As a residential cleaning company operator with over 40,000 cleans completed, we’ve seen the following process work wonders in the lives of hundreds of Australian households. We’d like to share the secrets to clearing your house of clutter, cleaning it better with less effort and living the full and happy life you and your family so deserve.
Being well organised is so important to living a full life. It allows us to declutter our mind and to be present more often to the beauty that surrounds us on this magical planet. Even more important is to be present and in a positive state of mind for those precious moments with loved ones. Being organised in our lives not only helps us to enjoy these moments more, but more importantly to ensure we have more such moments such as these to enjoy.
Here are our 7 top tips for organising your home
With modern life keeping us so busy it’s important to be organised so as to have things run smoothly. It’s easy to run on adrenalin and to rush busily from one task to the next. In the meantime things accumulate around us for sorting out “later”. Until later comes, we have found that putting all the loose items around your home into clear clutter boxes is the best first step. It has several simultaneous advantages in that it quickly clears the space of clutter; provides a clear window to easily discern where the item we seek is, and it energetically motivates us to take on the clutter in bite sized pieces over time as opposed to never starting it due to the overwhelm that confronts us when dreading such a herculean task. A journey of a million miles starts with the first step.
2. Cleaning the house
Once the clutter is in clutter boxes, you will find your energy will slowly start to return and now is the time to clean the house. You can hire a cleaning service or do it yourself. Either way your focus needs to be on removing as much of the fine microscopic dust as you can in one fell swoop. If you hire a cleaning service make sure you get a list and that the cleaner you use is one that comes recommended by someone you know and don’t necessarily trust online reviews, these are easy to fake. If you decide to do it yourself remember to breathe and just do one task at a time. Learn all about dust-free living in order to cut down on cleaning time by removing fine particle dust from your home with an annual spring clean. Wait for a windy day when you can create a through-draft to carry the fine particle dust out. Start with the dusting, then the wet areas, then the wiping, then the vacuuming and then the mopping. Nice and easy. A clean house will make you feel better and energise you for the tasks ahead. Pat yourself on the back. You’ve already done the heavy lifting so feel good about it and be happy with yourself.
3. A spot for the keys
Often in the mad rush to lurch from one thing to the next, it is not uncommon to put the keys down here, and our wallet down there and then when we are rushing to get out of the door to find they seem to have disappeared into a black hole. When we are in the process of implementing these sequential organisational steps it’s important to arrange a clear space that we get in the habit of putting important items into so they don’t get lost and we can start to move in and out of the house more seamlessly with less stress. This will ensure we are rarely late and we will increasingly feel great about things which is perhaps the most important part of all of these tips; to generate higher and higher levels of self-love. In the later stages of this process when your house is habitually clean and de cluttered the keys and the wallet will stand out on the open surfaces wherever you choose to put them, but until then we need to work with where we are at in the process and this step is important at this stage.
You’re halfway there!
4. Use the space
Vertical space in the home is an opportunity to create more space on the ground. Open areas are not only easier to keep clean and de cluttered but they also provide a lovely open feeling of space which translates into more space in our lives. This can be achieved by creating, using and utilising wall space to neatly stack these items that bring us joy. Solid wall wardrobes are great for putting our de-clutter boxes into so they’re out of sight and mind until we find the time and space to rationalise, categorise and arrange them later in this process. This can take years so be patient and just take on the whole pie with small mouth sized pieces over time. This way you can actually enjoy the process. Throwing away things we don’t need and treasuring those items we decide to keep by folding, collating and neatly stacking them is a beautiful process when we’re present and not in a rush.
And boy it looks good when you survey the fruits of your labours.
Enjoy the process!
5. Organise one thing at a time
It’s a psychological truism that when we look at the entire mountain we can get stuck in inertia and fail to take that crucial first step. This is why the climb to Everest is best started with the walk to base camp. Just get to base camp, then reassess and decide where to go and what to do from there. Organising your home is not a sprint, it’s a marathon so start easy. Pick one corner and start. Then pick one clutter box and rationalise it. Throw some things out. Collate items into sections and then start to enjoy the sorting process. As things become clearer everything becomes clearer including the choices of what to put where. From little things big things grow and after a while your home and the energy inside of it will start to transform. You will start to experience more stillness, less stress and magically you will seemingly have more time. That’s actually happening because we are wasting less time and are becoming more efficient as the organising process takes root in our lives and repetition forms healthy habits. We feel less stressed and our immune systems also improve. We sleep better. It is a self-generating loop and the more energy we stop wasting the more energy we have to create more energy.
