Back to school organisation tips

With Summer coming to a close and the new school term edging closer, getting back into a routine can be challenging.

The following tips can help you get your home ready and organised for the first school term.

Continue to follow government guidelines on COVID

While more than 47 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of the Coronavirus vaccine, it’s still vital that you follow government health guidelines to protect yourself and those around you. A few simple things you can continue to do include:

  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Wearing a reusable face mask when picking your child/children up from school
  • Cleaning high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Keeping a close eye on individuals showing symptoms

Create a Homework Station

It’s important for a small, quiet area, preferably with a desk, to be tidied and organised for your children to have their own space to do their homework.

You can organise all of the school/office supplies within this area, including pens, scissors, highlighters, pencils and anything else they may need.

Having everything in one place should discourage them from getting distracted and wander off to search for any items they may need.

Organise the School Bags

Always make sure that before and after school the kid’s bags are organised, as they will get out of hand if you’re not careful!

Our recommendation is to keep the backpacks hanging up near the front door, making sure homework and anything like permission slips are removed from the bag. Everything else, if not needed to stay within the bags.

Create a school bag checklist for you and your kids to go through every morning to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Have it All on a Checklist

We’ve all got out of routine by now after spending summer days out with the family, but now it’s time to get organised.

For younger school children have a point by point checklist, which should include things such as;

  • Make the bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Clean dishes
  • Brush teeth
  • Organise bag etc.

The checklist should include after school chores as well, such as cleaning and packing lunchboxes, doing homework & taking care of chores.

Have Clothes Ready To Go

Laying out clothes for the next day is a huge time saver for you and your kids.

You could even be extremely organised and lay out clothes for the whole week, including clothes for the evening as well as school uniform.

Get your kids into a routine of doing this on a Sunday afternoon, and then check they’ve got everything they need for the whole week.

What to include;

  • School uniform for the week
  • Gym kit for gym day or any after school sports
  • Evening clothes to change into when they’re home

 

With the help of these back to school organisation tips, you’ll be back on a slick schedule in no time at all.

However, the increased amount of activities during school time can leave you begging for more time to complete your daily housekeeping schedule. That’s where we can help, get in contact with your local Merry Maids today.

Cut your cleaning time in half

We all want to enjoy time with our family and not be stuck cleaning the house for hours, why not try these simple cleaning tips and tricks from the experts at Merry Maids. With just a little effort and some insider knowledge you can get on top of the chores and free up some valuable “me time”.

Fresh in a flash

Our top tip for keeping your rooms smelling fresh for longer is to sprinkle your living room carpet with baking soda before you go to bed. The next morning a quick vacuum will leave you with a cleaner smelling room.

Overnight oven cleaner

Apply oven cleaner at the end of the day and leave overnight, that way you can dramatically cut down the amount of scrubbing time.

  • We recommend using a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to keep your oven clean.
  • Moisten the inside of your oven with water, apply a thick layer of baking soda and let it sit for around three hours, while you get on with other things.
  • Spray vinegar on the baking soda and watch it fizz into action.
  • Leave overnight and then wipe clean in the morning.

Scrub a dub tub

If both you and your shower are in need of freshening up, why not kill two birds with one stone? Hop in the shower armed with your best scrubbing brush. Soap up, and then rinse yourself and the shower at once. Both you and your shower will be fresh and clean in half the time!

Glass shower doors look better for longer if you use a squeegee or cleaning cloth to remove water after every shower.

Dust talk

If you have a family member or friend that seems to keep you on the phone for an hour, use the time to multi-task.  Use a microfibre cleaning cloth to clean your furniture, this not only makes the best use of your time but will also help to catch more dust than a regular duster and will cut down the need to use specialised cleaning products.

Get the kids involved

Remember, cleaning the house isn’t just your responsibility but the whole family’s. If you have children why not get them involved by giving them a regular cleaning chore. Even if you only start small with something simple like making their own bed or tidying away toys at the end of the day. You can check out our Age appropriate chores for children blog here.

Don’t panic

If you really don’t have the time to get stuck into your chores then don’t panic, you can call and book an appointment for us to come and clean your home from top to bottom. Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

10 things you should clean every day

Things can get really dirty very quickly if you’re not careful. In fact, you’ll find yourself needing to clean regularly because of kids, pets, family gatherings, and more. It’s essential to periodically clean to eliminate harmful germs and bacteria, especially amid the global pandemic that had us running to the nearest store for every disinfectant product imaginable.

As your go-to place on everything cleaning, we know a few things about how and what you should be cleaning routinely to protect yourself and your family. Check out these 10 household items you should be cleaning every day—without question.

1. Sponges

If you clean with a sponge does the sponge then become dirty? Yes is the answer to this, you use your sponges daily to wipe, absorb, and eliminate spills on all hard surfaces, therefore, ensure you give them some daily TLC of their own. As an essential cleaning tool in your home, we recommend you clean your sponges every day with some water and baking soda to ensure these handy items stay clean and fresh for longer.

2. Dishes

Leaving the dishes in the sink overnight is something many people are guilty of doing, but it isn’t something you should make a habit of doing. Food particles and water are the perfect ingredients for a bacteria smorgasbord. According to research kitchen sinks were reported to have the highest concentration of bacteria in an entire home.

The best way to clean your dishes frequently, safely, and easily is to put them in the dishwasher, if you don’t have one ensure you’re using a sufficient amount of dish soap in the sink.

3. Kitchen Counters

Speaking of items in your kitchen that need daily attention, your kitchen counters are likely the most-used surfaces in your home, and they attract dirt easily. Your kitchen counters see a lot of action, which means they collect microscopic organisms that could be harmful to your health. Use a disinfected sponge and a tried-and-true germ-killing product to blast away the caked-on food, dirt, and dust for good.

4. Dining Room Table

The dining room table sees its fair share of family dinners, and food debris can get left behind, start to grow dangerous bacteria, mould, and a host of other things. Depending on the type of kitchen table you have, you’ll want to start by dusting it off first so you can give it a good cleaning.

For specific types of dining tables, follow these simple cleaning instructions:

  • Wood – Use warm water and a microfibre cloth to wipe down your dining table after every meal. Make sure to clean off any excess dampness with a clean towel to avoid watermarks and damage
  • Glass – A disinfected sponge, warm water, and baking powder can work wonders on a glass table. A glass cleaning solution is always a great way to get your table to shine after it’s washed
  • Metal – You can use a cloth or sponge to wipe a metal table but avoid using the sponge’s abrasive side for caked-on foods, so you don’t cause any damage

5. Bathroom Counters

Like kitchen counters, bathroom counters can harbour thousands of germs and bacteria that could be detrimental to your health. But because faecal matter could be involved, there’s more cause for concern when bathroom counters are left untouched. Some of the most common types of bacteria found on bathroom counters include E. coli, streptococcus, and salmonella. According to research, a bathroom countertop is made up of 452 bacteria per square inch.

To thoroughly and naturally sanitise your bathroom counters, mix a cup of hot water and a cup of white vinegar, place the mixture in a spray bottle and clean until your heart’s content.

