Household Tips

A Pro Shares Her Secrets to Cleaning and Maintaining Hard Flooring

Here at Lone Star Hauling Services we care about all maintenance aspects of your home and business. While we specialize in property clean ups and junk hauling here in Bryan, College Station, we know that a lot goes into making your space one you love. Enjoy this week’s post on cleaning and maintaining wood and laminate flooring.

Hi everyone! This is Kirsten Smith, blogger for Lone Star Hauling Services. I’m excited to share some tips for one area of your home for which I feel particularly knowledgeable and I believe not everyone may already know.

One summer during college I worked for a professional cleaning company. We mainly focused on commercial cleaning (specifically new homes) and the occasional private home. Since the company was relatively small, the owner, Cynthia, taught me all her tips, tricks and secrets. One aspect she was really particular about was how the flooring was cleaned. When it comes to cleaning your hard flooring (anything that’s not carpet), it seems like it would be a “no brainer” for me. Just your mop, cleaner and a bucket of water, right? Oh, how quickly Cynthia put me in my place, and taught me not only the importance of cleaning a floor, but cleaning it correctly.

I remember the first job I had with her like it was yesterday. She kept asking me different questions in order to see how much I personally knew about cleaning. Anytime I gave an incorrect answer she would answer me in an encouraging way why that wasn’t the best approach, and what I should do instead. As I mentioned before, Cynthia was particular on how the last and final step of cleaning was done…the flooring. I use to think that mopping was relatively the easiest part of cleaning. While I wasn’t necessarily wrong, that thought wasn’t completely true either.

There is a MAJOR difference between mopping hard wood floors and laminate flooring. I’ll start with the easier of the two, to explain the how” and “why” you do specific techniques. With laminate floors you can mop however you like. Meaning that there is no specific direction you need to mop in, and you don’t have to be conscientious of the amount of water you use on the flooring either. This is where I got the idea of “just a mop, cleaner and a bucket of water” concept. Because laminate flooring is a clear plastic like flooring, you can’t warp it from mopping. Another bonus is that the cleaner doesn’t have to be a certain brand, but I personally use Fabuloso cleaner. It works great for my floors and their needs. Wood flooring on the other hand is a completely different story.

When it comes to wood flooring, there are many things to keep in mind to preserve and augment the flooring’s life. When it comes to mopping, you’ll want to use the least amount of water possible. Too much water and you’ll warp the wood and eventually ruin your flooring. You want your mop to be slightly damp, not soaking, and you’ll want to mop in a sweeping motion (back and forth), WITH the direction of your wood.

Going with the direction of the wood will help ensure a streak free finish. Usually on wood flooring, we would just use a damp mop, with no cleaner in it. Cynthia swore by Murphy’s Oil Soap for wood floors. Murphy’s gives a smooth polished finished look, and leaves floors looking brand new.

Well there you have my tips for beautiful hard flooring. Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tricks for keeping your floors immaculate.

Life Get’s Busy

Life Get's Busy - Cleaning Tips

Let’s face it, life just gets busy sometimes…or stays that way. With all of these competing priorities, cleaning your house may not be at the top of your “want” to-do list. Finding your way out of the clutter can at times be overwhelming. But don’t despair! With these few tips you should be able to get your house cleaning back to the top of your “want” to do list. But no promises.

The first thing you need to consider is what is your cleaning style? Do you like to deep clean or is your style more to clean in short, fast sprints. People who prefer to deep cleaning may want to make out a schedule to focus on certain areas for that thorough scrubbing. While those who like to sprint clean may like to have a schedule that breaks out a few, short chores daily.

The second suggestion is speed clean every day. I have started to do this in my own home and I have found that it makes such a big difference. How it works is very simple. Set your timer to the desired minutes you want. I find forty minutes works well for me. Start at one end of the house and just go. Avoid doing time consuming work like washing windows or organizing the pantry during these sessions. This time is just for working around the house as fast as you can “speed” cleaning. Knowing that a timer is going is really motivating. After the forty minutes is over, the house is so clean and then it is easier to move into deep cleaning.

My third tip is use a good check list. This is very helpful for the unorganized brain. After working for employers where we had to use check list to make ensure the completion of the essential tasks before leaving for the day, I felt like this was great to implement in my own home. Being able to check off things really helps me to not overlook an area. Plus, I can refer to these checklists to see how long it’s been since I’ve completed a particular cleaning task.

I hope these tips will help you as they’ve helped me. Once you can get started on a good cleaning routine the house will stay cleaner longer and, keeping it clean will always be faster. There will be less time cleaning and more time to do the things in life that are on your “want to do list.”

12 Foolproof Ways to Make a Small Room Appear Larger

12 foolproof ways to make a small room appear larger hero image

Smaller homes are cozy and we’ve probably all lived in one at one point or another. In some countries less is more or at least considered the standard. Take the UK for example where the average new home size is just 818 square feet[1].