Form the habit!
6. Stack, store and label
Once your storage system starts to find momentum and becomes more sophisticated you will find that in the act of stacking the clear storage boxes out of sight you can label them in categories so as to be able to find what you need quickly and effortlessly. The great thing is that once you find the bulk of items in your house are now in their right place you can start to look ever more closely at the items in your boxes and start on the road to minimalism. The central question to ask is do we really need all that stuff? Are these things called possessions because they can actually possess us? The heart of the matter is that when we start to live more simply and to see clearly the societal trend towards orchestrated consumerism and the freedom that we enjoy when focusing on nature and family and life; the less unnecessary items we have cluttering our homes and our lives the better. And the best part is that a minimalist home is much easier to clean and to keep clean and there’s less places for dust to hide.
Make it fun!
7. Time to relax ~ Me time
Now that the vast majority of hard work is done and you feel like you’ve got more time and energy, it’s the point where you focus on the most important thing. Yourself. It is easy to confuse selfishness with self-love and there really is a big difference. As Dr Jordan Peterson says “treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping”. So what is it you like? What makes you feel good? Is it a warm Epsom salt bath with lavender oil on a lazy winter’s afternoon? Or is it an early night and a great sleep to kick off the new day? Perhaps you love to watch the sun rise over the ocean or to take a romantic stroll along the beach with your favourite person. Whatever it is, it’s very important. As part of the process put yourself as a priority and love your life.
Life’s so precious!
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER, contact us today if you need help organising your home.
Cleaning during COVID-19
As a cleaning company we have witnessed an increase in customers requesting help with cleaning advice due to the coronavirus. There are those customers we can help directly by provisioning a cleaning service for the cleans they need and there are others that are simply seeking guidance in these unprecedented times. It is for this latter group that this article is provided.
The first thing to say is that whilst it is prudent to ensure your living environment is pristine and healthy, we live in a world of germs and bacteria and it is impossible to live without them. In fact, modern man has evolved to be his and her magnificent selves because of the microscopic arms race we have faced from time immemorial, even before we crawled out of the primordial swamp. We have grown strong as a species not by avoiding danger entirely, but by learning to deal with and to live with it. Our immune systems are our most potent defence against microscopic invaders of all types including the virus that has the world so enthralled at this unprecedented time – Covid 19.
The advice that follows will help to keep your home and work environment clean and healthy. Further on we give you some thoughts on how to protect your immune system too so that if the virus does come your way, you’re in the best shape to deal with it. Indeed prevention is better than the cure, so let’s start here.
Cleaning for Covid-19
If you use a professional cleaning service the first thing to think about is how best to avoid cross-contamination. That means you need to ensure your cleaners are bringing fresh and clean cloths and cleaning materials into your home each and every time they clean. You do not want them using the same mop on your kitchen floors as they used on the neighbours’ bathroom tiles. Those shaggy mops are the worst. The same goes for the cleaning cloths they use. Some services use the same microfibre cleaning cloths all day long from one clients’ home to the next and you need to use an eagle eye to watch out for this.
What’s the difference between Cleaning and Disinfecting?
Cleaning means to physically remove germs (viruses and bacteria), grime, dirt, body fats etc from surfaces using a detergent and water solution. Typically, you would be using what’s known as a surfactant that will break up grease and oil with the use of water. It is far preferable to use a non-toxic product here such as a quality citrus-acid based product like the one we use ~ ecoLove. The germs and bacteria that live in amongst this gunk will also be removed in large part by this process.
Disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. If you are cleaning yourself the first move is to get everything clean of surface grease and grime. This means using a surface detergent based cleaning product (as described above) that will cut down and break up oil and grease with the use of water. Then when you have the surface in a good condition you can use a disinfectant.