6. Computer Keyboard

With most of the UK working from home full time amid the pandemic, computer keyboards are getting daily workouts. This means they also need to get daily wipe downs, just imagine the number of germs sitting on your keyboard right now. The average desktop keyboard has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. That’s a pretty unpleasant picture that you can erase by using alcohol wipes or an electronic-safe cleaning product to give your keyboard a good scrub.

7. Keys

Surprisingly, car and house keys are not as dirty as a toilet seat (like some items on this list). One reason could be because they’re likely handled solely by you or your spouse. Another theory is that keys are made of certain metals that don’t lend themselves to bacteria build-up. And while they don’t harbour as much bacteria as other household items, they are riddled with germs you don’t want attacking your immune system.

Safely clean your car and house keys using warm water, a drop of dish soap, and an old toothbrush to get in all the nooks and crannies. For a quicker alternative, throw them in the dishwasher and use the “sanitize” setting for thorough disinfection.

8. Remote controls

The remote control… you can’t live without it, especially because of lockdown and the amount of tv series and films we’ve all been watching! Make sure you disinfect this handy item daily, as research performed to study the cleanliness of a hotel room found that remote controls were the most germ-infested item in the room.

Fortunately, rubbing alcohol can sanitise your remote quickly and easily. Pour a bit on a paper towel and wipe every inch of the remote to ensure it is thoroughly disinfected.

9. Phone Screen

Think of how much face time your phone screen gets daily. According to a survey Brits touch their phones at least 28 times per day, which gives bacteria ample time to latch on and set up shop. A study in 2011 found that one in six mobiles in Britain are contaminated with faecal matter! Ew! This is definitely an eye-opener to ensure you’re cleaning your phones daily!

Like cleaning your remote control, mobile devices can be safely disinfected using an alcohol wipe to kill bacteria and keep them from multiplying or spreading.

10. Toothbrush

Because most people house their toothbrushes in their bathrooms (and we’ve already gotten into how bacteria-ridden the bathroom countertops are), it shouldn’t be surprising to find that your toothbrush should be cleaned daily. In fact, researchers at the University of Manchester found that toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for staphylococci bacteria and E. coli. Reports also show that toothbrushes contain at least 200,000 bacteria per square inch. All this simply means is that, instead of making your pearly whites whiter, you could be contaminating your body with life-threatening bacteria.

Your toothbrush can be easily cleaned by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide into a small cup and letting it soak for about 15 minutes. Letting it sit longer could damage the bristles. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with warm water before use.

 

If you want/need help with cleaning your home you can find your nearest Merry Maids UK business here and contact them for more information on our services.

Tips on washing your bed sheets

From duvet covers to flat sheets, many people wash these necessary bedding items whenever the mood strikes, but is that enough? Unfortunately, you may be sleeping on more than you bargained for.

Our experts at Merry Maids have put together a guide to washing your bedsheets to help create a healthier environment for you and your loved ones.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bed Sheets?

In 2020 Hammonds Furniture conducted a poll and found that a third of Brits only wash their bed sheets once a year, no that’s not wrong, ONCE A YEAR!!!

We recommend washing your bed sheets weekly to eliminate harmful bacteria. Because of the general nature of your sheets, they tend to attract thousands of dead skin cells and odours. These factors warrant more frequent washing and changing of your bedding to keep you and your family healthy.

You should wash your sheets more often if you:

  • Have allergies or asthma

  • Have an infection or skin condition

  • Sweat excessively at night

  • Have pets that like to sleep in your bed

  • Enjoy a midnight snack or breakfast in bed

  • Go to bed without showering (after vigorous activity)

When you don’t wash your sheets and other bedding regularly, you run the risk of exposure to harmful fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that can get trapped in the fibres of your sheets. It’s not the most pleasant thought to consider you’re lying in all that. Other things such as bodily secretions can also be found on your fabric, though they don’t necessarily pose a health risk like the above. However, these fluids and organisms left on the surface of your bedding could trigger skin irritation, eczema flares (in people already living with the condition), and dermatitis.

What’s the Best Way to Wash Sheets?

Hot water is always the best way to wash and sanitize your sheets and other bedding. Although, more delicate fabrics and textures may require different cycles or water temperatures. For clarification, read the care label on your sheets and follow the instructions carefully to prevent ruining the material. Remember, the hotter the water, the best chance you have of removing more bacteria and allergens.

How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

You should change your sheets every week or two to avoid the buildup of bacteria. If sleeping in your own sweat, oils, and skin cells weren’t enough to make you want to wash your sheets a bit more often, a colony of dust mites could be lurking in the fibres and these can have a dramatic impact on your health.

Dust mites are unpleasant eight-legged creatures not visible to the naked eye, so it won’t do any good trying to locate them on your sheets. By chance, if you do happen to see some creepy crawlers in your bed, they may be bed bugs. A bed bug situation requires abatement from a pest control company that specializes in these types of insects.

Keeping Your Bed Sheets Clean For Longer

It’s always a good idea to follow through with our recommended one to two-week washing routine. However, if life gets in the way (as it’s prone to do sometimes), you can make some changes in your lifestyle to keep your sheets and bedding cleaner longer, so washing frequently isn’t as necessary.

Keep your sheets clean between washing and help preserve them by:

  • Showering before you go to bed

  • Avoiding napping after a vigorous gym session

  • Removing makeup before you go to sleep

  • Avoiding lotions, creams, or oils right before bed

  • Not eating or drinking in bed

  • Keeping your pets off your bedding

  • Removing debris and dirt from your feet and socks before getting into bed

To keep your sheets looking don’t use fabric softeners with every wash, instead, replace the fabric softener with a quarter-cup of baking soda or a half-cup of white vinegar in the wash during the rinse cycle. Your sheets will feel softer and look brighter without any irritating chemicals or overpowering smells.

It’s important to note, if you’re using bleach to launder your sheets, don’t mix in the white vinegar. This can create poisonous fumes that are extremely dangerous if inhaled. Also, avoid using vinegar in a washing machine as the acid in the vinegar can destroy the door seal.

If you’re wanting any help with cleaning in your home find your nearest Merry Maids business here.

8 Tips on keeping your home clean with a dog around

If you share your home with a fluffy little pooch, the good news is that studies show you’re probably happier and healthier. On the other hand, your house probably isn’t as happy!

Don’t worry, we’ve compiled our top tips to keep your pet-friendly home feeling fresh and clean all day, every day.

1.Keep your pets clean

If your pup is covered in mud after every walk, it’s time to set up a pet grooming routine. It sounds obvious, but dirt removed through grooming your dog is dirt that’s not going to be trampled around your home. While you shouldn’t use pet shampoo every time, a quick wash down with water will make a huge difference. Keep your damp dog in one particular area, preferably with an easy to clean floor, for example;  your utility room or your kitchen. You could thoroughly dry them afterwards to avoid any Eau de damp dog. Depending on your dog’s breed, they may also require a trim now and then, this will help with reducing the amount of mud coming into your home.

2.Upgrade your upholstery

If you want to snuggle with your pup on the sofa it might be time to upgrade your current sofa. The wrong material can act as a hair magnet, hold odours that you won’t want lingering in your home and show up stains. You should be looking for a leather or tightly woven material sofa, ideally in a similar shade to your pets. If you can’t afford a new sofa, purchase a pet-friendly throw or blanket which can be washed when needed.

