Author Archives: HSE

Reboot Your Environment for Greater Productivity

Goodness knows we all have enough to do every day. So if you had at your disposal a tool or technique to get it all done more efficiently and effectively, wouldn’t you use it? Think of your life like your computer, running multiple programs at a time, doing more than one task at time, responsible for navigating, storing, dating, organizing, saving, automating—and everything in between. But leave it running for too long or overload it with too much all at once, and eventually it’s gonna crash. As you will if you’re running on too many cylinders at the same time, without adequate maintenance and reassessment breaks.

How to avoid this inevitability? It’s time for a reboot!

Just like your computer will run faster and better once you shut it down once in a while and let it start from scratch, so too will your life run more smoothly and productively once you hit the reset button to “declutter your headspace” and clean up your personal space.

Tips for Your Home & Life to Function at Maximum Capacity

Tip #1: Attend to unfinished projects. You know what they are and you know where they are: the bunches of yarn stashed in a corner for that sweater you’re not going to knit; the scattered wood and tools and hardware in the garage for that bookshelf you started four months ago; the piled boxes of old clothes and shoes in the guest room that you’ve been meaning to try on one more time before making a donation run; the craft supplies spread out all over the dining room table for that scrapbook you’re gonna start any day now. You’ve got three options when it comes to goals like these: (1) scrap ’em entirely, (2) get ’em done already, or (3) put all the materials back where they belong until you’re ready to actually tackle the project in a scheduled span of time.

Whether your pending projects are relatively small (going through your medicine cabinet or polishing tarnished silver) or relatively large (building a treehouse or creating a custom slideshow of all your travels), it’s time to just dive in and get it done or admit defeat and give in. Either way, you’ll feel infinitely better when unfinished business isn’t hanging over your head every day, weighing you down. Tie up the loose ends or just cut them loose. On the other side of either of those options lies freedom.

Tip #2: Clean up rooms to make room for order. Not just anecdotal experience but also research studies have proven that messy and disorganized living and working spaces hamper productivity, not to mention plain ole happiness. It’s worth the time it’ll take you to finally dust your office top to bottom, clean all the ceiling fan blades, reorganize the kitchen cupboards, empty the fridge and pantry of expired foods and items you’re never going to use, finally clear out the attic or storage shed. Again, some organizing tasks are more tedious than others—rehanging all the coats in the coat closet nicely is going to be far simpler than finally going through your own clothes closet item by item—but mix up the quick tasks with the not-so-quick ones to get as much done as you can in the shortest amount of time.

Here are some tasks you can knock out one-two-three to leave you with more free time before you know it:

  • Fold up and put away all loose blankets, throws, rugs, and pillows you’re not using now or at least not using this season.
  • Run the dishwasher and put all dishes away.
  • Do every load of laundry that’s been patiently waiting for you.
  • Go through the whole pile of waiting mail and sort through it as needed.
  • Dust, clean, and polish all those surfaces caked with spills and smudged with fingerprints.
  • Get small little thank-you cards so you can write the notes you’ve been meaning to send—just a few lines, just a few a day.
  • Toss out or donate anything and everything in your home that you don’t use.
  • Take out the trash and recycling.
  • Dust the blinds and clean the windows.

As an added bonus, you’ll be sanitizing breeding grounds for bacteria and virus. Disorganized to organized and dirty to clean? What’s not to love about that?

Tip #3: Turn to your technology next. It’s not just tangible and touchable items that can benefit from some TLC. When was the last time you cleared out your DVR, emptied your voice mails, updated your contacts list, and—here come the biggies—sifted through your email folders and tidied up all your computer files? Give yourself the immeasurable peace of mind that comes from knowing your pipelines are cleared and that you can access what you need right when you need it without all kinds of obsolete and unnecessary data and information blocking your way.

Don’t have the time or inclination to do all this yourself? Home Services Enterprise can do it for you, whether it’s folding all your drawers or folding up your map collection and properly archiving it. Contact us today to meet any or all of your cleaning needs in the Metropolitan area, including DC, Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, and surrounding regions.

Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

Choosing the Right Storage Containers for Your Stuff & Your Space

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that a decluttered space creates a decluttered mind. When your living and working places are neat and organized, when your belongings are logically ordered and easily accessible, and when everything fits in the most economical, efficient way possible, it brings a peace of mind that’s hard to quantify … because it’s a “quality of life” thing.

