Category Archives: Cleaning

Tips for maintaining a clean home

Our third child is due in mid-November, and I have officially entered “nesting mode.” Image result for pregnant nesting With the other two, I was going strong up until right before they were born; I shampooed the carpets in the week before my second was born, and even attended a concert on the day of!  However, this one feels a little different and I am losing steam much more quickly.  Therefore, I felt it was important to start the cleaning early so I don’t have to worry about being unable to do it later on.  The problem with this is the chance of the house being destroyed between now and my due date, so I have to focus on maintenance, which is not my strong suit so I have come up with a few rules to follow to help me out.  If it isn’t yours either, maybe you will be able to use these tips as you are working to maintain a tidy home!

  1. Laundry – start a load every morning.  If you go to work and don’t want to leave wet clothes sitting in the wash all day, look for a delay start function on your washer and set it for about an hour before you get home.  Also, try to have a basket for each person, as well as towels so you can separate straight out of the dryer instead of creating an additional task for yourself.
  2. Batch toilets – I hate toilet brushes, and have gotten rid of all of ours.  Clorox wands have disposable brush heads with cleaner built inside.  This is a convenient and sanitary way to keep your toilets clean; however, it’s not as cost-effective as a reusable brush.  So to cut down on use, I try to clean all toilets at the same time and reuse the brush head a few times to get more out of each one.  Even if you use brushes, cleaning all toilets at the same time is a great way to stay on track and ensure that toilets are all clean.
  3. Have a drawer for all paperwork and bills so that things don’t get lost – having one specific drawer for these items keeps things organized and minimizes the chance that something will get lost or misplaced.
  4. Straighten up before bed – when I come down in the morning to a tidy house, I am much more likely to keep it that way throughout the day.  On the other hand, if I come down to a mess, it is likely to get worse before better.  This is certainly a mental thing on my part, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who experiences it!
  5. Break up tasks – instead of lying in bed thinking “tomorrow, I’m cleaning the whole house!” and then feeling like a failure the next night when you haven’t done much Broom, Ragpicker, Mop, Picker, Toilet, Cleaningat all, try breaking up your tasks each day.  For my “baby cleaning,” I set a seven day schedule for myself that covered all parts of my house, but was broken up enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed.  I found a few templates online, but in the end decided to come up with my own schedule, specific to my home and my preferences.  This was for a deep clean, but for maintenance purposes you can use the same list; you will just have less to do after the first time!
  6. Go digital with as many things as you possibly can – this is less about cleaning and more about being prepared, but setting things up online is a great way to stay on top of things and make sure you don’t get behind.  This includes utilizing auto-payments whenever you can, as well as automatic shipping on household items, such as toilet paper, diapers, laundry detergent, etc. to make sure you don’t run out.
  7. Remotes for lights – this saves both time and money and is something that we have found extremely useful.  I prefer lamps to overhead lighting, so I have a lot aroundLight, Lamp, Bedside Lamp, Illumination, Lampshade the house in various places.  We had some remotes for our Christmas lights and this year instead of packing them away, we have continued using them for the lights in our house.  When the sun goes down, I simply have to press a few buttons to turn the lights on, and at the end of the night do the same to turn them off.  Rather than walking around flipping a ton of switches multiple times a day, this simple tool saves so much time and also prevents leaving lamps on, leading to a spike in the electric bill.

Hopefully these tips help you as much as they have helped me!  Do you have anything else you like to do that I have forgotten?  Please put it in the comments below, and as usual, Expect the Exceptional in everything you do!


The top 9 things to do in San Fran

Living in San Francisco for six months gave me the opportunity to explore one of the country’s most famous cities. Read about my favorite attractions here.

via Top 9 San Francisco Attractions — katherine anne hayes

Preparing your business for spring

Spring is finally here so it’s time to take a deep breath, say goodbye to the dreary winter months and start getting your business ready for some busy months.  In case you are wondering what you can do to prepare yourself, here are a few ideas to get you started!