Disinfectants kill germs. But it is not always possible in our opinion to remove every single germ.
The former (surfactant) can be toxin-free but in most cases the disinfectant will contain alcohol, bleach and/or quaternary compounds. It’s important to dilute these products as per the instructions and to wear a face covering and gloves when using them. We also advise to wash the surface again with clean water and wipe dry to ensure you don’t leave excessive toxins behind. Make certain to wash your hands thoroughly after use as well.
What should I be disinfecting?
Any surfaces that are touched frequently should be disinfected. These will include tabletops, door handles, light switches, desktops, keyboards, TV remotes, kitchen surfaces, kitchen handles, keyboards etc. Any surfaces that visually look particularly soiled should be cleaned first and disinfected second. Those things that are used by multiple people should have close attention paid to them such as EFTPOS machines, shopping trolleys, toilet door handles etc. Additionally, surfaces should be dry wiped including when you mop the floors. Excessive water will spread germs and viruses through water droplets along with being a slip and fall hazard. We use flat, replaceable microfibre mop heads to achieve this. And we always dry the floor with a fresh dry microfibre mop head after its been washed with warm water.
How our bodies can fight Covid-19
There are numerous factors that impact our immune system and we should personally look deeply into these and understand the power of our own bodies to protect our being. The first thing is to acknowledge the role of fear and to avoid it. Truly there is nothing to fear but the fear of fear itself. Unfortunately, the media pumps up the fear to sell more advertising. It’s a good idea to be conscious of this and to work on ways to counter it. One idea is to try to be aware of increased levels of anxiousness you experience when watching certain programmes on TV and maybe try to avoid these.
Above we outlined how to get your house clean. For specific cleaning techniques you can view the videos on our website here https://1800cleaner.com.au/media-centre/ and read the specific articles provided on our site as well. Hopefully you’ll leave with more than just cleaning knowledge and advice.
As our company celebrates its 38,000th odd clean one of the most remarkable things we have witnessed throughout this time is how rarely our cleaners get sick. It seems that the daily exposure to all the indoor nasties that live in the pre-clean homes of our clients, the more their immune systems and specifically their antibodies rise to the challenge. We appreciate the importance of cleaning during this plandemic but really want to assure people that everything is going to be alright. Your body is an amazing and miraculous marvel. Just as we do everything we can each flu season to avoid the cold and flu we should take precautions here as well. Mankind has survived all types of things throughout our long meandering history and in the context of these current times this latest epoch is something we can handle.
How big is the Coronavirus?
When it comes to the coronavirus specifically this is what the encyclopaedia brittanica has to teach us;
Most viruses vary in diameter from 20 nanometres (nm; 0.0000008 inch) to 250–400 nm; the largest, however, measure about 500 nm in diameter and are about 700–1,000 nm in length. Only the largest and most complex viruses can be seen under the light microscope at the highest resolution.
To say that these things are tiny is an understatement. This particular virus is purported to be anywhere from 60-140nm in size. That’s intensely small so completely avoiding such a tiny thing with a face mask is not possible. A mask will offer protection from direct contacting water droplets carrying any virus. It’s reasonable to expect that these commonly used masks won’t stop the penetration of such a small virus once airborne.
Our experiences with face masks
Our cleaners have used these masks for years whenever we clean excessively dusty homes to avoid the thick clouds of dust and pollutants we disturb from entering our systems. They work for this goal in the main but we still feel the effects of the really tiny particles that make their way past the masks when we clean. Sometimes we can feel the effects for hours afterwards as our bodies expel the inhaled nasties. With a big healthy meal and a good nights sleep we’re usually fighting fit again the next morning. This is due to the fact that our cleaners are exposed to more of these contaminants on a regular basis than the average person. As a result our immune systems are perpetually ready for action.
The best thing the average householder can do is to keep their home clean and dust-free and to specifically disinfect common touch-points in the home and to learn everything there is to know about supporting your own immune system. You need a plan to deal with the dust and the articles here will help: https://1800cleaner.com.au/how-those-things-we-cant-see-can-hurt-us/
Simple steps to boost our immune system
It seems that high temperatures and particularly ultraviolet light are useful in killing the virus.
