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Merry Maids of Kingston is crowned a winner in the Great British Franchisee Awards

Owned and operated by Gary Rolfe, Merry Maids of Kingston scooped a prestigious award this week which recognises excellence in franchising.

After setting up his business in 2017, Gary has taken Merry Maids of Kingston from strength to strength as well as shown resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic which forced many domestic cleaning companies to close their doors for a short while.

Offering services from regular house cleaning, to end of tenancy, builders and one-off cleans, plus more; Merry Maids of Kingston boasts an array of services to suit all requirements. Not only that, they are Dementia Friends trained, and with 12 staff members, are regarded as a great place to work.

Hosted by Which Franchise, the Great British Franchisee Awards focuses on the people who have made the UK franchising a success.  They recognise the outstanding performance of franchisees, regardless of the size of their business or the sector they work in.

With tough criteria to fill, Merry Maids of Kingston clearly demonstrated what it takes to be a Great British Franchisee. From proof of Franchisee Stability and Business Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Inspired Leadership and to Driving Business Growth and Community involvement – this prestigious award is no easy gain, especially following a challenging year following COVID-19.

Gary Rolfe said: “I am extremely honoured and delighted to have won this prestigious award, I am extremely grateful for the fantastic support I receive from Servicemaster, and the award would not have been possible without my amazing staff.”

The awards judging panel consisted of Suki Dehal – Lloyds Bank, Head of Franchising, Aman Nirwal – BDO, Senior Key Account Manager Franchising, Euan Fraser – AMO Consulting, and Derrick Simpson, Companion of the British Franchise Association.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all the applications and it has been so refreshing to see how all sizes of businesses from various sectors have coped and adapted their business in response to not only Covid-19 but looking at sustainable growth and business resilience for many years to come. It was great to see so many applications and from a cross-section of franchisees too,” Aman Nirwal, BDO.

Learn more about the Which Franchise Great British Franchisee Awards at: http://www.whichfranchise.com/awards/

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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. 

Mental wellbeing during isolation

With many of us perhaps feeling concerned, stressed or panicked by the current situation, we’ve put together a few ways of looking after your mental-wellbeing during these challenging times. The below is not medical advice but aimed to help a little as you face life’s current worries.  

Connect with people

If you are in self-isolation, you may start to feel just that, isolated. What better opportunity than now to re-connect with old friends, keep in touch with family and check in with your nearest and dearest. Video calls are a great way to stay connected but why not brighten someone’s day by sending them a hand-written letter? Also, a lovely thing for your children to do as part of their homeschooling.   

Help Others and Offer Support

Being there to help others can be a mood boost for both parties. Local support groups can offer suggestions as to how you can help your local community. Maybe a phone call to an elderly resident is needed or perhaps you’re able to pick up medication for someone who is self-isolating. Little actions can go a long way.  

On a larger scale, the NHS has implemented a campaign for “NHS Volunteer Responders.” This is “a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to stay safe and well at home.” You can see if you are eligible to help via the following website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/participation/get-involved/volunteering/nhs-volunteer-responders/ 

Relaxation techniques

Colouring In – Not just for kids! Adult colouring-in has taken off in a big way in the last few years. It’s a great way to practice Mindfulness and switch off from the world around. You can print out designs to colour in at homehttps://www.justcolor.net/ or even colour in digitally on your computer or phone. https://colormandala.com/ 

Yoga / Meditation – you can join in live via various online classes or YouTube have tonnes of instructional videos for everyone, from beginner to pro. Yoga can massively help with your mental wellbeing. 

Reading – why not take a moment to switch off and escape the world around you. Reading is great for focussing the mind and also a great way to begin an effective sleep routine.  

Sleep Routine

Maintaining a good sleep routine is always important but with many now having a less structured day, perhaps it’s time to focus on this. It’s easy to fall into the trap of staying up a little later and snoozing the alarm clock a few more times when your daily routine is not so rigid.  

