Christa Mruz is the owner and operator of Two Maids & A Mop of White Plains, a residential cleaning company serving all of Westchester County, New York. Prior to owning her own cleaning company, Christa had an extensive career in the corporate world. She is a PTA Mom and lives in Scarsdale, NY with her two young children and hardworking husband.
You gotta love spring. The weather is warm, flowers are blooming, and it’s time to put away the large winter coats and re-emerge outside. Many of us also see spring as an appropriate time to clean out the cob-webs in our home.
As the owner of a residential cleaning service in Westchester County, New York, I clean houses all year-round, and have learned plenty of lessons about how to do my job effectively and quickly. Here are my five top tips to help you with your own spring cleaning:
1. Declutter and organize your house first
Putting seasonal clothing in storage will help you save space
Over time, we collect things that we no longer need or find useful. We might have winter coats and sweaters that we don’t need during the warmer months, and need a place to store them. Take the time to go through your house and locate the items you no longer need, and the seasonal items that require storage. This not only makes you feel like you have more space in your home, but will help you get the most out of dusting, mopping, and vacuuming because you will have a large surface area to clean.
2. Dedicate a block of time to cleaning
Time-management will help ensure your clean is completed in one session
Cleaning can be a chore, but it can also be a satisfying experience once you see the fruits of your labor. Sometimes, if you only clean sporadically, the whole house never gets done; it becomes a protracted project with no end in sight. I recommend blocking off a specific time over a weekend or a few days to clean the entire house. You are more likely to finish and will feel much more satisfied.
3. Call in reinforcements to help
Cleaning together with your family can be a great bonding experience
There is nothing more daunting than cleaning an entire house by yourself. Whether you get your family to pitch in, or hire a professional to get the job done – a little help goes along way! It will make your cleaning time more manageable and could even turn into a fun experience to share with your family. My company – Two Maids & a Mop – always sends teams of two cleaners to ensure a prompt and consistent clean.
4. Assess each room and make a plan
Assess how much cleaning each room in your home will require prior to starting
Don’t just jump into cleaning a room! Go around your home first and take note of what needs to be cleaned in each room. Be sure to look at the ceilings, light fixtures, furniture, cupboards, and floor. Determining out how much you have to do (and what cleaning supplies you will need) before you start will help you save time and complete the clean in one session. After you’ve confirmed what needs to be done, gather your cleaning equipment and start with the hardest room first.
5. Use the Right Tools
A dust mop is great for cleaning hardwood floors
There are plenty of cleaning tools available that will last a long time, help you clean effectively, and won’t break the bank. We like to use high dusters to clean ceiling fans and light fixtures and to remove cob webs from corners where walls meet. If you have hardwood floors, invest in a good dust mop. It will make your floors shine without scratching them. A powerful vacuum will help you clean wall-to-wall carpet. Lastly, microfiber cloths are great for dusting. They pick up the dust easily while things like rags or paper towel merely move it around. Add a little furniture polish to your microfiber rag and your furniture will look brand new.
I hope these tips help you with the spring cleaning of your home, and any future house cleaning efforts. Now, get it over and done with so you can start enjoying this fine spring weather!
Looking for a professional to help you with your spring cleaning? Download the EZBZ App for free and we'll connect you with reputable cleaning services in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
We’re nearing the halfway point of winter, and whether you’ve been dealing with rain, snow, or just colder temperatures, it’s time to see how your home and landscaping are making it through. Better to catch and fix any problems now before they escalate.
Here's a checklist to guide you:
Naturally, you’ll call a professional to repair the roof if you’ve already got any leaks, but if not, do a perimeter check (with binoculars if necessary) to see if you’ve got any missing or warped shingles or broken tiles and have them replaced as soon as possible before water finds its way in.
No one would suggest that you climb up on the roof yourself to check further, but if the weather has been particularly harsh where you are, schedule an inspection. Some companies will do this for free, others will charge and apply the fee to any repairs.
2. Gutters and Downspouts
Clear gutters of debris that could cause water to pool and cause leaks and mold. While you’re at it, check to see that they and the downspouts are still affixed firmly. The weight of snow and ice could have begun pulling them away.
