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.

4 Tips to Get the Most from Your Vacation

vacationHave you ever come home from vacation… only to feel like you need a vacation? From overscheduling activities to rushing out of the house to get to the airport on time, vacations can at times feel more stressful than enjoyable.

A little planning and prevention goes a long way. These vacation tips don’t require much time or energy, but they can increase joy and decrease stress immeasurably:

  • Schedule down time. You’ve been going strong and working hard, and you’re excited to spend a week doing things you enjoy. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Go ahead and schedule scuba diving, sight-seeing, zip lining, and anything else you can’t wait to try. Just make sure you also schedule time for naps, books, movies, and massages!
  • Come home to a clean, clutter-free environment. In the rush to get out the door to vacation, all too often we tend to forget that we will return home to find things exactly as we left them. Nobody likes coming home after a long day of travel to find clutter, messes, and maybe even breakfast left out from a week ago. Plan an extra half hour before you leave to tidy things up. Better yet, have your home professionally cleaned while you’re away! What could be better than returning home from vacation to a home as neat and tidy as you first found your hotel room?
  • Stay hydrated. From new environments to perhaps more cocktails than usual, drinking plenty of water is an inexpensive, easy, and effective way to help rid your body of toxins and keep your energy levels high.
  • Give yourself some breathing room. It’s always good to give yourself at least a day at home after a vacation before jumping back into life’s routines. This will give you time to get caught up on things like laundry from your vacation and mail that arrived while you were away. Details like these may seem small, but doing them leisurely on a day off is much easier than trying to squeeze them in while jumping back into your daily routine.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So plan ahead, have a fantastic vacation, and return to your daily routine feeling refreshed, relaxed, and renewed – you know, like you’ve actually had a vacation!

Improving Air Quality: How To Avoid Allergies

Little is more gorgeous than a Maryland spring. Our zone supports lovely foliage and plant life, beautiful sunlight streams in regularly, and all of our favorite nature companions come out to play. Unfortunately, not all of spring can be roses and buttercups. You know the thorn we’re talking about, right?

The itchy, sneezy nuisance called allergies also makes an appearance in our favorite season, as well. Fortunately for you, Home Services Enterprises knows a thing or two about keeping the worst of mother nature at bay!

Reducing Allergens In Your Home: A Brief Manual

The air quality of your home is dependent of a number of factors; most of which can easily be controlled by taking the right steps:

  • Adequate humidity levels.When you hear the word humidity, it conjures up an unpleasant, sticky and hot feeling, right? Well, that’s not entirely the case, actually. Humidity in the home (specifically, relative humidity) plays a vital role in keeping both you and your home healthy. Experts state that you want to keep your home at between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity to reduce allergies, improve air quality, and preserve furniture. To do this, look into adding a whole home humidifier. You might look into a dehumidifier for balance, but usually air conditioners and furnaces serve this function just fine.
  • Order in for a duct cleaning.The ductwork in your home is a hotbed for nasty dust, debris, pollen and pet dander. Have it professionally cleaned annually or biannually, and you’ll soon be breathing much, much easier.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly.Particularly in the spring (and fall) months, be sure to go about these chores weekly to reduce buildup and keep your symptoms at a minimum.
  • Avoid harmful chemicals.Many commercial cleaners do just fine at killing bacteria, but they can be killer on your sinuses as well. Pursue the use of organic cleaners or other alternatives to keep this particular culprit to a minimum.
  • Order a carpet cleaning.Much like your ducts, carpets and rugs are a breeding ground for all of our worst allergens. Dander, dust and even mites can practically add a second layer to your fabrics. Have them professionally cleaned!

Superior Cleaning Services In Maryland With Home Services Enterprise

Need some assistance getting your home ready for the spring months? Our Rockville experts can bring you the professional touch your home craves!

 

Organizing

In our modern work, time is becoming more and more of a scarce commodity. It seems like the more “time saving” products, tools,appliances and items we amass, the less time we have. Why is that? Well, the blame could be laid at the feet of more than one issue here, but we’d like to tackle the obvious elephant in the room.

Amassing more and more stuff has never saved time! Each new possession has to have a place, a time to be used, and it can all become overwhelming rather quickly. So what’s our solution to this modern-day woe? Appropriate, simplistic organization!

How To Organize: The Basics

First off, be sure to:

  • Enlist the help of all occupants.Whether it be family, roommates, tenants; organization is worthless unless everyone is on the same page.
  • Make a plan.Organize your organization effort! Put the plan to paper and display it somewhere where everyone can clearly see, reference and follow it.
  • Tackle the big stuff.Don’t do the small things first and waste your strongest effort on the piddly  Losing steam before the biggest messes are addressed can be demoralizing, and doesn’t get you very far.

Organizing Tips: How To Maximize Space and Time Saving

So now everyone is on board, and you’re ready to build that plan. But how do you go about it?

  • More than half of the modern homes that exist today hold onto tools, appliances, clothing and items that they haven’t even used in years. Get rid of it! These all contribute to stress-inducing clutter. As a general rule, if you haven’t needed it for two years, you don’t need it.
  • For items that are rarely used, or hold purely sentimental value, get a storage unit to relocate them. Out of sight, out of mind, but still available!
  • Needed documents should be relocated to an alphabetical filing cabinet or a series of desk-bound drawers that have an alphabetical catalog.
  • Use dual furniture.Running out of floor space and feeling cramped? Look for dual furniture that functions as storage, such as a hideaway ottoman for electronics, or fold-out shelving.

Professional Organization With Home Services Enterprise in Maryland

Need that professional touch to get the organization you need? Contact our professionals for the best cleaning and organizing services in Rockville!