Get plenty of sunshine and fresh air. These also boost our immune systems. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fresh water. Try to avoid anything negative or of a scary nature. The fear can have a negative impact on our stress hormone levels, our ability to sleep and again on our immune systems. It seems lots of hugs are good to boost our immune systems but use your own discretion with that one. We advocate for the removal of excessive dust from your home. We also believe that the use of negative ions can have a very positive impact on your health too so getting an ioniser and antibacterial air filter is a good idea. Regular washing of our hands has always been and will always be a great idea.
Always look for the silver lining
Boosting the immune system is not rocket science. It is actually timeless logic that our grandparents and forebears often lived instinctively by and hopefully tried to teach us before this modern age of mass media consumption. Go to bed nice and early. Exercise, even just a little each day. Eat good food. Drink water. Avoid sugar and alcohol. Take a bath if you can. Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible to care for. Choose to be around positive people and energies and also to avoid negative energies.
If you’re confined to the inside of your home for any period of time then here’s a chance to de-clutter. Make your house a haven. Some things are outside of our control and some things we can control. Let’s focus our energy on only those things we can control and chief amongst them is the cleaning and our immune systems.
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has been cleaning professionally for over 30 years.
We take a closer look at the top ten issues and outline how to solve them
Family life in Sydney is busy. Families are often overwhelmed by the many time consuming things they need to do every week and at the very end of the list is the cleaning. Fair enough, it’s a difficult chore and one that can feel like groundhog-day.
Yet the pride of the family home is enhanced greatly by having it tidy and clean.
This is one reason why so many families in Sydney outsource their cleaning and yet the levels of satisfaction with the available cleaning services on offer is often a source of frustration. But how do you go about finding a good cleaner and how can you make sure that the cleaning service they provide remains consistent over time? Before we can jump to the solution, we really need to spend some time analysing the problem.
1. Issue one – Price
The first thing to know about cleaners and cleaning companies is that many of them are competing primarily on the basis of price. This leads to a situation where many cleaning service operators try to get the sale by offering a cheap price to clean your house when you request a quote. Once they are in the house, they often over-service the customer on the first couple of cleans but then they claw back their profits by reducing the amount of time they spend in the home increasingly over the long term. Subsequently the quality of service is also reduced and roughly 40% of customers will stick with these cleaners for longer than they should due to inertia. Most cleaning companies make a business out of retaining this sub set of customers and doing quick cleans with many cleaners and a high staff turnover. The truth is that a great cleaner is going to have options to do all other sorts of work. Therefore, a good cleaner will expect to be well paid meaning that great cleaning and hence excellent value for money does not often equate with cheap.
2. Issue two – Chinese Whispers
It is standard human nature that when we receive less service than what we expect we like to clarify and communicate our expectations to the front-line staff providing the service. In this case that is those people who are cleaning our home. The issue with many cleaners is that they are doing this work not out of choice but out of necessity; often because their skill set does not always enable them to do higher paid work. Often English is a second language and they can feel embarrassed that the Australian accent can be difficult to understand. Hence when a client is asking them to remember this and that, their reflex response is to nod as if they get it and they will do it. Time and again these things are not completed and the solution seems to logically be to try and tell them again with more energy which can create a frustration and resentment spiral which is not a great energy to come home to.
3. Issue three – Cleaner turnover
This issue is closely linked to issues one and two above as price driven economics lead to low levels of client and staff satisfaction and regular turnover of staff who are often exploited by the service provider. It’s a source of frustration for clients to have to retrain these staff themselves and each subsequent cleaner only to have that intellectual property disappear with the new face that randomly cleans their home on each successive visit.
4. Issue four – Customer expectations
Clients who expect cheap prices and high-quality cleaners need to take another look at their own expectations. It’s like me having the budget to buy a holden commodore but wanting a Ferrari. The Ferrari salesman will have none of it and neither will a high-quality cleaner who is in high demand. Quality costs a little more and a great job is the ultimate value proposition.