3. Vents and Other Openings
Do a walk-around to make sure that all exterior vent covers are still in place. Cold and wet weather drives all manner of critters to find safe, warm places to nest, and you don’t need any freeloading tenants. Once you’ve finished examining the outside of the house, head on up to the attic and check vents and openings there, too.
4. Fireplace and Chimney
If you didn’t have your chimney cleaned before you began using the fireplace this winter, call a chimney sweep to do the job. If your fireplace gets a lot of use, it could have a dangerous buildup of creosote, the highly flammable oil produced by wood smoke, and that coating can ignite and cause a damaging fire that, as well as threatening your life, can cost thousands in chimney repairs.
5. Heating System
You probably don’t have to check to see if your heater is working, because you’d be reading this with mittens on. But if the system has been going full blast for several months, it’s a good idea to replace the filters. If you’ve been making do with an old non-programmable thermostat that doesn’t regulate the temperature evenly, it’s also wise to replace it with one that maintains the temperature and saves you money.
6. Plumbing and Pipes
If your area has seen below-freezing weather, water could have built up and frozen inside pipes and begun to cause cracks. Creaking and odd noises from the plumbing could indicate impending breaks and leaks. Get the plumber out there now to check things over before you wake up to a flood.
Winter is a hectic time. Investing in a professional lawn service is a great idea for homeowners who are too busy to devote hours of work to their yard as even in locations with a mild winter season, your landscape can take a beating.
To make sure your lawn is in the best shape possible to survive and thrive during the wait for spring, pick up fallen branches and any other objects that will add to soil compression, keep the lawn raked as possible to remove hiding spots that encourage pests and disease, and avoid foot traffic on snow-laden or soggy soil. On the other hand, if there hasn’t been any precipitation in a while, don’t forget to water.
Broken or damaged branches can pack a wallop if they go flying during the strong winds of a storm. It’s dangerous to prune large or high branches yourself, so hire professionals who are experienced in climbing and using heavy equipment.
If you’re doing any pruning yourself, avoid stressing the tree and lop off just what’s necessary, like damaged or diseased branches, branches that are crossing each other or growing inward, and branches that are growing in odd directions. Never remove more than 25 percent of a tree’s branches.
It’s better late than never to lay a good cover of mulch around all of your plants to protect roots from harsh temperatures that are still to come as well as keep weeds from sprouting later. Don’t cover the trunks of shrubs and trees, though, because mulch holds moisture and can cause rot.
If you’re looking for a local professional to help you with any of the above tasks, consider asking EZBZ – the free concierge service. You can request a service through our app or website, or call us toll-free for a local business recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
Summer is home improvement season for a reason. While some jobs will always require you to hire a contractor or licensed professional, there are countless home repair projects you can quickly complete yourself in the warm weather. Many of these jobs are not so easily fixed in fall or winter, and ignoring the job until next summer isn’t a great idea, either, as the problem could worsen and become an expensive project that you can no longer complete yourself.
Here are some easy jobs you can do around the house during summer to avoid expensive repairs down the road:
For a big painting job you may wish to hire a contractor, but for small touch ups to the outside or inside of your house, even an inexperienced homeowner should be able to the do the job themselves. Summer is the best time to paint outside as the heat will help it dry faster, and there is less chance of rain, snow, or leaf litter disrupting your progress. If you’re painting inside, summer allows you to leave the windows open to ventilate the house and speed up the drying process.
While this job can be outsourced to a professional, you may be able to do it yourself for little to no cost. Gutters are the first line of defense for your home against water damage. Leaving them to accrue debris and dirt could lead to a big, wet, and expensive headache for you down the road. There are also plenty of insects and pests that love to make their home in debris-filled gutters, which can quickly lead to an infestation. Cleaning your gutters twice a year is a great way to avoid a buildup of debris, and also gives you an opportunity to check for any other issues such as a leak.
Spring and summer are the best months for gardening and/or landscaping your yard. By planting shrubs or plants in the warmer months, you give them a chance to settle and grow before the harsh fall and winter months. The ground is also easier to dig in to while it’s hot, so if you’re thinking of installing a new irrigation system or in-ground pool, summer is the time for it.
TLC for Your Outdoor Surfaces
Come fall and winter, your outdoor surfaces are going to be hit with rain, leaf litter, and snow… So summer is a good time to prepare for the months ahead.
