What a tangled web.

Spiders.  While our logical side realizes that they are beneficial for controlling indoor insects such as mites and flies and such, our subconscious shudders at the mere thought of them, not to mention the ick factor of running into a cobweb.  We know quite a few people who would just as soon squash one as look at it.

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Surely there must be some happy medium between the above picture and allowing spiders to completely take over your home.  Until we find it we have a few tips for controlling spiders in your home.

  • Vacuum on a regular basis to remove the spiders, the webs and their egg sacs.
  • Remove any clutter that provides hiding spaces for the spiders and their prey such as unneeded stacked papers, boxes and paper grocery bags.
  • Store items off the floor and away from walls.
  • Dry out and ventilate damp areas of your home to make them less desirable for spiders.

Maybe these tips could be used just for the most inhabited areas of your home and leave areas like the garage, crawl spaces, etc. to the spiders.  We think spiders are beneficial but would hate to see this happen.

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Our own Dream Team

Do you remember the USA 1992 Olympic Basketball Dream Team?  Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and a host of others.  Men considered to be the absolute best in their field.  The standard for a professional basketball player.  They were the first and, in my humble opinion, the best Dream Team ever.  And I don’t even follow professional basketball.

We here at Freedom Cleaning Services have our own Dream Team.

Dream Team

 

 

 

 

After over eight years in business we have built a team that exceeds all of our and our clients expectations each and every day.  They are a thing of beauty.

They each come to us from very different backgrounds and experiences and yet they work together seamlessly as a team.  I know, that’s how it should always work, but some times it isn’t easy finding several individuals that work together well.

Some, like the talented Rose Krause (far left in the picture above) come from other cleaning companies and bring a unique perspective to what we do, offering advice and insight on how to make our cleanings better.  She has a heart as big as the outdoors.

077Others, such as Lorene Gronskei (third from left) bring natural leadership talents.  Gently guiding the team to give their all in any situation.

Some bring a sunny disposition and an amazing work ethic, such as Miss Jenna Johnson (third from left).  Jenna has a work ethic rarely seen in a 20-year-old Biology student.

And others have several of these talents rolled into one, like Carmela Lyons (far right) who comes to us from Seattle and has an eagle eye for detail.

Each has their own hardships and challenges at home but cheerfully put them aside to work together as a team to accomplish one goal; to give our clients a home cleaning experience.  Dream team, indeed!

Cleaning to Sell

So, your home simply isn’t working for you, anymore.  Too many/too few kids, new job in a different town (pick one), whatever the reason you have decided to sell it.  How exciting/terrifying for you (again, pick one)!!

The good news is, in many parts of the country the housing market has picked up nicely and there are some deals to be had.  If you want to know how the market is doing, ask the experts.  One in particular comes to mind, Teresa Boardman.  She would be happy to tell you.

Of course you want to get as much money for your home as possible.  Here are a few things inside the home that will help with that.

 In the bathroom

Polish chrome faucets.

Scrub the bath / shower (if it is particularly bad, you may want to consider re caulking shower and bath tile).

Clean the mirrors.

Put out fresh towels.

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In the kitchen

While we are all proud of our kitchen gadgets, when preparing to sell your home the ‘less-is-more’ axiom comes into play, here.  Take everything except maybe a coffee maker off the kitchen counters.  Done?  Good.  Now wipe up those toast droppings where the toaster was and any dust accumulation where everything else was.  Again, if your kitchen sink and faucet have any chrome, shine it up.  Same goes for any stainless appliances.  We use an awesome green stainless product.  Wet wipe the cabinets to get rid of drips and spills.  And finally make sure to vacuum and mop the floor daily while the home is on the market.

All other areas

De-cluttering is a must.  Make sure to dust literally everything when you clean.  Pay special attention to baseboards.  Also ceiling fans tend to get neglected.  Nobody wants to come into a home and look up to see five dusty ceiling fan blades staring back at them!

And as long as we are looking up make sure to find and remove any and all cobwebs.  Unless you are marketing to the Addams Family, nobody wants to see those.

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Also make sure to have the windows washed and the carpet cleaned.  If you live in Anoka County Minnesota, ask us for recommendations.  We don’t do that, but we absolutely know some pros.

Once the carpeting is cleaned, make sure to vacuum it every day it is on the market.

And don’t forget areas such as light switches and “touch points” around door knobs and walls.  These spots gather finger marks and smudges.  A once over with a magic eraser can make these tasks much easier.

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A final note about smells

The conventional wisdom just a few years ago was that potential buyers wanted lots of “homey” smells in a home.  People would be encouraged to boil vanilla and cinnamon on the stove to fill the house with those  feel-good scents.  This is NOT encouraged anymore.

The new conventional wisdom when it comes to selling homes is that NO odor is preferable to “comfort scents”.  Open the windows as much as possible while the home is on the market.  Curtail the cooking of smelly food (fish, anyone?) prior to open houses.  Make it as neutral smelling as possible.

Well, there you go.  Now the rest is up to you.  Get out there and sell your home and if you need a little help getting it ready, give us a call.

