Decluttering and Organizing Your Home and Office

Organizing and DeCluttering

Everyone can always benefit from a clean, efficient, and organized work space – whether you’re a student trying to study for a test, or a work-at-home mom trying to run a business from home. As we head into spring, you may find that the clutter from the winter has begun to take over. From back-to-school shopping last September to the Holidays and beyond, now is a great time to clear out what’s no longer needed.

Our work spaces should always be a high priority when it comes to staying organized. Studies have shown that keeping an organized desk helps to boost productivity. When you start with a clear work surface, your mind opens up to the project at hand more easily, without being distracted by any other unfinished projects that may be lying around your office.

Where should you begin? The biggest trick is to not bite off more than you can chew. Start with a small area; even as small as one desk drawer. If that goes well and you have time to move on, tackle the next drawer or perhaps a shelf. You can always take on more if you finish a small section. Sticking with small sections allows you to reach completion on small projects in a short period of time, whereas trying to do a whole room at once can feel overwhelming.

If you simply do not have the time to go through and clean out, organize, and de-clutter your home or office, you can always hire an expert to come in and take care of that for you. Cleaning services and organizing experts are available to come in and assist you or even take care of the whole job for you.

We all tend to accumulate things throughout the year, and especially during the winter. The key is, are you getting rid of what’s no longer needed, or just pushing it into a corner of your office? Accumulating too many things leads to disorganization and chaos, which can have a negative effect on productivity. Get off to a good start this spring with a fresh, clean, and organized work area. You will be happier and healthier – and so will your family!

A Cozy Nest for the Winter

Once February is upon us, the weather can get so cold that we may wish we could simply hibernate until spring. Assuming that’s not an option for you, we’ve got the next best thing: Suggestions to make your home as cozy as can be during this cold time. And best of all, you don’t need to leave the house to do any of them.

Your Bed
Sheets may get washed regularly, but the comforter doesn’t always get the same care. Freshen things up by washing all of your linens, including the bed skirt. While the washer is running, give your mattress a flip.

Filters, Filters, Filters
Replace any filters in your home. Check the furnace filter and the kitchen range hood. Water filters may be in the fridge, the basement, or under your kitchen sink.

Clouds of Dust
Dust collects everywhere, especially in spots up high where we may not clean on a regular basis. Grab your step ladder and wipe down ceiling fans, light fixtures, and door and window frames.

Pillow Time
Breathe new life into your pillows by putting them through a cycle in the dryer. Be sure to have the dryer heat turned off when you do this.

Clean Out the Fridge
While you’re in the fridge checking for the water filter, look for any expired or old leftovers that are ready to go to the trash or compost.

Disposal Time
Cut up a fresh lemon into ice-cube sized pieces. Put the pieces in the freezer. Once frozen, put them down your garbage disposal and run it with no water until the frozen lemon chunks are gone. Once they’re gone, turn the water on to rinse. The frozen lemon chunks not only grind food residue off of the disposal blades, they also leave your sink smelling fresh.

Once you’ve spent just a little time refreshing your home, the rest of winter can fly by while you’re comfy and cozy in the nest you’ve created for yourself. If you’d like help with of these steps or any other tasks to keep your home clean, organized and cozy, give us a call any time: 301-674-9564

5 Fun Ways to Clean House After the Holidays

Little girl wiping  dust off a kid chair

Now that the excitement of the holidays had settled, you may look around your home and find a bit of a disaster area. Whether you had holiday gatherings and house guests or traveled to see loved ones, the change in routine that the holidays bring can make it hard to keep things clean and organized.

Here are a few fun ways to get things back in order:

  • Have a party. Organize cleaning parties with a small group of friends where you all agree to help clean each other’s houses. Choose whose house will be first, and make the cleaning process fun by having races, singing along to loud music, and enjoying the support of community.
  • Take a vacation. If cleaning parties sound like the furthest thing from fun to you, hire a cleaning company (like us!) to come in while you’re on vacation and take care of everything for you, from laundry and dishes to organizing closets and paying your bills.
  • Barter the broom. Another creative way to get your house clean is to barter with a friend or neighbor. Find something you love to share with others (cooking, for example) and barter for cleaning services – trade a few homemade casseroles for a clean house.
  • Take it slow. If you’d rather clean things yourself but don’t have much time, remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Try doing one room a day. Or start with dusting, and do the bathrooms another day and floors another. Taking small but consistent steps can get your house clean and keep you stress-free.
  • Get the kids involved. Make it a family event where everyone pitches in. And to celebrate the teamwork, take each other out to the movies or dinner when you’re done. The best part is that you’ll come home to a nice, clean house!

