Daylight Savings Time – Change Those Batteries!
When Daylight Savings Time ends, remember to “Fall Back” and set your clocks back an hour. What are you going to do with that extra hour? (besides for sleep in?!) Why, change your smoke alarm batteries, of course.
Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they are in working condition!
In addition to having working batteries, here are some additional smoke alarm tips:
- Install small alarms on every floor of your home, as well as inside and outside each sleeping area. Don’t forget to install alarms in the basement and garage.
- Place alarms at least three feet away from air vents and exhaust fans and away from the path of steam from bathrooms and cooking fumes.
- Test alarm batteries once a month. Replace batteries twice a year or when the alarm “chirps,” indicating a low battery.
- Replace alarms ever 8-10 years.
- Vacuum over and around your alarm regularly without removing the alarm’s cover to remove dust that may cause false alarms or delay activation.
- Alarms should be mounted on the wall 4-12 inches from the ceiling, and ceiling-mounted alarms should be placed four inches from the nearest wall. On a vaulted ceiling, mount the alarm at the highest point of the ceiling.
- Never “borrow” smoke alarm batteries or disconnect them from the device.
- Never paint a smoke alarm.
- Carbon Monoxide alarms are also a great way to protect your family. This is a good time to change those batteries as well.
- Make sure everyone in the household knows the sound the alarm makes and what to do if they hear it.
- Have an escape plan for your home and designate a meeting place outside the home to account for family members in the event of an emergency.
The Green Clean Maid Services Team wants you and your family to stay safe! Call Camille at (913) 207-8677 to set up a house cleaning appointment.
Kansas City Metro Household Hazardous Waste Resources
Household Hazardous Waste …you know, all those half empty paint cans, old chemical-based cleaners, motor oil , batteries, lawn chemicals (and goodness knows what else!) that you have stashed in the corners of your garage or basement. As the weather starts cooling down and the school year starts, it is time to clean up the garage and do a few home improvement projects that it has been too hot to tackle lately. But, after you sort and organize the garage, throwing out, recycling and donating all that extra clutter, a few things remain. In particular, household hazardous waste that you can’t simply throw away because of environmental and safety concerns.
Fortunately, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), serving the Kansas City metro region, has a number of resources to help you deal with all those items! In particular, the RecycleSpot website has a wide variety of resources describing how and where to safely dispose of items such as electronics, glass, Christmas trees, prescription drugs, plastics and household hazardous waste. In addition, the site includes helpful information on composting or recycling yard waste.
According to RecycleSpot:
“You know that the landfill isn’t the best place for most of what you throw away, but you’re unsure what your other options are. You have questions about what products you can and can’t recycle. You have stuff you want to get rid of, but you want to know how do it responsibly. Where can you find answers to these questions and more? RecycleSpot.org.
RecycleSpot is your one-stop spot for information about
recycling, reuse and waste reduction in Greater Kansas City.”
Click for a list of places where you can drop off your household hazardous waste in the Kansas City region, including Jackson and Johnson Counties.
And, after you’re finished cleaning out the garage, call or e-mail Camille at (913) 207-8677 to set up a house cleaning appointment. From Prairie Village to Parkside, Leawood to Lee’s Summit, the Green Clean house cleaning team is ready to help you get ready for fall.
Thanksgiving Kitchen Cleaning Countdown
I know it is hard to believe, especially on an unseasonably warm Kansas City October day like today, but Thanksgiving is only five weeks away! Consider this a friendly reminder to start preparing your home for the holidays now. By de-cluttering and stocking up on essentials now, you’ll make it easier to do a quick clean-up before the relatives arrive, and be calm knowing that you have everything you need on-hand.
Since it all starts in the kitchen, here are a few tips for cleaning and de-cluttering to help everything go smoothly on turkey day:
If you don’t have it, you don’t have to move it, clean it or work around it!