  1. Check your exterior: If you experienced a particularly rough winter, chances are the outside of your building is a little worse for the wear.  Make sure it’s looking shiny and new for the spring season!  Add some bright flowers for a nice touch.
  2. Clean up a bit:  After spending the winter cooped up breathing in stale air, there is nothing better than throwing the windows open to let in fresh air and let the spring scents into your business.  If you choose to clean counters and vaccuum floors as well, that’s an added bonus!
  3. Hire new staff:  If your business tends to pick up big time in the spring and summer, it might be a good idea to find some extra help.  Advertise for a temporary position if you don’t think you’ll be able to use new employees year-round.
  4. Introduce a new product: Spring is when new flowers are budding, grass is growingbird-nest-eggs-blue-158734 and animals are born.  Considering the “new” theme of the season, why not introduce something new with your business?  Whether it’s a new idea for marketing or a new product, bring something fresh into the business for the spring.
  5. Storm preparation: Along with gorgeous weather, the spring can also bring about heavy storms.  Are you prepared for those situations?  What will you do if your power goes out?  Do you have everything backed up that needs to be?  What is your emergency plan in the case of a tornado?  Be sure you go over these items with your staff and make sure everyone is confident in handling scary situations.
  6. Rearrange: If you don’t feel the need for a major clean or something as drastic as a new product, why not just rearrange a little?  This can make things feel new, even if they aren’t.

Different is not bad

The earth is made up of over seven billion distinct individuals.  Everyone has their own traits; some are positive, which can put them ahead of others, and some are negative, and these flaws ensure that no one is perfect.  No two individuals are the same, and this is how it has been since the dawn of time. So why does it seem difficult for some to accept those who are different?

Image result for accepting differences

The other day, I completed a questionnaire to obtain my DISC profile. I have done this before for different work requirements, and it always amazes me how these seemingly arbitrary questions somehow give such an accurate portrayal of my personality and work habits.   There are things that I do better than others, things that I need to work on, and flaws that I would love to change, but at the end of the day need to find a way to embrace as they are a result of the way my brain is wired.  For example, I have never been a neat and tidy person, however I very much like and appreciate and neat and tidy environment; it makes for a more productive day with less distractions, and a generally happier demeanor.  So where is the disconnect?  It seems simple enough – I like it tidy, so I should keep it tidy.  But for some reason, it has never been this way.  I do try, but ultimately there are other things that take my attention away and the goal of straightening up always gets put on the back burner.  So when someone with a completely different brain and personality notices this, they might scoff and boil it down to laziness.  But it really is just a different brain make-up.  I’m not going to get into the science of our brains, as interesting as it is, however I would like to offer a few suggestions for those who work with someone with traits different from your own.  It may seem impossible for the two of you to accomplish anything together, but it might not be.

  1. Take the DISC profile – have your office mates take the profile then share your results as a group.  It might be very eye-opening to realize that the person who you thought was snubbing you every morning at the coffee pot is really just extremely introverted and shy.
  2. Remember no one is perfect – you might be tempted to write someone off because of a trait that you view as a flaw; but maybe instead of a flaw, it’s just different from how you operate.  This doesn’t necessarily make it bad.  And even if it is something that could use some work, remember that you are not perfect either.  Try to be more understanding of others and you’ll probably find that your frustration levels will lessen.
  3. Look at the positive – for every bad trait, there is bound to be a good one.  Try and focus on that next time you start to get fed up with a coworker.  Maybe it seems as though they take far too long to accomplish a task; but possibly it takes a little longer because they have been busy lending a helping hand to others.  Or who knows, maybe they are just spending all of their time on elaborate pranks for the amusement of others.  Also a good thing.Jim's pranks on Dwight:
    Whatever differences you may have, if you look hard enough you should be able to find an admirable quality in everyone around you.  Find a way to embrace the differences in others, and remember that different is not bad!  We can learn from those who are different and work to improve ourselves in the process.

Working with family pays off

My first job was working for my mom at the consignment store she started with my grandfather.  I would work there after school and on Saturdays.  It was a great way for me to begin to understand the world of work and responsibility, while helping my family at the same time.  As a bonus, I got to spend time with my mom and share in her business endeavor.  My mom stayed home with us when we were younger, but as we got older, she wanted a job that was flexible, where she could take us along.  So she started her own!