3.Buy a quality vacuum cleaner

You’ll need an extra-strong suction, quality filter and good brush action to pull the hair from your carpet and upholstery. Consider the type of flooring you have in your home and if your pet goes on the furniture, look for one which is good for cleaning upholstery too. If you’ve got yourself a dog that sheds all the time, you’ll need to vacuum daily to keep on top of things. Make sure you regularly clean out the filter too as a hair and dirt clogged filter will spread the smell of pet hair whenever you vacuum and you don’t want that!

4.Set up a dog cleaning station

We’re talking things like a heavy-duty doormat, easily accessible dog towels, wipes and a water spray bottle to clean those muddy paws when you’re coming back for your walk. Maybe as a treat for being such a good pooch keep a couple of treats there too.

5.Regularly clean your pet’s things

You’ll need to regularly clean your pet’s things, including pet beds, toys and even leads can pick up that strong dog odour. Try and purchase all items that are machine washable to make your life easier, otherwise, you can wash them by hand in the sink. Save this chore for a warmer day and allow them to dry outside where the sun will help with killing those bad odours.

6.React quickly to accidents

A life with a pet means the odd accident is going to happen no matter what, when this does happen act as fast as you can and use an enzyme-based cleaner to minimise smells.

7.Buy a good dog bed

Don’t get lured in with those beds that have a nice design and extra fluffy lining, they will usually be a nightmare to clean. Instead go for a simpler, water-resistant, easy to wipe down option. Give it a quick wipe down once a week and leave it out to air in the sun whenever possible to dry out and get rid of the smell.

8.Air your home regularly

Is Eau de dog affecting the energy in your home? Well, now that spring is here, you can open your windows and let some fresh air in, and even on cold days, a 10-minute blast of fresh air works wonders at deodorising those unwanted smells.

Contact your local Merry Maids here to find out more about how we can keep your home looking spick and span.

Home Office Organisation Tips

With it being ‘Organise Your Home Office Day’ today and a lot more people working from home due to the pandemic, we thought we’d share with you how to organise your home office, so you can spend less time hunting for documents or wrestling with wires.

Organising your Bills and Post

Most people have to contend with paper bills and post in spite of the fact that today’s world is mostly digitized, and nothing seems to pile up quicker than paper. These home office organisation ideas can help you tame the chaos:

  • Place labelled magazine holders on your desktop or wall to create out of the way in and out boxes. You can also use these to store letterheaded paper, stationery and envelopes
  • Keep a recycling bin and\or shredder nearby to ensure your deck isn’t cluttered with paperwork and mail you don’t need
  • Devise a colour-coding system and file post, bills and important paperwork accordingly. Take this method to the next step by labelling each file so you don’t spend hours hunting for paperwork

Divide and Conquer

When you’re figuring out how to organise your home office, don’t underestimate the value of making sure all of your desk items have a place of their own. Here are some ideas for home office organisation that can help you keep that desk area straight:

  • Drawer dividers: These shallow trays are excellent for keeping everything organised, from USB drives, sticky notes to pens and staples
  • Containers: Containers can be used to hold everything you don’t need immediately, including files and backup printer paper
  • Filing inserts: Install one of these in a deeper desk drawer so you can keep those colour-coded files out of sight
  • Labels: Avoid wasting time opening and shutting drawers on storage containers by labelling each drawer front with the names of all the items stored within
  • Bunch together: Place like items near one another, for example, store envelopes and stamps together to make your workspace more efficient
  • Wall space: Install shelves to hold reference books, stationery and other home office odds and ends
  • Control your cords: Use binder clips or other clips to keep computer cords and cables wrangled. Tip: You’ll find plenty of ideas for this on Pinterest.

Do Some Quick Cleaning

It honestly takes more time to think about how to keep your desk clean than it does to actually clean it, make sure you take some time to do the following:

  • Put pens, pencils, USB drives and calculators back in their place
  • Take the time to shred or recycle paperwork you don’t need any longer so your desktop is clear
  • File any documents that you’ll need in the future and replace files neatly
  • Return coffee mugs or any snack dishes to the kitchen
  • Quickly tidy up your desk each time you finish working

That’s how to keep your desk clean, and it takes all but five minutes.

Now you’ve figured out how to organise your home office, you can contact your local Merry Maids to keep your office and the rest of your home clean.

Cleaning up muddy and wet mess in your home

Here in Britain, we see a lot of rain throughout the year. In fact, on average, it rains on 156 days of the year! Well, this kind of weather can also bring a muddy mess into your home.

If you’re facing water stains on your wood floor from a wet umbrella or a trail of soggy paw prints across your living room carpet from your four-legged family member, the cleaning experts at Merry Maids can help. Below, we share our tips for removing water and muddy stains from carpet, clothes, and wood floors.

Erasing water stains from wood floors

When you can’t mop up water or other spills from wood floors right away, you may see a white ring or watermark left behind. Don’t panic! Try this trick to get rid of water stains on wood floors.

  • Pour mineral oil onto a soft cloth

  • Rub the mineral oil into the water stain and let it sit several hours or overnight

  • If the stain remains, rub mineral spirits into the stain using a soft cloth (Always make sure you’re wearing gloves as this is a chemical)

  • If the stain still persists, try applying a coat of furniture polish in a colour that matches your wood floor

For deeper, more set-in stains, you may want to call in a professional, like Furniture Medic, to restore your wood floors.

Cleaning our muddy carpets

Dry dirt is a problem on its own, but adding water to the mix makes it more difficult to clean. The liquid component in mud helps it settle deeper into carpet fibres, and the organic matter in soil means mud needs to be treated like a protein stain (eg. blood, sweat, etc.). What does that mean? Most importantly – no heat!

To clean mud from your carpet, follow these steps:

  • Let the mud dry, don’t try to clean it up while still wet, or you may end up pushing it further into the fibres

  • Once it’s dry, vacuum up as much of the dried mud as possible and make several slow passes with the vacuum, more than you would normally do.

  • When you’re satisfied you’ve vacuumed up as much as you can, add a teaspoon of mild dishwashing detergent to one cup of cool or lukewarm (not hot!) water, and use a clean white rag or cloth to blot the mixture onto the stain

  • Continue to blot to remove excess moisture while keeping an eye on the cloth to see that the stain is coming up. Switch to a clean rag or paper towels as necessary

  • Once the mud is gone, blot with clean water to remove any leftover residue.

You can use these steps to remove mud stains from upholstery, as well. Just be sure to minimise the amount of water you use, since moisture can sink further into upholstery, get trapped, and cause mould or mildew issues.

For professional carpet cleaning and more information head to ServiceMaster Clean

Removing muddy marks from clothing

Mud stains on clothing may combine with sweat or other proteins, making them even more persistent than when found on the carpet

  • Begin by removing any solid matter with the dull edge of a knife or spoon
  • Be careful not to rub, as this can push stains further into the fibres and make it harder to remove
  • Rinse the stain under cold running water, preferably from the opposite side of the fabric to help loosen the mud from the fibres
  • If you can’t wash it right away, soak the garment in cold water until you can
  • Wash in cold water using a detergent, and before putting the garment in the dryer, check to make sure the stain is gone

Don’t forget: Heat will set the stain if it’s not completely removed.