Take this opportunity to go through all your kitchen tools and toss anything that is too far past its prime; or donate anything that you haven’t used in the past year. Obviously this includes that broken potato peeler and rusty baking sheet, but also get rid of duplicates. If you’re anything like me, things like coffee mugs seem to breed like bunnies in the kitchen cabinet. It is okay to get rid of a few that you don’t use! It is so much easier to put the dishes away if you’re not squeezing and stacking, waiting for the whole mess to fall on your head when you open the door!
Real estate in the kitchen is valuable space, so make sure you aren’t wasting it by storing things that could be stored elsewhere, such as the change jar, your stash of scented candles and the kids’ shin guards. If possible, empty a couple of drawers or a shelf somewhere, and leave it empty. This way you’ll have a place to hide things in a hurry when you have five minutes left to tidy before the guests arrive.
Purge and Re-Stock
Just this morning I pulled the cinnamon out of the cabinet and noticed that it expired in July. Now is the perfect time to go through your spices, baking goods and canned items and to toss anything that is expired. Make a list of things that you need to replace.
Don’t forget to check the freshness of things that you use at the holidays more than other times of the year, such as baking powder, baking soda, yeast, sprinkles for cookies, soup stock, etc.
The holidays bring an abundance of food and friends into our homes. It is nice to be able to put away and share leftovers easily. So, it is time to go through that big pile of disposable Tupperware and match lids to bowls. Recycle anything without a match, and make sure you have plenty extra. Other disposable items for your shopping list? It is much easier to cook for a crowd with ample amounts of paper plates and cups, paper towels, foil, plastic wrap, muffin wrappers and parchment paper.
Schedule Your Pre-Holiday Professional House Cleaning!
Right now is the perfect opportunity to schedule a pre-Thanksgiving professional house cleaning in Kansas City, Johnson County, Leawood, Overland Park, Olathe, Prairie Village or anywhere else in the KC metro area. Call Camille now at (913) 207-8677 to make sure you can book your preferred time! Then you can sit back and relax when the festivities begin, rather than running around at the last minute trying to clean!
Tackle the Paper Monster
Paper, Paper Everywhere!
Of course we all know that de-cluttering is the first step towards a cleaner home, but it is difficult when more junk comes in the house every day. With two kids in school, I found that paper was one of the most common clutter offenders in my home. School papers and kids’ artwork, flyers, junk mail, bills, grocery lists and other random bits of paper covered my kitchen counters.
It was time to tackle the paper to create a clean house!
BUT, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t throw away anything important. AND, I wanted to have an organized place available to put all that important paper so that I didn’t just throw it back into the kitchen junk drawer just before the professional house cleaning crew arrives!
Some people swear by a three-ring binder with labeled tabs. This seemed inconvenient to me, because then I’d either have to hole punch everything, or, have enough plastic sleeves to stick everything into. Additionally, a lot of papers I want to stash, such as manuals or booklets, are thick, and would fill up a binder pretty quickly.
The solution I arrived at was to use file boxes. I inserted hanging file folders, and labelled each one with categories. I use two file boxes, so that I don’t have to over-stuff my files and make them hard to use. The categories I use are:
- Bank Statements
- House (a catch all for contracts for home services such as lawn care, warranties for major appliances, homeowners insurance info, mortgage info, etc.)
- Taxes (anything we’ll need for tax season, including important receipts)
- Manuals / Instructions / Warranties
- Contacts (with emergency contact information)
- Take-Out Menus
- Cars (including insurance info, titles and maintenance info)
I also have a file folder for each member of my family where I keep specific medical information, birth certificates, information for sports leagues, school registration information, etc.
So far, so good. I love having an organized place to put all my important papers. Everything else can go straight to the recycling bin and off the counters. This makes it easier for the Green Clean professional house cleaners to clean without having to navigate falling stacks of paper.
While I do get behind on filing from time to time, it is easy to stay motivated to keep it clean when I am able to easily access important information in a matter of minutes, rather than digging through random piles of stuff all over the house.
And, Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, and everyone else in Kansas, when you’re finished de-cluttering and need help scrubbing off the grime, please call Camille at (913) 207-8677 to schedule an appointment with our professional maid service.
