Four quick tips dry those winter boots (or shoes)!

Happy new year, folks! At the time of writing this article (with windchill) it is currently a balmy TWO degrees in Richmond, VA. That being said, it is a crucial time of year to be wearing all the winter gear you can muster, especially boots! But what happens when you, or your child, inadvertently get those bad boys wet? Maybe you got some snow inside them, maybe your child stepped in a giant semi-frozen puddle, whatever the case... We've done the research to save you some time, check it out!

  • First, something to avoid: high heat

    Don't be tempted to blast a hair drier set at high heat inside those boots! Similarly, don't put them over a floor register or in front of your heater. All of that high heat will dry your footwear quickly, but it can also greatly reduce their lifespan. All of that dry heat quickly leads to leather and other fabrics shrinking and pulling away from the rest of the shoe, and, at the same time, this method will also weaken the glue holding your footwear together -- a brutal combination! Now let's get to what you should do.
  • Use a fan

    Airflow is the name of the game when it comes to effectively drying things! This method pictured actually uses a couple of "S" hooks to hang the lace-less footwear from the fan. This method may not work with the bigger, bulkier boots -- but you can still set the footwear down and aim the fan toward the wet boots. If you're able to hang the shoes or boots from you fan, be sure to place a towel underneath everything because there will be a good amount of dripping water as everything dries!
  • Use balled-up newspaper

    The tried-and-true method of balled-up newspaper! In this writer's opinion, the best way to dry footwear with this method is to loosely ball up newspaper and pack it into your boots loosely enough that there is still some airflow. Really tightly-packed newspaper won't leave much room for osmosis to work its magic, and your boots will take way too long to dry! If you're doing things right, the "newspaper method" will work fairly quickly and you'll need to be changing newspaper frequently until everything's dry. It sounds like a lot of work, true, but avoiding wet feet in the winter; or stinky, mildew-y footwear is worth all the work!
  • Consider purchasing a boot dryer

    Consider investing in a boot dryer! If drying boots and shoes is a hassle you run into often, especially if you have a lot of young ones running around outdoors, consider making this investment. Boot dryers on major retail websites like Amazon run about $35, and you can even get much smaller insertable boot dryers -- these cost even less and pack away well enough when not needed. These work their major at a very even, low heat -- reducing the chances of damaging your footwear in the name of dry feet.

There you have it, folks! We hope you can put this wisdom to good use and keep feet (and footwear!) clean, dry, and odor-free. Stay warm and dry out there this winter, and if you'd like to spend more time relaxing and less time cleaning: consider giving us a call!

Four New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Yourself, Your Home, and Your Family!

2018 is just a few days away! Have you given any thought to New Year's resolutions? We've got four great suggestions that can only lead to a happier home. Give this a read and hey, Happy New Year!

  • Downsize and organize

    While this image may be a little too picture-perfect, strive to find a realistic balance between what you desire and what you can accomplish. A good way to get started? Get rid of things you simply don't need. Take a look at our blog post from late October, discussing the Marie Kondo method of de-cluttering and organization. Long story short: The less things you have cluttering your home, the less things there will be taking up space and creating a disorganized mess. Walking into a clean and organized home is an incredible cognitive boost! Conversely, walking into a cluttered mess every time you get home from your long day at work can go a long way toward stressing you the heck out.
  • Establish a strong routine

    If you read our last blog post, "Four Tips to Make it Through the Holiday Daze," you'll recognize this image. We're using it here and bringing up the subject of "routines" again because a good routine is that important! If you already have a routine strive to streamline it even more, or maybe even throw in another daily challenge like exercising more often. The value of a good routine is that you can find a good rhythm with all your daily tasks, making everything seem easy-breezy. The easier your day seems, the less stressed you are -- the less stressed you are, the happier you'll be! Maybe just one part of your routine needs some work? If, for example, you find a good wind-down routine before bed time, you'll fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up feeling even more rejuvenated than normal!
  • Spend more time with family 

    Have you downsized and organized? And you've established a better routine? Well then you're certain to have some more time to yourself! Why not use some of that to spend more time with the family? Just take a look at this article from BrainFodder.com to see the near-innumerable benefits of family meals -- spoiler alert, according to this article your children will be healthier, smarter, safer, and happier. Resolve to spend more time with your fam and you'll be happier and healthier yourself!
  • Educate yourself on financial planning

    Check out this article from TheBalance.com, "Personal Finance 101." From budgeting to cutting expenses to getting out of debt, they go over some important aspects of financial planning. Better financial planning means more money which means you can repair those things that need to repaired in your home, maybe expand your home, or even buy your first home. Important stuff!