  • If the stain persists or has changed colour, use an oxygen-based stain treatment and soak the garment, then wash again
  • Once you’re sure you’ve gotten out the stain, dry the clothing as usual

Let Merry Maids Clean Up after Rain, Snow, or Sleet!

When you schedule regular housekeeping services from our cleaning professionals at Merry Maids, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re never far from a thorough clean. Spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the season; contact your local Merry Maids today.

Tips on cleaning out your fridge

Your fridge should be cleaned out every 3-4 months and during the current pandemic, it should be cleaned more often.

There may come a time when you need to bulk buy because of having to isolate due to you or one of your family members getting a positive result for COVID-19. Therefore, having a clean and somewhat empty fridge may be a good thing.

Also, with it being ‘Clean Out Your Fridge Day’ on November 15th there isn’t a better time to do it!

Preparing for the clean

Cleaning out your refrigerator, even though it can be a bit of a grotty task doesn’t require many speciality products.

Here are some things you’ll need to clean out your fridge:

  • Bin bags
  • Rubber or disposable gloves
  • A cooler box
  • A cleaning product
  • Sponges, old rags or kitchen roll
  • Microfibre cloths

Remove everything

When we say everything, we mean everything!

Don’t be tempted to leave anything in there, remove it all and treat it like you’ve just got a new fridge!

  • Remove all fridge items, like milk, cheese, yoghurts, tonight’s meals, everything!
  • Remove any shelving and drawers as well so you can wash those separately later on.

Do an inventory

Transfer any perishable items like milk and raw chicken into a cooler or into the freezer for the duration of your fridge clean (ensure you’re checking those items expiry dates and for any spoiling).

Set aside any bottles or jars, like the table sauces, pasta sauces and jam jars, all while checking the food to get rid of any items that might have become mouldy or out of date.

Throw away any unused items and any leftovers that maybe have been in the fridge for a little too long. The fridge can be a smelly place, so hold your breath if needed when dealing with spoiled products.

Get scrubbing

Scrub a dub didge let’s clean that fridge!

Start by scrubbing all of the shelves, drawers and door inserts you removed. Wash them the same way you would wash your dishes, by using a sponge and washing up liquid. Once these have been washed, dry them and set them aside.

To clean the inside of the fridge you can use diluted bleach or white vinegar, alternatively, a commercial all-purpose cleaner will do the job just as well. Always make sure you’re always wearing rubber gloves when cleaning with these products.

We would recommend using a scouring pad, or a sponge that has one attached, as these are excellent for removing any stuck-on food and spills from surfaces without scratching the area. An old toothbrush may come in useful as well to clean the hard to reach/smaller areas within your fridge.

For the exterior of the fridge use a microfibre cloth, as these are best at removing streaks and fingerprints on surfaces.

Putting everything back

The first thing you should do when you’ve finished cleaning is to put the shelves, drawers and door inserts back into their slots. Re-check your condiments for mould, give them a wipe down to ensure any residue is removed and then place them back into the fridge.

Next, you’ll then want to put your produce, meat, dairy products, drinks and any other food items to the fridge.

We can help!

We can do a refrigerator clean as an extra service when a home clean is purchased, contact your local Merry Maids to find out more.

 

Tips on using your time wisely

Do you use your time wisely or have you found that running around like a headless chicken, feeling rushed and crazed has become the norm?

Life can seem overwhelming on occasions, but knowing how to balance time between family, friends, work, housekeeping and yourself can decrease your stress levels, keep you organised and make life more enjoyable.

Work out how to manage your time, so that you can maintain a clean house while still doing the things you love. Check out the following tips on using time wisely.

Stick to a Cleaning Schedule

When thinking about how to organise your time and keep a tidy home, you need to start off by outlining a daily cleaning routine. This will help you add structure to your housekeeping, so that you can stay on track and also enable you to set small, manageable goals, so that you don’t get overwhelmed and abandon tasks.

Make a To-Do List

Get your week started off right by having a to-do list ready to go.

Include anything from items on your cleaning schedule and trips to the grocery store to your daily workout and reading for an hour at night. Batching tasks together — such as prepping lunch for the next day and cleaning kitchen counters — can help you be more efficient, so that you have a chance to do the things you enjoy.

In addition, being organised will allow yourself plenty of buffer time in between errands and chores, which will reduce any worries about getting behind.

Try Bullet Journaling

Bullet journals are all the rage these days, as they allow you a creative means to track your accomplishments. These notebooks can start out as simple logs in which you record tasks you need to take care of, such as drinking enough water, working out, cleaning, organising and so forth. Whatever you want to keep an eye on goes in your bullet journal.

Though they can be very plain, many people make them fun by using them as a means of artistic expression. Check out bullet journal ideas on Pinterest for some inspiration on making your own journal a time-saving masterpiece.

Practice Mindfulness

Being “mindful” allows you to use time wisely, as you’re focusing all of your attention and energy on a single task at hand.

For example, if you’re organising the fridge and/or freezer, you might get distracted when taking items off the shelves. The next thing you know, you’re unpacking the cabinets and your kitchen drawers to rearrange those, and your initial task has been forgotten.

If you were practising mindfulness, however, you’d complete the fridge/freezer organisation before moving on to another part of the kitchen. This not only makes you more likely to finish household chores, it keeps your mind tuned into one thing, so you do the best job possible and don’t get overwhelmed.

Take Some Time for You

There’s no point in using time wisely if there’s none left over for you at the end of the day. Don’t be afraid to turn down the occasional requests to have lunch with friends or even an invite to join your video chat catch-up with friends. When you bite off more than you can chew, you end up stressed out and wondering when you’ll ever get a chance to tidy up and have a moment to yourself.

Even when you know how to manage your time, there will still be occasions when you may need some backup.

For instance, you might find you’re too busy to stick to a cleaning schedule during the school year or around the holidays. If that’s the case, don’t waste a minute worrying: let the professionals at your local Merry Maids take care of the housekeeping for you, so you can spend time doing the things you truly enjoy.

Fall Back into a great autumn cleaning routine

As we get closer to the end of Daylight Savings Time, it’s important to set a new autumn routine so you can stay on top of everything in your house. The days may get a little shorter, but don’t let that stop you! After all, spring cleaning is already a thing: Why not add autumn cleaning to your list?

Creating good cleaning habits is all about consistency – and here at Merry Maids, we can help you keep a consistent cleaning schedule all year round. Using our time-tested methods, we’ll ensure that both the high-traffic and low-traffic areas of your house stay sparkling clean, by performing regular weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cleaning services.

Committed to re-booting your autumn schedule? Here are a few other ways you can perfect your cleaning routine and develop better habits this autumn.

Sort all cleaning tasks in your household

To reset your cleaning habits and create a more effective household schedule, you should start with documenting all the crucial cleaning tasks in your house, then sort them into distinct categories based on how often they should recur. A good rule of thumb is to have at least a few monthly, weekly, and daily tasks that you could easily do yourself or assign to another household member.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

· Monthly tasks: Window cleaning, clearing out cupboards, appliance cleaning, fixture scrubbing, organising and decluttering

· Weekly tasks: Vacuuming carpets, mopping the hardwood floors, cleaning bathrooms and mirrors, doing the laundry

· Daily tasks: Dusting, sorting out the bins, picking up laundry and clutter, loading the dishwasher, cleaning down countertops, sorting the post

Once you have your list, simply write up a rotating chore list and get everyone on board with your new autumn routine!

