10 Tips for “Letting Go of the Excess Stuff”

It happens to most of us.  Sales magazines and offers and postcards arrive and we think, “Hmmmm…..looks interesting.  I’ll hold on to this and check it out later”.  Problem is, life gets in the way and “later” takes a week, then a month, then a year and before we know it, there is an accumulation of piles and piles of ads, magazines and offers that we planned to go through but never quite was able to find the time.
 
At UpperCrust Maids, we are all about simplifying and beautifying life.  And while those luxury magazines certainly do have some interesting and unique items in there, truth of the matter is, if you are not planning to buy within the next 24 hours, chances are, you also won’t buy from that magazine within the next 24 months.  So why allow papers and magazines to overtake your home?
 
It’s not only junk mail and enticing ads that get us.  All types of things have a way of creeping up into our homes and finding a place there.  Below are 10 tips to help you get rid of the “stuff” that is taking over your home and chipping away at its beauty.
 
1.  Subject every piece of mail that comes into your home to a “tough love” test.  Ask yourself, “Am I going to order from this magazine within the next 24 hours?”  If not, toss it.  Postcards, toss immediately unless you are planning ot use the services offered within the next 24 hours.  Junk envelopes, tear up and toss immediately.  Credit card offers, tear up and throw out immediately.  Remember that paper is inanimate.  It has no feelings, no thoughts.  It could not care less that you are tearing it up and throwing it out.  Get rid of it.
 
2.  Next, toss out old subscription magazines.  Once you have read them, why hold on to them?  They will simply add clutter to your life.  Put them in the recycle bin.
 
3.  You also need to tackle your closet.  If you have not worn it in the past 2 years, chances are, you will never wear it.  Pull out every outfit that you sincerely know in your heart you will not ever wear and either take them to a consignment shop or to the Goodwill or to the Salvation army.  There is someone out there who could really use those items and if they are just sitting in your closet, they are going to waste.
 
4.  Battered and worn out shoes need to go to the nearest garbage can.  Why allow old shoes that you will never wear again to sit in your closet taking up space?  Just toss it.
 
5.  Sentimental items such as old holiday and birthday cards.  I won’t ask you to throw those away.  I will, however, ask you to invest in a file cabinet and some manilla folders.  File away the cards or put them in a box and store them in the attic.
 
6.  Spare boxes – Yes, I know that you believe that someday you’ll need those boxes for something. Problem is, they are taking away from the beauty of your lovely home and they are taking up space.  Boxes are easy to come by.  Take those boxes out to the recycle and when you actually do need boxes, just stop by your local UPS store and purchase some. They are inexpensive!
 
7.  Books – This is a tough one.  I love to read also.  Keep the classics.  Keep the ones that really touched your heart (who could ever get rid of “To Kill a Mockingbird” for example?)  But those fluff books and the books you know you will never read need to be either given away or put in recycle.
 
8.  Old electronic equipment and wires – Let’s face it.  You will never need that worn out, expired equipment and you will never find use for those cords and wires.  It is just in your home adding to the clutter.  Toss it!
 
9.  Pictures and other wall hangings – Do you have old pictures and wall hangings that don’t go with your present design scheme for your home? Take that stuff to the Salvation Army.  Someone can use it!
 
10.  Furniture – Do you have old tables and chairs out in your garage or in your basement or attic?  Take it to the Salvation army or throw it out. Chances are, you will never have it repaired and it will continue to act as clutter around your home.
For a list of places to take your excess “stuff”, GO HERE

The Perfect Christmas Gift: A Clean Home!

Are you wondering what to purchase for your loved one who seems to have everything?

I have a great idea.  Purchase a $150 gift certificate from UpperCrust Maids, LLC and we’ll clean your loved one’s kitchen, maximum of 2 bathrooms and choice of either the living room, family room, sun room, or dining room. 

Don’t wait as we will sell out quickly!  301-322-7112

UCMGiftCertificates.jpg UCMGiftCert picture by Celynthia

Training cleaning techs

When you are searching out a cleaning company, there are several questions you should ask:

1.  Is your company insured?

2.  What types of  insurance do you carry (they should carry Worker’s Comp, Liability and Bonding insurance)

3.  Have your employees been trained?

4.  Do you complete in-home estimates before sending out techs to clean the home?

Be careful to only hire real businesses that are insured.  If they are not insured, you will be held responsible if their employee(s) get hurt in your home and if anyone steals from you or breaks an item in your home, you would have very little recourse.  So only hire insured companies.

Secondly, be certain that the company you work with actually trains its cleaning techs.  To be honest with you, the reason most cleaning companies fail is because it is very difficult to find good help.  It’s also difficult to find someone who is truly cut out to clean homes.

House cleaning involves a great deal of skill and hard labor.  I have personally hired and fired at least 15 different employees over the past couple of years.  Not all of them were bad people.  It’s just that not everyone is cut out to do this type of work.

Lately I have not had to fire anyone. Why?  Because I am now better at choosing employees and I have discovered that the more training employees receive, the better employees they make.

I have a trainer who teaches new employees and I personally train new employees.  It takes at least 6 months to get an employee fully trained in expertly cleaning a home.  There is sooooo much for them to learn and it must be taught over a period of time.  Expertly cleaning a bathroom requires a different skill than expertly cleaning a kitchen, for example.  Making a bed with a regular blanket is different from making a bed with a Duvet cover that needs to be changed.