Refinishing your deck in Summer will not only help protect it from the weather, it will make it look brand new, which is perfect if you’re planning on using it throughout the summer. Refinishing once every year, or even every two-three years, is a project you can do yourself and will help you elongate the life of your deck. Avoiding a regular refinish could mean having to replace your deck within a few years, which would cost thousands of dollars.
Another outdoor surface that might need some TLC is your driveway. It’s a good idea to inspect your driveway and make sure it’s ready for the tough months ahead – if it is due for repaving or replacement soon, be sure to get it done in summer. You don’t want to have to replace your driveway in rain or snow. Finally, if you have a lot of outdoor concrete surfaces, look out for cracks. If they’re small enough, you can caulk them very easily and save yourself a lot of time and money. Bigger cracks will require a concrete patch.
Inspecting and improving your home during summer may feel like hard work now, but can be extremely beneficial to the longevity of your home, not to mention potentially saving you thousands of dollars. When working outside, however, be sure to stay hydrated and use sunblock. Health and safety should always be your priority when completing home repairs.
If you require professional assistance for any project you want to complete this summer, request it for free through EZBZ. We will send your request to local professionals, who will reply to you directly with their information and pricing. It’s a great way to compare your options and find the best deal available.
Many homeowners consider their deck to be the best feature of their home. However, decks are also constantly subjected to weather, wildlife and leaf litter that can have detrimental effects. Here are some tips for maintenance that will help ensure the longevity of your deck.
As an external feature of your home, your deck is constantly exposed to the elements. Harsh weather conditions, wildlife, and leaf litter can all have detrimental effects on your deck, so it is is imperative to take measures towards its cleaning and maintenance. There are contractors that specialize in this work, but you can also attempt to do it yourself.
Regular cleaning is very important. A soapy water solution will work fine for general cleaning. If your deck need a thorough cleaning to remove mildew and stains, there are cleaning agents available that are specially designed for decks. These products are designed to safely clean the wood without bleaching or warping. They are available in most hardware stores, and can also be purchased directly from some deck contractors.
When using the cleaning agents, it is important to wear gloves as you scrub and rinse your deck. A pump up sprayer can be used to apply the agent. A scrub brush can then be used to scrub the deck, and a garden hose can be used to rinse. Allow a few minutes between the scrubbing and the rinsing. It is advisable to avoid using pressure washers when cleaning a deck, as the water may penetrate the wood and cause it to rot.
You should take note to remove any leaves or natural debris on your deck. Organic matter can collect moisture, causing the wood to rot. Clean all dirt, grime, and any other debris that may stain the deck or cause the wood to rot. There are tools that are specifically tailored for the use of removing dirt and debris between the floor panels without damaging them.
To prevent direct contact between the deck and any surrounding bushes or plants, some basic trimming may be necessary. This will also help avoid the collection of moisture on the deck that could lead to wood rot.
A sealer or stain can be applied on the deck after the washing. This should be preferably done when outdoor temperatures are a little lower to avoid the stain from quickly drying up. The finish needs to be absorbed into the wood and will help protect it from the elements. It’s also advisable to check on the nails and screws of your deck, and to tighten any that may be loose. A sander can be used to even up any raised boards.Regular cleaning and maintenance of your deck is very important for homeowners, and even renters, as it can extend the longevity of the deck and help avoid costly repairs. The online concierge service, EZBZ, can instantly connect you with deck contractors and cleaning product providers. Simply go to www.myezbz.com/category/deck-cleaning-treatment and submit a free request.
Riding a bike is not only an easy and convenient way to travel, it’s also a lot of fun, and a great form of exercise. Bikes are also incredibly eco-friendly, as they allow you to travel with zero emissions and little to no carbon footprint. Of course, just like any other vehicle, a bicycle does require repair and maintenance, in order to ensure complete functionality and safety. Here are some tips for ensuring your bike will last for years:
Regular cleaning is important for maintaining a bicycle’s longevity. When dirt and grime settle on the bike, the frame is at risk of corrosion. Wash the bike gently using soapy water, rather than a hose. A soft nylon brush can be used to scrub the parts that have accumulated dust or dirt. Make sure to rinse the bicycle well after washing it.
