, all the while still knowing that the food is not going to taste just right?
Now apply the comparison of the Crock-Pot and microwave to your organizing. Do you plan ahead for storage and take the time to put things where they belong? Or do you cram whatever you can into the nearest space and *hope* for the best? Your Crock-Pot organizing skills take a little bit of forethought, but provide you with the results you want, while the microwave organizing method gets you a short term solution with lackluster results.
So are you a Crock-Pot or microwave kind of person? I'd love to hear from you! And if you want some help moving from microwave to Crock-Pot, give me a call!
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who