Improve your quality of life by streamlining your space with storage options that suit the contents on hand, align with your lifestyle, and make the most of the space you have available.

To start, it’s necessary to determine what you want to organize, because only once you’ve grouped items for storage can you identify the appropriate receptacles for them. Why use a crate-sized container for what one kitchen drawer can handle? Why use six small boxes to store all your winter sweaters when one snazzy trunk could hold them all? In other words, don’t run out and buy a bunch of organizers and storage containers and then try to fit your belongings into them; instead, do it the other way around to save yourself a lot of time, energy, effort, and money.

Pick just one room to start with—the area most in need of putting things away instead of leaving them spread all about—and see how things work out, learning as you go, before tackling the rest of your house. Say you pick your master bedroom and en suite bath. Where do you go from there?

Steps to Efficient Storage

  1. Sort. Go through the whole room distinguishing between what you need “out” every day (leave it where it is, like your undies and socks in your dresser drawer), what you don’t need at all anymore (get rid of it), and what you want handy but not on display—what can be tucked away somewhere neater and more organized than it currently is. Gather this last category of belongings in the middle of your bedroom and sort them by type: all your scarves here, all your swimwear there, your supply of scented candles over there. Same goes for your bathroom, grouping all the cosmetics, shaving supplies, medicines, and toiletries in distinct areas, leaving everyday items where they are (like your toothbrush and toothpaste) but deciding which backup items and infrequently used supplies can be put somewhere under, over, or else.
  2. Size. Start a list how many containers you need for each grouping of like items. Not only how many, but how large? Write them out one by one—the size and shape you need to accommodate the grouping. The first-aid items probably only need a shoebox-sized container; your quilts and throw blankets will work well in a sealable plastic tub.
  3. Measure. Okay, you’d like an under-the-bed sliding bin for ties and belts, but now you have to measure the space from the floor to make sure you buy one that will clear the bedframe. You’ve got 12 pairs of slippers, flip-flops, and slide-ons you’d like to store together in a shoe cubby in your closet, so go measure the width and height you have available there. Preparation is going to work in your favor big-time when you’re standing in a store aisle overwhelmed by all the choices.
  4. Fine-Tune. Organizing isn’t just about boxes and bins stored in cabinets and cupboards. It also entails making commonly used, messy areas tidier and more useful with things like drawer dividers, utensil holders, spice racks, and jewelry pouches. So now it’s time to dive into that makeup drawer and plan what type of drawer organizer will work in there, to figure out how many shelf spacers you can use at the top of your closet to separate stacks of sweatpants, pajamas, and clutches. Write it all down on your inventory list—better yet, take pictures of what you plan to store and where to use as visual aids when you’re ready for the final phase.
  5. Shop or Switch. This last step is the most fun! If you want to buy new, head to the store armed with your shopping list and your excitement to procure your perfect solutions. Don’t have the budget for that? Then go hunting in garages, attics, sheds, and flea markets for available containers that are either empty already or can easily be swapped out with something else. Recycling and repurposing will do the trick just as well as retail!

NOTE: Keep in mind that this whole process is very subjective—you’re free to organize and group things according to your own preferences, not any hard-and-fast rules. For example, you might use your office supplies more in your kitchen than the den, so feel free to store them in your pantry. Your stuffed animal collection might not be a big part of your everyday life, but you’ll be darned if you just pack it away in a zippered bag! Some people might prefer stacked squares and some might prefer over-the-door hangers. Do what works for you, in a way that works best for you.

But whatever you do, just take your time and proceed practically and productively, whether you’re now filing all your paperwork in an accordion folder or finally transferring all those disks onto flash drives. Setting realistic expectations and a manageable schedule will keep this process fulfilling and free of stress.

Need a helping hand with this or any other organizing, straightening, or cleaning task? We’re at your service!

Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

4 Tips to Get the Most from Your Vacation

Boy, are we all in need of a vacation around now, right? Home schooling is harder than regular school, having to stay in is just as challenging as having to go out, and being home all the time makes you dream all the more about leaving home. At least temporarily. On a well-deserved getaway that makes you feel like you actually got away.

How do you accomplish that? With all the planning and packing, the kids and the pets, the arrangements and adjustments that need to be made to vacate your home and your life for a little while, a break from your daily life can feel like anything but a break! Well, the answer lies in a few very basic, but always applicable essentials that focus on balance and self-care.