If you’re having trouble sleeping, the NHS website offers some top tips: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/sleep/ 

With daylight hours increased last Sunday now is the ideal opportunity to set a new sleeping pattern for the Summer months.  

Exercise

Current NHS advice permits “one form of outdoor exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.” It is also important to remember to maintain a 2-metre distance from others when outside. So, how does exercise boost your mood? Physical activity causes the brain to release endorphins. These are chemicals which, in simple terms, cause you to feel happier and improve feelings of well-being.  

If you are unable to go out at the moment, why not participate in an online exercise class. From circuit training to ballet, there is something for everyone! 

Remember to take into account your own fitness levels and health/medical conditions before embarking on an exercise regime. 

Content is based on the Government’s health guidance and COVID-19 measures at the time of writing. Please refer to the government website to ensure that this information is current.  

If you have concerns regarding your mental health and wellbeing, further information, help and support can be found by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ 

Looking after your pets during the current crisis

As Coronavirus or COVID-19 – grinds the world to a halt, many are left wondering what they can and cannot do with their pets during this pandemic.  

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that pets can be carriers of Coronavirus, nor become poorly from it; however, your pets may be impacted if you or any members of your family test positive and find yourselves self-isolating.  

Many dog owners are quite rightly querying how they will walk their dogs now we have been advised to social distance ourselves, and what happens if they need to self-isolate. 

I’m choosing to social distance, what should I do with my pets?  

If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then you can continue your role as a pet owner as normal. However, it is a good idea to adopt good hygiene practices such as washing your hands before and after touching them, as well as handling their toys and food.  

Whilst you are able to still go outdoors, it might be a good idea to stock up on enough food and bedding for your pets, just in case you do suddenly find yourselves unable to go outdoors and having to stay home.  

If you are well in yourself and haven’t been told to stay at home, then you can still take your dog for a walk, however, under current Government guidance, you should keep two metres away from others. It might be wise to avoid busy periods at the park.  

There is currently no restriction on exercising larger animals such as horses, however, all competitions have been suspended until further notice.  

What if I’m poorly – how do I meet my pet’s needs? 

If you’re unable to walk your dog, it’s a good idea to ensure that they still have plenty of time in the back garden. Regular toilet breaks are still an important factor in your dog’s daily routine and this will need to replace their walking for a while.  

You can use toys to keep them entertained or stimulated whilst you need to rest. Encourage them to play with their toys or use a Kong to keep them mentally stimulated and busy.  

When you’re feeling up to it you can still play with your pets, but it’s important to keep washing your hands. Small animals will still need access to clean bedding regularly and large animals such as horses and cows will still need feeding and their bedding cleaned daily.  

Whilst you’re unable to go outside and tend to larger animals such as horses, it’s important to have a care plan in place and a designated person that is able to look after them and tend to their needs for you. If you are on a yard, your yard owner might be able to assist with this.  

If you feel that you are going to struggle to look after any pet during this difficult time and whilst you’re stuck at home then it may be worth asking a friend to have your pet for a couple of weeks. If this isn’t an option, you could contact your local kennels or pet boarding facility to see if they can help 

 

Please remember that all this is a precautionary measure and there is currently no evidence that pets can become unwell.

This article is for information and guidance only and we are not experts. If you are worried about your pets at any time, phone your Veterinarian for assistance, but do explain your situation so they can ensure your pet receives the right care whilst isolating yourself.

What’s the difference between social distancing, isolation and quarantine?

With all that’s going on in the world now, everyone needs to understand what the differences between Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine are.

There is a difference between each of these terms and we’ll explain the difference below.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing should be practised by everyone, whether or not they are exposed to the virus.

Social Distancing includes avoiding handshakes, crowds and staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from people.

Working from home/Remote Working has been recommended by the government when possible and if showing any symptoms, you should be self-isolating.

What is Isolation?

Isolation is for those who have been either diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing symptoms of the virus.

