The Art of Zen De-cluttering, our Top Three Recommendations

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? According to thespruce.com,
"Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is not just a best-selling book. It has become a cultural phenomenon, provoking people who would not normally pare down their possessions to throw away bags full of excess stuff. The book centers on Kondo’s particular method of radically decluttering a home or office, popular with her clients and the many attendees of her seminars."

Marie calls her method "KonMari," and we've boiled down what we think is the essence of her method of organization.

Here they are, our top three recommendations to get you on the road to a happy, healthy, de-cluttered home!

  • Start with objects that lack emotional attachment.

    Start with something like clothing, or maybe books -- things with which you are least likely to have strong emotional attachment. This will make it easier for you to get started on this process.
  • Tackle categories, not rooms.

    Rather than cleaning/tidying/de-cluttering one room at a time, deal with your possessions by category. "Tidying by category," Kondo says, "prevents the confusion that arises when you try to declutter objects stored in multiple locations." So instead of tidying the books in one of your rooms, tidy the books in all of your rooms. Dealing with items by category across all rooms prevents the clutter from creeping room-to-room.
  • Once you've slimmed down your possessions, don't be tempted to keep "acquiring" new things!

    According to Darby Saxbe, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, in a Chicago Tribune article, "Behind the Zen of decluttering," "We've got Wal-Mart, where you can buy anything for $10, and we've become used to this very acquisitive style, where if you can't find your stapler, you just go buy another stapler," she says. "I was just reading the 'Little House on the Prairie' books with my daughter, and if they wanted a doll, for example, they had to make it, and it was incredibly labor-intensive." Once you have everything neat & tidy try to avoid cluttering all of that up with new, unnecessary stuff!

There you have it, folks! And once you've minimized your possessions you'll probably be wanting your place to really shine -- that's where we come in. Give us a call and take back your weekends!

Dust Bunnies to Dust Busters: a Brief History of Vacuum Cleaners

Have you ever been pushing your vacuum cleaner around the house and stopped for a second to wonder, "Where in the heck did this thing come from?!" Well, we decided to do the research for you, and we've got the answers you're looking for!

It all started with carpet sweepers. Have you ever used one? They're pretty similar to a vacuum cleaner insofar as they also use a revolving roller lined with bristles, but they're not nearly as effective due to the lack of suction. The advantage? With no electric-powered suction, they're much quieter. They can, for example, be used in high-volume restaurants to clean up while patrons are enjoying their meals.

By the end of the 19th century, we saw our first powered carpet cleaning devices, but they blew air, instead of sucking stuff up. Imagine: blowing dust and debris and dog hair around with a leaf blower! Enter one Hubert Cecil Booth: Hubert was witness to this new innovation of "leaf blower-carpet cleaner" and wanted to improve upon it. He came up with the idea to create a device that used suction to clean, rather than blowing stuff around. His first models were dependent upon combustion engines and were HUGE! The very first prototypes had to be pulled around by a team of horses and were far too large to fit inside a home.

 

Check out one of his first models, the "Puffing Billy!"

Over the next few decades Mr. Booth improved upon his models and eventually the Hoover vacuum company entered the scene bringing even further innovation to these cleaning devices. ...And that brings us to modern day vacuum cleaners!

 

As you can see, we're passionate about our vacuum cleaners! Give us a call and we'll show you what we mean! We'll get your home (and carpets!) clean and let you take back your weekends!

 

“Help! I moved into a new place and it REEKS of cigarettes!”

It happens all the time -- people move into a new place and only realize as they're settling in that their new home smells very, very,  v e r y  strongly of cigarettes. What can be done to mitigate this odor?

1. Open up some windows!

This won't solve the problem on its own but it's a heck of a good start! Get that air flowing and start airing out that smoke odor.

2. Clean EVERYTHING!

Like opening windows, this won't solve the problem on its own but hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? Soap and water and/or vinegar to every surface you can clean! And this is a great time to consider giving us a call -- we'll leave the rest of these steps to you but if you need a house or apartment wiped-down and cleaned, we are here for you!

3. Consider removing all carpet, curtains, and furniture.

This is a doozy, we know! But it's the fabric in all these above-mentioned items that reeeally traps in the smoke odor. If the place you moved into has a lot of carpet or even has old furniture, it may be time to consider removing all of it.

4. Replace air filters and consider having ductwork professionally cleaned

The air filters are easy to replace and, if they need to be replaced anyway, could be a source of smoke odor contaminants being recirculated into your home. The more difficult thing to consider, though, is the possibility of having the ductwork in your home air conditioning system professionally cleaned.

5. It's' time to break out the Kilz!

Ok, folks, THIS is going to be a large part of the solution to your problem. We've done our research and professional and layman alike all agree -- Kilz primer is the way to go! Scrub those walls, hit 'em with this primer, and paint over top of that. That should effectively seal in that smoke residue/odor that is lingering in the old paint. 

Alright, folks! Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to a smoke odor-free home! Feel free to give us a call if you need a hand with that smoke odor scrub, we'll help you get a head start!

With our help, you'll say goodbye to cigarette odor!

How to clean out your fridge, freezer while maximizing their efficiency


It's that time of year when you're reeeeally dependent upon your refrigerator and freezer to keep things ice-cold. Cold drinks, cold ice, cold leftovers (so they don't spoil!), frozen popsicles, the whole nine yards! It's not a bad time of year to stick your head inside and take a look around inside, see what you can clean out, and find what you can do to make sure your appliance is running as efficiently as possible.