School-Day House Cleaning Tips – Overland Park Clean House Edition
Yes, school has begun in Kansas City and the house is definitely feeling the pain. Summer isn’t quite over, so there is still sand coating the floor and wet pool towels dumped in every corner, but now we have the added mess of lunch boxes, backpacks, forms, library books, homework and everything else!
Shocked into action, I’ve devised a plan to get the kids to contribute their fair share to the pick-up duties so that we don’t fall too far behind. (By the way, I define “too far behind” as when the City comes by to put a condemnation notice on the front door.”)
Simply put, there is just too much clean-up to do for my husband and I alone, even with the help of Overland Park’s Maid Service – the dedicated ladies of Green Clean. So, time to arrange for kids to start pulling their weight.
I’m sharing my plan for the fall in case you also need some ideas of how and when to get your kids to help. I should mention that my kids are four and six years old, so obviously older or younger kids can do more or less than this. And, as another disclaimer, my rambunctious boys aren’t the most (ahem) disciplined, so even though some of these things seem obvious, every little effort is a step in the right direction.
Most of these things are strait forward and even the youngest kids can help with these small daily tasks and learn how to clean up after themselves.
Fixing Food Messes
- Take one water cup in the morning, and use it all day. No need to take a fresh cup for every glass of water and then leave them laying around the house.
- Nobody is allowed to get anything else to eat until all the dishes from the last meal or snack are picked up and stacked by the sink. All wrappers have to be in the trash!
- Nobody eats until the boys help set the table with napkins and silverware.
- Everyone must clear their plate after meals.
- Dirty clothes go in the hamper.
- Mom will wash and fold clothes, but the boys must put their own clothes in their drawers as best they can.
- Wet towels must be hung up to dry after bath time.
Toys, Toys Everywhere
- The boys must pick the toys up off the living room floor before storytime.
- The boys must pick up their room every weekend and take extra toys down to the playroom.
My Poor Mom-Mobile
- The boys must help clean out the car every day after school.
- All backpacks go to the closet.
- Lunchboxes and water bottles go on the countertop.
There you have it… simple, but it seems to be making a difference already. After only a few days, the boys don’t question the food rules at all, and have even started putting their dishes on the counter without direction. They actually enjoy helping set the table, and it has made meal time much calmer and nicer, since everything they need is set out and they aren’t asking Mom and Dad to hop up and get things.
And, if the madness of the school year has you worn out before you’ve begun, don’t forget to schedule your Kansas City house cleaning by calling Camille at 913-207-8677.
All Natural Air Freshener DIY
If you’re like me, the best thing about having professional house cleaning is coming home after a long day, opening the door and enjoying the fresh, clean scent of your home. However, when your home is smelling less-than-clean, and housing cleaning day is a few days off, I have just the solution.
Chemical air fresheners may smell okay, but the risk of spraying chemicals all around your house doesn’t seem worth the reward of a nice scent. Artificial fragrances can be harmful to your health, and rarely smell as good as the real thing. Burning candles may also work, but for those of us with children and pets, candles and other fragrance warmers aren’t always a safe option either. Not to mention that burning candles can also degrade your indoor air quality.
Now, opening the windows for a while is certainly a low-cost and environmentally-friendly way to freshen your home. However, with the Kansas City heat blasting like a furnace (hello 105°), that option doesn’t sound so great. Not to mention that many Kansas City and Johnson County residents experience allergies and asthma on high-pollen and high ozone days that we have in June, July and August. Opening the windows can let in allergens that we’d rather keep out.
So, for a simple, effective, easy and inexpensive air freshener that is non-toxic , the Green Clean Maid Service team recommends a simple combination of baking soda and essential oils.
Let’s Make It!
Simply pour a half cup of baking soda in a small bowl or pretty container with an open top. If you want to get crafty (and prevent spills), use a small canning jar with a lid. Use a hammer and nail to poke several small holes in the lid.
Mix in 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil and place the bowl in any area prone to stinky odors, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or the closet where you store shoes or sporting equipment.
