8 Tips on How to Winterize Your Home

With winter fast approaching and temperatures dipping to new lows, heating bills will inevitably rise—but they don’t have to skyrocket if you beat the weather and prepare ahead of time. When you winterize your home, you’re not only staying cozy during the cold months, but you’re saving energy and money. Here are eight tips on how to winterize your home.

1. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans 

Did you know your ceiling fan can spin both clockwise and counterclockwise? This isn’t just a bit of trivia, but a great way to save money on your heating bill when the cold front hits. While running your fan in a counterclockwise direction cools your home during the summer months, when you switch to clockwise, physics takes over. Because the blades of your fan are ever so slightly angled, when they spin clockwise, rather than creating a downdraft of cool air, they circulate air that’s pooled near the ceiling. Heat rises, which means the air up in your eaves is naturally warmer than the air down on the floor. Circulate that air downward, and you cut your heating costs by as much as 10%. Don’t forget to clean your ceiling fan! You don’t want dust falling on you. If you have trouble reaching it, or have mobility issues, you can hire a cleaning service.

2. Don’t Touch That Thermostat

It’s a joke among dads everywhere—don’t touch the thermostat unless you want to lose a hand—but there’s something to be said about minding the set temperature during the cold season. After all, most households spend approximately 70% of their entire energy budget on heating and cooling. That kind of usage adds up fast, especially if you consider that for every degree you lower your thermostat during cold weather, you save an average of 1 to 3% on your monthly heating bill.

So, how do you keep your heating bill in check this season? Remember to turn down the heat every time you leave the house, or consider investing in a programmable thermostat. Some of the fancy ones can cost a pretty penny, but, when you consider that it’ll save you approximately $180 a year, the investment certainly makes sense.

3. Check for Drafty Windows

One sure way to save money on both heating and cooling is to install storm doors and windows. Doing so seals out drafts, reduces airflow, and increases your energy efficiency by up to 45%. If you’re considering purchasing storm doors and windows for the upcoming season, you may be eligible for a tax credit that’ll cover 10% of your cost, up to $200 for windows and $500 for doors.

If, however, storm doors and windows are beyond your budget, there are far more frugal ways to block out drafts. Pick up a window insulation kit for a few bucks to seal out cold air. Caulk around exterior perimeters of windows to create a wind-blocking seal between the window frame and house siding. Add weather-stripping to the inside of windows. There are a variety of types, most of which come with an easily installable adhesive backing. Or, you can use a silicone adhesive. And make sure both of your window sashes on double-hung windows are meeting the rails snugly to prevent cold air from creeping into your home.

4. Think About Insulation 

Not all insulation is created equal. If you continuously find yourself grabbing for a sweater during the winter months, a lousy insulation job may be the reason. Often, there isn’t enough insulation between walls and around windows. Some of the major culprits of terrible insulation are the attic floor and basement ceiling—if these aren’t thoroughly insulated, cold air will find its way into your home and have you reaching for the thermostat.

If you decide to boost your insulation, you can get up to 10% of your cost reimbursed by the government, up to $500. If you’re a low-income household, you may be able to qualify for nearly $7,000 worth of weatherization improvements through state-run government programs.

5. Get an Energy-Star-Certified Furnace

If you’re in the market for big improvements, one of the best things you can do for winter energy efficiency is purchasing a high-efficiency Energy-Star-certified furnace. A great furnace will save you money throughout the years and improve the overall value of your home.

Energy-Star-certified units will save you between 15 and 20% on your energy bill. And, yes, there are federal tax credits to be had. They typically cover $150 for the furnace itself and $50 for an air circulating fan.

6. Get Personal

Still cold? Throw on a sweater, buy yourself a cozy pair of flannel pajamas, pull on some thick socks, and invest in an electric blanket. Small tweaks to your indoor wardrobe—like wearing slippers over your socks while inside—can make a big difference in how tempting it is to crank up that heater.

7. Invest in Foam Outlet Protectors

Regular outlet plates are nothing but thin plastic. If you have spaces in your walls where cold air can lurk, that cold air will escape into your home through the holes that house your outlets. If, however, you purchase foam outlet protectors, you can effectively insulate the backside of plastic outlet covers to keep that air from escaping the interior walls. Foam outlet protectors are affordable, can be purchased either online or at any home improvement store, and can be installed by the most inexperienced DIYer.

8. Don’t Forget to Bring the Outdoors In 

Often, we’re so focused on the inside of the home; we fail to winterize outdoor items that can be damaged by extreme cold. If you have potted plants or flowering trees out on the patio, bring them inside before the temperatures fall below 45 degrees. If you have a permanent outdoor garden, remember to protect your plants with frost blankets during particularly harsh cold snaps.

Got a grill? Depending on what type it is, severe cold can damage your gear. If you have room in the garage or basement, bring it inside. If it’s a propane grill, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank. The tank must always stay outdoors, so don’t store it inside the house if you do end up bringing your grill inside. Also, consider your outdoor furniture. If it’s made of plastic, extreme temperatures can make it brittle.

