Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cleaning Tip number 6: Efficiently Eliminating Dust

Dusting one's house seems easy enough but there are a few tricks that can help you to capture the dust more efficiently!

Dust is a collection of very small particles that land on surfaces in you house.  They are produced by many things around the house like clothing, paper, foods, skin cells, plant matter, and dust mite feces.

That's right, I said dust mite poop.

Typically dust collects on surfaces in layers.  A clean surface can become quickly covered in a fine dust.  Bits of debris or water rings can stick the dust directly to the surface!  In kitchens, there is usually a thick layer of grease under dusty surfaces due to cooking and regular usage.  When surfaces haven't been cleaned for a while, and especially when domestic animals are present, surfaces can form a thickly caked layer of dust on them that may even require a bit of scrubbing!

"Layers of dust" drawn by Clementine Willowilde

There are a few ways to go about cleaning dust off of surfaces.  Two main dusting methods exist that I know of and they are wet dusting and dry dusting.  Wet dusting is when one uses a dampened sponge or cloth to remove dust from a surface.  Dry dusting is when one uses a dry duster, dust cloth, sponge, microfiber, or feather duster to lift dust from surfaces.  There are definitely jobs around the house that require one method over the other but sometimes it just comes down to personal preference!

Wet Dusting

Wet dusting is appropriate for those situations in which you are dealing with thick dust that is clinging to surfaces, many times with a greasy under layer or stuck on debris.  It is also best for controlling loose dust from flying up into the air as you are cleaning.  If you have allergies, this is a great way to dust the house so that you can optimally eliminate dust while deterring its migration to other surfaces through it flying off into the air.  There are however a few drawbacks.  One is that the sponge or cloth, if too wet will leave streaks on a surface.  The other is that it is time consuming.  It usually requires the cleaner to rinse the sponge or cloth often and it is difficult to employ on intricate or spiky surfaces.

Wet Dusting with a sponge may leave streaks or residue!

Dry Dusting

Dry Dusting is most often executed with a cloth or feather duster.  These days there are some great new tools to use like swiffer dusting wipes, microfiber clothes, and dusters of various bristle types.  Some products even claim to use static electricity in the lifting process.  An old wives type method includes dusting with old dryer sheets because they have anti cling and dust trapping agents in them.  The pros to this method are that it is extremely quick and good to use when dealing with intricate surfaces or lightly dusty surfaces.  The downside to dry dusting is that loose dust often escapes back into the air to be inhaled by you or to land again on already dusted surfaces.

Dry Dusting with a cloth maybe release dust into the air!

So when cleaning a house, test a couple surfaces.  Figure out what type or thickness of dust that you have and be prepared to have a couple different tools ready so that you can clean well!  You may find that you have a particular personal preference when it comes to methods and products.  By cleaning up dust and debris you help to secure your own health and to also improve your homes air quality.  

Happy Dusting!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Mark of Excellence and Green Seal, Inc.

(The use of this picture is in no way an endorsement or certification by green seal of this website.  It's primary purpose is to illustrate an example of the Green Seal logo and to provide a link to the site for further explanation and education on their services.)

The logo above belongs to a remarkable non-profit organization. It has created a network of people and policies devoted to creating guidelines that will guarantee the earth friendly methods and products of our current and future marketplace.  Any measures taken to create solid standards by which consumers can benefit when it comes to knowing products and deterring "green washing"are a worthwhile effort!  

This article is about more than the "seal of approval", it is about understanding why we need these organizations to create standards, how standards are created, and what people are behind their creation! 

When I read an article on Molly Maid's move toward certifying their green methods and products, the first thing to peek my interest was the use of the Green Seal.  I'm always skeptical of the ways in which companies are certifying their products and services because as of yet, there are no standards for which all products and services are responsible.  A company can say that they are "natural" for doing something as small as having ingredients that come from the ground!  And although this is a good thing generally, it does not certify that the company is benefitting the earth or you in anyway.  

After reading over the Green Seal website and browsing their certification processes, I am sufficiently excited about the idea of this non-profit using their power to gather resources that not only benefit the companies involved but will benefit you as well!  It is interesting to see a not for profit organization so directly benefit profit-based organizations.  Literally, by certifying your service or product, a company is creating a basis of trust that will effect their economic success, especially in an market niche devoid of a basic framework of standards.

Organizations like Green Seal will become incredibly important in constructing the framework for our sustainable future.  Whether you are on board or not, the influence of projects like Envirolution and Green Seal are going to be the foundation of our policies, by which, we will attain a more healthful and benefitial lifestyle.  In other words, despite your position, this is the place at which to make the power play!  By educating yourself and/or getting involved in these projects, you can have a small say in their direction.  