Bring Back the Bees: How to Increase your Garden’s Bee Population

We never really give a second thought to bees much (unless you are my daughter or mother who are deathly afraid of them). There have been a lot of articles written about them, but I found this one particularly enlightening.

A Life of Simple Joy

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In case you haven’t heard, bees are disappearing at an alarming rate. Bees are essential for plant production. It is imperative for us to take steps to keep the current colonies healthy & help increase their size & number. Lia Leendertz has shared a great article on Fix.com discussing the problem of colony collapse & offering way each of us can help the bees. To read Lia’s article, please click HERE

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It’s not the heat..ok it is.

Remember last winter?  Remember ‘Polar Vortex’?  Yeah, me either.

Right now all I can think about is how hot it is starting to feel.  I don’t even think it has broken 90º yet and I am feeling crabby.  Maybe it’s the humidity.  Maybe it’s just the fact that I am getting to that age where everything makes me crabby.

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The fact is, that there is an evil conspiracy in the world.  A conspiracy to make people like myself and my employees, well, uncomfortable.

See, here’s the thing.  On the one hand, people like to save money.  I totally get that.  I do too.  And one way you can save money in the summer, apparently, is to set your thermostat at 85º when you aren’t home.  Like, if you’re going to be at work all day.

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The problem with this comes when you have people working in your home when you are at work.  Like a maid service, for example.

According to several sources (here, for example) there is evidence to suggest that workers are much more productive when their work environment is a comfortable 67º to 74º.  There’s even a formula for those math whizzes out there.  Anything above or below that range and productivity starts to drop off along with quality.

So, how do we resolve this?  We don’t want our cleaning crews dropping from heat exhaustion in your home and you want to save money.  Both are important.  Here are a few solutions.

  1. If you have a programmable thermostat and know when your cleaning service is coming, simply program it to turn down the A/C before your cleaners arrive and have it go back up a few hours later.
  2. You don’t have a programmable thermostat or, (if you’re like me, can’t figure out how to program it to go up and down at a given time).  On the days you are scheduled for a cleaning simply turn the temp down to a comfortable 71º.  It’s one or two days a month.
  3. Contact your cleaning service and give them permission for the Team Lead to adjust the temperature for the time that they are in your home.

Hopefully these simple tips can lead to a mutual agreement.  You still get to save money and we don’t have to worry about an employee having heat stress.

 

Drawing the Line

When we first started our company, Freedom Cleaning Services, way back in January of 2006, we were only vaguely aware of the “green” movement as it applied to home cleaning.  We purchased the traditional cleaners and scrubbed away.

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By mid-June of that same year, we were hacking and coughing our way through Google searches of green alternatives to traditional cleaners.  It took us a couple of more years to find the right one for us.

 

 

Are we as green as I would like us to be?  No.  I know there are all natural or Eco-friendly alternatives to bleach, but for the life of me I have not found one that I trust to completely sanitize our towels so that we do not cross-contaminate our families homes.

That said, I am proud of the choices we have made as a company.  We have a responsibility to clean healthier for our families, those we refer to as clients and those that we refer to as employees.  They are both family to us.

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I believe that in 2006 we were one of the first Maid Services in Minnesota to go completely green.  We did not even offer it just as an alternative.  One day we weren’t green at all and the next BOOM!

Some clients worried about the effectiveness of the cleaners.  I am sure we may have lost one or two because of our decision.  Now green or Eco-friendly cleaning is the norm, even though there are those that charge a premium for the service.  That’s someone else’s business decision.

This month marks the 8th Anniversary of our decision to go “all-in” on green cleaning.

Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat.

Living Guilt Free

So there I was; trying to come up with another ad to post for the company.  What to write to grab someone’s attention?

My go-to theme had been (for way too long) “busy families”.  Were people getting tired of hearing about how busy they are?  What other reason would make someone think twice about hiring a maid service?  (I was going on the assumption that money wasn’t the issue because if it was, they wouldn’t be looking for a maid service.)

And then it hit me.  Guilt.  Most people (women, especially) see cleaning house as something they should be able to do and hiring a maid service to do it seems either A) Like a waste of money, B) Lazy, C) Self-indulgent or D) All of the above.

Think about it, though.  Do you feel guilty having someone cook you a meal in a restaurant or having someone grow the produce you buy at the farmer’s market?  You can cook and you can grow vegetables.  

Perhaps you feel bad about asking someone else to do what you are physically able to do.  Nonsense.  While it may not have been what they dreamed of when someone asked what they waned to be when they grew up, the people you hire to clean your home depend on the money they get from cleaning for you.  It feeds their family and it frees you up to do other things (I know.  I’m back to busy lives, again).

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Perhaps you feel guilty asking someone to do what some might call “degrading” work.  I can tell you without a doubt that those of us who do this type of work do not feel “degraded”.  We know that what we are doing is important.  You and your family have a cleaner and healthier home and this frees you up to do those things that are truly important to you.  Both of those have real value.

So the next time you feel as though you need some real help around the house, stuff that guilt and pick up the phone and call a maid service.  Trust me, everyone involved will be glad you did!