Don’t forget outdoor equipment like lawnmowers and weed whackers. Give them a good cleaning before tucking them away for the season. If you have a snowblower, make sure it’s in proper working order before the first nor’easter finds its way to your doorstep. And last, don’t forget to stock up on ice melt before the snow falls.

Refrigerator Odors Maid Sailors

How to Remove (And Prevent) Refrigerator Odors

Are you noticing a foul odor emitting from your refrigerator every time you open the door? If so, then you probably have some spoiled food somewhere in your fridge that’s causing the stench. If the perpetrator isn’t obvious, then you may need to set aside some time to deep-clean your fridge. Even if you don’t notice any bad smells coming from your refrigerator, cleaning this appliance once a month can help to prevent future odors and ensure that you’re serving up fresh food.

What Causes Fridge Odors?

Typically, refrigerator odors are caused by food that has spoiled or expired. Meats are a common culprit for unpleasant smells, but fruits and vegetables can rot as well. Even once you remove the offending foods from your fridge, though, you could still experience some lingering odors. This is because fridge interiors are made out of plastic, which can easily absorb smells for a long time.

Best Ways to Prevent Fridge Odors

The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to prevent fridge odors in the first place. A little time and effort can go a long way here.

Throw Out Old Food Regularly

Each time you take your kitchen trash out, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of going through your fridge and also throwing out anything that’s expired or beginning to spoil. This way, you’ll never make the terrible realization that you left a bag of raw chicken sitting at the back of your fridge for weeks!

Keep Fresh Food in a Visible Location

When you buy fresh food that needs to be used quickly in order to prevent spoiling, it’s best to keep it in an easily visible location near the front of your fridge. This will reduce the chances that you’ll forget about the food. If space allows, you may even want to designate a specific shelf for fresh foods, such as packaged meats, fruits, and vegetables.

Keep a Box of Baking Soda in Your Fridge

Baking soda is known for its odor-absorption powers. Leaving an open box of baking soda in your fridge is a great way to keep your fridge smelling fresh, and it is relatively inexpensive as well. For best results, swap it out with a new box about once a month.

Getting Rid of Refrigerator Odors

If it’s too late to prevent fridge odors, follow this step-by-step guide to deep-cleaning your refrigerator. The entire process will likely take around an hour of your time, but if your fridge hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it may take a bit longer.

Set Up Temporary Storage For Food

You’ll want to unplug your refrigerator while you’re cleaning it, as warmer temperatures will make it easier to remove caked-on food bits. Because perishable foods can begin to spoil after being left out for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to store this food in a large cooler with ice until the cleaning job is complete.

Toss Out Rotten or Expired Food Items

As you’re removing all your food items from your fridge, check expiration dates and toss out anything that’s near-expiration or that has already gone bad. Be sure to check the dates on condiments as well, as it’s not uncommon to find several bottles of expired condiments in any given fridge.

Wash Shelves and Removable Parts

Your refrigerator will most likely have removable shelves and storage bins. Take these out so you can give them a thorough washing in your kitchen sink. If you’re not sure how to properly remove them, check the instruction manual that came with your refrigerator (you can probably find it online if you don’t know where your physical copy is).

The best way to wash these removable parts is typically to fill your kitchen sink with warm/hot water and dish soap. You can then soak these parts in your sink as needed before scrubbing clean with a sponge, rinsing with water, and setting out to dry. Once the rest of your fridge is cleaned, you can replace the shelves and bins.

Create a Cleaning Mixture For Your Fridge

Next, it’s time to whip up a cleaning mixture that will not only make it easier to scrub your fridge interior clean, but will absorb odors in the process. To create this mixture, combine a cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water in a large bucket. You can then use a sponge to soak up the mixture and scrub out the interior of your fridge. If there are any areas of very caked-on food or splatter, you may want to let some of the baking soda mixture sit for a few minutes to work its magic before scrubbing away.

Once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of your fridge interior, wipe it down one more time with a damp dishtowel or paper towel to remove any leftover residue from the cleaning mixture.

Clean Your Fridge Exterior

Don’t forget the outside of your fridge while you’re doing your deep cleaning! In most cases, wiping your fridge down with a disinfecting wipe will do the trick. Just be careful when wiping around ice and/or water dispensers, as you don’t want to get any chemical residue on the dispenser themselves. If you have a stainless steel fridge, however, you may also want to follow up with a polishing wipe for added sheen.

Save Time With a Cleaning Service

Once your fridge is nice and clean, you can keep it that way by regularly throwing out old food and keeping an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves. From there, you can avoid dealing with unpleasant odors down the road.

Looking for a way to spend less time on household chores without sacrificing cleanliness in the process? If so, then it may be time to look into hiring a cleaning service. A maid service is more affordable than you may think and cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend cleaning your home. The end result? More time and freedom to do the things you love.

Maid Sailors is a professional cleaning company serving NYC and the surrounding areas with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and fully certified, bonded, and insured cleaners. We provide all our own supplies and can work around your busy schedule! Check out our wide range of cleaning services offered and contact us with any questions you may have. You can also book your first cleaning service with us in 60 seconds or less using our convenient online form!

how to start a cleaning business

How To Get Your Cleaning Business Bonded

Running a cleaning business entails taking care of a myriad of tasks – and accounting for an equally large amount of risks, such as employee theft and all the negative consequences that it may bring.