Thanks for visiting us and giving this a read! As always, we hope you've learned a thing or two. Another surefire way to give yourself some more time? Consider giving us a call and letting us do the cleaning for you, while you spend more time with your family!

Four Tips to Make it Through the Holiday Daze!

Do the holidays put you in a holi-daze? It's an unfortunate truth that this time of thanksgiving, celebration, and togetherness can in fact stress people out almost beyond their limit. Well, we're here with some advice on how you can make it through the holidays, and, hopefully enjoy them!

  • Lift your mood with sunlight!

    Sunlight stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which affects millions of Americans each year! Get some sunlight when you can (not easy this time of year, granted), and if those skies seem persistently gray both literally and figuratively speaking, consider asking your doctor about phototherapy -- a treatment that utilizes doses of full-spectrum light.
  • Do less

    If this looks at all familiar to you then you need to consider pumping those brakes on all those things that you do. Many of you are probably thinking, "Ha! Not likely! I'm too busy!" But you really, really need to take a look at your schedule and figure out what needs to be cut to give you more time to enjoy life. According to a Forbes article,  David Meyer from the University of Michigan published a study recently that showed that switching what you’re doing mid-task increases the time it takes you to finish both tasks by 25%.'Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes,' Meyer said. “Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.”Microsoft decided to study this phenomenon in their workers and found that it took people an average of 15 minutes to return to their important projects (such as writing reports or computer code) every time they were interrupted by emails, phone calls or other messages." And that's taking a look at one's schedule on a minute-to-minute basis, there are studies indicating that being busy all the time can be a real career impediment -- not to mention a burden on family and personal life. Give it some thought!
  • Massage your hoku

    Massage your what?! Your hoku point! While well-designed studies evaluating the efficacy of traditional medicine practices are few and far-between, take a look at this Michigan University article, "Brain Imaging Study Shows How Acupressure Fights Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors." So, the "hoku point" is, according to The Energy Healing Site, "located on the back of the hand, in the webbing where the thumb and index finger meet. Find the exact point by bringing your thumb and index finger together. The muscle will bulge a little--that's the spot.It can relieve headaches, as well as joint and muscle pain anywhere in the body. It is also good for soothing and calming, and for letting go of grief."
  • During this busy holiday season, try to stick with your daily routine. Don't have one? Resolve to start one.
    While the last tip stressed trying to make yourself less busy, it's important to find balance between "too busy," and the other end of the spectrum "good routine." According to GrowYouthful.com, "keeping to a regular schedule has both physical and mental benefits. Your body thrives on homeostasis - maintaining internal stability after some outside upset has caused an imbalance. Your environment is changing all the time, yet your body constantly adjusts itself to create the steady internal state that it needs for health and long life. Missing sleep or getting an unexpected sugar hit affects this healthy state of homeostasis.Growth hormones, digestive hormones, sex hormones, cortisol, insulin, blood glucose, feel-good hormones - they all have regular cycles throughout the day. They have a powerful effect on the best time of day for physical activities, thinking and creativity, sex and sports performance." If you don't have a good routine, resolve in 2018 to find one! And if you're into the idea of good New Year's resolutions to maximize your home organization and productivity, stay tuned for next week's article!

That brings us to the close of another World Class Cleaning blog post; as always, we hope you've learned something! A good way to make yourself a little less busy? Give us a call and let us keep your home tidy while you spend more time relaxing!

p.s. bonus fifth tip: go for a walk! That's right, walk that stress away! According to Ann Kulze, MD, "The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep."

Three Top Tips to “Winterize” Your Entryway

The countdown is on! Winter solstice is at 11:28 AM on December 21st. You're about to be cooped up in your home all winter long, and that means it's gonna take a little more effort to keep things tidy. Instead of just staying on top of the cleaning, why not take some measures to prevent some of the dirt and dust entering your home? A good place to start is that very entryway people use to come into your home -- your front door! We've got three handy-dandy tips on winterizing your entryway!