Professional house cleaning can be overwhelming.  Therefore, employees must be taught a systematic, top to bottom method of cleaning.  And they are literally cleaning the entire home within 3 – 3.5 hours.  That’s not easy.

My advice to consumers is to inquire as to whether or not the cleaning company you are considering hiring has actually trained their employees.  Many, many companies literally send folks into homes untrained and with the assumption that “anybody” can go in and clean a home.  Not so.

Be aware that if you hire a company that employees untrained workers, you will ultimately need to fire that company and search out a different one.

Call UpperCrust Maids TODAY and we will send out trained workers to meet your needs.  301-322-7112

 

In home estimates

estimateI went to a potential client’s home a few days ago for an in home estimate and she shared with me how another company that she had called had refused to complete an in home estimate.  The person gave an estimate over the phone.

That is not unusual.  There are many, many companies out there that are willing to send their workers into strange homes, knowing that they have not personally eyeballed the home.

I cannot understand how a person could give an estimate over the phone.  I’m referring to a firm estimate.  First of all, seldom will a person who has a cluttered or particularly dirty home admit that fact.  My experience has been that people are not comfortable admitting that their home is in bad condition.  With that in mind, it is very important to go out and look at the home.

My advice to clients is, do NOT hire a company that refuses to perform an in home estimate.  If they won’t perform an estimate, it speaks to how the owners run their business.  Such a company will disrespect its clients because clearly they lack in the area of customer service.  If they won’t come out for an estimate, what will happen if you need them to handle a problem for you? 

First impressions are important.  I perform in home estimates 99% of the time.  When I don’t it’s not because I don’t want to. Rather, it’s because the client needs the home cleaned in an emergency and I’m too booked to make it out there on short notice. 

When you are searching for a cleaning company, definitely rule out companies that refuse an in home estimate.  That refusal will foreshadow the way you will be treated in the future by that company.

Would You Hire a $10 an Hour Maid Service?

By:  Cathy Green

A woman contacted me recently to tell me that she was looking for a company to do her laundry.  I told her that we do not do laundry. We only clean homes.

She went on to indicate that she already had someone cleaning her home but needed a company that would do her laundry for her.  She wanted to know if I would be willing to bend my rules on her behalf and have an employee to do her laundry.

Again, I told her we don’t do laundry but I asked her how much she was looking to pay.  She told me that she was searching for a company that could do her laundry for $10 an hour.

$10 an hour?

Truth is, there is no legitimate company out there that is able to do her laundry or anyone else’s for slave wages which is what she was in search of.  There also is no legitimate company out there that can clean a home for slave wages.  Where on earth is the profit margin in $10 an hour?

My question to you is, would you hire a “company” that would offer to do work in your home for $10 an hour?  If your answer is “yes”, I will just tell you that if you ever bring in someone who is charging you that low rate, that is not a real company.  Instead, that is a “scab” service that is paying zero taxes and such a person will demand that you pay them in cash, so as not to leave a paper trail. 

If the $10 an hour person gets hurt in your home, you will be responsible for her medical care.  And if the IRS finds out that you are not taking care of the taxes regarding this person, you’ll be in a heap of trouble.  Have you ever heard of the “Nanny Tax”?  It applies to these “10 an hour” cleaning ladies.

I tell people all the time that they certainly don’t have to hire my company but they definitely should hire a legitimate company to entrust to their homes.  Why hand your key over to someone who is not in business for real and who could easily disappear off into the sunset with stolen goods from your home? 

With real cleaning companies, at a minimum there is an owner whom you can call if there is an issue.  The owner has registered the business.  You can ask the owner whether or not he/she is insured and bonded.  You can ask the owner whether or not the employees have had background checks.

However, with the $10 an hour cleaning ladies from off the street, all you have is a hope and a prayer that this person will not get hurt in your home and that her boyfriend will not get the key to your home and enter it.

Yes, you will definitely save by hiring a $10 an hour (or less) cleaning lady from off the street.  But it could end up costing you soooooo much more in the long run.

Looking for a real cleaning company that is licensed, bonded and insured?  Call UpperCrust Maids, LLC at 301-322-7112

Note:  I write on this issue all the time.  PRESS HERE   for a recent article I wrote about the dangers of hiring these “$10 an hour” scab serves.

Choose Only Companies That Train Employees

By: Cathy

Each of my cleaning techs is put through an extensive training program prior to me allowing them to work independently.

House cleaning may sound like a simple job but in reality professional house cleaning requires skill.  And unlike many companies that send their workers out with no direction, my employees are given the best equipment and supplies and taught how to use them for the benefit of clients.

After all, no one has money to throw away and if a client is paying to have their home cleaned, there are no excuses for it not being cleaned and cleaned well.

Are you tired of dealing with untrained cleaning techs who enter your home, rushing through and leaving it uncleaned? Give us a call:  301-322-7112

House Cleaning Gift Certificates

By: Cathy Green

UCMGiftCertificates.jpg UCMGiftCert picture by Celynthia

Did you know that UpperCrust Maids offers gift certificates?

$150 – Covers 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and  living room.

Your friend or family member will truly appreciate the gift of a clean home!

Call to today at  301-322-7112