My husband’s first job was working with his father for his construction business.  He helped build additions onto houses, and always stayed until everything was cleaned up and looked even better than when they arrived, as his father taught him.  When we went to England over the summer, Jamie drove us around and showed us many of the houses he worked on and he could not contain the pride he felt having built something with his father and having something to show for it.  I know the times they spent together working are times neither of them will forget, and the lessons Jamie learned have shaped his work ethic throughout his professional life.

I now have the pleasure of staying home with my own children, but like my mother, I want to contribute to my family’s finances.  I have found a few things that I can do from home, but in looking for an additional source of income, my husband and I  began cleaning an office building.  As opposed to his previous side job of soccer coach, this actually gives our family a chance to spend more time together, instead of taking one member of our family away from us all weekend, every weekend.  Additionally, since we can bring the boys along, this allows them to begin learning about working for what we need and want.

henry ford quote.jpg

Ultimately, although the cleaning takes away a little bit of our weekends, it allows us to accomplish something as a family.  At Royal Services, also a family business, the Shyvers have the opportunity to work with their family members and achieve success together, building their relationships and developing a sense of pride for what they have accomplished.

Not everyone has the opportunity to work with their family, but if you have a chance to do something together, it is a great way to build closeness and teach important life lessons!


Sprucing up for Spring

I have a confession to make.  I have never taken part in a “spring cleaning.”  Don’t get me wrong, I do clean my house.  And about a quarter of the time, it just so happens to be during the spring season.  However, I have not set out to intentionally deep clean my house just because the flowers happen to be blooming outside.  However, I do like the idea of a spring cleaning, so this year I decided to go for it. And just like with any major project, the first step I took was hopping on the internet to find out what has worked for other people, and find a checklist that was applicable to my needs.  And boy did I find a lot!  Everyone has different ideas as to what should be involved in the cleaning, how extensive it should be and for what purpose it should happen.  So I took the liberty of condensing this information into one blog post that will hopefully help you at home and at work!


The first thing you should consider is the location in need of the spring cleaning.  Will you be giving your home a deep clean, or does your business need a little sprucing up?  Historically, people do a major clean in the spring because the air has become stale after the home has been shut tight all winter.  Spring cleaning symbolizes a fresh start, and an opportunity to freshen up your home or work!  For your home, you will be looking at a literal clean, while your business will require much less elbow grease, but an equal amount of dedication.  For your home, there are four major areas where you should focus:

  1. Fabrics – sheets, comforters, place mats, tablecloths, curtains and door mats, just to name a few!
  2. Floors – clean your hard floors, finish your woods, and shampoo your carpets – don’t forget your baseboards!
  3. Windows and Walls – my windows and walls are covered in tiny hand prints, and I have come to accept that they will look like this for the next several years.  However, this is an opportunity for a  good clean in those out of reach places, as well as doors, door knobs, trim, back splash and the dreaded window blinds.  Those might be the last thing on my list…
  4. Electrics and appliances – start in the kitchen with your refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher.  From there, move on to washer and dryer and finally your light fixtures.  This will produce lots of dust, so you may want to do this before your floors!

cleaning dancing minions despicable me minion

If home is not where your heart is, you may want some ideas for an office spring “cleaning”.  Here are a few tips for a fresh start at work!

  1. Email – clean out those emails!  Unless you are my husband and never have a straggler in your inbox, you probably have loads of emails that need to be cleared out.  Create folders for those that you need to keep, but keep the main section of your inbox clear.
  2. Website – it’s probably about time for a new look on your website.  Work with a designer or just utilize your own creativity to add some pizzazz to your page.
  3. Update your office – whether you simply move your desk or add a lamp, changing your office around gives it new life for the spring.
  4. Actually clean – give your area a good dusting, and don’t forget to vacuum in those corners. Even if you have a cleaning company at your place of work, chances are they are not moving furniture around every day and the dirt is piling up in places your can’t see.  Also, doing it yourself will give you peace of mind that it is completely done, and also a sense of pride and ownership in your space.
  5. AC Tune-up – Don’t forget to have a technician come out to make sure your AC is ready for the summer.  The last thing you want is to be searching for a service technician in the dead of summer because your AC stopped working!  Give yourself time to research and find the best company for your needs.

Whatever space you are cleaning this season, try to make it fun!  Turn on some music and channel your inner Mary Poppins – this is a fresh start and one that is sure to leave you feeling happier and healthier!