8 Green Ways to Recycle Halloween Pumpkins!

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After the Halloween parties are over and the trick-or-treating is done, what can you do with those spooky jack-o’lanterns, besides throwing them in the trash? Here are a few ideas to extend the life of your Halloween pumpkins.

  1. Make a pumpkin planter.  Pack some potting soil into the top of your jack-o’lantern and plant autumn-blooming annuals inside. They’ll last about a month, keeping the Halloween spirit alive until Thanksgiving! Be sure to place your pumpkin planters directly on the ground and not on your porch, because as the pumpkin rots, it can leave stains underneath.

  2. Build a biodegradable bird feeder. Just pour some birdseed into your leftover pumpkin and place it somewhere in the yard where you can view it from a window in the house. It will attract birds and other wildlife, giving you and your family lots of opportunity for observing nature from the comfort of your own living room.

  3. Make a therapeutic facial mask. Use this method for pumpkins that haven’t been carved. Scoop out and puree the pulp, then mix it with a few other ingredients to make a pumpkin spa treatment that’s high in nutrients your skin craves! Here are some recipes.

  4. Eat it. Another idea for pumpkins that haven’t been carved! Halloween pumpkins are not the same as pie pumpkins, but they are still edible. There are tons of fun pumpkin recipes to try, like pumpkin bread, pumpkin candy, and pumpkin soup. Even those tiny decorative pumpkins can be made into baked pumpkin pots, which will go over great at Thanksgiving dinner!

  5. Leave it for the deer. If you have deer or wild turkeys in your neighborhood, they would love to eat your leftover pumpkins! Set the pumpkins outside in an edge environment (a place where the woods border a field or meadow) to give these wild animals the best shot at finding them.

  6. Feed it to farm animals. Pigs, in particular, are very fond of pumpkins. If there is a pastured pig farm or potbelly pig rescue in your area, call and offer to donate your pumpkins to them! Chances are, both the farmer and the pigs will be delighted to take them off your hands.

  7. Pickle it. Pickled pumpkin rinds are a thing, and they’re delicious! Check out this recipe.

  8. Preserve it! If one of your family members carved a particularly spooky or funny jack-o’lantern this Halloween, why not keep it around for years to come? Just coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin with clear PVC glue. This will preserve your jack-o’lantern, and will make a great vase or candy jar that can be used next Halloween, too!

 

Should You Clean Before the Cleaning Lady Comes?

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So you’ve hired a professional cleaning service, and your cleaning lady (or gentleman) is coming by this afternoon. Should you tidy up before they arrive? How much? Isn’t it kind of silly to clean for the cleaner? A lot of clients have these questions, but may feel awkward asking. So we decided to devote a blog post to the topic.

It does sound kind of ridiculous to clean up before your cleaning person arrives, and no cleaner expects your house to be spic and span. They are there to clean, after all. But there are a few things you can do to prepare for your cleaning, in order to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Wash the Dishes

The kitchen is usually one of the most labor intensive areas to clean in any house, so you want to leave it in “ready to clean” condition so that your cleaner can work efficiently and move onto other areas of the house. The most important thing you can do is make sure the dishes are washed or loaded into the dishwasher before your cleaning professional arrives.

Put Away Food

Make sure to put away any leftovers, put things like bread and pasta boxes in the pantry, and clear away any food scraps before the cleaner comes. Not only does it allow them to work more efficiently, but you probably don’t want to risk getting cleaning products on your food. That goes double if your cleaning service uses conventional, chemical-laden cleaning products, but even if your they use green, non-toxic products like we do at Green Home Cleaning, a lot of sprays contain essential oils that you probably don’t want to taste on your food!

Declutter

It’s a good idea to remove clutter from counters, tables, and floors so that your cleaning professional won’t have to move stuff around too much in order to clean. It might only take a few seconds to move toothpaste tubes and hairspray cans off the bathroom counter and back on again, but if they have to repeat that process in the kitchen, bedroom, and living areas, those seconds will add up and cut valuable minutes out of the time she could have spent doing deeper cleaning. So do a quick sweep of the living areas, putting away shoes and other items that might have been left on the floor, and clearing items off of tables and other surfaces. Temporarily remove all of your bathroom accessories (toiletries, hair dryers, etc.) from the counter and place them in a drawer or cupboard.

