summer cleaning tips

Summer Cleaning and Organizing Tips

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As the summer starts to heat up your likely have some questions about how to prepare your space for the change of seasons. There are areas you need to clear out, clean and tidy. When summer hits we all want to get the most out of our decks or patios. Starting with cleaning and inspecting this space can help you get the most out of it all season.

benefits of hiring a housekeeper

The Psychological Benefits of Hiring a Housekeeper

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Hiring a housekeeper has many benefits. The first, and most obvious, benefit is that you will have someone who will take care of your housework for you. Some researchers estimate that the average person spends about 8 to 12 hours every week cleaning. That’s the equivalent of one shift at a full-time job. Having that time back will do wonders for your life satisfaction. Also, you could actually end up saving some money. Psychological benefits are not the only benefits of hiring a housekeeper.

Oven cleaning

Will Your Maid Clean Your Oven?

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Your oven is oftentimes forgotten when you’re cleaning your house. Many people don’t even notice their oven is dirty until they’re using it and it starts to smoke. If it is constantly smoking or if it smells unpleasant, that’s a sure sign that you need to clean it. Typically, a maid service will clean the outside of the oven and the stovetop; that’s included in the normal services. However, cleaning the inside is typically not included. That requires getting on your hands and knees, scrubbing, and using caustic chemicals in some cases. Some of the most popular cleaners use butane, sodium hydroxide, and other very strong chemicals. That’s why maids normally charge extra.

Prepare for housecleaners

How to Prepare for the Housecleaners

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It might seem counter-intuitive that you should prepare your house before the house cleaners show up; however, it can be important for several different reasons. You should put certain breakables away, perhaps hide something valuable, and also clean up certain things. Here is what you should do before your first meeting with a new house cleaner.

Fragile Items

There are certain fragile items that you should put away or at least label when you prepare for your housekeepers. If you haven’t worked with this particular housekeeper before, you might not know how they work. You might be worried that they’ll accidentally break fragile items. So, there are a couple of options. You can put your fragile items away before the housekeeper shows up. Put them into a drawer or closet and clearly label that you don’t want the housekeeper to open that closet. Alternately, you could use sticky notes on each fragile item. Put a nice note indicating that you don’t want the housekeeper to touch them.

It’s important that you talk to the housekeeper before the first cleaning. That’s the best way to establish your boundaries. The sticky notes or the closet should just be a reminder of things to which you’ve already agreed.

Secure Valuable Items

If you have hired your housekeeper from a respectable service, you shouldn’t have to worry about theft. The same is true of an independent housekeeper who is well recommended by people you trust. However, if you are still worried, you should put away valuable items. The best option is to put them into a drawer or a closet and lock the door.

It’s better to hire a trustworthy housekeeper from a reliable housekeeping service or one who is well-recommended.

Clean Up a Little

It’s definitely counter-intuitive to clean up before the housekeeper shows up, but it can be important for several reasons. It’s important to clean up before your maid shows up because you don’t want the maid to spend too much time on things that you could do for yourself. If the cleaners charge by the hour, the amount of time they spend will obviously increase the amount of money you spend. If the cleaner charges based on the difficulty of the job, you’ll also end up spending more money.

Before the first cleaning, talk to the housekeeper about how much they will clean of your house. Doing a quick cleaning will make their job easier, save you money, and make the entire process go more quickly.

Will Your Maid Cut Your Grass?

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The short answer is that a housekeeper will not cut your grass. However, there are housekeeping services that do include grass cutting if you ask them. You can hire a private freelancer as your housekeeper, or you can hire someone who works for a company. Hiring a company will give you more stable pricing and more security; however, it will limit what the housekeeper is able to do. For example, if the housekeeping service forbids its members from doing yard work, then your hands would be tied.

Ask Beforehand

When it comes to cutting your grass, cleaning your oven, or just about any other task that is beyond just cleaning surfaces in your house, you need to ask beforehand. Housekeepers generally work from a basic agreement. Before you hire a housekeeper, you should have the housekeeper come to your house and walk through it with you. As you do that, tell the housekeeper what you would like cleaned and how. Point out things that are very delicate and things you do not want the housekeeper to touch.

This is also the time to ask about cutting the grass. If the housekeeper says he or she is willing to cut your grass, you should ask about the charge.