  1. Get a boot scraper!

    Not pictured: All that dirty black snow that may accumulate on your duck boots -- why not scrape it  all off before you even get in your home? And when we have a warm weather spike after snow, well then, there may very well be mud everywhere. Stop it in its tracks! Put this bad boy on your front porch and you're good to go.
  2. Get a tough-as-heck Coir "Welcome" mat

    Wait, what is Coir?! It's a natural fiber extracted from coconut husk. The Coir fibers are extracted from between the outer shell and hard internal shell of the coconut; and are then screened, graded, washed and compressed into bricks. These door mats are sustainable, durable, look good, and will serve as a good way to get those boots and shoes even cleaner once they've run through your new boot scraper. But what's the next step after the mat?
  3. Bring in a bench!

    Add some flair to your foyer with a bench that also serves as a spot to take a quick seat and get those boots (or shoes) off your feet before they take one more step in your home!

Well, there you have it folks! Consider these options and you'll be a few steps ahead (ha! get it?!) of the wintry mess that may visit your home. And if you want your place to really shine, give us a call! We'll take care of your home and give you more time to get cozy with your family this winter.

Five of our Favorite Cleaning Hacks

We've done the research for you so that you can learn a thing or two and get on with your day! We've scoured the internet and we've come up with a list of five of our favorite cleaning hacks. Without further ado...

Five of World Class Cleaning's Favorite Cleaning Hacks
  1.  Use a bowl of water to clean your microwave

    Instead of spraying a bunch of cleaners in the small space you use to heat up food, why not microwave a bowl of water in there to steam the inside of the microwave oven? The steam with loosen anything caked on the walls of the oven and allow you to wipe most things up with ease. Extra stubborn mess? Add a little bit of lemon juice to the bowl of water!
  2.  "Blend" soapy water in your blender to clean it

    You could meticulously get your hand and wrist and a soapy sponge down into the small space of the blender in an almost-futile attempt to get into every nook and cranny and remove every bit of food debris... or you could add some soap and water to your blender when you're done using it and press the "start" button! Or "pulse," or "puree," or "blend," or whatever the heck the button says, this will be a much faster way to get your blender clean! Afterward, hit it with a quick sponge-finish and your blender will be cleaner than you've seen it in some time.
  3.  Line the bottom of your trashcan with old newspaper


    This writer was not even aware of this cleaning hack until it came time to do some research for this article!  Needless to say, there will be some old newspaper lining the bottom of a trash can very soon! This will make it easier for you to stay on top of that mess (and odor) that accumulates on the bottom of the garbage bin.
  4.  Fight oil with oil

    Ah, the old adage, "oil and water don't mix." It's true! And it applies to those grease stains that accumulate around your kitchen range. Those cabinets above the range, are they getting kind of greasy? Use a paper towel coated with a bit of olive oil and gently rub until clean. Oil collects oil; the clean olive oil removes the grease and is good for the wood of your cabinet, too! This same principle works with the pores of your face and coconut oil, too: rub just a bit of coconut oil on the tips of your fingers until melted, and then rub in gently onto your face. Splash your face with a bit of lukewarm water and gently pat dry with a towel -- the clean coconut oil replaces the natural (and somewhat dirty) oil in the pores of your skin and leaves your skin feeling smooth and fresh!
  5. Use a dry towel in the dryer

    This one is so simple! Place a dry, fluffy towel in the dryer with your wet laundry and let 'er rip. The towel will collect some of the moisture from the wet clothes and reduce the time (and, more importantly, the energy) it takes for your dryer to dry your clothes. There is one rarely-mentioned caveat, though! Take the towel out after about fifteen minutes! If you leave it in for the whole cycle it may be counter-effective. If you're really into this idea, you could also consider investing in a pack of dryer balls. Do a quick Google search for "wool dryer balls" and the first result to pop up will yield a product with 14.7 thousand reviews and a 4.6 star rating!

There you have it, folks! We hope you've learned a thing (or five!) from today's article, and we hope you're stoked to get your house a little bit cleaner. When you're ready to take things to the next level, give us a call and hand the reigns over to our professional cleaners! You'll have a clean home and a lot more free time -- what a win-win!