Surety bonds for cleaning businesses are not obligatory. However, they are often a preferred way to address the problems that ensue from a potential theft of your customers’ possessions committed by your staff.

The janitorial bonds are a type of business services bonds (fidelity bonds) which protect your clients against losses due to your staff stealing their property and money. They don’t safeguard your company but instead project a positive image of your business as trustworthy. Customers of cleaning services often prefer to hire a janitorial service or a maid with bonding in place.

Here is why it makes sense to get janitorial service bonds, how much you will have to pay, and how to go about the process.

Why surety bonds for cleaning businesses?

Business services bonds are a common choice for handling problems related to customers’ property and finances which are accessed by employees of service providing companies. A number of different businesses obtain such bonds, including cleaning, repairs, security, and moving services, among others.

In the case of cleaning businesses, bonding is not obligatory for local or state licensing. However, it is gradually turning into the norm, as both private and business customers looking for housekeepers, maids, and janitorial services with a surety bond in place. Being bonded is a strong sign for your clients that it is safe to use your services, as they would be protected in case your employees commit on-the-job theft. This gives them peace of mind and is certainly a perk you can advertise your business with.

The surety bond works as a safety instrument in the interest of the customer. If they have suffered losses due to your staff’s illegal actions, they can file a bond claim and seek fair compensation. Janitorial bonds, however, do not protect against damages caused by your employees, which is covered by insurance policies.

The bonding costs

How much you will have to pay for your janitorial service bonds depends on a number of factors. They include the following:

  • the number of employees who work in your business
  • the bond amount which you want to obtain (i.e. $10,000, $20,000 or even $100,000)
  • specificities set by the state in which you operate

The choice of the bond amount depends on the type of cleaning business you are running. For residential services, lower amounts are often acceptable. However, commercial cleaning services would typically entail higher bond amounts.

The bond premium that you will end up covering is a fraction of the bond amount you want to get. It is paid on a yearly basis.

How to obtain your bonding

In order to get your cleaning business bonded, you have to apply with a surety provider, which can often be done online. It may need to assess your overall company finances and profile to determine your bond premium.

Typically, however, janitorial bonds do not entail a credit check of the business owner. Thus, you may be able to get bonded by filing your information online and paying the respective bond premium for the number of employees you hire, the bond amount, and the state in which you’re located. You will usually then receive your surety bond by email, as well as a hard copy.

Do you have further questions about the way surety bonds for cleaning businesses work and how to obtain them? Please share them in the comments below.

What Are The Best Home Security Systems For Every Budget?

Affordable home security means different things to different people. What is cheap and affordable to one person might be too expensive for another. That is why we have rounded up five affordable home security systems to help you as you make your choice.

Let’s look at them right away.

Fortress Security Store Alarm System Kit

Even this alarm system is rather cheap for just around $100, it still gives you the added security and convenience that a mobile app offers.  Whenever the system detects unusual activity, you receive an alert through your phone.

The only downside to fortress security alarm system kit is the lack of professional monitoring. While professional monitoring is the surest way of keeping your home safe, it comes with a monthly subscription. So for a budget of under $100 you will have to make that sacrifice.

Wink Lookout

If your pockets run a little deeper, you can start out with the wink control hub. This affordable smart hub runs a network of connected devices that manage home automation devices such as thermostats and lights, as well as home security.  It goes for under $200.

This affordable home security system also gives you a great foundation you can build upon later on.

On the downside, wink lookout lacks security cameras. You will have to dig deeper into your pockets. If you want to have cameras around.

Scout small pack scout preselected small pack has all the basics you will need to begin protecting your home. It also helps you to add professional monitoring to your home security package.

One of the most exciting features of this pack is the ability to add monitoring. With just $9.99 per month, you can add professional monitoring. This is quite an affordable monitoring option for anyone looking for an affordable home security system.

It’s disappointing to know that scouts small pack only has one monitor sensor. This sensor can detect motion for not more than 25 feet. It, therefore, won’t be enough if you have a larger home.

Simplisafe Hearth Package

No one will know you are working on a budget when they see this security system in your home. Simplisafe offers other more affordable home security packages, but if you have a little more to splurge, you will love the extras in the hearth package. With $375 you will get fire protection and a 105 dB siren, the two must-haves for a home safety plan.

Smoke detectors are lifesavers. They are even better when they are part of your home. when they detect smoke, the fire alarm activates your security alarm system. This ensures that even when someone is sleeping through the alarm, they can still get notified.

Although simply safe hearth package is a great and affordable home security system, it lacks smart home integration. Simplisafe products can be easily integrated with nest thermostats and August smart locks, but they are still not compatible with smart hubs such as Amazon echo.

Nest Secure Alarm System Starter Pack

Net is one of the big players in the home automation and security industry. They began by selling smart thermostats. They offer full-brown home security. Nest has a reputation for being expensive, so it is great that they have a $500 security starter pack.

All nest secure components are smart. That includes the nest guard system hub which has a keypad, alarm and motion sensor all together.  Nest also comes with smart window sensors that are linked up with all the other components of the system.