Create a 15-minute ritual every day

It’s difficult to enjoy your weekend when you’re still thinking about all the cleaning chores on your list. To reclaim that time as your own, commit to a simple 15-minute cleaning ritual at the end of every work or school day. This ritual should consist of a few essential cleaning tasks, as well as one larger “weekly” task that you rotate every day.

When building your ritual, the most important thing is to keep it simple and to stick to roughly the same time every weekday. Although it may sound exhausting to pick up a duster or mop after a long day, you’ll be surprised at how much more free time you’ll have on the weekends!

Prioritise the rooms that matter most

When you’re busy managing day-to-day messes, you may feel like it’s impossible to get the perfect clean, even when you diligently observe a cleaning schedule. In some cases, that can be fixed by sitting down and thinking about your true cleaning priorities. Do you love to take long, luxurious baths in a clean bathroom oasis at the end of the day? Or do you need the longe to be spic-and-span when you sit down with your kids to surf through Netflix?

No matter what your particular cleaning needs may be, pick the top two or three rooms where you spend the most time and energy in the evenings. By maintaining those rooms throughout the week and rotating other rooms on the weekend, you might not feel as stressed about the state of your entire house.

Upgrade Your Cleaning Routine with Merry Maids

While all of these tips can help you preserve your sanity and manage the daily tide of clutter, a professional cleaning expert can save you even more time and energy for the weekend! At Merry Maids we thrive on keeping your homes clean and making it easier for you to rest and relax. Because we can customise our services to meet your exact standards and needs, you’ll feel like you have a trusted partner in the war against grime – and you just might find that your autumn routine gets a little easier.

Find your nearest Merry Maids and contact us today to get your home looking lovely for autumn!

The psychological benefits of a clean home

A clean and well-organised house can bring you more happiness and internal stability throughout the week.

While cleaning and organising will never be considered a reliable solution for mental health issues, the latest research does indicate that having a clean and organised home can bring some serious psychological benefits.

By removing extra clutter, dust, dirt, and debris from your home, you may be able to experience more than just physical health benefits like improved indoor air quality. At Merry Maids, our cleaning experts can ensure that you’ll always enjoy the psychological benefits of a clean home – even with a large household and pets etc.

What Are the Benefits of Organisation?

As human beings, we strongly identify with our environments, and when our interior living spaces are cluttered with unwashed dishes, misplaced items, and garbage, it will have a negative effect on your mood. While we’ve all observed this truth in action, a 2013 study published in Psychological Science has confirmed that order and disorder each have a measurable effect on our preferences, choices, and behaviour.

According to the research, people in clean and well-organised rooms were far more likely to choose healthy snacks, donate money to charity, and select options labelled as “classic” or “traditional.” By contrast, those in disorderly rooms experienced boosts in creativity and unconventional thinking but did not tend to choose more healthy or conscientious options for themselves.

Understanding the Psychology of House Cleaning

Even if you prefer to have a little chaos in your living environment, cleaning the house is still an essential part of homeownership and the daily upkeep.

Why is it so important for our wellbeing to have a clean house? While the explanations vary, some promising new research shows that having a clean house encourages us to seek new experiences, become more adventurous and go out more often, all of which can be helpful in managing negative feelings.

According to research, they’ve found that interior cleanliness was one of the primary predictors for physical activity, even when all other factors were taken into consideration.

Living in a clean environment can also boost your concentration and focus! This is because the brain processes clutter and debris as a distraction in an attempt to force you to correct the situation. Whether you realize it or not, your subconscious is using up mental resources to process the clutter in your home or work environment – and taking up valuable space for other tasks.

Live More, Let Merry Maids Clean

As home cleaning experts with more than 40 years of experience, our team at Merry Maids can give you a well-deserved break from the household chores, while also giving your brain a break from the negative effects of clutter. By creating a customised regular cleaning plan that covers all of your needs, we can ensure that your home remains spotless, allowing you to focus on the more important things and make memories.

Reap the positive benefits of a clean and organised home today! Find your nearest Merry Maids and get in contact today.

Moving home cleaning tips

Moving home is exciting, but it’s also one of life’s major stress triggers due to all the work that has to be done in a short timeframe.

While it’s likely impossible that you’ll never enjoy moving home, there are several ways in which you can make the process easier on yourself and those you live with.

1. Create a Schedule

Packing up and cleaning your home is a big task, so it’s important to plan properly. That means mapping out your time well in advance. In addition to your actual move-out date, set deadlines for specific tasks, such as packing up the spare bedroom or cleaning out your fridge. Be certain to leave yourself as much wiggle room as is feasible: The goal is to get as much move-out cleaning done ahead of time while still having access to the comforts and necessities you need until you move to your new home.

2. Pack and Clean in Zones

Make sure you concentrate on one space at a time by setting cleaning and packing zones in your house. Make a list or draw a map of your home and number the rooms or areas in the order you want to tackle them. For example, list spare rooms or guest bathrooms first as these spots can be packed without changing your daily routines. Remember to clean as you go, taking the time to wipe down books, lamps and other items before putting them away. If you won’t be using a move-out cleaning service, you’ll want to work from the top (cleaning cobwebs, ceiling fans and light fixtures) to the bottom (vacuuming, washing floors and wiping skirting boards) in each room.

3. Embrace the Opportunity to De-clutter

As you’ll literally be going through every room in your home, a move-out cleaning is the perfect time to get rid of anything you don’t want or need anymore, be ruthless as it leaves you with fewer boxes to move! Place a few empty boxes around your house and fill them with those items you haven’t used in months or the clothes that you forgot you owned until you started packing up your closet. Once they’re full, donate them or sell them at a local car boot sale. Additionally, go through paperwork and the ‘man drawer’ (you know the one we mean) and toss out any anything that may be lying around you don’t need anymore.

4. Enlist Some Help

Packing is a much less daunting task if you have some extra hands and pleasant conversation, sticking to social distancing guidelines of course. Clearly, you might not want their help packing some of your more personal belongings, but a little assistance boxing up books, baking utensils or seasonal items in your garage can make a huge difference in your move-out cleaning.

5. Bring in the Professionals

Your time will likely be limited, especially if you’re a renter, and you can’t unload your moving truck and clean your house at the same time. Take the stress away and contact your local Merry Maids to see what home or apartment move-out cleaning services they offer. That way, you can focus on carrying those boxes, while housekeeping professionals take care of cleaning your former home, saving you time and — if you’re a renter — ensuring you don’t have to pay any clean-up fees from your security deposit.

Where there’s a move-out, there’s usually a move-in. If you need your new place spruced up a bit, you can always contact your local Merry Maids in regards to that as well.

5 ways your family can enjoy summer while social distancing

Summer activities may look a little different than usual this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the warmer weather with your family a little closer to home. We’ve put together a few tips for you, which means you won’t even have to leave your home!

Wish you had more time to spend with your family? Take back your time and leave the house cleaning to Merry Maids! Contact us today for a free quote, then start planning your summer fun.