Simple & Effective Tips to Maximize Your Vacation Time

  1. Pace yourself. You’ve been going strong and working hard, and you’re excited to spend a week or so away doing things you enjoy. But you really can have too much of a good thing! So, yes, go ahead and schedule those scuba lessons, sightseeing tours, river rides, ziplining adventures, and jewelry-making classes. Just make sure you also allot time for naps, lazing on the beach, reading, watching a movie, getting a massage. Believe it or not, scheduling downtime is a sure-fire way to lift you up.
  2. Hydrate. It’s not just an empty adage—water really is the end-all, cure all. When you’ve been on planes, trains, or automobiles to get to a new environment where you perhaps indulge in more cocktails than usual, are exposed to more sun than usual, and stay up far later than usual, dehydration is a real possibility. Drinking plenty of water is a free, easy, and immensely efficient way to nurture your body and rid it of toxins. The goal is to stay energized and feel relaxed simultaneously, and there’s no clearer path there than the water way.
  3. Reward yourself upon returning home. Rushing to get out the door and to the airport, families on vacation too often come home to a sink filled with dishes, unmade beds, items strewn about the floor, and messy bathrooms. You can either build some extra time into the schedule before you leave so that you’ll return to a tidy home; or, better yet, you can arrange for a cleaning service to come in and take care of your house top to bottom while you’re away. It’s a great time to have professionals do a professional job for you or even a deep cleaning while the house is totally accessible and available. What better homecoming gift than a house as spotless and welcoming as a hotel room?
  4. Give yourself some breathing room. Once you are home, it can be extra challenging to shift back into “real-life” gear. So plan to give yourself at least a full day to regroup and reacclimate before jumping back into your regular routine. You can get the laundry done, stock the fridge, open the mail, pay the bills, and then get a good night’s sleep. Taking care of the details on a leisurely day off instead of your first day back to work will make all the difference between a vacation that ends in satisfaction versus one that ends in stress.

Let Home Services Enterprises reward you with a clean home upon your return home!
Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

Cleaning Up After Moving Out

cleaning after move out

Summer is the most common time for residential moves … and after the spring we’ve all just experienced, people may be relocating right about now for all kinds of reasons beyond just summer break from school. Whether you want to lock in getting your security deposit back on a rental or make sure you’re fulfilling the requirements of your home sale contract, cleaning up after your move is the standard and expected last step of the process.

Don’t try to keep the place clean while you’re loading up the truck, though—that’s the time to concentrate on damage control: Be careful not to nick or gash walls while moving furniture; don’t stain the carpets or crack tiles by absentmindedly spilling or dropping something on the way out. Instead, put protective plastic runners over high traffic-areas to help protect floors and surfaces. But don’t worry about anything like dust or dirt as you dislodge items—that can wait until the place is empty.

Once it is, it’s time to clean up after yourself so you can happily and peacefully move on. Here’s a checklist to help you get everything in order before the final walk-through by the owner or buyers:

Start at the top: Go through every room, dusting all ceiling fans, door and window frames, and ledges, getting rid of any cobwebs and loose debris lurking in corners and nooks. Work your way down the walls as you dust light switches, outlets, doorknobs, and baseboards.

Tidy the bathrooms: Scrub, clean, and rinse any soap scum or mold from the shower and sink. Wipe down and disinfect all surfaces, from the vanity to the toilet. Then clean the toilet bowl. Make sure you clean out all drawers and cabinets of dust, hair, and product residue. Also be sure to remove all shower curtains and trash cans.

Make the kitchen sparkle: Clean the oven. If you have a self-cleaning oven, it’s best to do this a day or two ahead of time, as it takes a few hours and can have a strong odor. Wipe down the inside and outside of all cabinets, as well as all appliances. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator and the sink. Clean and disinfect all countertops, the stovetop, and the faucet.

Get windows and mirrors gleaming: Streak-free, shining glass makes a noticeable difference and reflects the cleanliness of the home. Clean all windows of smudges and buildup and eliminate any water spots and dust on any mirrors that are staying with the house or apartment.

Finish with the floors: Attend to the floors last, not only to cover your tracks, but to pick up anything that made its way to the ground while you were cleaning room interiors. Keep your vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop with you and not in the moving truck for just this reason.