What are some of the top tips and tricks to cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer? And while you're at it, what do you need to know to make sure they are both running as efficiently as possible? Imagine: colder drinks AND a lower electricity bill. It's possible and we at World Class Cleaning are here to help you realize that dream!

After poring over many different articles and many different lists of tips, tricks, and ideas... It looks like thesimpledollar.com really hits the nail on the head in terms of getting all the key points. Check out what they have to say:

  • Clean the coils regularly.

    The coils on the bottom and the back of your refrigerator tend to gather dust over time. As that dust builds up, your refrigerator doesn’t run as well as it used to. The condenser kicks on more often, it has to work harder, it eats up more energy (costing you), and it wears out quicker (costing you). So, do a little bit of maintenance once a year or so. Pull out your refrigerator and dust the coils in the back and underneath the device. Use a low-power vacuum to make sure there’s no excess dust floating around in the place where the refrigerator normally sits. Doing this little thing will cause your refrigerator’s condenser to work more efficiently – it won’t kick on as often (trimming your energy bill) and it won’t wear out as quickly (saving on your repair and replacement costs).
  • Fill your empty milk or juice jugs with water, then stick ’em in the freezer.

    A freezer, whether it’s a deep freezer or a freezer housed in the same appliance as a refrigerator, functions best when it’s really full, as the cold items help keep other items cold and maintain the low temperature. But how can you keep it full without stocking it with a bunch of food that you may or may not eat? If you’re not into filling your freezer with food, fill it with water. It’s simple. Take an empty milk jug (or juice jug), rinse it out, then fill it about 75% full with tap water. Stick that jug in the freezer and just leave it there. It’ll freeze, then it will help keep the temperature of your freezer low over the long haul, causing your freezer to kick on a bit less often to keep your items cool. Even better, you can directly use these jugs when you need a lot of ice. You can either stick the jug entirely in a cooler or smash it open and use the broken ice pieces to your desire. Works like a charm – we do it all the time!
  • Pull the fridge forward an inch or two.

    In many kitchens, refrigerators are pushed back as close to the wall as possible in order to eke out a few more inches of floor space. Those few inches are really expensive. If your refrigerator is pushed back as far as possible, pulling it forward one inch can reduce the energy usage of the refrigerator by as much as 40%, and you’ll barely notice the difference in your floor usage. Subsequent inches help, but aren’t quite that effective.

  • Stick a thermometer in your fridge.

    Ideally, the temperature in your refrigerator holds pretty steady around 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (3-5 C). We keep ours at almost exactly 38, and it’s almost perfect for us.
    If you keep it below 37 degrees, you’re pushing up against the freezing point of water, which can affect food quality and burns a lot of extra energy. If you keep it above 40 degrees, it can affect food quality in a different way, leading towards spoilage. The range between the two is optimal – and it’s also optimal for refrigerator efficiency, since devices are designed to run in this range.
    How can you be sure you’re hitting that sweet spot? Get out a thermometer, put it in a glass of water, then put that cup in your refrigerator for 24 hours. Check the temperature afterward – that’s the true temperature of your fridge. Adjust upward and downward as needed – you might be surprised how much your temperature is off.
    A freezer has a different optimum temperature – 0 to 5 F (-18 to -15 C). You can get this temperature by putting your thermometer between two frozen items for 24 hours.
  • Chuck your old leftovers.

    Ah, the refrigerated leftover. Inevitably, some of those items wind up getting pushed to the back and forgotten, left there to slowly decompose, become a potential breeding place for yeasts and molds, and potentially contaminate other foods.
    So chuck ’em. One easy way to do this is to have a handful of washable markers near your fridge. Doodle on any new item with a color for each day – say, purple for Monday, red for Tuesday, etc. Then, when you’re glancing in the fridge on Sunday, you know you can chuck anything with a red or purple mark on it without thinking at all.
    Just mark on the Saran wrap, aluminum foil – even on the rim of a plate. Once you get into the routine, it works really well, makes leftover cleanup really easy, and keeps nasty things from growing in your fridge.

Five Classic Quotes on Cleaning

Howdy, folks! We've got some great quotes and a bit of background on each of our "authors" of today's cleaning quotables. Something fun and enlightening for this Friday morning!

  • Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.  —Phyllis Diller

    Phyllis Ada Driver, better known as Phyllis Diller, was an American actress and stand-up comedienne, best known for her eccentric stage persona, her self-deprecating humor, her wild hair and clothes, and her exaggerated, cackling laugh.


  • My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.  —Erma Bombeck

    Erma Louise Bombeck was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became bestsellers.


  • I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on. —Roseanne Barr

    Roseanne Cherrie Barr is an American actress, comedian, writer, and television producer. Best known for her sitcom Roseanne.


  • There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse. —Quentin Crisp

    Quentin Crisp was an English writer and raconteur. From a conventional suburban background, Crisp enjoyed wearing make-up and painting his nails.


  • The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes. —Agatha Christie

    Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE was an English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright.


Thanks for joining us! We hope these quotes made you crack a smile! But, if any of them made you think, "Oh, my! I need to go home and do the dishes! I need to go home and vacuum!" Or anything like that... Please keep in mind you can always give us a call and we'll do the dirty work for you; we'll help you take back your weekends!