Get the BBQ Out

Nothing says summer like getting out the barbecue and grilling for the family. First, make sure your outdoor space is barbecue ready by cleaning the patio, lawn and any patio furniture (while observing social distancing guidance)

Set up a spread of sides, like salads, coleslaw, crisps, dips and condiments on your outdoor table, and take care of the main dishes barbecue-style. Your family can enjoy a hot meal al-fresco while keeping the heat out of the kitchen, and hopefully, there will be some kind of breeze to keep you cool outside as well.

Take Your Kids Garden Camping

Whether you’re a family of seasoned campers or you’ve never been camping, setting up camp in the back garden can feel like a special event. Commit to sleeping outside and only going inside for bathroom breaks.

Use a tent if you have one or create your own. Start with a waterproof layer on the ground, like a tarpaulin, then pile on blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags until it’s comfy. Hang sheets, blankets, or tarpaulins from nearby trees or clotheslines to make the walls and ceiling.

Start the evening with a family cookout and roast marshmallows for s’mores as the coals cool or before turning off the gas. Or, if you have a garden fire pit, roast hotdogs and marshmallows and take turns telling your best ghost stories around the campfire.

You can even do a bit of stargazing if the sky is clear, why not have a competition to see how many constellations you can see!

Now Showing: Outdoor Movie Night

Bring the fun of an old-fashioned drive-in movie theatre to your back garden. String up a solid white (or light) bed sheet or blanket or use the surface of the house or garage, then switch on a projector to show a movie once darkness falls.

Clean up your outdoor furniture for seating or simply cosy up on the ground with blankets and pillows, and make sure that you’re passing around a big bowl of popcorn whist enjoying a movie under the stars.

No projector? You can find rentable projectors only, or if you’re looking to invest in one of your own, newer mini projectors offer affordability and are easy to connect to streaming devices. You can even project on the ceiling if your outdoor movie night has to become an indoor one because of the weather.

Enjoy an Indoor Floor Picnic

A rainy day doesn’t have to put a stop the family fun. Bring the picnic inside to one of the larger areas of your home, like the kitchen floor or the living room.

Keep things simple with just a picnic blanket or plan ahead and decorate your indoor space to look like the great outdoors with string lights, paper trees, and faux flowers—bonus points for a large mat of artificial turf. You could even embrace the indoor setting and set up a blanket fort to dine in, check out how to build a fort by IKEA (Via Good News Network). Prepare finger food for easy, minimally messy eating and enjoy a bug-free picnic—just be sure to vacuum up any crumbs to keep those bugs away.

Plan a Garden Beach Trip

If you can’t make it to the beach, bring the beach to you, make your garden Playa del Jardin!

Think about what your family enjoys about the destination. Is it building sandcastles and dipping their feet in the sea? Set up a sandbox and a paddling pool.

Parents, you can put your feet up and read your book under an umbrella whilst the kids splash around!

You could even pack a cooler full of drinks and snacks to enhance the beach vibe.

 

If after all of your outdoor activities the house starts to become a bit messy, especially from the sand, remember you can contact your local Merry Maids to get the cleaning done for you.

 

Cut cleaning time in half!

We all want to enjoy time with our family and not be stuck cleaning the house for hours, why not try these simple cleaning tips and tricks from the experts at Merry Maids. With just a little effort and some insider knowledge you can get on top of the chores and free up some valuable “me time”.

Fresh in a flash

Our top tip for keeping your rooms smelling fresh for longer is to sprinkle your living room carpet with baking soda before you go to bed. The next morning a quick vacuum will leave you with a cleaner smelling room.

Overnight oven cleaner

Apply oven cleaner at the end of the day and leave overnight, that way you can dramatically cut down the amount of scrubbing time.

  • We recommend using a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to keep your oven clean.
  • Moisten the inside of your oven with water, apply a thick layer of baking soda and let it sit for around three hours, while you get on with other things.
  • Spray vinegar on the baking soda and watch it fizz into action.
  • Leave overnight and then wipe clean in the morning.

Scrub a dub tub

If both you and your shower are in need of freshening up, why not kill two birds with one stone? Hop in the shower armed with your best scrubbing brush. Soap up, and then rinse yourself and the shower at once. Both you and your shower will be fresh and clean in half the time!

Glass shower doors look better for longer if you use a squeegee or cleaning cloth to remove water after every shower.

Dust talk

If you have a family member or friend that seems to keep you on the phone for an hour, use the time to multi-task.  Use a microfibre cleaning cloth to clean your furniture, this not only makes the best use of your time but will also help to catch more dust than a regular duster and will cut down the need to use specialised cleaning products.

Get the kids involved

Remember, cleaning the house isn’t just your responsibility but the whole family’s. If you have children why not get them involved by giving them a regular cleaning chore. Even if you only start small with something simple like making their own bed or tidying away toys at the end of the day. You can check out our Age appropriate chores for children blog here.

Don’t panic

If you really don’t have the time to get stuck into your chores then don’t panic, you can call and book an appointment for us to come and clean your home from top to bottom. Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd and was created to flood the world with hope, optimism and action, all around our beautiful planet Earth.

The first Earth Day was introduced back in 1970, therefore, celebrating its 50th Birthday this year, and now has over 75,000 partners working together to drive positive action.

Why does Earth day matter?

Our planet is currently facing two crises, one is the current COVID-19 pandemic and the other is climate change.

There is some good that has come out of a lot of countries being put on lockdown, here are a few of those good news stories:

  • People in India can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades, as air pollution reduces
  • China’s carbon emissions during February dropped by an estimated 25%
  • Venice’s canal water is cleaner than it has been for a long time
  • Global Carbon Dioxide output is forecast to fall by around 5%, which is the largest amount in over 70 years.

You can do your bit for Earth Day to ensure we come out of the current pandemic better than before by continuing to reduce your carbon emissions and recycling.

“Remember, this is our planet, this is our future.”

How can you help save our planet?

Going green and doing your bit to save our planet is easier than you may think. There are lots of little things you can do every day to help save our precious planet.

Save water to save the world

Conserving water is important because according to theworldcounts.com, if we continue the way we are, freshwater will run out by 2040!

Here are a few ways that you can help save water:

  • Turn the tap off while you’re brushing your teeth and shaving
  • Have shorter showers, also turn off your shower while lathering yourself in soap
  • Take baths when possible, however, only partially fill your tub, this will use less water than even those short showers
  • Only boil the amount of water you need for your cups of tea and coffee
  • Collect rainwater for your garden by using a water butt, or another rainwater collection system (this can save up to 5,000 litres of water a year)
  • Use a watering can or regulated sprinkler system where you can, instead of a hosepipe

There are plenty more ways you can help save water, you can find a few here at Volusia.org.

Plant trees to plant happiness

You can give a little gift to mother nature by planting a tree in your garden, this will increase happiness as well as helping the environment.

Trees and other plants are vital to Earth’s survival, so do your bit and plant trees in your garden.

Here is what your trees will do for the planet:

  • Absorb carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen
  • Improve air quality
  • Help conserve water
  • Preserves soil
  • Helps support wildlife

“The little things that we can do to help save the environment, are the ones that make the biggest difference.”

