Uncategorized

5 Ways to Live Neatly in a Messy Household

You’ve got one kid leaping off the couch Superman style with a makeshift towel cape around his neck, and a tiny ballerina dancing on top of chocolate syrup in what you’re hoping is not your $200 pair of Tieks.  So, your house is a little hectic?  (To say the least.)

 

Here are 5 surefire ways to live neatly around the mess of your household.

 

Prioritize.

With a house full of rooms, you sometimes have to pick your battles.  Which rooms do you want to keep clean, and which rooms can be a little more relaxed?  Maybe make the rule that the kids’ bedrooms need to stay picked up, but the playroom can be a haven of creativity.  The kitchen is a great room to keep clean because it makes the whole house feel cleaner.  It’s fine for your house to feel lived-in, but you probably don’t want to let it start to feel unlivable.

 

Set aside one room as a “junk-free” zone.

Normally the living room is the one room in the house where junk just seems to accumulate out of nowhere.  Discarded backpacks, laptop cases, and art projects seem to overflow from every surface of the room.  Transforming your living room into a junk-free zone will not only give you a quiet oasis to retreat to when things start to get hectic around the house, but it will also give you a guaranteed clean room to bring anyone who drops by unexpectedly.

 

Stay encouraged.

We all have those crazy days when we don’t feel like doing anything. It’s fine to have one of those days, you just wouldn’t want to have one of those months.  Don’t get discouraged by the days that you don’t accomplish as much as you had liked.  Stay encouraged by the days that you rock that to-do list!

 

Delegate and train the troops.

It’s never too early to teach kids the importance of keeping things picked up.  You don’t have to have 24/7 worker bees, there is some truth to letting kids be kids, but it is a great feeling when you know that you showed your kids the importance of pulling their own weight.  (Their future biology lab partner will thank you.)

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  

Keeping a clean house isn’t something that you have to take on all by yourself.  Let a Fort Collins maid service take care of the dirty work for you!  Asking for help doesn’t mean that you can’t handle things on your own; it just means that you embrace the fact that you’d rather spend your valuable free time with your family than cleaning.

 

If you are in the market for a Fort Collins house cleaning service, click HERE for a free cleaning quote from All Star Cleaning Service.

 

How do you live neatly in a messy household?  Leave us a comment to let us know!

5 Reasons Cleaning Could Make You Happy in Fort Collins

While it may sound a bit crazy to think that doing chores or cleaning could make you happier, there have been studies showing that cleaning related activities actually give people a sense of pride and accomplishment and lead to feelings of confidence. Performing and completing cleaning tasks can eradicate guilt over a messy area and invite feelings of hope and happiness. Whether mopping, dusting or vacuuming, the act of cleaning can lead to greater happiness and a cleaner home can mean more productivity and motivation.

 

Here are five reasons a cleaning session could make your happier:

 

1.) Smells

The smell of fresh laundry and the aroma of freshly cut grass can recreate childhood memories and send us into a state of bliss. Cleaning often involves citrus scents like lemon, lime and grapefruit, these powerful scents can reduce anxiety.

 

2.) Fitness

Cleaning chores often involve serious acts of physical exertion—be it taking a load of laundry down the stairs, scrubbing the outdoor deck or sweeping the floors, the act of doing cleaning chores makes us more active and in turn, keeps us fitter and our minds challenged with the multi-tasking and demands of various cleaning projects.

 

3.) Clutter Chaos

Removing mess and clutter in a home, invites a sense of freedom and leaves room for invigorating pursuits. When the kitchen countertops are clean, there is room to cook, do homework or play card games. Keeping clutter to a minimum creates positive energy and life momentum.

 

4.) Calm and Cheer

Clutter and mess can leave people feeling aimless and unhappy; a serene and spotless home or office can increase feelings of calm and cheerfulness. At All Star Cleaning in Northern Colorado, we strive to give others that feeling of the tranquility that comes with a clean environment. Our maid service professional team is trained to tackle those culprits of dirtiness like pet dander, dust and mildew.