Tire pressure is an important part of making sure your bike is safe to use. Tires with high pressure are at risk of exploding – which could have disastrous results if you’re in the middle of a ride. Similarly, low pressure can put more stress on your muscles because you need to work harder to keep the bike in motion. Always check your tire pressure before going on a ride, and not only will you be safer, your tires will have a longer life.
If you notice your bicycle has boken spokes, it’s important to have them repaired as soon as possible. They are responsible for transferring weight from the hub of the bicycle to its wheel, so they are vital for having a safe ride.
Lubrication reduces friction in the bicycle chain and will help prevent it from slipping off the crank. High friction can also cause the chain to break. There are a range of different brands and types of bicycle lubrication – Humidity, dryness and cold conditions can also affect your bicycle adversely, so make sure you choose the right type for your bicycle, and the climate of your area.
It’s important that your seat is at the right height. Sitting at the wrong height on your bike can cause back aches, knee pain, and other health problems. To determine your correct seat height, multiply the length of your inner leg by 0.887. The result is what the length between your seat and the top of the bicycle bracket should be.
If you would like to find a local bicycle repair or service store, consider submitting a request through www.myezbz.com/category/bicycle-repair. It will instantly send your request to the local bike repair and service stores in your area, who will reply to you directly with their information and estimates. It’s the fastest, easiest, way to find any product or service in the United States and Canada.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have you bike serviced 2-4 times a year, and have any issues you identify repaired immediately. A bicycle deserves as much attention as any other vehicle to ensure that it can work properly and safely.
As the sun rays become warmer, the days longer, and the trees begin to blossom, one thing is clear: spring is here. This is the cue to open the windows wide and start the cleaning. After fall and winter, it’s time to give your home some fresh air, and perhaps give it a little bit of a makeover. Whether you are living in an apartment, or a home with garden, here are some general tips to help you prepare your property for a warm & wonderful spring.
Before you start the spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t need any home repairs done. You can start with the basics, such as checking the electrical outlets for potential fire hazards or the water heater for leaks. If you own an air-conditioning system, now is the best time to have it inspected and its filters cleaned, but don’t do this yourself; it’s safer to hire a professional. Another great tip is checking and changing the light bulbs; fluorescent bulbs produce less heat than other types, so they’re recommended for spring and summer.
If you live in a house, it’s important to check the exterior too. Make sure to check your roof – after a season of heavy snow, there could be some damage, which may not be easy to see until after all the snow has melted. Most gardens will also need a little landscaping this time of year – removing the dead vegetation and planting some new flowers will make your garden flourish! Well, at least until winter returns. A new coat of paint on the door or exterior walls can also help to make your house look fresh and homely. Finally, if you’re planning on having some barbecues this spring, it’s a good time to pull out the grill and give it a good clean.
Now, moving back inside the house, it’s a good idea to do an effective, overall cleaning. If your rugs or carpet are stained, the beginning of spring is a great time to have them cleaned, as it’s warm enough outside to open the windows, and moisture from outside won’t be tracked inside nearly as much as in the winter months. With the windows open, it’s probably a good time to have your curtains cleaned as well.
Another reason to clean the house is that spring is a great time for insects to thrive. They love the dirty and dusty crooks and crevices of your home, so a thorough spring cleaning will make sure you don’t gain any unwanted tenants. The heat of spring and summer means it’s also a good idea to take out the garbage more regularly, to keep your home smelling nice and roach-free.These are just some of the tips that you can keep in mind when preparing your home for spring. If you need any assistance when looking for home repairs, landscaping, or cleaning services, www.myezbz.com is a free, online concierge that can connect you with the reputable businesses that can help. It takes thirty seconds to submit a free request, and EZBZ businesses will reply to you directly with their information, availability and estimates.
My husband and I live in our family home in historic Virginia. It is an old house and has been in my family for quite some time now, passed down from generation to generation. I inherited it from my aunt who didn’t have any children of her own. We are renovating some parts of the house including the guest bathroom. It is one of the only places in the house that has not been yet been refurbished. It has always seemed like a daunting task for us, with its old fixtures and fittings. The entire bathroom is very big and it has an old claw foot style bath in there. It’s a wonderful big soaker! But, it has seen significantly better days. In truth, when I take my rose colored glasses off, it’s more disgusting than romantic. The enamel on it has chips that are beyond vintage chic and the rust of the cast-iron is also visible.