Buy local or grow your own

Buying local produce like fruit, vegetables and meat from your local farm shop instead of your local supermarket will have a positive impact on the environment:

  • Will help reduce air pollution because of the decrease of goods being transported across long distances
  • Many local food producers grow their food organically, meaning they’ll use natural pest repellents and no chemically produced pesticides
  • Buying locally will help preserve farmland and reduce the amount of space for industrial and commercial development

Growing your own vegetables and fruit where possible will decrease air pollution even more. As you will only be walking into your garden or allotment to pick the produce. It’s as easy as pie, maybe an apple one!

Check out the RHS website for tips on growing your own vegetables.

 

You can learn more about Earth Day and how you can help on the Earth Day website.

“If we stand together, we can make the world a better place for all today and for those to come”

7 tips for a dog friendly home

If you’re a dog owner, you already know that having a fluffy four-legged friend around can bring an incredible spirit of joy and companionship into your home.

Unfortunately, for pet owners, dogs are known to be mischievous and mess is usually their middle name, especially those adorable puppies.

If you didn’t know already, April is National Pet Month, so our cleaning experts have decided to help and share 7 of the best tips for puppy-proofing your home, helping you keep it clean in the midst of all of the chaos.

Tip #1: Think like a dog

It may sound slightly odd, but experts recommend that you start the dog-proofing process by imagining how your dog sees his or her surroundings.

Get down to your dog’s level and look for anything that could be in reach and potentially catch your dog’s eye, like unattended food sources, uncovered rubbish bins, or enticing “human toys” like the remote control.

Then, make sure there are no easy routes for your pup to paw these treasures, or install shelving too high for them to reach.

Tip #2: The use of a lint roller

Lint rollers are one incredible invention for all dog owners! Consider keeping a few within reach of your front doorway so that you can dust off before leaving the house.

It may also be worth purchasing a heavy-duty fur remover broom for your hardwood flooring, and medium-sized lint rollers to trap hair on your sofas, chairs and beds etc.

Tip #3: Choose the right doggy bed.

Your fluffy friend spends a lot of time in their doggy bed, so it’s best to choose one that won’t trap unwanted odours and hair!

Whether you’ve got one dog or a whole pack, thinking ahead on pet beds will save you a lot of time and money down the line. There are dog beds you can purchase that have removable covers made from bacteria-fighting fabric, with one of those you can simply throw it in the washing machine every week or so.

Tip #4: Towels and blankets are useful

Wherever your furry friend likes to play, there’s sure to be plenty of fur and dirt.

Luckily, you can stop the dirt in its tracks by keeping an old towel near your door, along with some cleaning supplies and a shallow container of water, this will allow you to clean their messy paws after their daily walk.

If your puppy has some favourite spots to sit throughout the house, you may want to throw down a few machine-washable blankets in those places.

Tip #5: Add an air purifier to your shopping list.

Dog dander can cause severe allergies and invite unpleasant odours into your home.

Aside from observing a regular dog grooming schedule, you can also invest in a high-quality air purifier to combat your pup’s shedding habit and keep your house smelling fresh. Try to find a purifier that has a HEPA filter, as this means it’s certified to remove 99.97% of airborne allergens.

Tip #6: Perform a full “plant audit.”

Every home needs a little bit of greenery around the house and in the garden.

Before you let your dog strut around the garden, you’ll need to double and triple-check that your plants are safe for dogs.

Common flower varieties like tulips, daffodils, and lilies are actually poisonous to dogs, and even safe plants can cause gastrointestinal distress when ingested.

Once you’ve identified any potential hazards, either replace the offending plants or find a way to block your dog’s access to that area.

Tip #7: Invest in a few dog deterrents.

No matter how old your dogs are, they love to chew on almost anything they can reach.

To protect your home—and your canine’s teeth— from damage, you should think about investing in a few easy dog deterrents.

One solution you could use is bitter apple spray, which uses all-natural ingredients to keep dogs from chewing on table legs and furniture.

You can also install baby gates throughout the house to limit access to certain rooms.

Want More Pet-Related Cleaning Tips? We’ve Got You Covered!

Even if you dog-proof your entire home completely, it’s pretty much inevitable:

Your pet will eventually make a mess, and when that does happen, there’s no need to worry. With the help of our regular cleaning services, you’ll be well on your way to managing a beautifully dog-proof home.

Find your local Merry Maids here and we’ll be able to organise a visit to see your home in the future.

De-clutter your wardrobe

With us currently having to stay at home now is the perfect time to clear out your wardrobe, and make space for your new-season buys.

If the thought of organising your wardrobe fills you with dread, fear not, we’ve put together some top tips to make sure it’s ready for the season ahead – a great excuse to get online and buy some more clothes!

Be ruthless

Bag any clothes you haven’t worn in over a year and take them to a charity shop when possible, if you’re finding some items too hard to part with, bundle them up and store them away.

If you haven’t missed them after two seasons, they’re already packaged for giving away.

‘Merchandise’ your wardrobe like a professional

Arrange your wardrobe so similar items hang together. When shorter items, like shirts, are grouped together you may have space underneath for a shoe rack or even a small chest of drawers.

Freshen up and economise

Reduce cleaning bills by airing an outfit for a few hours after wearing it instead of popping it right back in the wardrobe or washing.

Clothes will stay fresher for longer and you should notice a difference in your bills.

Maximise space

Check outa any space above the hanging rails in your wardrobe, as there may be room for an additional shelf for out of season shoes, bags or other items.

You can use the back of your wardrobe door for shelf supports. Extra hooks can hold robes, or you could use the space for a tie or belt rack.

Get the professionals in

If all else fails you can rely on us to get your home clutter-free and clean. Our maids are all professionally trained and have the knowledge and ability to make your house sparkle.

 

10 things to do in the garden

The Easter weekend is a slightly different one this year with us ‘staying home’, but don’t let that stop you having fun in the garden!

We’ve put together some fun activities that you and your family can do in the garden whilst the weather is nice this bank holiday weekend. 

#1 Garden Easter egg hunt 

 If you have young children or just want a bit of fun as a couple, then hide some chocolate eggs in the garden for others to find. Make sure that you remember where you’ve hidden them, as you don’t want them to melt! 

 Here are some great places that you can hide the Easter eggs: 

  • Bird bath 
  • Watering can 
  • Flower bed
  • Hanging plants
  • Sandbox 

Come up with some more yourselves and have some fun! 

#2 Garden sports 

 Staying active while staying at home is very important and sports games in the garden are a great way to do this. 

 Here are some ideas for sports games:  

  • Badminton or tennis – dust off the old rackets and have a family competition 
  • Football – practice those skills and become the next Lionel Messi 
  • Catch – throw a ball to each other, be it a rugby ball or tennis ball 
  • Bowls or bowling – play some bowls or put up some makeshift skittles and practice your bowling skills 
  • Twister – you could even get out your game of Twister and play that in the garden 

There are lots more fun games you can play in the garden, if you come up with any more let us know on social media.  

#3 Gardening

Gardening is a very popular hobby and whilst the weather is nice and we’re having to stay at homewhy not get out there and tend to your garden. 

You could get out your trowel and tend to your flowerbeds or mow the lawn ready for your bowling games. 

#4 Garden camping

A great idea is to get the old tent out and have a camping trip in your garden. You could even use the barbecue as a bonfire, on which you can cook your dinner and toast marshmallows. 