Compared to most do it yourself home security systems the nest secure starter pack is rather sparse. It lacks all the extra sensors and features you would be getting in another starter pack.

Frontpoint

Front point is well known for its exceptional customer service. They are also among the best companies you can buy from.  Since it was started in 2007, the company has made its employees and customers their top priority.

Front point offers security systems configured to fit your needs.  They can deliver a highly customized system as soon as tomorrow. Their security system gives you awareness, protection, and control.

These security systems are easy to set up, so you can easily do it yourself. And you can count on their superb customer care to come to your rescue anytime you run into problems.

Another impressive feature of Frontpoint security systems is that they are wireless. They are therefore a great choice even if you live in a rented space since you can always pack it up when you need to move. The system also lays a good foundation for adding more devices in the future.

Forefront also offers crash and smash protection that keeps your security system working even when your control panel is destroyed.

Final word

You don’t need to own a fortune to have a quality security system. Irrespective of whether you are trying to save by investing in affordable equipment or by self-monitoring. These five affordable home security systems will provide you with the needed security at a cheap price without compromising on the quality.

About the Author:

Sam Hoffman is a content marketing consultant who helps businesses reach the exact audience. Sam is passionate about research and analytics. He frequently writes about the latest trends in home security. 

How to Make Memo Boards for the Home

Everyone needs a place that they can designate to jot down notes and post reminders from time to time. Especially if you’re a business owner. Or if you work from home. Welcome to the wonderful world of memo boards.

Christmas cards, invitations, mail, coupons, recipes, business cards, art projects, and menus can easily pile up on the kitchen table creating a mess. Some of these things could probably be filed or thrown away. But they’ve piled up on the table so high that you don’t want to take the time to go through it now. Do yourself a favor and get organized by creating a memo board.

There’s no need to go out and buy an overpriced memo board. You can simply make one by making use of thrifty items you have around the house already.

Here are some clever ways to make a memo board that are simple and inexpensive: 

Bike Wheel Memo Board

Old fashioned bike wheels make wonderful memo boards. If you don’t have one you can find them at flea markets or on eBay for cheap. This is a good board to hang postcards, pictures, and business cards on.

Chalkboard Memo Board

By taking magnetic chalkboard paint you can paint a wall or a door to use as your own personal chalkboard. This board is ideal for anyone that will proactively use it on a daily basis. On this board, you can write, erase, hang things, and even decorate. 

Cookie Sheet Memo Board

Thanks to Sadie Seasongoods we now know how to create a fun diy cookie sheet memo board. It’s simple. Start by taking any old metal (not aluminum) cookie sheet cleaning it and painting it your favorite color. After that, you can create a backdrop by using colored paper, duct tape, or even fabric. This is a fun and easy project that anyone can do. 

Paper Roll Memo Board

Calling all list lovers! If you’re one of those people who love your list, this is the memo board for you. Instead of writing all of your lists out on sticky notes or on the back of a napkin simply install a roll of paper to your wall for a spot to jot. 

Shutter Memo Board

Did you know you can take an old shutter and restore it to make an awesome memo board? You do now! Just paint it and put it up wherever you’d like. This memo board is perfect for hanging outgoing mail, Christmas cards, and even your car keys. You could even use this memo board as a cute vintage housewarming gift.

Wine Cork Memo Board

There’s plenty of reasons to save your wine corks when you’re done with them. And one of those reasons is because you can make a memo board out of them. This is a really fun project to make to place in your kitchen, living room, or dining room and hang pictures on. You might need a lot of wine corks for this particular project depending on how big you want your memo board to be. So if you’re a wine drinker you better get to drinking!

Do you have a cool and innovative way to create a memo board? If so, share it with me below! I love to hear new ideas. And who knows your experience may end up in one of our blog posts!
Clean a Dishwasher Maid Sailors

How to Clean a Dishwasher

You rely on your dishwasher to clean and even sanitize your dishes, but when was the last time you deep-cleaned your dishwasher? If it’s been a while, or if you can say you’ve never cleaned your dishwasher, this is something you may want to add to your list of household chores.

While deep-cleaning an appliance may not be the most exciting thing in the world, making time for this task can prolong the life of your dishwasher and may also cut down on musty smells in your kitchen.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Dishwasher

You would think that your dishwasher would more-or-less be a “self-cleaning” appliance. After all, you use detergent each time you run it; how dirty could it get? What you may not realize, however, is that mineral deposits can build up along the inside walls of your dishwasher. Furthermore, food particles and other debris can accumulate at the bottom of your dishwasher and inside its filter.

Over time, your dishwasher may become dirty enough that it doesn’t clean your dishes as effectively. In a worst-case scenario, you may even end up facing premature repairs or replacement of your dishwasher due to neglect of basic care and maintenance.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

The frequency with which you should deep-clean your dishwasher will depend on a few factors. For starters, the more often you run your dishwasher, the more often it will need to be deep-cleaned (although this may seem counterintuitive). Also, the more soiled your dishes are when you put them into your dishwasher, the more likely it is that your filter and other components will need to be cleaned. If you tend to do a thorough job of rinsing debris from your dishes before you load them into the dishwasher, you may be able to go longer in between deep cleanings.