 

5.) Mess Distress

When our homes and living spaces are neat and tidy, days seem to run smoother and problems seem less burdensome. Social scientists have actually found that cleaning a house is a natural mood booster and can help people feel greater control over their lives and circumstances.

 

Don’t have the time to devote to getting a happiness lift from cleaning? We’re here to help! Contact our housekeeping professionals at All Star Cleaning Services in Fort Collins or Loveland today.

 

Top 5 Reasons Why We Love Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant contains more than 200 biologically active ingredients. It is full of vitamins and minerals. While consuming aloe has countless health and medical benefits, there are so many other reasons to keep aloe plants around.

Here are the top 5 reasons why we love aloe vera plants!

5. They are readily available. This is one plant that you don’t have to go to a specialty nursery to find. You can purchase aloe vera plants anywhere from supermarket chains to drugstores.

4. They are cheap! You can buy a large plant for under $5. Not only is it inexpensive to purchase the plant, one plant also multiplies rapidly, so you can end up with many baby plants very quickly. It’s like the octo-mom of the plant world!

3. They are so easy to grow! Aloe vera is an amazingly resilient plant. In other words, it thrives no matter what color thumb you have. You can clip it, forget to water it, leave it in the sun (or shade) and this awesome little guy just keeps on keepin’ on.

2. They are amazing natural healers. Aloe is an amazing addition to your medicine cabinet. Not only is it soothing for small cuts and burns; it also contains polysaccharides that reduce inflammation and stimulate skin regrowth. Aloe gel also contains properties that are harmful to fungi and certain types of bacteria.

1. They purify the air in your home! Aloe is one of many houseplants that can actually work as an air purifier to remove harmful airborne toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. (Now, that’s a breath of fresh air.)

Do you have an aloe vera plant at home? Why do you love it?

6 Apps to Simplify a Busy Mom’s Life

Being a mom is a full time job.  Thankfully, it’s 2015 and technology is on your side.  Check out these awesome apps that will make your life as a mom just a little easier.

Intuition

This app is like having a free personal assistant at your fingertips at all times.  It manages your appointments, your grocery list, to-do lists, as well as your family calendar.  It also uses your phone’s GPS system to alert you of a task when you near certain destinations.

FastMall

Anyone with kids knows how difficult it can be to find stores in the mall with a few kids in tow.  FastMall gives you turn-by-turn directions to any store that you choose.  You can also record voice memos to remind yourself the row where you parked your car.

White Noise Baby

This app plays a variety of sounds and tones ranging from a car ride to a hair dryer.  These comforting sounds can be used to soothe an irritable infant.  The app also has a built-in colorful rattle that is simply mesmerizing.  When you’re out and about, this is a convenient way to calm a fussy baby.

Cozi

Cozi is a multi-functional app that lets you make shopping lists, organize your family calendar, and even leave reminders for yourself.  The great thing about this app is that your entire family can download it to their device and you can assign tasks to each “user.”  It’s an awesome way for busy families to keep track of everything on the go.

Grocery iQ

Any busy mom knows that the faster they can get in and out of the grocery store, the better.  Grocery iQ allows you to use a barcode scanner to create your shopping list.  You can then sort the list based on categories or aisles.  You can also add notes to each item to show price or quantity.

Mint

 

This financial app allows you to keep track of all of your accounts.  It tracks your bank accounts, credit cards, and personal investments.  One of the best parts of the Mint app is that it allows you to set and track your personal budgets and financial goals.


What’s your favorite life-simplifying app?  

Easy Homemade Cleaning Products

If your kitchen cabinet is filled to the brim with cleaning products, then you’re going to want to take a look at this.

 

Check out the top 5 easiest homemade alternatives to conventional cleaning products.

 

  1. GLASS CLEANER
    Combine in a spray bottle:
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup white vinegar
    • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration)

 

Spray the solution onto a microfiber rag and wipe away any spots or toothpaste splatters.  Buff any streaks with a dry microfiber.

2. GREASE CLEANER
Combine in a one-gallon container:
• 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia, and then fill the rest of the container with water.

 

Dip a sponge in the container and tough grease and grime will melt away. Give the area a final rinse with clean water.