Extra Charges

For tasks that are not normally included in a housekeeping arrangement, there are different ways the housekeeper might charge you. The housekeeper can charge simply based on time. They’ll charge you a flat rate per hour or half-hour. That means that cutting the grass will simply take more time.

However, since cutting the grass is more labor intensive than simply cleaning the house, it could be charged at a higher rate per hour. Thirdly, a housekeeper can charge you a fee for the work described. In this scenario, a housekeeper will tell you how much you’ll be charged for mowing the grass.

Similar Jobs

There are similar tasks around the house that you might be wondering about. Some people need their housekeepers do basic yard work that blends into the housekeeper’s standard job. For example, if the housekeeper needs to take out the trash, would they also take grass clippings or yard trash to the curb? Well, that’s the sort of thing you would need to ask the housekeeper about.

The most important element is communication. No matter what you might need your housekeeper to do, you should simply ask about it. Don’t expect anything to be included unless you agree beforehand.

What Do Maids Normally Not Clean?

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There are generally two kinds of house cleaning; there is a deep clean and a basic clean. The basic clean will not cover as much as a deep clean, but it also won’t cost as much. A deep clean is much more thorough. If it’s the first time you’ve called a housecleaner or if you haven’t called one in a long time, a deep clean could be in order. If you have a standing appointment every few weeks, a basic clean will likely suffice.

What’s a Basic Clean?

Typically, a basic cleaning service will cover most of the things that you would clean on a weekly basis yourself. That means a basic cleaning service usually covers vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and cleaning of common rooms. Typically, the kitchen and the bathroom are cleaned.

In a deep clean, much more is cleaned and much more thoroughly. You’ll have to ask individual house cleaners what they consider to be included in a deep clean.

What’s Not Included?

House cleaners have a limited amount of time for each job they do. Also, clients typically don’t want to pay their house cleaner to do their daily chores. Those things generally are not included in a typical house cleaning price. Daily chores include doing the dishes, doing the laundry, and taking out the garbage. If you are hiring a house cleaner, you should not necessarily expect them to do those things. If you want them to do them, you’ll have to tell them in your initial walkthrough. They’ll likely quote you a different price for those services.

Also, intense cleaning jobs are usually not included. For example, pressure washing your driveway is not the job of a house cleaner. Some cleaning services do offer those more intense cleaning services, but you have to ask for them. You can’t expect a house cleaner to remove the oil stains in your garage or scrape paint off your deck.

Essentially, the things that are not included in your cleaning service are the thing you did not discuss beforehand. Before your first appointment with a house cleaner, they will come to your home and do a walkthrough. If they don’t, they’ll give you a list of everything they are willing to clean. In that initial phone call or walkthrough, you need to ask about certain things that you would like cleaned. If you want your dishes washed, for example, you have to tell them. If it’s not discussed, you shouldn’t expect it to be cleaned.

The Different Ways a Maid Might Charge You

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Cleaning services have a wide range of prices depending on dozens of different factors. The first factor is obviously the service that you hire. There are services in your are that charge wildly different prices. The different rates could be the result of some kind of business structure or just the amount of cleaning they do. For example, an independent maid might charge less than a national business because that one person will have much less overhead. An inexperienced house cleaner might charge less because they have not established the quality of their service. Then, within those different businesses, they’ll charge you different amounts depending on the type of service you need.

Specialty Items

Oftentimes, certain types of cleaning jobs will raise the price of the service. A common example is an oven. Cleaning an oven often involves scrubbing at baked-on char that is very difficult to remove. It also commonly involves oven cleaner, which is an incredibly caustic chemical. For these reasons, house cleaning services often charge extra for cleaning an oven.

Doing the dishes might cost extra as well. Cleaning someone else’s dirty dishes is somewhat unpleasant; it’s also a job that requires several steps. So, they’ll charge you more than they would for something like dusting.

Finally, particularly dirty or hard-to-clean areas will cost you extra. Anything stained with oil will likely cost extra because it requires specialized chemicals and more scrubbing; a garage floor is a good example.

Visit Frequency

The frequency of a visit can determine how much it costs to have it cleaned. If the house cleaner comes once a week, they will charge you less per visit than a house cleaner who comes once a month. There are two basic reasons for that. For one, they want to offer you a discount for repeated services because you’ll end up spending more in the long run. They can turn a profit with a lower rate on a customer who uses them more often. Also, the amount of cleaning will be lower for more frequent visits. If the house cleaner only needs to clean up a week’s worth of mess, it won’t take as long as cleaning up a month’s worth.