Don’t forget the garage: The garage doesn’t need to shine, but it should be empty, swept out, and free of all rubble.

Even with a plan at hand, moving is a stressful enterprise, especially when your focus is on all you have to do where you’re going, not where you’re leaving. So why not hire a professional cleaning service to do the post-move cleanup for you? Home Services Enterprise will make your old home is spic-and-span so you can devote all your energy to your new home.

Call us today for a free consultation and estimate:
Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

 

Organizing 101

These are unprecedented times we’re living in—confined to our residences, working less if at all, replacing in-person interactions with online meets, and going on perpetual hunts for TP and Clorox wipes. But perhaps the biggest change amid the coronavirus culture is the allotment of more time—more time with family, more time working on house and garden improvements, more time at home. And time has always been the rarest of commodities in the average American household.

So how can we best utilize this unexpected boon of extra time? You know all that stuff you’re always buying to make life easier? The clothes piled in the closet awaiting sorting and hanging? That garage full of boxes and loose belongings you’ve been meaning to go through for eons? Well, now’s your chance to finally get to what you’ve been meaning to get to for so long—to organize your possessions, your interiors, and your exteriors so that when “life-as usual” resumes, you’ll be ready, refreshed, and recharged for it, with your house and your life in shipshape order.

Start with the Basics

Here’s how to approach an organizing effort from the ground level up:

  • First off, enlist the help of all occupants. Whether you live or work with a group of 3 or 13, the more hands on deck, the quicker, more productive, and more collaborative the tasks will be. It’s no use finally arranging the bookshelves if your teenager is just going to put something back out of order, so get everyone on your team on the same page.
  • Next, draft up a plan. Make a list of all the tasks and chores you want to tackle, all the areas in need of attention, and rank them in order of importance. Display the plan where everyone can see it and refer to it … then follow it closely. Don’t proceed to untangling the Christmas lights, for example, until the item above that—reorganizing the kitchen pantry—is complete.
  • Tackle the big stuff first. Energy and enthusiasm are not infinite. So it’s a good idea to take on the larger projects first, when you’re still gung-ho to do them. The upside here is the larger amount of fulfillment you’ll experience when you’re done. If you clean up the biggest messes first and then lose steam before getting to the smaller ones, it’s no big deal: The bathroom cabinet can be tackled in half an hour, at some other time, on some other day; but washing all the windows inside and out can take a whole day, if not a whole weekend. Keep morale high to keep the team’s productivity chugging along!

Maximize Space and Time Savings

Making an organization plan is one thing, actually implementing it is another. So now it’s time to put your plan into action, clearing the way for improved efficiency:

  • Did you know that more than 50 percent of modern homes today hold on to tools, appliances, clothing, and housewares that haven’t been used in years, maybe in decades? Clear it all out now! Toss, donate, gift to someone who can recycle or repurpose … just get rid of whatever you’re not using to make your living space so much more useful. A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it in two years, you probably don’t need it. Goodbye and good riddance.
  • Items that are rarely used or hold purely sentimental value do not need to be on display, out in the open, cluttering up your home. Yes, you love your doll collection … but on the floor of your bedroom, it’s just collecting dust. And if you only haul out your professional mixer for the annual bake sale at school, does it really need to be on the kitchen counter all year long? Pack little-used items away for easier access to things you use daily. The guiding philosophy here is: Out of sight, out of mind—but still available. And if you have a considerable amount of things you want to hold on to but don’t need regularly, it may be time to consider a storage unit.
  • Important documents should be readily available, organized in a logical and systematic way that anyone can follow. It’s worth taking the time now to label and sort an accordion file or to alphabetize named folders in a desk drawer if paperwork is ever needed in a pinch later. There’s no limit to the types of portable filing systems available out there now.
  • Capitalize on dual-use items. This may be the best space-saving tip of all. Look for ways to make your furniture do double duty, like using that side table above the outlets as a permanent charging station for the family, buying an ottoman that offers hideaway space for throws or magazines or all those remote controls, using wicker baskets to collect and hold loose items around the house instead of just as home décor, installing a fold-down shelf in place of that clunky old desk you only use once a month to pay the bills.

These are just some ideas to get your started on improved organization in your home to bring you more peace of mind when you’re there. Prefer to bring a professional touch to your organizing projects? We’d love to hear from you!

Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

 

A Working Woman’s Guide to Housecleaning

If you’re one of the many women in America juggling a career, a family, and a home, you know how draining it can be to get things done around the house when you’re just trying to get things done period. It’s not just workweek days that are jam-packed; even when the weekend finally rolls around, you put so much off for “off days” that your to-do list on Saturdays and Sundays can be even longer than Monday–Friday!

So how do you keep a handle on all the errands you have to run, grocery shopping you have to do, kids’ activities you have to attend, and dinners you have to host and keep your house tidy and neat in the process?

The trick is to do things a little at a time, in stages, so things don’t get overwhelming. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in just a half hour each day once you create a plan and set your mind on sticking to it. Whether it’s tackling the dust in your living room, shaking out the rugs in your halls, or finally putting those boxes in the corner away, take the one-day-at-a-time approach to reclaim your weekend days with little steps that go a loooooong way!

TIPS TO SAVE TIME

  1. Tip #1: Organize Your Closet. Sounds like a big task, right? But it doesn’t have to be, and once your closet is filled with only clothes you still wear, shoes that still fit, and styles that still make you feel sassy, getting ready in the morning will go so much faster and picking just the right outfit for date night will be so much easier. Start with one area at a time: sort through your tops on Monday, your skirts on Tuesday, your jeans on Thursday …. You get the idea. Create one ongoing pile for donations, one for the trash, one for storage in the attic. Before you know it, you’ll have a de-cluttered closest for de-stressed dressing times.
  2. Tip #2: Deep Clean Now for Quicker Touch-ups Later. No one likes cleaning and disinfecting a bathroom. But like anything else in life, if you put in a big effort up front, maintenance thereafter is much easier. Spend a half hour cleaning tiles. The next chance you get, scour the tub. Move on to the grout when you have a whole hour, one toilet at a time when you only have 15 minutes. After your bathrooms are free of grime and buildup, all you’ll need for a nice long stretch are cleaning wipes for spot-shining and freshening.
  3. Tip #3: Tackle the Kitchen One Wall at a Time. You already know how to do a quick dusting, a quick vacuum while dancing to Rihanna. But the kitchen is a different story. To save time and save your energy, approach this room one section at a time: one session for the fridge, one for reorganizing the cabinets on this wall, another for the drawers on that wall. Countertops can all be done at one time, as can appliance surfaces. While you’re at it, get rid of gadgets you don’t use anymore, food that has expired, and cracked dishes and pans with broken seals. Next time you reach down for your favorite soup pot, it’ll be right where you want it, easily in reach. Remember: de-clutter to de-stress.
  4. Tip #4: Hire a Cleaning Service. Even better than cleaning your house in time allotments? Don’t clean it yourself at all! Call in a professional to complete the tasks you want done on a schedule that works with your work schedule.

Home Services Enterprise would be happy to answer the call. We’re the working woman’s best friend … so you have more time to be your best self.

Call today to talk about your appointment needs:
Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

It’s Spring Cleaning Time!

The annual ritual of spring cleaning has been around for centuries, in all different parts of the world, for all different types of structures, for a variety of reasons—some cultural, some religious, and some purely hygienic. Here in the States in the year 2020, we faithfully engage in this tradition to both sweep out the old (as in fireplace residue, pent-up dust and debris, and winter staleness) and usher in the new: open windows, clean air, sparkling surfaces, and gleaming furniture!

But because we treat it as a once-a-year event, the sheer breadth and depth of the task can feel very overwhelming and very time-consuming, turning something that’s supposed to be invigorating and regenerative into something that’s just stressful and tedious. The result? We put it off as long as possible, sometimes even until … well, until it’s summertime!

So let’s break down good ole spring cleaning into a clear 10-point checklist that will make the process far more practical and manageable:

  1. Allow two weeks. During week one (or over the first weekend), cover the inside of your home, whether that means downstairs to upstairs or rooms at the back of the house to rooms at the front of the house. For the second week, you’ll move outside, to your garage, driveway, and front and back yards.
  2. Wash windows & clean window treatments. Since it’s the time of year to unlock latches, pull back drapes, and open blinds, start with the chore that will bring you the immediate satisfaction of sunlight streaming into your home. Clean window panes inside and out, vacuum drapes top to bottom (or send them out to be dry cleaned if applicable), and clean all sides of all blind slats.
  3. Clean carpets & floors. If you’ve got carpeting, steam clean it—you can rent a machine yourself or call in a professional company that can be in and out within hours. If you’ve got tile or hardwood floors, go the extra mile to scrub or polish them this time. After this thorough cleaning, regular vacuuming and touch-up mopping as needed should keep all your flooring in check and in control for months to come.
  4. Attend to baseboards, molding & ceilings. So many people take such good care of floors, walls, and doors that are in plain sight, but they neglect the nooks and crannies that connect all the parts of your home. Now’s the time to clear ceiling corners of spider webs, wipe down all the gunk that accumulates on baseboards, and clean all your molding, both at or above eye level. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel and how much cleaner your space will be when both the obvious and not-so-obvious surfaces are free of dirt and buildup.
  5. Dust the furniture. Feather dusters sure come in handy … but once in a while, we have to actually dust all our items by hand, with an actual furniture cleaner and old-fashioned dust rags or more modern microfiber cloths. Not only will you polish away streaks and prints, but you’ll remove allergens from surfaces to prevent them from becoming airborne.
  6. Make a list of odd jobs & tackle them one at a time, in small doses. Kitchens, bathrooms, dens, bedrooms—we all know what’s required to keep our everyday living spaces and places safe and sanitary. But then there’s all the miscellaneous fixes that get put on the backburner indefinitely, like paint touch-ups, replacing a cracked lightswitch plate, changing burnt-out lightbulbs, dusting ceiling fan blades, or flipping mattresses. To get your interior in tiptop shape, do a walk-through with pen and paper in hand, noting the small stuff that needs a little extra attention. It’ll make a big difference when you finally check those items off your list.
  7. De-clutter the home. Using a laundry basket, go around collecting anything and everything that is cluttering up your rooms. You can sort through the bin later—putting things back where they belong or storing them away—but for now, just clearing them from your line of vision and path of movement will produce order and efficiency.
  8. Organize the basement. Throughout the year, we’re all guilty of just stashing things down in the basement (or up in the attic or out in the garage) to take care of later—outgrown clothes, loose holiday decorations, empty boxes, faulty equipment. Set aside an hour or two to separate things into piles—donate, trash, keep, repair—then follow through as planned.
  9. Head outdoors. Once the inside of your home is in order, you’ll be energized to tackle the outside: sweep the garage floor, clear away fallen branches and dead leaves from your perimeter, trim your bushes and hedges, spread new mulch, clean your mailbox, and plant your bulbs. Then spring will be blooming inside and out!
  10. Hold a garage sale. By this point, you’ve likely come across lots of things, both big and small, used and unused, valuable and trendy—that you just don’t need or want anymore. Spring is the optimal time to hold a garage sale, turning one man’s trash into another’s treasure and finding a new home for things you no longer use in your own.

Not enough time at your disposal or too much on your plate to proceed through this checklist yourself? That’s what Home Services Enterprises is for! Call us today to schedule an appointment, and we’ll have your home, office, or personal space spring ready in no time!

Home Services Enterprise  |  301-674-9564  |  www.homeservicesenterprise.com

The Importance of Cleaning Your Oven, Refrigerator, and Microwave

Oven Cleaning

The kitchen is the heart of most homes—it’s not just where the nourishment is prepared and served, it’s where the family is nurtured, where they come together to share their days and break their daily bread.

But it’s also a room that sees a lot of action, and that means it requires extra care and extra effort to attend to all the traffic, all the mess, all the spills and all the drips. It’s common sense that the appliances in which we store, cook, and heat our meals should be regularly and properly cleaned and maintained for safe consumption. A hygienic home makes for a healthier family. But in today’s busy world of very limited time and never-ending to-do lists, you’ll want to clean your kitchen most efficiently and expediently.

Self-Clean Your Oven, Then Spot-Clean as Needed

Let’s start with the oven, because a well-maintained oven will be more energy efficient when the heat distributes evenly. And what stands in the way of allowing your oven to use less energy? You guessed it: a build-up of fat and grease, which not only interferes with burners and heating mechanisms, but also poses fire and flame risks. Luckily, modern-day ovens come equipped with self-cleaning capabilities that’ll do the lion’s share of the work for you, just be sure to completely empty the stove before starting and follow the directions to the letter.