No matter how you choose to clean house, the results are always worth it. We encourage you to have fun with the process, and to call us if there is anything we can do to help. We wish you a Happy, Clean, and Healthy New Year!

Tips for Staying Organized During the Holidays

Holiday Cleaning

It’s that time of year again. December, filled with holidays, family gatherings, parties, and more as we head toward the New Year. Our calendars can get so full this time of year that keeping the house clean and organized can sometimes feel impossible.

Here are some tips to help you stay sane during this busy time of year:

  • Clean Out the Paperwork: Those piles of bills and junk mail may not take up much room on the counter, but they can certainly add stress every time you see them. Dedicating just one hour to go through it all and at least get it organized can take a weight off of your shoulders.
  • Get Ready for Guests: If you’ll be having guests stay with you at some point, it’s never too early to prepare a basket of fresh linens and bath towels. This way you won’t be rushing to get everything ready on the day they arrive.
  • Double the Recipe: As you prepare meals and do your grocery shopping, you may want to go ahead and double your recipes. It takes about the same amount of time and work, but you end up with a freezer full of leftovers. These will come in very handy on those days when you get home late after school plays, get-togethers, and more.
  • Tame the Tupperware: Speaking of leftovers, this is a great time to go through your Tupperware and match lids to containers. We inevitably end up with lids with no matching containers and vice versa. But until we identify which ones have no match, think of how many minutes are wasted looking for the lid that doesn’t exist! These minutes add up quickly, but it doesn’t take very long to go through and get rid of mismatched pieces.

Everyone here at Home Services Enterprise wishes you a joyful and stress-free holiday season. If there is anything we can do to help make things easier for you, from house cleaning and laundry to watering your plants while you’re away, don’t hesitate to give us a call at: 301.674.9564

Give Your Kitchen Some TLC

Residential Kitchen Cleaning

No matter how clean you keep your house or how hard you try to stay on top of keeping things neat and organized, there are always those little things that build up and need some special attention every once in a while – especially in the kitchen.

Here’s a rundown of some simple steps you can take, whenever needed, to give your kitchen a little TLC:

Toaster Oven
The toaster oven is one of the most versatile appliances in the kitchen. To give your toaster oven a thorough cleaning, start with the crumbs. Remove the crumb tray, and dump any crumbs out of the toaster oven and into the trash. Next remove any cooking racks and clean either by soaking in soapy water until baked-on food is easy to remove. Finally, clean the oven itself with your preferred all-purpose cleaner, paying special attention to the glass.

Kitchen Sink
The kitchen sink is something that may need special attention more often than anything else. You can clean any spots or grime in your sink with an all-purpose cleanser. To sanitize your sink, fill it with warm water, and add a tablespoon of bleach. Let that sit for about ten minutes, and then rinse it all out.

Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, there is an easy way to both keep it running smoothly and smelling nice. Cut a few lemons into thin wedges, place them in a Ziploc bag, and then freeze the wedges. Any time your disposal needs a little freshening, simply put a few frozen lemon wedges down the drain and turn on the disposal for about ten seconds. Then turn on the water with the disposal still running for another few seconds, and viola – you have a clean and fresh garbage disposal. Save the rest of the wedges in the freezer for next time.

Refrigerator
The most important thing you can do for your refrigerator is to go through its contents regularly, throwing out any old or expired food. Aside from that, give the trays and drawers a quick wipe-down or scrubbing as needed.

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to make sure your kitchen is ready for anything. Even if you’re not cooking any big meals at your home, cleaning out your fridge will ensure that you’re ready to receive leftovers and sweets at any moment!

6 Tips for Fall Cleaning and Maintenance

 As we get ready for the leaves to change color and the weather to get colder, a little preparation can go a long way toward getting your home ready for winter. Just like we do regular oil changes and tune ups on our vehicles to make sure they are running safely, a few quick preventative measures in your home can go a long way toward preventing costly and time consuming repairs once winter hits.