Citrus essential oils, such as orange or lemongrass oil, smell especially clean and fresh in the summertime. Lavender essential oil is always a favorite, and has a calming, relaxing effect. Make sure to use real essential oils and not a fragrance oil, which might have unwanted chemicals.
Baking soda is very inexpensive, and you probably already have a box in your cupboard. It absorbs odors naturally and is safe to use for many house cleaning tasks.
Essential oils are readily available at natural grocers, such as Whole Foods (in Overland Park, at 6621 W. 119th St. or 7401 West 91st St.) and in the natural section of the regular grocery store. A small bottle shouldn’t be too pricey, since the oil is concentrated it will last you a long time.
And, if your home needs a little more TLC, call or e-mail Camille at (913) 207-8677 to set up a house cleaning appointment. From Grandview to Gardner, the Green Clean house cleaning team will have your home smelling fresh and clean.
Clean House, Smart Kids
No, this headline is not misleading! If you need any incentive to go ahead and hire professional house cleaners in the Kansas City area, this might be the information that pushes you to make the call!
There is a relationship between the educational and financial success of children and the cleanliness and organization of the home in which they grew up. Now, of course, we are not promising that your preschooler will learn how to read after a visit from our maid service, but it might not hurt to try!
The study, “As Ye Sweep, So Shall Ye Reap,” was written by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (Columbia University), Greg Duncan (Northwestern University) and Rachel Dunifon (University of Michigan). It was published in the May, 2001 issue of the American Economic Review. The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute for Child Health and Human Development, was an analysis of research conducted over the past 30 years.
A summary of the study, from the TC Media Center at Columbia University states:
“For five years beginning in 1968, researchers made yearly visits to 3,000 homes and rated their cleanliness on a five point scale. A score of five was considered “very clean” and a score of one considered “dirty.” Twenty-five years later, the researchers, Rachel Duniforn of Michigan, Greg J. Duncan of Northwestern and Brooks-Gunn assessed the educational attainment and earnings of the young adults who grew up in those homes.
After controlling for parental education, income, and many other factors, they found that young adults who grew up in homes rated clean to very clean had completed 13.6 years of school compared with 12 years for those whose childhood homes were rated as not very clean to dirty. Their wages reflected the same pattern, with those growing up in the cleanest homes averaging $14.17 an hour compared with $12.60 an hour for those raised in the least clean homes. For a 40-hour-week, that adds up to about $3,100 more a year.”
There were many conclusions drawn from the study, in particular that a clean and organized home is an indicator of how organized and structured the parents are. Those qualities positively influence children and contribute to their adult success.
So, as we say goodbye to this hot Kansas City summer and embrace “Back to School,” we here at Green Clean Maid Services hope that you’ll let us help you get clean and organized for the new school year! After all, isn’t easier to both concentrate and relax when your surroundings are organized and serene?
The Ultimate Home-Made Green Clean!
In his book “Clean,” Michael De Jong (Sterling Publishing Co., 2007) re-introduces us to what our grandmothers probably already know … most commercial cleaning products can be replaced by simple, effective and inexpensive homemade cleansers. Almost anything in your home can be cleaned with these five simple ingredients, which are safe for you, your homes, your children and pets!
The Safe, Clean and Effective Ingredient List:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
Interested in the science? De Jong tells us that these simple ingredients, in combination, create “catalysts for cleanliness.”
“When a sodium substance such as salt, borax, or baking soda is exposed to an acid substance such as white vinegar or lemon, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released… when any of the salt and acidic ingredients are joined and create carbon dioxide, miraculously surfaces are caused to cool ever so slightly, and the dirt actually pops off.”
Not only are homemade products using these ingredients safe and environmentally friendly, but by mixing your own cleaners and storing them in your own reusable or up-cycled containers, you’ll reduce the plastic waste from commercial products that enters the landfill.
- For an all-purpose liquid cleaner, combine equal amounts of white vinegar and borax.
- Another great liquid cleaner is just to mix equal parts white vinegar and water.