To be safe, plan on deep-cleaning your dishwasher at least once every few months. If your dishwasher is emitting a foul odor when the door is opened or if you’ve noticed that your dishes aren’t getting as clean as they used to, you may need to make time for this chore even more often than that.

Deep-Cleaning Your Dishwasher: Step-By-Step

When it comes to deep-cleaning your dishwasher, you have a couple of options. You can either purchase a product specifically designed to clean your dishwasher, or you can make your own cleaning mixture. You can find dishwasher cleaning products at your local grocery store; these usually come in the form of a small packet that you can place directly in your dishwasher. From there, you run a cycle (without detergent) as you normally would, and the inside of your dishwasher will be thoroughly cleaned.

DIY Your Deep-Clean

If you prefer to use your own ingredients, you can make your own cleaning mixture by simply filling a measuring cup with two cups of white vinegar. Place the measuring cup on the top rack of your dishwasher (and make sure the rest of the dishwasher is empty) before running a regular cycle with no detergent. This should achieve the same results. If there is any leftover residue or build-up along the inside of your dishwasher when the cycle is complete, you can wipe it clean with a damp washcloth and your favorite dish detergent.

In addition to running a deep-cleaning cycle on your dishwasher, it’s also a good idea to remove and clean out the filter. Specific filter removal instructions can vary from one dishwasher brand to the next. In most cases, however, this is done by twisting the filter counter-clockwise and pulling it out.

Remove and Clean Your Filter

As you remove the filter, you’ll likely notice a build-up of food particles and grease. The best way to clean a filter is to gently scrub it with an old tooth brush that you no longer use while running it under warm water. If needed, you can use dish detergent or soap to break down grease or other stubborn residue as well. It is important to clean your filter regularly; otherwise, you’ll probably end up with dirty dishes even if the rest of your dishwasher is clean.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher Exterior

It’s common for debris to end up on the door handle of your dishwasher, as well as other parts of its exterior. Make sure you’re also taking time to wipe this down regularly not only as part of your deep-cleaning process but at least once every few days to keep your kitchen looking pristine. This is especially important for stainless steel dishwashers, which will show smudges and other imperfections more obviously than other finishes.

Usually, a damp sponge is enough to wipe away residue from the surface of the dishwasher’s exterior. For grease or other difficult grime, however, use a couple of drops of gentle dish detergent. Be sure to wipe down the handle, door, and any controls/buttons thoroughly.

If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, you may also want to consider following this up with a stainless steel polishing wipe. This will give your dishwasher (and other stainless steel appliances) extra sheen and protection against future smudges and fingerprints. You can find these wipes at most hardware stores and in the cleaning aisle of many grocery stores as well.

Maintaining a Clean Dishwasher

After you’ve deep-cleaned your dishwasher, there are some steps you can take to keep it cleaner for longer. The best thing you can do is to simply rinse away food particles from your dishes before you load them into the dishwasher itself. This will help to cut down on the amount of debris that ends up in your dishwasher filter, which will in-turn help your dishwasher perform its best and also cut down on unwanted odors.

Get More Help With Your Household Cleaning

If the thought of having to add yet another cleaning task to your weekly list is stressing you out, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to tackle this and other tasks around your home. A house-cleaning service can perform all your essential cleaning tasks while freeing up your own personal time. From there, you can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying life.

Looking for a cleaning service? Maid Sailors is here to help. We offer everything from regular cleanings and deep-cleanings to move-in and move-out cleanings—and your satisfaction is always guaranteed. Explore our many cleaning services today or contact us to find out more about all we have to offer. We look forward to helping you achieve a clean and pristine home so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Oranized

10 Ways to Magically Become Organized

Although some people are born with a natural talent for organization, others have to research and commit to becoming organized. Getting and staying organized is easier than you think.

Each individual rule is simple, and they all work together to help you make organization habitual and second nature.

1. Know Why You’re Doing It

To begin, ask yourself, “Why do I want to get organized?”

Is it because you’re stressed by visual clutter? Do you need to maintain order in a busy home? Or do you have a deep fear of being featured on “Hoarders?”

Knowing why you’re completing a task or setting a goal will help you stay motivated to see it through. Consider writing your “why” down and keeping it handy. When you’re stressed, you can refer to it for an extra shot of motivation.

2. Everyone Must Participate

If you live alone, you must dedicate your sole focus to this task. If you have a spouse, partner, kids or roommate: make sure they’re on board.

When you’re the only one committed to the organization, you either give up or go mad (or both). You will spend all your time nagging or resign yourself to a lifetime of cleaning up after others.

Take time to explain the benefits of organization to your kids. Tell them why it is important to you. Model good habits and help them learn to complete age-appropriate chores.

3. Have a Place for Everything

Say it with me: “A place for everything and everything in its place. ” This adage really is the key to maintaining an organized home ( even your home follows this adage, that’s why it has an address).

No matter if it is your postcard collection or wine cellar, there is a place for everything. If you really can’t store it anywhere, consider downsizing.