Follow these easy tips to put your mind at ease this autumn:

  • Inspect Your Doors and Windows. Check for any weather stripping or caulking that may be worn and need replacing. Making sure that all windows and doors are making a good seal will go a long way toward not only making your home comfortable and warm, but also saving money on heating your home.
  • Give Your Carpets and Floors a Good Cleaning. Just like a good spring cleaning gets rid of the dust of winter, start the colder seasons with a professional carpet cleaning to remove all of the dirt from summer. This will also remove any allergens that may have collected in the carpets during the warmer seasons.
  • Clean Your Upholstery and Drapes. Like your carpets, your furniture and curtains may harbor all sort of summer dust and allergens. Different types of materials and fabric will need different care, so be sure to call a professional for cleaning.
  • Have Your Fireplace and Chimney Cleaned. Not only do you want to be sure that your flue is functioning properly and keeping cold air out when your fireplace isn’t in use, you also want to make sure your chimney is in good shape and free of creosote, ready to provide a safe environment for cozy fires all winter long.
  • Check Your Heating System. It’s no fun when your furnace shuts down on a Friday night during a snowstorm. Get your heating system serviced and be sure to change your filters regularly. Checking for any gaps or leaks in your ductwork will also help save on heating costs.
  • Check Your Roof. Make sure your roof is in good shape, with good sealing. Replace any caulk and have any needed repairs done before snow might encourage leaks.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly true when it comes to a making sure you have a safe and cozy place to call home this winter.

How to Stay Organized During Back to School Season

It’s that time of year again… back to school! Summer is officially over, and the house is a lot quieter during the day. Now that the back to school shopping is done and the new classrooms have been found, it’s time to focus on what your home needs to stay organized.

Every home and every family is different, but there are some general tips and tools that can be beneficial in any household:

  • Clean out your closets and drawers: When you have growing children, a year is a long time for things to accumulate, especially things that are no longer needed. Go through all storage areas, closets, and drawers, and get rid of everything that’s no longer useful: clothing and shoes that have been outgrown, pencils and crayons that are too short to use, etc.
  • Create a homework and study area: Each child is different, and may need different types of environments in order to do his or her best work. Sometimes a child does best working at the kitchen table, where a parent might be close by in case any help is needed. Some children need to be in a quiet space with no distractions. Find out what works best for each child, and organize a homework spot that will help them do their best.
  • Hire a cleaning service: Back to school can be a busy time for everyone, parents included. With parent-teacher meetings, sports, and so many new things going on, keeping a clean and organized home may be the last thing you have time to do.

At Home Services Enterprise, we are happy to provide as much or as little support as you need to keep your home clutter free and running smoothly. From an overall cleaning to specific details like washing, folding, and ironing your laundry or making beds, you can count on us. Give us a call today at 301-674-9564.

How to Choose the Right Storage Containers for Your Space

We’ve all experienced that one (or more!) area of the house that just stays cluttered. It might be a small area like a “junk” drawer, a larger area like the closet you’re afraid to open because everything will fall out, or an entire room.

While the thought of organizing such cluttered areas can seem overwhelming, there are a few simple rules and steps you can take that will make the whole process much smoother.

Often people think the first step is to run out and buy storage containers so that they will have places to put things as they begin to organize. But as you’ll see, this is actually one of the last steps you’ll want to take.

Follow these guidelines for a smooth organizing process:

  1. Determine what to keep, what to throw out, and what to give away or sell. Make four piles, and go through absolutely everything. Finishing this step before moving on to others will really help reduce the amount of clutter you’re dealing with. Once you’ve gone through everything, be sure to actually get rid of items in the throw out, sell, and give away piles.
  2. Once you’re down to the pile of things you’re keeping, it’s time to begin organizing. This is really based on personal preference. You may end up with a section that includes tape, pencils, and paper clips and grows into an office supply pile. You may end up with a pile of stuffed animals that would be nice to display on a shelf. As you start to see the themes emerging, you can begin to decide where these things would best be stored.
  3. Now that you’ve got your organized sections, it’s time to determine how much and what style of storage containers you’ll need. A pile of office supply items might need a drawer divider to go in a desk drawer. Important documents might need a small filing box. Several pairs of shoes might need shoe cubbies, or a hanging shoe organizer if in a closet. Make a list of all of the storage items you need (better yet, take photos with your phone to refer to while shopping) and head to the store to find your perfect solutions.
  4. The last step, of course, is the most fun. Time to put your carefully organized items into storage solutions chosen specifically for those items.