#5 Garden bug hunt

Tell or show your kids what bugs to look for to see what they can find. Remember, if your kids do catch any to put them back where they found them.  

If you and your kids are feeling adventurous you could build a bug den or a butterfly feeder for example. 

#6 Chalk painting 

Being easily washable, chalk painting on your stone patio is a great way to entertain the kids and adults if you enjoy being creative.  

See who can come up with the most imaginative drawing and share them with us on social! 

 #7 Garden picnic

Set up a picnic in the garden, with young kids you can make this a fun teddy bear’s picnic if you like! 

Lay out a full picnic for the whole family to enjoy and then once you’ve finished you can make a day of it and enjoy some other garden activities. 

#8 Bury a time capsule

This is a great time to bury a time capsule with your family.  

Use some kind of waterproof container, cut articles from the newspaper, get your kids to draw or write a letter to their future self, including their age, their favourite things etc.  

You could even take and print out some pictures and put them in the time capsule. You’ll then need to seal up the capsule and bury it in your garden. 

#9 Paddling pool aerobics

You can get your kids to come up with a pool aerobics routine to do for the family. Have fun and get fit at the same time, perfect. 

For the younger kids, just playing with toys in the paddling pool will entertain them for hours! 

#10 Build a den

If you’ve got some wood or other items lying around you could build a garden fort fit for a king!  

Or if you or your children are massive Lego fans, then you’re bound to have enough bricks to build one as well! Make sure you show us your forts on social media! 

 

We hope you have a nice bank holiday weekend, and remember stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. 

 

Home decorating tips

With the nation currently being told to stay at home, there can’t be a better time to think about a bit of home decorating! 

We’ve done our homework and accumulated a few useful tips for you to take away and implement when you’re decorating your home, so here they are: 

Plan your decorating 

 Before splashing paint all over the walls and rearranging any furniture, make sure you have a plan written down.  

  • Produce a colour palette for each room 
  • To your best ability draw your new layout with everything labelled, including each wall colour 
  • Get everything organised like plastic sheets for while your painting and a good supply of tea and coffee 

Integrating design 

You’ll need to take into consideration what other rooms in your home look like, as for example, a modern room in an older house may not work particularly well. 

Consider what your other rooms look like and try to use complimenting colours throughout your home, you’ll have a beautiful home in no time.  

If you can’t afford to do other rooms right now, have these on a plan to do so in the future, again just to make your house more uniform. 

Functional designing 

 We all want a home to be proud of and one which is inviting to visitors too, that’s where functional design comes in to play.  

For each room ask yourself a few questions to ensure you produce the right feeling you want for that specific room;  

  • How do you want the space to appear/feel (cheerful, formal, friendly)? 
  • Who is the room being used by (adults, children or both)? 
  • What is the room’s function (an office, a nice place to relax, kids playroom)?

 As an example, if it’s your office which you’re planning to decorate, you’ll probably want to consider incorporating deeper colours, textures and patterns to make it feel more formal. 

You can get some great home decorating inspiration on the website/app Houzz and of course on Pinterest. 

Decorating on a budget  

If this is a spur of the moment thing, which you’ve decided to do because of having to stay at home, you may not have saved up the funds to do a full home decoration. 

This is where you need to consider which room/s are the ones most in need of a makeoverIf it’s just a lick of paint that you’re wanting to put up, then for now, just buy the exact amount you need for the room/s and get painting, include the kids if you want!  

If you’re planning on upgrading the whole room from décor to furniture then you may want to consider, where possible looking at secondhand items. 

Achieve the correct balance  

Making sure your room/s look as visually pleasing as possible is important, especially if it’s a small space. Things like the arrangement and size of your furniture, along with other items will help with balancing your room.   

For example, if it’s a lounge that will be used for entertaining family and visitors, you’ll want to consider having a main focal point in the room. This could be a bold statement wallpaper, or maybe a modern centrepiece on the coffee table. 

It’s your space 

Remember it’s your house, it’s your space, and taking too many hints and ideas from websites and other people could influence you to forget about what you want. Make sure your home has yours and your family’s personality written all over it. Enjoy your home decorating! If you like you can share your skills with us on social using #MMhomedecoration!

 

For regular blogs and other tips make sure you keep visiting our page and follow us on social media so you never miss an update. 

Stay home, stay connected

Being on lockdown, stuck in your house, restricted movement, social distancing, whatever you want to call it isn’t easy for a lot of people but luckily for us, in this day and age, we have a wide range of technology at our fingertips to help us stay connected. 

 Staying connected is important for us on a personal level to help keep away the boredom, help keep us motivated and help keep a closer eye on our loved ones that are now out of reach. Video calls are most definitely a great option for keeping in touch with people. 

Staying connected for business is going to be vital for many as more and more people are migrated to home working; getting access to apps, software and resources will help us work effectively and efficiently and well; just make the day easier. 

Here’s a good but not exhaustive list of software and Apps you could try to keep you connected for work and socially. 

Video Calling Software

Facetime – available on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and even newer Macbooks 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204380 Facetime is a nice simple tool to use to video call loved ones but it is also a nice easy option for one to one video meetings. 

WhatsApp is popular for group chats but also have a video feature where you can video call individual people or groups of people, WhatsApp is available for Android, iPhone on Mac & Windows PC so is very accessible for lots of users 

https://www.whatsapp.com/ 

Zoom is designed for video conferencing and makes keeping in touch from a personal point of view but is especially handy for business use with several options & plans 

https://zoom.us/ 

Skype – Skype has video conferencing available and you can chat to more than one person at a time and share your screen, this makes it good for personal use but also. Works well for businesses use too 

https://www.skype.com/en/ 

Microsoft Teams – This is more than just a chat or remote meeting solution, Microsoft teams allows you to set up teams, have chats, hold group video calls, share a calendar and share documents within the teams, it is designed for teamwork. 

https://products.office.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software 

Handling documents 

Big businesses might have fantastic IT resources, but if you are a smaller business it might be harder to manage your documents between your teams.  

I wouldn’t want to suggest one over another but a few options to help you keep running more smoothly are: 

Microsoft teams – as above, it is not just great for keeping in touch, it also has the power to share documents and update them live without the need to email things backwards and forwards. 

 Dropbox – This is more of a file-sharing option, you can give authorised people access to a Dropbox folder so you can access the documents within. If you have to work with personal data you will need the business version to help you be GDPR compliant 

https://www.dropbox.com 

Google Drive – This is a file-sharing platform and they have both personal and business packages available 

https://www.google.com/drive/ 

Huddle – a cloud-based project management solution that helps project teams in businesses 

https://www.huddle.com/ 

Receipt Bank – a pre-accounting tool often used by accountants and bookkeepers but can also be used by businesses to log receipts digitally. 

https://www.receipt-bank.com/uk/ 

Smart Receipt – Turns your phone into a receipt scanner and expense report generator with Smart Receipts! You can track receipts and lots more 

https://www.smartreceipts.co/ 

Expensify – claims to be the world’s leading application for expense management, receipt scanning, and business travel. Take a picture of your receipts using SmartScan and go from there 

https://www.expensify.com/ 

 

There are loads of tools out there to help make things just a little easier… all at your fingertips.