4. Create A Command Center

When you begin finding “a place for everything,” start by creating a command center.

A command center is a dedicated drop zone for keys, wallets, mail and important papers. It’s also a great place to keep invitations, reminders and the family calendar.

Having one location for all of these crucial and everyday items will save you time and cut down on lost items and missed deadlines.

5. Create A Weekly Schedule

Certain cleaning and maintenance tasks need to be done every week. To ensure you don’t forget a task — and to make sure everyone is on the same page — make a weekly cleaning schedule.

You can assign different tasks to different days or keep one master list and tick items off as completed.

Post a kid-friendly version — with pictures for pre-readers — on the fridge, and share a grown-up version of your calendar app of choice

6. Commit To Spring & Fall Cleaning

There are many tasks that only need to be done once or twice a year: checking smoke alarm batteries, changing filters, flipping mattresses. Commit one weekend in both the Spring and the Fall to completing those occasional tasks.

Spring and fall cleaning are also the perfect times to rotate seasonal items. Switch out beach and snow gear, potted plants and snow shovels. Keep out-of-season items in an attic or basement, reserving the main areas for in-use items only.

Before you’re done, turn a critical eye on your belongings. If you haven’t used an item since the previous cleaning — or the previous year — toss it or donate it. These regular purges will help keep clutter from taking over.

7. Stick To The Budget

Impulse buys are disastrous for both your bank account and your clutter levels.

A clear, detailed budget will help you plan what you buy — groceries, clothes, home goods — so you’re not at the mercy of every sale display you pass.

You can still build a small allowance for non-essential purchases. But try keeping a wish list instead of buying items as soon as they catch your eye. If you still want an item the next month, you’ll know it was more than a passing fancy.

8. Maintain Equilibrium

Like “a place for everything,” the “one in, one out” rule is a staple of personal organization.

The rule is simple: For each item, you bring into your home, another item must leave. Most people stick to like items: one shirt in, one shirt out. The main thing is to keep a cap on the number of possessions taking up space in your home.

9. Address Emotional Clutter

When it comes to organizing, emotions can be your biggest pitfall.

Whether it’s a gift from a loved one, an old souvenir or a childhood relic, emotional items are the hardest to get rid of. People fear by getting rid of the item, they will lose the memory that goes along with it. The funny thing is oftentimes we don’t even remember we have these keepsakes until they’re unearthed during a big cleaning.

10. Know When to Loosen the Reins

The whole family gets the flu, guests are staying for the holidays, a big event is consuming your time — when you’re faced with situations like these, it’s important to know when to scale back your expectations.

Sometimes you need to take a break from hyper-organization and turn your focus elsewhere. Once the crisis or celebration is over, you can go back to business as usual.

Staying organized isn’t a mystical superpower few can access. An organized life is nothing more than a series of simple rules that help you maintain good habits. Follow these ten rules, and you will be well on your way to an organized home.

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NYC Living: Why A Small Space Is Often The Best Space

it’s no secret that living in New York is expensive. it’s particularly expensive in New York City. And what do you get for such a large price? A small space. Probably a smaller space than you would like to live in for the amount of money that you are paying. But it’s the price we pay to live in such a great city like NYC. No, not all spaces in NYC are small. And it’s not your only option. However, it is a viable option that you should consider.  
 
We are going to share some tips on how you can maximize the small space you’re living in. Along the way, we’ll share solutions and advantages that come along with living in such tight quarters. You may not be in love with your space now, but you open your mind to all the possibilities, you will without a doubt, love living small.  
Having said that, read on to learn why we think small spaces are the best spaces:

Small Spaces Are Easy To Clean

The generation of minimalism has been on the rise making small spaces the new thing. ’ They’re definitely one of our favorite things, you know living in New York and all. One of the best things about small spaces is that they are easier to clean. Much easier. If you don’t have the time, nor the energy to invest in cleaning a big house, then a small space is probably for you.  

They’re Cozy

When you think of the word cozy what do you think of? Most people think of it as a nice warm, and comfortable place. If you’re a realtor you might think of it as a small, cramped space. The truth is, living in small spaces doesn’t have to mean your cramped and isolated. Even when you don’t have a large amount of space to play with, you can have an actual warm and cozy space.

There’s Not A Lot Of Room For Clutter

It’s a lot easier to maintain a smaller space than it is a large one. There really isn’t that much more too it. It’s pretty self-explanatory. The more space you have, the more room you have to add to the clutter. And the more things you have, the more clutter you have. Simple right? So eliminating spaces makes your day-to-day activities more organized and efficient.

They’re Easier To Personalize

Since you don’t have a lot of room, you don’t need to spend a lot of money trying to decorate your space. You can find small inexpensive pieces of decor in antique shops, at trade shows, and even at Walmart. These pieces will have a larger impact on the overall presence in a small space than they would in a large space. They will be more noticeable. They will be more customizable. Think about it the way you think about your bedroom. That’s the only room in the house that is designated just for you. It’s your sanctuary. You don’t have to share your bedroom like you share the living room. You have the freedom to personalize your bedroom however you feel like it. Think of your small space as your bedroom and personalize it however you like.  