5. Issue five – Hourly rates
It’s natural to want a great clean at the most economical price but you will rarely see a bead of sweat from a cleaner who is paid by the hour. They will naturally drag the job out. So how do you compare quotes? Well it’s not straightforward nor is it easy and not all cleaners are created equally, use the same equipment or follow the same method. But comparing hourly rates is working on the assumption that all cleaners are providing a homogenous service. They are not. Some are fitter than others. Some care more than others. Some follow a system, are smart and hardworking and take pride in their work.
6. Issue six – Fine particle dust
This one is perhaps the most perplexing. It involves microscopic particle dust so fine that the naked human eye can’t even see it. It’s the dust that we sometimes see glitter in the shaft of sunlight when we move the curtains in the morning. When disturbed with traditional cleaning methods this dust goes airborne and can stay suspended for up to five days finally resting again when the cleaning effort is well and truly finished. And so it circulates and accumulates and frustrates ongoing cleaning efforts often without us even knowing it. But we can feel it and it subconsciously feeds that frustration of never having the house really very clean.
7. Issue seven – Method
Most cleaners clean without a strategy. Some clean simultaneously as part of a gang each carrying out their own cleaning function and getting in and out quickly like a swat team. Others clean room by room. Some clean with just a dry cloth and others use the same dirty mop head from one house to another. There is no method to this madness and that’s the problem. Cleaning is just another challenge that can be solved with smart thinking and a well thought out method. So rather than just expect that your cleaners know what they are doing. Ask them. What’s your cleaning method?
8. Issue eight – Energy
The subject of energy is the most intriguing and potentially the most confusing issue. It’s also a paradox. A dirty and dusty house sucks away our energy. And we need energy to clean effectively. An effective and productive cleaning session and the subsequent clean home will feed us energy. We also need to have a method and a strategy to make our cleaning effective with a focus on clutter and dust extraction. All of this probably feels like hard work and it’s just easier to grab the duster and get cleaning yourself. Yet ironically the energy we invest in getting everything correct will actually feed back more energy by reducing the amount of energy we leak out be cleaning unproductively. Not an easy concept to get your head around but a very important one indeed.
9. Issue nine – The customer is king
It’s another paradox that when we have a one sided power struggle in any relationship both parties lose. And in the case of cleaning it is ironic but meeting the customers’ needs requires us to first focus on meeting the cleaners needs. A happy cleaner makes a happy customer. It’s a relationship of equals and both parties need to be happy with the other. The best and longest lasting customer/cleaner relationships are the ones where both parties work together towards a win-win situation. That way not only does the cleaner do all those things clearly expected consistently well every visit, they also imprint the house with a lovely energy that families can feel and the cleaner can drive home with a big smile and a warm heart and a stress free life.
10. Issue Ten – Clutter
Clutter makes cleaning so difficult. It collects dust and collects stagnant energy and can be the bane of a consistently clean house as your cleaner will usually go around it creating “dead-zones” in the house that create a stagnant feeling of “stuck-ness” that gets in the way of effective and efficient cleaning.
Phew! Finally the solutions.
Make sure you; Get a list of what will be cleaned for your agreed to price and ask for a 24 hour guarantee that this is what you will be getting and if you don’t get it what are the repercussions for the cleaning service provider and how will they rectify it? Provide photos. Get this in writing at the time of getting your quote and hold them to it.
The fundamental stress of communication is removed by having a job sheet that does not rely on people’s interpretations of language and the trap of “he said/she said” but rather is committed to in writing and agreed to by both parties and can be added to and amended by mutual consent over time. This should be controlled and administered by the operations manager of the cleaning company and agreed to in writing. Pay for the job as detailed by the list and not by the hour. Whether it takes all day or is done instantly by a fairy godmother with a magic wand it is the end result that you should be paying for not the length of time it takes.
Pay your cleaner well and make sure they are happy to work for the company as you want the same person over a long period of time. Ask the operator what the average length of stay is for their cleaners. Check your expectations especially if you feel like you are always changing cleaners and never finding what you’re looking for. Are you expecting a sultan’s job on a pauper’s budget? Is this even possible? We need to be self-aware as the days of good cheap cleaners are a thing of the past. Respectfully, if you’re not getting satisfaction over time and using multiple suppliers the pattern could have more to do with the customer than the cleaner.