 

  1. All-Purpose Spray

Mix in a spray bottle:

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

 

Spray directly onto kitchen or bathroom countertops, tubs, and sinks to disinfect and power through grime.

 

  1. Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Pour ¼ cup baking soda directly into the toilet basin.

Add 1 cup vinegar and allow to sit for a few minutes.

 

The two products will start to bubble as they react with each other.

Scrub with a toilet bowl brush and flush to rinse.

(You can also use the same process with 2 parts vinegar to 1 part lemon juice if that’s what you have available.)

 

  1. Tub and Tile Cleaner

Mix in a small squeeze-top container:

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide

1 teaspoon liquid dish soap

 

Directions:

Squeeze solution onto a soft sponge and wipe your tub or bathroom shower tiles.  Allow to set for 5 minutes.

Scrub, and then rinse away the cleaning mixture with clean water. Repeat if necessary.

 

What’s your favorite homemade cleaning product?

5 Ways to Purge Your Excess Stuff Fast

Whether you’re a Clutter Claudia or a Sentimental Sally, most people have a propensity for filling their homes, cars and even office desks with too much stuff. We go shopping for things we don’t need and we give gifts for things we’ll never use (shoe paper weights, decorated wine glasses and endless journals). Well, if you’re seeking a method for purging your belongings fast, here are five tips you can use today:

 

1.) Use It or Lose It

How long have you had that old video camera? That ugly vase from your Aunt Linda or that decorative letter opener? Try and preserve your house space for things that you need or use.

 

2.) Garage Sale

Old art, vacuum cleaners and piles of books are bestsellers at garage sales. Dispose of your old clutter and junk at the Goodwill, using Craigslist or having a garage sale.

 

3.) Sports Equipment

Ever notice that people’s garages are often packed with old camping gear, skis, tennis racquets, bikes and bats that are no longer being used? Really evaluate all your tired and old recreation equipment and sell or donate the items you’re not using.

 

4.) Picture It

If you can’t part with those movie stubs, that picture your 4th grader made in kindergarten or that magazine article, take a photograph of it and preserve it digitally. Removing tangible items and turning them into digital keepsakes will free up a lot more space in your home and life.

 

5.) Manage the Multiples

How many socks do you really need to own? If you’ve got pillowcases galore, countless baking sheets and multiple empty bookcases, it’s time to release yourself from a case of the multiples.

Top 5 (Non-Toxic) Ways to Remove Hard Water Spots

Hard water can be a huge nuisance.  (And not just because it doesn’t make enough suds when you’re washing your hair.)  This menace leaves an ugly trail of white deposits behind on your faucets, fixtures, and shower doors.  Here are the top 5 secrets to getting rid of the hard (water) evidence without harsh chemicals.

 

  1. Magic Eraser:  I’m a huge fan of these little white enchanted scrubbing machines.  I’ve been known to use them to clean everything from shoes to tile grout.  That yucky white residue on the shower is no joke, but with a little water, these really do “magically erase” hard water!  Make sure you always test in an inconspicuous place, and do not use them on anything shiny, as they are essentially a fine sandpaper.
  2. Vinegar:  You can chalk this one up to science.  Essentially, vinegar contains acetic acid, which reacts with calcium carbonate and lime scale (yucky white residue left behind in your bathroom.)  As the two react, the acidity breaks up the buildup with little effort.
  3.  Citric Acid:  Here’s our college chemistry lesson all over again.  Just like vinegar, we can thank citric acid for being acidic.  Also, thankfully, we don’t have to special order industrial strength citric acid (which can get pricey.)  Concentrated lemon juice or even lemon halves will do the trick.
  4. Cleaning Concoction: Fill half of a spray bottle with vinegar, add ¼ cup lemon juice, fill the bottle almost to the top with a dish soap of your choice, and then shake well.   We’ve talked about the benefits of vinegar and lemon juice already, and adding the liquid soap also helps it to cling better to surfaces.  If you spray this on the affected area and allow it to sit overnight, it will take less elbow grease to knock out that hard water.
  5.  Bar Keeper’s Friend:  I’ve been using BKF for about 2 years now.  One of my favorite uses is to sprinkle some on a wet microfiber cloth to remove hard water from glass shower doors. It doesn’t take a lot of scrubbing at all, simply wipe the glass with the cloth and then rinse well.  Make sure you rinse the glass thoroughly so there is no residue or streaks left behind.