But even smart appliances aren’t smart enough to reach every crevice, wipe away every spot, or sweep up every crumb. For those places that automation can’t reach—like the crud around hinges and outer frames—you’ll have to reach yourself. But there’s no need to buy expensive products or expose yourself to unnecessary chemicals: Wipe down surfaces with a “green” mixture of vinegar and water, and use a little baking soda on a sponge to dislodge cooked-on foodstuffs. It’s recommended to clean your oven every three to six months.

As for your stove, “deconstruction” is the easiest way to go. Instead of trying to clean your burners in place, remove them (the burner grates for gas stoves and the drip bowls for electric), along with any other removable parts, like the knobs, and soak them in hot soapy water for several hours; then scrub them down right in your sink, where the residue can easily be washed away. Skip the spray-and-wipe route to eliminate all the loose debris on the stovetop—instead, use your vacuum attachments to suck it all up in no time. Another time-saving tip: Once your burners are clean, insert disposable liners under grates or wrap drip bowls in foil to avoid future scouring.

Microwaves Get Messy!

Your microwave probably doesn’t go one day without use—between reheating your coffee, the kids making after-school snacks, and melting butter for your grandma’s cookie recipe, this appliance is arguably the most often used today in American homes. That’s why it needs to be cleaned more often too. Every day, preferably after every use, wipe down the inner walls, top, and bottom while whatever popped, spurted, or overflowed is still warm and loose. Then, once a week, give it a more thorough cleaning. Again, avoid the potentially harmful chemicals that don’t need to come into any kind of contact with your edibles: Just heat up a bowl of water with either vinegar or lemon right in the microwave itself to clean, sanitize, and deodorize all in one step. (Search online for more specific directions on this simple hack.) Swipe all surfaces with a clean cloth and you’re done!

Refrigerator Rehab

Keeping your fridge in optimal condition doesn’t have to be a chore if you stick to some basic guidelines. When it’s time to clean, remove all contents first so you have clear access to all internal parts of the fridge. Depending on how messy it is in there, you can either leave components in place or take them out and wash them down in the sink. To keep chemicals away from anything you’d consume, once again all you really need is a solution of vinegar and water to clean the interior and all shelves and drawers. Use some baking soda on an old toothbrush for any stubborn areas of build-up. Then make sure everything’s dry before loading your food back in.

Thereafter, keep your fridge tidy and family-friendly by:

  • Not overcrowding it
  • Organizing by food type (for example, keep all your condiments together, all your beverages grouped together)
  • Disposing of spoiled food, rotting fruit, and moldy sauces promptly to avoid potential cross-contamination
  • Keeping an open box of baking soda at the back of a shelf to neutralize odors
  • Cleaning up all leaks and spills right when they happen to avoid more and harder labor later

If even these summary steps sound like too much for you to fit into your busy schedule, call in a professional to get your kitchen sparkling for you! Home Services Enterprise would be delighted to be your kitchen cleaner, on either a one-time or ongoing basis. Contact us today to talk about all your cleaning and organizing needs.

Home Services Enterprise  | 301-674-9564  | www.homeservicesenterprise.com

Start the New Year Off Right

Every January, people all over the world make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions … and by February, many of them are already kaput because they’re too challenging or time-consuming to maintain, like going to the gym every day, meditating every morning, or calling your mother-in-law every Sunday.

But “home resolutions” are much easier to keep than personal resolutions and will make your life far more manageable and far less stressful, getting you off to a good start for your best year yet! Here are our top three suggestions to get your house in order and keep it that way throughout the coming year:

Home Resolution #1: Make Your Home Safe. Many homeowners are not aware that they’re living with potential health hazards and fire risks in their midst. Check for harmful gases and fumes, such as radon and carbon monoxide, by scheduling an appointment or simply by installing detectors in your home. Have your chimney cleaned, especially if you’ll be burning fires during the colder months. Get your dryer vent cleaned, then keep the dryer clear of lint buildup to avoid this dangerous fire hazard. If you have small children or vulnerable animals in the home, install outlet protectors.

Home Resolution #2: Organize & Streamline. One of the quickest ways to de-stress your life is to de-clutter your environment. A start-of-the-year purge will make space for new additions and clear the path to more relaxation. Go room to room collecting things you no longer use, no longer wear, or no longer work. Toss out what’s disposable; donate what’s salvageable. Bring winter clothes to the front of your closet, find an easily accessible spot for the vacuum you’re always reaching for, set up a pet-feeding station that won’t have you spilling kibbles and seeds all over the place. You’ll be amazed by how much satisfaction you’ll get from finding a place for everything and having everything in its place.