Isolation serves as a deterrent to keep the infected away from the healthy in order to stop the spread of the virus. This applies to anyone living with someone showing symptoms, anyone with an underlying health condition or anyone over the age of 70.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the restriction on the movement of people, which is intended to prevent the spread of disease. Preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a COVID-19, but do not have a confirmed case.

This is the current situation in countries like Italy & Spain to which they have issued a nationwide quarantine and restricted everyone from leaving their homes as much as they can.

Here are a few small graphics that we’ll be sharing on social media as well that you can share if you like:

Social Distancing Isolation Quarantine

Age appropriate chores for children

It’s important to teach children to pitch in and help with the housekeeping at an early age. After all, they have to start learning responsibility to succeed in life, but how do you know which chores young kids will be capable of handling? If only you had an age-appropriate chore list to check…

Waves a magic wand…abracadabra…

We’ve produced one just for you! Use the following chart to assign chores for kids by age, whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or babysitter. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to keep your children motivated and chores fun.

Children Age 2 – 3

  • Pick up toys
  • Help set the table
  • Throw trash away when instructed
  • Place their clothes in a laundry basket
  • Wipe lower cabinet doors

Tip: Kids this age love to use their imagination, so think of ways to turn chores into fun imaginative games.

Children Age 4 – 5

  • Put toys and books away
  • Set and clear the table
  • Pick out clothes for the next day
  • Sweep small areas with a handheld broom
  • Fold towels

Tip: Children aged four to five can get overwhelmed with too many instructions. Be certain to only assign one task at a time and consider singing silly songs as you work.

Tip: With a tiled kitchen you can use a bit of masking tape to make a square, then get your child to sweep everything into this small square.

Children Age 6 – 7

  • Put away clean silverware
  • Help clean the bedroom
  • Wipe down bathroom surfaces
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Load and unload the washing machine and tumble dryer

Tip: Give six- and seven-year-olds plenty of recognition for how well they’re doing, as their sense of confidence starts to develop around this time. You can make chores more enjoyable by turning them into games.

Children Age 8 – 9

  • Help prepare meals with supervision
  • Dust and vacuum
  • Feed, brush and walk pets
  • Empty trash cans
  • Fold towels and put clothes away

Tip: Consider buying kids this age their own brightly coloured child-friendly kitchen utensils and get them to wash these up after every meal. This will ramp up the fun factor and will also make them feel more independent.

Children Age 10 – 12

  • Laundry and ironing
  • Gardening jobs
  • Cook simple meals
  • Wash dishes by hand or load the dishwasher
  • Clean the kitchen

Tip: This is a good time to start incentivising kids. Set up a routine list of chores for kids by age, and reward them with weekly pocket money, extra screen time, a trip to get ice cream or see a movie.

Children Age 13 and up

  • Make full meals
  • Clean the shower, tub, sink, and toilet
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Babysit for younger siblings

Tip: Rewards and incentives still work well. Make sure you continue to recognise the additional responsibilities your children are able to take on, so they know they’re appreciated.

Keep in mind that there may be a little trial and error involved when it comes to different age groups. Every child’s development is different, so give kids a new task if they have difficulty completing the original assignment.

Also remember that when dealing with children and chores, there’s no such thing as too much praise. Let kids know you’re proud of their efforts. It will make them feel good and they’ll want to keep helping so they can get more positive feedback.

Looking for more insights on children and chores? Check out our post on fun cleaning games with kids. And if you’re finding that life has you too busy to even think about cleaning your home, contact your local Merry Maids! We’re happy to lend a hand so you can free up more time to do the things you love with the people you care for the most.

5 Ways To Upgrade Your Cleaning Routine

Now that the holidays are over and the New Year is upon us, it’s the perfect time to start upgrading your daily cleaning routine!

Whether you’re a queen or king of cleaning checklists or just looking to get more organised in 2020, our cleaning experts at Merry Maids can help you stay on track with your goals, by providing regular cleaning services to supplement your everyday efforts.