Have the hard water blues?  Try one of these tips, and leave us a comment to let us know how things went!

7 Steps to an Organized Kitchen Pantry

If you can’t seem to find that can of peas that you are certain you bought last week, or you are met with an avalanche of chips and snacks every time you open your pantry doors, it’s probably time to get things organized.  These seven simple steps will take your pantry from frantic to fab in less time than you think!

7. First and foremost, take a deep breath and log off of Pinterest.  There are tons of beautifully organized pantry pictures online that just flat out aren’t realistic.  I made this mistake too.  Once I realized that none of the “before” pictures had tiny jelly fingerprints and Cheetos on the floor, I realized that they probably weren’t dealing with the Category 5 situation that I was.  Don’t get wrapped up in all of it.  Your pantry is going to look great, and it will have the added benefit of being functional.  (Meaning, an actual family with real food will be using it.)

6.  The next step is probably the scariest, but I’ll walk you through it. Brace yourself.  It’s time to empty ALL of the shelves.  Yes, everything.  It’s important to start fresh, with a blank slate.

5. As you take items off the shelves, organize them on the counter.  Think broad categories; breakfast items, snacks, drinks, pastas, etc.  This is also a great time to get rid of things that are expired or unwanted.  Not sure when you opened that bag of chips?  Eek.  Sounds like a great time to toss it.

4. Once the shelves are completely empty, pat yourself on the back.  You’re halfway done!  Then, go ahead and give the shelves a thorough wipe down with a wet rag to remove any dust or spilled crumbs.  (Or jelly fingerprints.)  After this, make sure you wipe the shelves again with a dry rag.  You don’t want to set any cardboard boxes on top of a wet shelf.  (Trust me, it makes a giant mess.)

3.Think organized.  Try and find smaller bins or tubs to help keep like-items together for functionality.  You are going to want to utilize the space you have in the best way possible.  An over-the-door rack is an excellent way to keep spices, seasoning packets, oils, and other frequently needed items easily accessible.  Shelf risers make it possible for you to maximize the depth of your shelves without sacrificing functionality.  You can stack canned goods 3 deep and still easily see the labels at a glance.

2. Put it all back together.  When doing this, it’s helpful to assign shelves according to purpose.  Items that you use most often should be eye level (most accessible,) while goods that aren’t used as frequently are perfect for harder to reach shelves.  Consider allocating a lower-level shelf for kid-friendly items.

1. Keep it simple.  All of your hard work has paid off.  You have a beautifully organized and functional kitchen pantry.  Now, how will you keep it that way?  My last (and favorite) tip is to label.  Even though it is obvious to you that shelf 2 is ONLY for breakfast items, slapping a “Breakfast” label on the shelf will help keep it that way.  Imagine a world where you never again have to hear the words, “Mom, where are the Cheerios?”

So, now that you have all of the tools to reclaim your kitchen pantry, you are one step closer to world domination… Okay, maybe just canned goods and boxed dinner domination.  (Same thing, really.)

What’s your favorite pantry organization tip?  Leave us a comment below.  We’d love to hear it!

Happy Wife, Happy Life: 5 Reasons to Free Your Wife of Housework

Marriage is similar to a business. It’s all about communication, understanding, and partnership. Here are 5 reasons you should consider hiring a cleaning service for your wife.

5. She’s a busy lady. Your wife is the CEO of your household. She is a wife, a mother, a pet caretaker, taxi to ballet and soccer practice, school bake sale baker, checkbook balancer, laundry folder, boo-boo mender, grocery shopper, and cooker of all things delicious. I can guarantee you that the majority of CEOs have an assistant. That doesn’t make them any less important, it just means that they actually have time in the day to get everything done. Your wife is no exception. Just consider it her cleaning assistant!