Dust is harder to deal with but essentially your cleaner needs to have an answer for this. How will they deal with the microscopic dust? Do they even think about it? Do they have a method? Do they dry wipe or use a wet washing method? Do they clean room by room or are they using a system? How does their system work? There must be a method or else you are paying in part for unproductive labour. How do you feel when dealing with the operator? Do you like their energy? Do they feel honest? Ask questions and if you’re not satisfied move on. This is a long-term relationship and first impressions matter. Prod and probe and ask every question you can think of. And expect them to answer patiently. When the cleaners arrive treat them well. Make them a coffee. Be kind and care about their wellbeing. This way they will care for you if they are decent people. If they are not you will soon know it if your side of the street is clean.
Lastly is the hardest part. Dealing with the clutter. The aim is to become minimalist to enjoy the most productive and cost-effective cleaning relationship. There is no doubt that cleaning in a cluttered house is very difficult, time consuming and largely unproductive.
We can become so emotionally attached to stuff that it’s hard to deal with it and can feel like a mountain to climb. You don’t need to throw it all out in one herculean task nor in one big confronting and emotional weekend. As with all big tasks, deal with it piecemeal. Make one small step and then rest. Put the clutter in boxes and stack it against a wall in an out of sight back room to be dealt with slowly over time. The energy that will be released by having the other areas of the house cleaned will be easily redeployed to deal with the clutter piecemeal at a later stage over time.
Be gentle with yourself.
So our advice in a nutshell is;
- Get a list
- Agree to the price
- Have a 24 hour guarantee
- Get it/put it in writing
- Work to/from an agreed to job sheet
- Pay for the list, not by the hour
- Pay a little more for consistent quality
- Check your expectations
- Deal with the dust
- Reduce clutter levels
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has been cleaning for over 30 years.
Taking care of ourselves, our homes and our loved ones.
As Australia transcends into lockdown following the precedents set by many other countries around the world, it’s important to keep our cool and take good care of ourselves.
So how can we boost our immune system?
Before looking into the many ways we can boost our immune system, we need to firstly eliminate as best we can, those things that are harmful to our bodies, and which have a negative impact on our resilience in the face of microscopic viruses.
We spend most of our time in our homes and now we will be spending extended periods there. So the first step is to make our home as healthy as we can, and this means removing the dust, contaminants and impurities that have accumulated for many years.
I introduce you to the not so humble dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. Cute isn’t she?
In her prime she will stretch no longer than half a millimetre, but that doesn’t mean she can’t do serious damage to us Human Beings. And she’s a breeder; reproducing at a rate of 60 new little dust mites every month.
Dr Matt Colloff from the CSIRO’s entomology department says they cause “Allergic asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis – a skin disease” and that “approximately 100 million people at a conservative estimate worldwide may suffer from those conditions due to dust mites”. I’m not sure where he gets those figures from but as a layman who visits dozens of Sydney homes every week dust mites appear to affect a very high proportion of the population. He goes on to say that “the coastal fringe of Australia provides perfect conditions for hundreds of thousands of millions of mites per mattress”. Eeew.
I want to invite you into the world of the microscopic. Where those things that we can’t normally see can be at once both beautiful and terrifying.
Take the humble dust particle for example. We don’t normally give dust much thought, perhaps because a particle of dust is imperceptible to the naked human eye. Except perhaps when it dances in front of a shaft of sunlight. Have you ever wondered why it floats?
Or how so much dust can accumulate on top of ceiling fans and high ledges? Or why it’s so difficult, well-nigh impossible, to get rid of fine particle dust? If we zoom right in, what precisely comprises a dust particle and how does it impact human health and wellbeing?
Home or office cleaning is not the favourite weekend activity for many Sydneysiders as they would rather have professional Sydney home cleaners take care of their cleaning needs. However, for beauty and comfort in the home or office, one of the most overlooked, yet important things is the carpet.
The carpet adds a layer of comfort and beauty to the home and office while also taking in and holding a large amount of dirt and dust on a daily basis and as such is capable of affecting the health of family and workers, leading to serious allergies and more.