Here are 5 great ways you can upgrade your home cleaning habits for 2020 ­– and beyond!

#1: Introduce one simple daily cleaning habit

Nowadays the majority of us are always on-the-go, it can be hard to find time even for a 15-minute daily cleaning ritual, let alone a rigorous cleaning schedule. When you’re not sure where to begin, we would recommend starting small and master a single daily cleaning habit that will make a difference to you.

To get started, make a list of all your cleaning pet peeves – in other words, those tasks that drive you crazy when you can’t complete them.

Whether on your own or with a partner, pick out the top chore and complete it daily until it becomes a habit, which typically takes 21 days to form as a habit. From there, you can introduce new habits as and when needed!

#2: Create a defined house cleaning schedule

Again, the key here is to start small, build on your existing efforts and hold yourself accountable to whatever tasks you add onto the schedule.

Here are a few methods you might like:

  • Theme up your cleaning – If you hate repetition more than anything else, try giving each day a cleaning theme. Maybe Monday can be your washing day and Tuesdays can be for cleared for kitchen clean-up. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something you can and will follow!
  • Set a specific time aside for your top 10 tasks – Instead of taking it one day at a time, create a list of the top 10 small cleaning chores that you would like to accomplish by the end of each night. Then give yourself a consistent time to accomplish them, whether in the morning or the evening.
  • Pick one day to be your cleaning day. Prefer to take care of everything all at once? Select a day to designate as your “cleaning day” and take care of key high-traffic areas at the same time. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to complete the task!

#3: Make an organisation checklist

No matter what cleaning schedule you prefer, it’s a good idea to build out an organisation checklist, which should include every cleaning and organising task that you’ll ever need to do. Keep this list somewhere handy, for example, stuck on the fridge and check it often to make sure you’re covering everything.

Just follow these simple steps to create your own checklist:

  1. Walk around your house and list all areas that need to be cleaned (usually everywhere, unfortunately!)
  2. Within each area, write down all the cleaning and organisational tasks that need to be completed during the year
  3. Assign each task to a sub-list, depending on whether the chore should be done daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonally
  4. Create an easy system to check these items off your list

#4: Find creative ways to remind yourself about cleaning tasks

Even when you have a clear direction for your daily cleaning rituals, you’ll need lots of reminders to stay focused on each task. By finding a creative and colourful way to remind yourself, you’ll be more likely to get everything done!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a DIY corkboard and tack up notes about your daily and weekly tasks, you could even add how many calories you’ll burn off for each task!
  • Keep an extra calendar on the wall just for your cleaning checklist

#5: Get the whole family involved

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one or three or four, depending on how many are in your household! Enlisting your spouse, your kids, or other live-at-home family members will make your life easier and give you more time to chill out and watch your favourite Netflix series. A chore chart is a time-honoured tradition for a reason – it allows everyone to participate in maintaining their own space.

Next Steps: Call in a Professional

Of course, the best way to elevate your cleaning routine this year is to bring in professionals, on whatever basis will work best for your needs. We offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleans, so you can choose the schedule that makes sense for you! Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

Planning a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner Party

Whether you’re hosting a large group of friends and family at your house or cooking up a feast for your immediate family, it can be stressful to plan for a holiday dinner party – especially if you’re acting as head-chef, sous-chef and server throughout the event. After all, these meals most probably involve multiple courses, your best silverware and china you only get out for Christmas, and a whole lot of decorations: It’s enough to make anyone go mad!

Christmas Dinner Party

With the right planning, however, you’ll be well on your way to a more stress-free and satisfying Christmas. In some cases, your planning process may even include delegating out the cleaning chores and kitchen tasks to the rest of the family or housemates, so that you can focus on being the perfect party host for your guests.

Below, we’ve put together a few Christmas party ideas to make your planning and Christmas dinner easier.