You should also look into house cleaners who charge by the area as opposed to the time. If you have a small apartment, it might be beneficial to choose someone who charges by square footage.

What Your Maid Doesn’t Want You to Know

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Happy Homes is a FULLY INSURED, BONDED & Certified maid service.

There are several assumptions people make about maids; those assumptions can backfire and lead to unsatisfactory service. Some things, such as broken items, is a mistake that can’t be avoided. However, if the maid rusted your cast iron skillet, it could be because he or she doesn’t know that much about cleaning. Depending on where you hire the maid from, they might not know much more than you do about cleaning.

1 – Some Maids Aren’t Trained

Some moms don’t ever receive training in how to clean. For the most part, it’s pretty straightforward. However, certain items need special care. For example, acid-based cleaners shouldn’t be used on hardwood. That’s a thing a maid needs to be taught. To ensure that your maid knows this, you should ask the firm you hire from about the training process.

2 – Some Maids Are Freelancers

Many cleaning services subcontract their labor to freelancers who they pay per job. Alternately, they might hire an entirely separate firm to supply their maids. Either one of those practices is generally fine; however, you need to ask about it before you hire the service. You should ask them if they subcontract at all. If they do, you should ask about the vetting process for picking their freelancers. You should also ask if someone other than the person you hire might come to your house. For example, you might do a walk-through and an estimate with one person, but circumstances might necessitate they send someone else. You should know who’s in your house.

3 – Some Maids Aren’t Bonded and Insured

Bonding and insuring a maid means that if the maid breaks something, it will be covered by the agency. Some maids aren’t bonded and insured for different reasons. Some firms hire freelancers who don’t have to be insured. Others simply don’t insure their employees because it’s more expensive. You need to make sure that you know which one you’re getting. You might save money with an uninsured maid, but you might have to come out of your own pocket to pay for broken items.

4 – You Might Be The Employer

If you are hiring someone to clean your house, the IRS will tax you if you pay over a certain amount. The amount varies depending on your state and the nature of the work. You should be aware of that, though. If you hire a freelance maid for over about $1,800 a year, you might legally be an employer. If you don’t pay the proper taxes, you might accidentally commit tax evasion.

How Do You Know Your Maid Won’t Steal From You?

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Letting someone into your house, especially when you’re not going to be there, is always a little bit nerve-wracking. The housekeeper will be going through pretty much every room in your house. They have ample opportunity to steal from you. That’s why it’s been the subject of so many different sitcoms and dramas over the years. It’s remarkably uncommon for maids to steal from someone; it wouldn’t’ make any sense. If something goes missing from your house, it’s very likely you would suspect the person you don’t know who is there while you’re not. Be that as it may, some people are still worried. Here’s how to make sure the maid won’t steal from you.

Hire From a Firm

If you hire a legitimate cleaning person, it’s very unlikely he or she will steal from you. That’s why it’s so important to hire from a firm if you don’t know how to vet your own cleaning people. The firm will do the betting for you. They will do background checks, performance reviews, and even random inspections. The cleaning firms will make sure that nothing untoward is happening because it is their reputations on the line. If they get a reputation for hiring maids who steal, they’ll quickly start losing business. So, look up reviews of different housekeeping firms. If you find one that sounds promising, do a little bit of research.

Vet Your Maid

If you are going to be hiring a freelance maid, you should ask that person for references. They should be able to tell you about past employment as well as refer you to other places that they’ve cleaned. Essentially, you need to take on the role of your own human resources department. Call their references and their past clients.

Nanny Cams

Nanny cameras are discreet cameras that are typically placed inside of teddy bears, picture frames, and other innocuous items. They allow you to film what’s going on inside of your house and keep an eye on it. Make sure it’s legal to film where you are; it’s almost definitely legal to film inside of your own house in every state.

If you want, you can even tell the cleaning person that you have a camera inside of the house. However, it’s very uncommon for maids to steal because it’s such an obvious crime. It’s rare enough that stories of maids stealing tend to make the news. Common occurrences don’t generally make the news.

Dealing with Pet Hair in your Home

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While we all love our pets most of us could do without the fur. Summer leads to a lot of shedding and you may be wondering how to best deal with all the fur in your home, on your clothes and on your pets.

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