Whether you relish the chance to live efficiently or feel frustrated at the lack of space in in your current home, if you plan smart you’ll be amazed at how much larger a room can appear. Read below for some smart tips to negotiate more from that space between 4 walls:

  1. Remove clutter. Messes and general disorganization can appear to be more imposing when crammed into small spaces. As you look to par down on things lying around your house, ask if you’ve used this object in the last 90 days or if you’re likely to use it in the next 90 days. If the answer is no, than consider carefully if the object would be better served by passing it along to another. Another filter is to ask if you have multiples of anything. Instead of 4 kitchen appliances that only perform one function, keep one that offers several functions you most use.
  2. Make the most of storage…but don’t overdo it. A coffee table with built-in storage space or bookshelves are both examples of are efficient uses of space. Keep in mind though that while there’s a tendency to fill every available inch on shelves, a hodgepodge of books and objects can leave your space looking cluttered. Instead thoughtfully curate visible objects and make sure they’re adding value to your space. Check out these bookshelves for inspiration!
  3. Go for a light and neutral color palette. Dark colors don’t reflect light and make a space appear smaller. Also by avoiding too many patterns and colors, you’ll visually expand your space. Keep in mind that adjoining rooms painted the same color will also extend the space. If you’re the kind of person who loves color, my kind of people, stick to one color and decorate with varying shades of that color.
  4. Take advantage of natural light which opens up a space. Eliminating curtains altogether will permit the maximum passage of light. But if you love the look of curtains, keep them long and begin higher than the window to add vertical dimension to the room.
  5. Opt for furniture on raised legs that add a dimension of light and space. Flaunt those legs! Speaking of furniture, employ fold up furniture for pieces that are only used on occasion. Keeping excess furniture in storage elsewhere can streamline a room. Tables with removable leaves are a great way to free up space.
  6. Mirror mirror on the wall. Add inexpensive mirrors to seemingly double the size of a space.
  7. Bold pieces of art can make a small room appear more dramatic and larger at the same time.
  8. Instead of one overhead light which draws attention to just that spot, opt for instead a few smaller lamps.
  9. Look up! By painting a ceiling in a bright color, your eye will be drawn upward and give the appearance of higher ceilings. Check out this gorgeous ceiling treatment for inspiration!
  10. Remember the Cantaloupe Rule. Any objects smaller than a cantaloupe only crowd a space. Instead go for a smaller number of large pieces.
  11. A striped rug do wonders for making a room appear longer. Position the rug with the length of the room for optimum effect.
  12. Glass and lucite furniture is very in vogue at the moment and are basically invisible. Check out this ultra modern console table for example.

By just employing a few of the suggestions above you’ll notice a difference right away. Once you’ve cut down on clutter, give Lonestar Hauling Services a call to have any of your excess items hauled away. We’d love to hear what other suggestions you have for opening a small space. Feel free to leave comments below.

[1] http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/how-big-is-a-house-average-house-size-by-country-78685

Spring Cleaning Tips: 4 Easy Tips for a Cleaner, More Organized Home

Spring Cleaning Tips: 4 Easy Tips for a Cleaner, More Organized Home

With snow still blowing in parts of the country it may seem premature to already be discussing spring cleaning. However, it’s never too early to make a plan of action that will leave your home cleaner than perhaps ever before.

While it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start with spring cleaning, it only takes a little pre-planning to make it a mostly pain free and easy process. Follow these suggestions below to see how easy it can be.

  1. Break out the different areas you’ll be cleaning into small quick jobs that can be done in minutes. As the old saying goes, “Wheneating an elephant take one bite at a time.” Let yourself enjoy the small victories in a large battle. Get creative with this step. Are you a list maker? Start with written lists to help you stay on track and scratch off your successes as you go. If you prefer to follow someone else’s list, you can download a number of spring cleaning checklists from the web such as these from organizedhome.com.
    Look at all the rooms in the house and decide which ones you believe are the most important ones to take on. You may want to break it down even further in each room. Start with a closest or a chest of drawers for example. So much of the battle is just getting started and staying on track as you go.
  1. Gather those cleaning supplies. Before rolling up your sleeves you’ll want to have everything within an easy reach to avoid interruptions. You can never have too many rags because they’re perfect for scrubbing, dusting, shining, or even my go to, wiping your face as you go. Another thing to consider when purchasing cleaning supplies is the smell of the products you’re using because they will linger.
  1. Schedule things out. You want to make sure you can finish what you start but for longer projects you might need breaks as you go. As you clean, stay focused on the task at hand. It’s easy to get distracted or find that you’ve forgotten or misplaced something. The organized home of your future after some spring cleaning will make it easier to avoid the last one.
  1. Throw away any unwanted items or donate them to charity. This can be the hardest step for some. I have a hard and fast rule, “If I have not used it in more years then I’ve been married or I can’t remember its purpose, out it goes.” Of course your own rule will have a personal spin on it. Remember that those really valuable items that you’ve been storing may only become truly valuable after you’re gone.

These are only the very basic items to consider but hopefully they’re helpful as you tackle your spring cleaning this year. Remember to call Lone Star Hauling Services when you’ve gathered any unwanted items from your home and are ready to free up space.