5 Interior Design Ideas For The Dog Lover

In the hearts of canine “owners,” dogs are part of the family. Historically, a person who shares a home with a pooch had to make interior design sacrifices to accommodate a furry family member. Conversely, a canine had to make sacrifices as well when a human desires a fashionable residence.

The reality is that dog lovers do not need to sacrifice style in their homes. Moreover, a pooch can have a truly comfortable living in a well-appointed residence serviced by a house cleaning service. The key to satisfying the broad spectrum of needs of humans and canines in a home can be met with planning and creativity. Towards this objective, there are five interior design tips for a dog lover that you need to take into consideration.

Understanding that many people live on a rather strict budget, the suggestions in this article can be implemented at a reasonable cost to a human. A dog’s human family member need not expend a tremendous amount of money and break the bank to accomplish these objectives. In addition, these individual interior design ideas for a dog lover can be fully satisfied and implemented in a relatively short period of time.

Dog Den

If the media is to be believed, men like man caves and women like she sheds. Dogs are fond of having their own dens. There are a number of practical and stylish options when it comes to adding a dog den to a residence.

A dog den can be something as simple as a kennel with added accouterments that enhance the overall comfort level of the space. A human can also “block off” a snug space in a home to serve as a dog den. For example, if there is space under a stairwell, that can be transformed into a snug, secure dog den.

Although dogs are highly social animals overall, there are times when a dog desires to retreat to a safe place. A dog den provides an ideal retreat for your furry family members.

Dog Bed

Some people prefer to try and keep their dogs off of the furniture, no matter how much they love their furry family members. Dogs tend to have a deep desire for companionship with their human family members. As a result, dogs typically want to be in close proximity to their family members. This can include joining humans on sofas and in beds at night.

An oftentimes effective strategy to limit the number of times a god gets on types of furniture like a sofa or bed is to have a comfortable dog bed nearby. In other words, a person sharing a home with a dog is wise to have more than a dog bed in the residence, including near the bed and near a sofa or other space where the resident humans spend a good deal of time.

Home Office Kennel

An ever-increasing number of people work from home, at least part of the time. Following important productivity practices, a person who works from home likely establishes a home office.

Human family members over a certain age understand that a homeworker sets boundaries when it comes to residential office space. The same cannot be said about most dogs. As mentioned previously, dogs strongly desire companionship. They desire close contact with their humans.

Banning a pooch from a home office can end up agitating the canine, resulting in the dog engaging in highly distracting behavior when a person attempts to get work done in a home office. This type of issue can be resolved through the installation of a comfortable and attractive kennel within a home office.

A kennel can be constructed that matches the overall design concepts of a home office if a person so desires. A kennel can be crafted as an addition to the furniture selected for a home office.

Dog Closet

The typical human who shares a home with a dog ends up having to stow a considerable number of items associated with a canine family member. What most often happens is that dog items get spread across a residence, for one reason or another.

The spreading of pooch items all over a home can be minimized if a specific space is designated for these dog-related things. A mid-size closet tends to be an ideal space to stow a dog’s property. This can include everything from food to toys to leashes to everything else belonging or pertaining to a canine.

Doggy Day Room

The concept of a dog storage closet can be taken a step further. What might best be called a doggie day room can be added to a residence? This space can be outfitted with all of a dog’s favorite items and is not merely for storage. It is a retreat designed specifically for your pooch.

A designated doggie day room is particularly useful when a human is away for a residence for a significant part of the day. A dog can comfortably retreat to this space when his or her human is absent. A dog will feel secure when it a doggie day room when humans are out and about.

The reality is that a person who shares a home with a dog will want to consider employing all of the ideas presented here. A comprehensive approach will establish a sense of balance in a residence that will benefit humans and dogs alike. The happiness of a household will be optimized on all levels and indefinitely into the future.

Do You Need A Property Manager?

Renting out a residential property can be an excellent way to bring in additional income. At the same time, the responsibilities that come along with being a landlord can be taxing. Not only will you need to put time and money into maintaining the property, but you’ll also have to handle finding/screening tenants, filling vacancies, collecting rent, and everything in between.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all this responsibility, it may be time to consider hiring a property manager for your rental home, apartment building, or other residence.

What Does A Property Manager Do?

Specifically, a property manager is designed to handle all the responsibilities of a landlord—and then some. This includes dealing with your current tenants by responding to maintenance requests, collecting rent, and renewing leases. Responsibilities of a property manager may also include maintaining your property, collecting your security deposit, making repairs, and handling things like landscaping and exterior painting. Many property managers also handle evictions (when necessary) and marketing your property when vacancies become available, as well as screening applications for potential new clients.

Specific responsibilities of a property manager can vary from one to the next, and many offer customizable packages to help suit your specific needs and budget. Ultimately, though, the purpose of a property manager is to take most (or all) of the responsibility of managing your rental off your plate.

Benefits Of Hiring A Property Manager

When deciding whether a property manager is right for you, consider a few of the main benefits of hiring one.

Secure Higher Quality Tenants

Finding quality tenants who will reliably pay their rent on time and stick around can be one of your biggest challenges as a landlord. Working with a property manager can take this burden off your plate; these professionals know how to market your property to bring in the highest quality tenants so you can enjoy less turnover and maximize your profits.