A spray bottle works perfectly for storage and use!
Here are a few ideas from “Clean” to get your green clean on:
- To remove stains on a Formica counter top, squeeze fresh lemon juice on the spots and let sit or 30 minutes. Sprinkle with baking soda, then scrub with a sponge. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry.
- To unclog a drain, pour a handful of baking soda down the drain and add one-half cup of white vinegar. Rinse with hot water.
- Remove mineral deposits and debris from a glass flower vase by mixing one-third cup salt and two tablespoons white vinegar to form a paste. Apply to inside of vase and let it stand 20 minutes, then scrub. Rinse vase and dry.
- Remove rust from household tools and chrome by using salt and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Create a paste, apply to the rusted area with a dry cloth, and rub.
*Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of children. Also, test before using in an inconspicuous place!
And, if you need a little help with the elbow grease, call or e-mail Camille at (913) 207-8677 or (816) 277-9124 to set up a house cleaning appointment. Olathe, Overland Park, and everywhere else in Johnson County, Green Clean Maid Services is ready to help with professional house cleaning.
Brighten Up with Houseplants that Improve Indoor Air Quality
February in Kansas City tends to be somewhat cold and dull. The holidays are past and we’re just sitting and waiting for spring to arrive. I’m always ready to start working in the yard and garden this time of year, but of course, it is much too cold, and the threat of snow and icy weather isn’t passed.
So, my late winter (or early, early spring) solution is to purchase new houseplants to brighten my indoor space and satisfy my urge to garden until it is at least March in Overland Park. The added benefit of houseplants is that they contribute to a clean green home by improving indoor air quality.
NASA studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities back in the 1980s, and found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since the indoor air quality in our homes and buildings is typically far more polluted than outdoor air, it is a good idea to take steps to clean the air in your home.
In addition to using eco-friendly house cleaning projects, having houseplants is an excellent way to clean your air in an environmentally-friendly way that also makes your house feel warm and inviting.
The following plants can help reduce common indoor air pollutants from chemical cleaners, car exhaust, furniture and carpet, such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.
Aloe (Aloe vera)
Easy to grow and loves the sun. Perfect for a window.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Resilient and hard to kill, for those of us without a green thumb.
Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Likes lots of light.
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
Likes low light and humid conditions, making it great for bathrooms.
Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
Fast-growing and easy to care for. This vine looks beautiful in a hanging basket.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
Likes direct sunlight to bloom.
Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
Caring for a ficus can be tricky – I’ve killed more than one! Once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.
Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
Azaleas do best in cool areas around 60 to 65 degrees, and they’re a good option for improving indoor air in your basement if you have a bright spot.
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
Grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)
Easy-to-care-for, even with low light.
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Small palm, likes shady indoor spaces.
Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
This climbing vine is toxic when eaten, but easy-to-grow.
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
Shade and weekly watering produce blooms.
View a Slideshow of these15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality from the Mother Nature Network
Remember, one of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality is to use natural, non-toxic cleaning products to clean your house. Green Clean Maid Services uses only environmentally-friendly cleaning products that won’t pollute your home. Contact Camille to set-up your professional house cleaning appointment at 913-207-8677. And don’t worry Leawood, Overland Park and Olathe, spring eventually comes to Kansas City!
Winter Cleaning Tips
Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, and everyone else in Kansas, although we’re dreaming of spring, it is still winter outside. We hope that you are all safe and warm.
Don’t forget that all that salt outside keeping our streets and sidewalks clear of ice can be damaging to your floors, not to mention toxic. Remember to take your boots off by the door to avoid tracking all those chemicals around your house, and vacuum areas where salt has been tracked in. If you can’t wait for the professional house cleaners to arrive, a solution of vinegar and warm water is ideal for cleaning most hard floor surfaces – it is cheap, safe and effective. Mix a solution of ½ cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon warm water to mop your floors.
When the weather finally thaws and you need help cleaning the muck off your floors, please call Camille at (913) 207-8677 to schedule an appointment with our professional maid service.