4. It can save your marriage. We’ve all heard it before. (And some of us have said it before…) “He never helps out around the house! I feel like I’m doing everything!” This is never a fun conversation to have, but it is important to make sure that your wife doesn’t feel that things are unequal. Considering all of the hats that she wears, it’s no wonder she feels that things are less than balanced. There’s no need to fight about housework, just come home and enjoy your spotless abode together.

3. She deserves it! Your wife works hard to make sure that your life runs smoothly. Remember in your single days when you signed up for paperless billing and forgot to pay your electric bill? She’s on top of it. She’s cooking you Pinterest-quality quiches and she always remembers to remind you when it’s your mom’s birthday. Crossing one thing off of her to-do list is the least you could do.

2. You will have more time to spend with each other. With all of the stress of housework gone, your wife will have more time to spend growing together in love and bonding. (Enough of that yucky, mushy stuff.) You’ll also have time to drag her on a romantic date night at Hooters or force her to sit through another Jason Statham movie marathon.

1. You can afford it. Gone are the days when hiring a cleaning service is only for the rich and famous. These days, hiring a housekeeper is more affordable than you think. Pricing does vary depending on home size, so fill out a quote request online HERE or give us a call at 970.215.2224

7 Ways to Conquer the Winter Blues

While the winter weather can leave you feeling lifeless and out of sorts, there’s no

better way to save yourself from a serious case of the grumpies than to follow these

surefire ways to reduce the winter doldrums:

 

1.) Hello Hawaii!

Inviting friends over for a game night filled with kicky conversation and lots of

yummy food will put the swing back in your step. Host a monthly game night and

relish in the company. Better yet, throw a ‘Luau’ party and have everyone bring

themed food from Hawaii. Venture to the party store and grab some leis, inflatable

palm trees and tropical drink straws.

 

2.) Calling Crossfit

Make an effort to spend all your indoor time in a productive and healthy way. Try

that new ballet bootcamp, a stripper pole class or TRX at the local rec center. And

make an effort to do that spin class or crossfit exercise class that your friend has

been begging you to try. Spend time venturing out of your comfort zone to feel more

fulfilled and get a bangin’ bod at the same time.

 

3.) Turn Up the Tunes

When you’re having a blah and bluesy day, the quickest way to feel rejuvenated

and spry once again is to crank up your sound system and have a mini dance party

around the house. Not only will the music energize your mood, but the bumping

beats will rev your circulation and make you feel happy and alive.

 

4.) Hire a Cleaning Company

If you’re lacking the ‘get up and go’ to create fun momentum during the dreary

snow-filled months of winter, there’s no better happiness hit than the one a cleaning

company can provide. When you see a sparkling kitchen, beautiful bathrooms and

luminous countertops, you’ll be ready to face Jack Frost head on.

 

5.) Craft Central

With everyone spending hours on laptops, iPods and other digital devices, it’s no

wonder that people feel the draining effects of a screen-filled seasonal slump. If

you’re extra tired as of late, there’s no better way to beat the cold than to set-up

a craft center for you and your kids or just for you and friends. Have glitter, glue,

stickers and tons of fun art supplies to create cool projects. Get inspired by Pinterest

and if you’re not into scrapbooking or crafts involving sticky supplies, go purchase

some plain canvass and start a paint party. Bring your gal pals over for some wine

and Picasso time.

 

6.) Book Vacation

Reading a good book keeps your mind from turning to mush and makes the

winter months fly by. If you’re wrapped up in a literary romp, you’ll forget all

about the stifling cold outdoors. Pick a great read with a warm tropical climate.

Try: Crazy Little Thing or The Power Trip for a literary pick-me-up.

 

7.) Aromatherapy

With tons of blogs and Pinterest posts devoted to the powers and wonders of

aromatherapy, there’s no better way to escape a chill than with a power packed

dose of holistic happiness. Try an oil diffuser or buy a few scented oils to sprinkle

in a bath or on make a pillow mist. Try lemon, lavender and jasmine to feel totally

renewed and re-inspired.