Cut Back On Vacancies

When a vacancy does arise in one of your rental units, a property manager will stay on top of the game. He or she will see when a lease is due to be renewed and if the tenant doesn’t plan to renew, will begin working on filling the vacancy before it even opens up. This helps to cut down on lost profits and other costs you can otherwise incur when you have a rental unit sitting empty for any period of time.

Avoid Potential Legal Issues

When a tenant fails to pay rent and you have no choice but to follow through with an eviction, having an experienced property manager can make all the difference. He or she will know the necessary legal processes to follow in order to carry out an eviction properly while saving you the hassle and stress of dealing with it on your own.

Enjoy Possible Tax Savings

Often times, property managers can also work as consultants of sorts and help you maximize your deductions as a landlord come tax time. Your property manager may be familiar with specific write-offs you can make and credits you can take advantage of to save the most possible money on your taxes.

Free Up Valuable Time

If you’ve been working as full-time landlord at any of your rental properties, then you know just how time-consuming this can be.

If you have another job/career, have a family at home, or have any other major responsibilities in your life, you may simply feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to handle it all. When you hire a property manager, you can take most (if not all) of your landlord responsibilities off your plate, freeing up time for more important things in your life.

Cut Down On Maintenance/Repair Costs

Costs related to maintaining your property and making repairs can be high, especially if you’re finding yourself seeking out individual contractors for separate jobs. Most property managers have their own team of professionals that they turn to time and time again for this type of work, and they receive a discount that they can pass onto you. As a result, you may actually find that your maintenance costs are much lower with a property manager.

Potential Drawbacks Of Hiring A Property Manager

While hiring a property manager certainly has a lot of benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider before you make a decision.

Requires Relinquishment Of Control

One of the biggest challenges some landlords will have with hiring a property manager is the degree of control that it requires you to relinquish. Rather than having the ultimate say in the day-to-day operations of your rental(s), an experienced property manager will be making a lot of these decisions on your behalf. This can be a hard pill for some people to swallow, so working with a property manager may not always be the best choice if you’re what some would describe as a “control freak!”

Could Be Costly

Another challenge to consider when it comes to hiring a property manager is the cost. This is one of the most difficult things for some people to get past. Property managers are full-time workers, so they don’t come cheap. At the same time, it’s important to consider the many ways in which hiring a property manager saves you time and money. From the savings on general maintenance and repairs to the higher quality tenants and reduced vacancy times, property managers can really help you maximize your profits.

And of course, your time is also valuable. When you hire a property manager, you could be freeing up literally hundreds of hours a month of your time. Can you put a price tag on that?

Signs You Should Hire A Property Manager

Still not sure whether a property manager is right for you? There are a few “signs” that could indicate it’s time to hire a professional to help manage your property.

You Live Far From Your Rental Property

Managing a rental property is difficult enough when you live close by, but when you don’t live close enough to be there often, things get a lot more challenging for both you and your tenants. If you live far enough from your property that you’re not able to visit daily, then you’d probably benefit from having a property manager.

You Own A Large Number of Units

Maintaining a single rental unit can be difficult enough; things get exponentially more difficult when you own and manage more than one unit. The larger the property and the more units you have, the more tenants you have to deal with as well. Having a property manager may pay off here.

You Don’t Enjoy Dealing With Your Tenants

Speaking of tenants, they’re not always the most pleasant to deal with. From angry tenants demanding repairs to tenants who miss their rental payments, not all landlords enjoy this aspect of the job. This is where hiring a property manager can make your life easier and less stressful.

You Don’t Have Much Experience In Managing A Rental

Sometimes, you come into owning a rental property unintentionally. This can happen when you inherit a property, for example. You may not have the experience in managing a rental property or the desire to learn. If this sounds familiar to you, then it may be time to either consider hiring a property manager or even selling the property altogether.

Other Services To Consider For Your Rental

A property manager can generally take care of many of the services you’ll need as a landlord, from maintenance contractors to landscaping professionals. One additional service you won’t want to overlook, however, is that of professional cleaning for your rental units.

With a professional home cleaning service, you can make sure your rental units are sparkling clean before your new tenants move in or when you’re showing your properties to prospective tenants. This saves you the hassle of cleaning the property yourself. Many professional cleaning companies offer specific move-in/move-out cleaning options that include everything from mopping floors to dusting and cleaning appliances so you can enjoy added confidence that your tenants will be wowed when they move in.

And since cleaning generally isn’t a service included by a property manager, this is something worth looking into as a separate service to further save you time and hassle.

As you can see, there are so many benefits (and a few potential drawbacks) of hiring a property manager when you own a residential rental property of any kind. Now that you have a better understanding of all that working with a property manager entails, you can make an informed decision regarding whether this is right for you.

If you’re interested in adding professional cleaning services to your rental property, Maid Sailors is here to help. We offer thorough move-in/move-out services to make your life easier. Contact us today to find out more about our cleaning services, or use our convenient online form to schedule your next cleaning service in 60 seconds or less!