Define your menu

Christmas dinners are always based around one thing – you guessed it – lots and lots of delicious food, it’s important to start here before you plan anything else, and see if you can cut back in any area.

If you’re cooking all the food yourself, you should first consider enlisting a few elves to help, or if you can’t find any elves, friends or family to help in the kitchen.

While it can be fun to go all out for this kind of event, make sure that your menu doesn’t put too much stress on your own plate and is simple enough to produce.

After you put together a holiday dinner menu, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many guests will I have, and what are their dietary needs and restrictions?
  • What recipes do I plan to use?
  • What’s the timescale to make this meal from beginning to end?
  • Can I make any dishes ahead of time?
  • Am I comfortable using these recipes?
  • Do I want it to be a potluck dinner and have guests bring unique side dishes? – This can give you more time for you to be the perfect host, as you won’t be in the kitchen as much.
  • Will there be young children there, and if so, will they have a separate menu?

Once you have the answers to these questions, go back to the drawing board and eliminate anything that will add unnecessary time to your meal preparations. Pretty soon, you’ll find that your menu accurately reflects the needs of your group and plays to your individual strengths as a cook, making it easier to get ready.

It’s also a good idea to create your ingredient shopping list early on, so you won’t be running to the shops to grab anything later.

Put down the cocktail shaker

For a lot of us, a seasonal cocktail is just as important as the Christmas dinner itself. However, you don’t have to practice your bartending skills all year round and play bartender to give your guests an amazing time. It’s much easier to make cocktail batches in advance, which you can include on a decorated bar cart with ice, napkins, garnishes, and other essentials. Don’t drink? There’s always some alcohol-free punches that taste heavenly as well!

Some of the best holiday cocktail recipes to make in a batch include:

  • A delicious apple mocktail, like a Caramel Apple Mocktail
  • One for the bah humbugs to get them in the Christmas mood, a Grinch Punch
  • Classic hot drinks, like Martha Stewart’s mulled wine
  • One for all the lovers out there, a Mistletoe Margarita
  • A festive winter sangria, like this one from Joyful Healthy Eats

Whatever you make, be sure you and your guests drink responsibly.

Pre dinner party cleaning

Whether you’re picking up the duster yourself or delegating the cleaning to someone else, it’s critical to include pre-party cleaning time in your schedule. Unless guests will be wandering throughout the house, focus on high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. In general, the cleaning should be completed no more than two days before the guests arrive.

Get the right ambience

You don’t need to go mad with decorations to make your home feel cosy and welcoming. After all, a dinner party is primarily about one thing: food!

As long as your house is clean and your tables are ready to go, you’ll be well on your way to holiday bliss.

That being said, we’ve got a few easy tricks you can use to boost the ambience in your space:

  • Set the mood with the right holiday playlist. Just use Alexa or Google Home to put on some Christmas favourites and your home will instantly feel Christmas party-ready.
  • Make space for shoes and coats. Don’t have a coat or shoe rack? No problem: Pick out a designated closet and be sure there are enough hangers for coats. Then lay down a mat or a rug for guests to place their shoes. Alternatively, if no one is staying in the spare room, put the coats neatly labelled on the bed.
  • Open the windows before your guests show up. It may be a bit chilly outside, but it’s a good idea to give your dining area a blast of fresh air right before guests arrive. You’ll eliminate any lingering odours from all of the festive cooking, and the room will warm up again in no time.
  • Light up a few scented candles. Candles are a great way to communicate warmth and comfort to your guests. They may even think you’ve been baking for hours if you choose the right one!

Need a Helping Hand This Year?

At Merry Maids, we provide top-notch cleaning services so that you can rest a little easier before your dinner party. By delivering a detailed clean we can guarantee, our cleaning experts will let your home’s natural beauty shine through. From entryways to bathrooms to staircases, your guests will be wowed by your home!

We’re wishing you a very happy and stress-free holiday season! Find your nearest Merry Maids to get your home sparkling for your dinner party.