Anyone who has done a similar home renovation or, at least the research, knows it is difficult to find durable oversized baths such as this on a reasonable budget. When once they were a standard in homes, they are now a luxury item. Given this, we decided that we would quest to preserve it, rather than sell it as salvage. I myself am a lover of old things, I think they were made better and more durable than what we use now. But, we are going to have to do a lot to this tub if it is to be a part of our updated home decor.
There are shops that offer the service of refinishing old tubs and sinks. With an item as big and heavy as this, the work is typically done on site, however with smaller sinks, pedestals and other fixtures, the restorations can also be done at their repair shops.
The restoration process includes spraying the fixture with a resin coating made of acrylic urethane. This is the perfect remedy for getting the antique porcelain looking like new. From what I’ve found, the work costs $350-500 on average, though I suspect this will vary based on geography too. Nonetheless, that is significantly less than buying a tub like this brand new!
There are three steps involved in the cast-iron tub restoration process:
- The first is sanding down the fixture. A skilled company will do this by sandblasting to powerfully and evenly clean and smooth the surface. The old finish is removed to make way for the new one. Depending on the degree of damage, it may not be necessary to bring the item down to the full metal. It is also possible just to remove a top layer of finish.
- The second step is repairing cracks and chips. All the imperfections in that are found are fixed before the final step commences
- The last step is the adding of primer then the new layers and the top coat.
The length of time the entire refinishing process varies according to the company that undertakes the job. On average however, I’ve been told it takes from two to four weeks before the fixture is ready for use. I can’t wait until this is done!
If you need help finding someone to repair your vintage tub, or if you want to search for claw foot tub to work with, you can always submit a free inquiry to www.myezbz.com
When engaging in spring-cleaning activities in your home, it is imperative that to practice proactive pest control by looking around for signs of infestation. Although pests are good at hiding, there are certain telltale signs indicating an infestation. Below are some of the obvious signs to look for prior to calling an exterminator.
Shredded, scratched or torn food packaging is often an indication of pest infestation. Such signs usually indicate that pests are getting into the cabinets and eating your stored goods. If you spot any evidence that food items in your pantry have been tampered with, discard the affect items, make a smart decision about anything remaining and call a pest control expert promptly. It is recommended to transfer and store any sugar and flour based items into airtight plastic or glass containers, as this will prevent future infestation. Also, always remember to empty your garbage receptacles on a regular basis and clean the pail with an astringent to eliminate lasting odors and bacteria. Failure to do creates an opportunity to attract even more pests into your home.
Cockroaches, rodents and other numerous pests can be clever when identifying good hiding locations in the home; however, their droppings can be spotted in open locations around the home. When doing regular cleaning, check under appliances, inside cupboards, under furniture and behind boxes and other dark areas. Some obvious things to search for include urine stains and rodent pellets. If you spot any of these, call a pest control expert immediately. Pest are also known to produce odd sounds and smells. Experts say bed bugs produce a sweet but musty odor. Mice emit a musty and urine smell while rats produce a mild ammonia smell. Rodents produce pattering sounds when moving around the house. You can even listen carefully for sounds like squeaking, gnawing, scurrying or scratching within the walls, attic and crawl spaces.
Mice and rats travel using the same routes everyday and they usually leave obvious tracks and food evidence on their paths. Rats run next to walls and leave grease marks. Urine trails, fecal droppings and footprints on dust paths are all signs of possible infestation. Both mice and rats can also leave obvious signs of nesting behind appliances or inside cabinets. Rodents use shredded papers to build nests in hidden places; therefore you can look for these in the kitchen cabinets.
Insects that destroy wood like carpenter ants can be hard to detect, unless the insects themselves have been viewed. However, observations of a powdery residue or sawdust piles near windowsills are strong indicators of wood-destroying pests being present in the home. Pest control professionals should be called immediately since these invaders are capable of causing major structural damage to your house. Other signs of pests that destroy wood are sagging floors, loose trim, and wavy or blistered wood or mud tubes.
All the above signs clearly indicate that your home is experiencing pest infestation. Consequently, you will find it necessary to call in your preferred pest control firm to carry out inspections and eliminate the pests. It is not advisable to purchase over-the-counter pesticides since this make the situation worse.