Home Resolution #3: Work Out a Cleaning System. There’s no need to waste a whole weekend cleaning your house if you set up a plan to keep a handle on things day by day, in small doses each time. Clean and put away the dishes after every meal instead of waiting until the sink is full. Dust one room one day, another a few days later. Tackle one bathroom at a time, one fixture at a time: today, the tub; tomorrow, the toilet. Set alarms to change sheets every few weeks or to do a load of whites on Monday, darks on Thursday. If you take just a few minutes each morning to straighten up your sink area and put your dirty clothes in the hamper, you’ll come home each evening to more orderly and comforting spaces. Just a little time invested now will grant you a lot more leisure time later!

Home Services Enterprises can keep your house immaculate and in order, whether on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Plan a schedule that best suits you and your family by contacting us today:

Home Services Enterprise  | 301-674-9564  | www.homeservicesenterprise.com

Christmas Countdown

Holiday Decorating House Cleaning

The moment the Thanksgiving dishes are done, the season of gift-giving takes off at a mad dash—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa … the holy trinity of December holidays—and for those of us doing the holiday hosting, it can be anything but a time of joyous celebration.

Why not return some of the fun and festivity to the month with this five-step plan that will ease your load and alleviate your stress? By the time everyone convenes around your holiday table, you’ll be sitting pretty in a home that’s been prepped to perfection!

  1. ORGANIZE: Before you do anything to commence December’s frenzy, lay the foundation now with some basic organizational tasks to pave the way for a smoother ride later. Empty the pantry, fridge, and freezer of expired, unused, and unneeded items to make room for what’s to come. Get the boxes down from the attic and sort through what you’ll be using this year and what you won’t so everything will be at hand when you’re ready for it. Go through each and every room of your home where company will be visiting or staying and declutter what’s cluttered, stash those seasonal items that are just taking up room for the winter, note what’s needed there to accommodate your guests. Now’s a great time to donate whatever you don’t need anymore to those who are less fortunate.
  2. PLAN: Now it’s time to make lists. Pick recipes now and list out all the ingredients you’ll need to make them. Gather gift lists now, and next to each chosen present, jot down the store you’ll need to visit to procure it. Mark on the calendar what days are set aside for what tasks so you can realistically and comfortably manage them all, like laundering the holiday linens, stocking the bathrooms with guest soaps and holiday towels, mailing the holiday cards. Create a timeline for your baking and cooking days so you’ll allow yourself adequate time in the kitchen. Check your stock of wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows now and designate a gift-wrapping station somewhere convenient in your home.
  3. CLEAN: Once you know what needs doing, making, and buying, create a clean slate to work from. Polish the furniture and the silver. Scour the bathrooms. Make sure all the pots and pans and serving dishes you’ll be using are in good shape for the big day. Dust and vacuum the guest rooms and make up the beds. Rake the yard, wipe the windows, mop the floors.
  4. SHOP: Gather all those lists from step 2 and order them efficiently and effectively. Instead of going uptown one day for Johnny’s hockey stick and the next day for the butcher shop, combine that into one trip. Make two runs to the mall rather than ten by grouping all the stores you can hit in one fell swoop, preferably during off-hours to avoid long lines and wait times. Map out the quickest and most streamlined route for all your stops so you don’t have to circle back in the afternoon to where you just were in the morning.
  5. DECORATE: Finally, the fun part! Although you likely took care of the outdoor decorations on Black Friday, it’s time now to set the mood and bask in the beauty of the season indoors. Create an inviting entryway with wreaths, boughs of holly, and twinkle lights. Warm up your living room with stacked wood at the ready by the fireplace. Roll out colorful runners, placemats, and tablecloths. Hang stockings and trim the tree. Simmer cider on the stove. Load a basket with spiced pinecones, set evergreen-scented candles on counters, and plug in aromatic air fresheners. And don’t forget to fill the candy dishes on side tables for that extra touch of sweetness!

Want to make the season of giving even more special? Gift yourself by calling on Home Services Enterprise to take care of the organizing and cleaning for you. Make the season merrier by booking an appointment today: 301-674-9564 or www.homeservicesenterprise.com