Make the Bed (or Leave Fresh Linens Out)

As your cleaning professional works her way around the bedrooms, it will make her job easier if the bed is already made so that she can focus on dusting, vacuuming, and other bedroom cleaning tasks. If your housecleaning agreement includes making the beds, then make sure to leave fresh linens out so that your cleaner will not have to stop her work to rummage through closets.

And that’s it! If you do just a little preparation for your cleaning by checking off the four items above, your cleaning professional will be able to get more done, and you’ll get more value for your money! 

If you live in the Asheville, NC area and are in need of a great professional home cleaning service, give us a call at 828.505.7320 or get in touch via our contact form today!

WINNING!

Much appreciation to our clients, supporters, and friends for yet another Best of WNC win!

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Thanks to all of you who voted in the Mountain Xpress's 2018 Best of WNC poll, we have placed in the Home Cleaning category for the sixth time. This year we placed first--for the fourth year in a row!

We couldn't be more proud of our success over the years. We always strive to provide amazing service to our clients, and we definitely feel we have reaped the rewards. Seriously, our clients are the real BEST of WNC. We couldn't have done it without you!

So from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

Here's to another year of clean, green, happy homes!

 

 

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Vacuum Cleaners

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Shopping for a new vacuum cleaner? With all of the brands and varieties on the market, it can be hard to know what model is right for your home or business. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, all types of vacuums have their own pros and cons. Take a look at the list below to help you narrow down your options.

  • Canister Vacuums- Canister style vacuum cleaners have a vacuum head that is attached to the main unit by a long hose. The main unit, or canister, rolls along on the ground behind you while you vacuum. These models usually come with multiple attachments for different vacuuming jobs, and a retractable cord reel that saves you the trouble of having to wrap and secure the cord yourself. One of the main draws of the canister vacuum cleaner is that it makes it easier to clean in nooks and crannies, and behind or underneath furniture. The wand style attachment also makes it easy to clean drapes, blinds, and walls. If you have stairs in your home, this might be the vacuum for you, as it is very difficult to tackle stairs with most other models. While a canister vacuum may be lighter weight and better for maneuverability than an upright, it isn’t as good at cleaning carpet, and storing it might pose some extra difficulties. If you have a bad back, you might want to go with another option—using a canister vacuum involves more bending than other types.
  • Upright Vacuums- Uprights are the most popular vacuum cleaners on the market. Their large, powerful heads make cleaning carpets a breeze, and it’s easy to store them because most of the space they take up is vertical. Most upright vacuums come equipped with longer cords and larger dirt capacities than canister models, and they often have motorized bristles for more effective carpet cleaning. The upright style can be heavy and unwieldy for lugging up and down stairs, but for straightforward vacuuming, it’s easier on the back than a canister style. Many uprights are designed specifically for carpets, so if you have different types of flooring in your home, make sure you purchase a model that can handle all of them.
  • Robotic Vacuums- Robot vacuum cleaners are great for busy people who either can’t move around due to age or injuries, or don’t have much time to clean. These little units clean while you’re at work, or at night while you sleep! Having your whole house vacuumed without any labor on your part sounds amazing, right? But there are a few drawbacks. First, these units can be difficult to program, so if you’re not tech-savvy, call a friend who is (or your grandkids) to help you get started. Secondly, robotic vacuums can miss areas that a human wouldn’t. But the biggest caution goes out to pet owners. It’s probably not a great idea to let your robotic vacuum have free rein of the house if you have pets, especially if they are not reliably house trained. There are plenty of horror stories on the internet about what happened when the cute little robot vacuum cleaner rolled through a puppy accident in the middle of the night. It’s not pretty, believe us!
  • Stick Vacuums- Another good choice for those with bad backs or limited storage, stick vacuums are made to be incredibly lightweight and their slim design means they’ll fit almost anywhere. The dirt receptacle in most stick vacuums is designed so that you can easily empty the container into the trash without touching the mess. But with all of that slimness and lightness, these vacuums sacrifice power and versatility. They tend to not come with attachments for different types of cleaning jobs, and their motors are usually weaker than other types, which means that they won’t suck up as much dirt and debris, and may have a harder time tackling carpets.
  • Central Vacuums- While central vacuum units pose a greater expense than any other type, the investment can be a worthwhile one. Central vacs are quieter, cleaner, and more flexible than portable vacuums. Their dirt capacity is huge, and they can often pump exhaust outside of the home. They’re great for cleaning hardwoods and other hard surfaces, and they’re the easiest of all of the options for cleaning stairs. One drawback is that they require professional installation, and if the unit breaks down, it can be difficult to find a local repair service. But if you’re looking to add value to your home for a future sale, central vacs are often a good investment.