The most important thing you can do is take the whole process one step at a time. Something like a drawer can easily be organized in a day. But something like a whole room, depending on how much clutter it contains, could take several days. Setting realistic expectations is important for keeping the process stress-free.

Reboot Your Environment for Greater Productivity

Have you ever experienced using a computer that had too many browsers open, too many programs running, or maybe even a virus? The result of any of those circumstances includes many unnecessary and unfortunate side effects: the computer will work much slower, it may malfunction, and it can even shut down unexpectedly, causing you to lose progress on your work. Sometimes we just need to close everything and reboot the computer in order for it to function at its highest capacity.

It turns out that the environment in which we live and work is very similar: unfinished projects (everything from unfolded laundry and unwashed dishes to cluttered desks and overflowing trash cans) are like those open programs running in the background on your computer. They slow you down throughout the day, taking valuable attention from the things you really want to focus on. Every time you see those dishes or laundry, it saps your energy just a little bit, as you remind yourself yet again, “Ugh. I still need to get to that.”

Not to mention the fact that as these tasks remain unfinished, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. And getting sick will certainly slow you down even further.

Studies have shown that a cluttered work or living space hampers productivity. Sometimes we just need to take a few hours and “reboot” our space. As you complete each task that’s been sitting in the background, it’s like you’re closing all of those programs running in the background on your computer. As you take the last steps and dust or disinfect the space, you’re protecting yourself and those around you from getting sick, just as you would protect your computer from viruses.

Just a few hours can make a huge difference. Set some time aside for a “reboot”. When you’re ready to get started, simply look around and dive into all of the things that need attention:

  • Fold and put away blankets and throw pillows and make the beds
  • Run the dishwasher and put all dishes away
  • Go through anything that’s been piling up: mail, papers, etc., and sort through it.
  • Wipe down and dust all surfaces
  • Get rid of anything you no longer use or need
  • Clean all laundry, fold, and put it away
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Take out trash and recycling
  • Clean floors and windows

If you don’t have the time to do all of this yourself, give us a call at Home Services Enterprise today for all your cleaning needs at (301) 674-9564. We service the Metropolitan area including DC, Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg and surrounding areas.

Cleaning Up After Moving Out

cleaning after move out

Whether you’re making sure you get your security deposit back after renting, or making sure you are fulfilling the requirements of the contract for selling your house, you’ll need to make sure you leave things clean after you move out.

Don’t try to keep it clean while you’re loading up the moving truck. While you still need to be careful not to cause damage to walls while moving furniture out, and you want to make sure you don’t stain carpets, don’t worry about things like dust and dirt while moving your things. Putting protective runners made of plastic over high traffic areas can help protect floors and keep things worry free.

Once the place is empty, it’s time to start cleaning.

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

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 products that may have spilled. Also be sure to remove all shower curtains and trash cans.

Kitchen:
Clean the oven. If you have a self-cleaning oven, you may want to do this a day or two ahead of time, as it takes a few hours and can have a strong odor. Dust the inside of all cabinets and scrub if necessary. Wipe down the front of all appliances and cabinets. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator and the sink. Clean and disinfect all countertops, the stovetop, and the faucet.

Windows and Mirrors:
Make sure you clean all windows as well as any mirrors that are staying with the house or apartment. Be sure to get the mirrors in the bathrooms as well.

Floors:
Last, go through the whole house and clean all floors. Vacuum, sweep, mop, or polish where appropriate.

Garage:
The garage doesn’t need to shine, but it should be empty, swept, and free of cobwebs.

Of course, moving is stressful enough without having to worry about cleaning up after moving out. Another option is to hire a professional cleaning service to come through after you’ve moved out. Just be sure to time things well so that all cleaning will be done before the buyers or the owners do the final walk-through.