We hope this list of pros and cons helped you narrow down the best vacuum cleaning option for your home or business!

 

10 Great Tips For Organizing Your Garage!

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There's no better time of year than summer to tackle the least favorite job on everyone’s home maintenance list: organizing your cluttered garage. Hey, it might not be the most fun task, but you’ll feel so much better after it’s done. And think of all that room you’ll have—and all the time you’ll save, not looking for things you lost in your last move.

If your garage is cluttered up with unknown heaps of stuff, you’re not alone. Most Americans don’t even park their cars in their garages, because there’s no room! But it doesn’t have to stay that way, and you can make the organizing a lot less overwhelming by following these ten simple tips.

  1. Set aside enough time. A thorough garage organizing party is not something that happens in an afternoon. Depending on the size of your garage, the amount of stuff that needs to be organized, and the number of people you can recruit to help out, it can take a full day to a whole weekend—or more. Get an early start so when evening comes you can all enjoy dinner together and take a much needed rest.
  2. Make it a family affair. No able-bodied family member is off the hook! Mom and Dad, clear your appointment books, leave the errands til next week, and implement a no-TV, Internet, or video games rule for the day. The kids can definitely help, too. If you’re old enough to dress yourself, you can clean!
  3. Go through every single item and sort. We do mean every single item. Don’t just move boxes of stuff around. For one thing, you might be storing a lot of things you don’t need or want anymore, which is a waste of space. Equally as important, when you go through forgotten boxes that have been sitting around for months or years, you’re bound to rediscover old, sentimental treasures or valuable items that can be sold. Sort your items into three piles: one to keep, one to sell or donate, and one to toss.
  4. Get rid of things you haven’t used in a year or more. Unless you have a true sentimental attachment to an item, you don’t need to keep something that you’ve gone through four seasons without using. Especially if you haven’t missed it in that time. If you have missed it, but just didn’t know where it was, keep it and store it in a more easily accessible place from now on. If the item does have sentimental value to you, move it inside where you can use or look at it often. Otherwise, sort it into the sell/donate or toss pile.
  5. Categorize what you’ll keep. Of the things that are going to remain in the garage, which items belong together? Sort things into categories like: gardening supplies, sports equipment, tools and hardware, home repair materials, car maintenance, etc.
  6. Move temperature sensitive items elsewhere. Unless your garage is climate controlled, you’ll want to move things like cans of paint, tubes of caulk, musical instruments, and anything made with wax to another location in your home. Other things you should move include propane tanks (always store outdoors), as well as paper products, pet food, or anything else that could attract pests.
  7. Plan how you’ll use the garage space. Get a piece of graph paper and a ruler and figure out a design that will accommodate your car(s) as well as lawn care equipment, bicycles, shelving, and other storage solutions. Try several different layouts in your draft, striving for a design that gives you the best space economy.
  8. Sort tiny items into clear jars. Nails, screws, keys, and other odds and ends should be sorted into clear glass or plastic containers with lids, and then placed on shelves at eye level for easy access. Or you can hang the jars by screwing the lids to the bottom of a shelf or a piece of 2x4 mounted to the wall.
  9. Buy clear plastic bins. No matter how well you organize the garage, you are going to forget where you put everything. The best way to avoid the headache of not being able to find the thing you’re looking for is to make everything as viewable as possible. To do this, store medium and larger sized items in plastic storage bins, and don’t be afraid to label everything with Sharpie. Also, firmly instill this rule in your household: when you take an item out of storage, put it back in the exact same place when you are done!
  10. Use vertical storage. There are a lot of ways to go about utilizing the vertical space in your garage for storage. One is by hanging long, flat items like scrap lumber and skis from the ceiling. If your garage has rafters, use those. If not, rig up a system of beams or loosely hanging trapezes to store your stuff. For the vertical wall space, you’ll want some kind of shelving system. Open shelves are generally more efficient than cabinets because it is easier to see into them, and they don’t require extra space for the opening and closing of doors. Finally, do yourself a favor and buy a nice, large piece of pegboard and some metal pegs and racks to store your hand and power tools, gardening implements, and more.