Knowing is half the battle and the other half is taking action when appropriate and at the most crucial times.


info from
Arthur B. Weissman, Ph.D.President and CEO, Green Seal
Dr. Weissman has over 25 years of experience in environmental policy, standards, and enforcement. He joined Green Seal in 1993 as Vice President of Standards and Certification, becoming President and CEO in late 1996, and he served as Chair of the Global Ecolabelling Networkfrom 1994 to 1997. Prior to joining Green Seal, he was responsible for developing national policy and guidance for the Superfund program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He also served as a Congressional Science Fellow and worked for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. He holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in physical geography and environmental science, a masters in natural resource management from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a bachelors degree from Harvard University.


Above is the president of Green Seal.  It is good to know a bit about leadership, the history of the leaders, and their goals.  I think his time with the E.P.A. is worth noting and also the Panel on which he will be speaking.  The E.P.A. is the general government organization that is responsible for creating standards for various products and procedures (similar to the F.D.A for foods and pharmaceuticals).  However, there is not a standard government enforced matrix of responsibilities set up for companies that  will guarantee to consumers that they are taking measures to benefit the body and the earth.  That is why projects like Green Seal are necessary and have a lot of power!

In conclusion, it is easy to see why Molly Maid completed the certification process for Green Seal's approval and support.   Consumers demand accountability and the industry is still figuring out the processes by which to secure that accountability.  Anyone who finds a way to evolve will secure their chances at success!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The BIZZ: Striving for Perfection and The Human Condition

My job is to relieve your stress.  I swoop in when you need me and I help to reduce your responsibilities, thus alleviating some mental strain caused by deadlines and such.  It is my wish to always provide the most perfect, affordable, punctual service in town.  I have many obstacles to overcome in achieving this goal, but none seems so daunting as the cultural obstacle of homogeneity.
     I say cultural because now after the influence of industrialism and the manufacturing boom, we are enjoying the fruitful bounty of a consumer market in which our products are virtually identical.  The integrity of a product is almost completely founded on its ability to be homogenous thus creating some substantial reliability.  In other words, the level at which a product is produced and presented must be maintained in order for the public to feel as if it is a good product.

    The problematic nature of this way of marketing and consuming reveals itself when it is applied to those items and services which naturally deny homogeneity like unprocessed foods (fruits, veggies, etc.), and customer services (service industry jobs, repairs, etc.).  It is not natural for these things to be homogenous amongst their various groups and services because they are acted upon by nature and the human condition.  The trend amongst companies is to show a strong reliable hand in acting upon nature and the human condition to bring you the highest quality, most perfect, unchangeable, product or service possible.

     It is amazing.  I am apt to give in to the awe felt by seeing all my tomatoes look the same and feel the same.  I am apt to feel secure about the ability to so easily replace something beloved because there are 10 more of them at the store just the same as the first.  I am amazed to see a company use technology to subvert the discrepancies naturally produced by the universe.  There is no better example of the power of our consumer culture.

    And even as I have made a strong argument for the pros of such a cultural phenomenon, the cons are becoming more and more evident through time and process.  What we hold as an ideal may in fact be breeding an unadaptable, inflexible, dead end mentality.  What feels like progress now may be creating our future stagnation!

    The issues with homogeneity are complex.  Ground zero of the problem may actually lie in the focus of our ideals as professionals.  Systems of homogeneity are in place to create more reliability and less waste.  However, ultimate sustainability in a business or community relies on the entity's success at being adaptable.  The focus on homogeneity leaves no room for difference.  Homogeneity is the steam roller that creates, in its extremity, moderation....but then as the saying goes, "everything in moderation...including moderation."  In other words, if we eliminate the differences than we don't have to allow for them; we don't have to adapt to them.  If we don't have to adapt, then we don't have to be flexible.  If we don't have to be flexible, then we can feel confident in showing no affectation towards differences positive or negative across the board.  With this power, we serve to conquer nature instead of cooperate with it!

     That's heavy.

     I want to bring this conversation back.   I want to bring it back to the moment in which you hold in your hand the power to choose.  You hold in your hand the leafy green spendy money that this world relies on to turn its business cogs and lube the household processes.  In this moment I am asking you to take a look at the tension.  Observe closely the tension between the goal of (as of yet unattainable) perfection and the natural order of imperfection.  In some cases it can be paired down to man-made versus nature made, but not all situations will be so forthcoming.  Scrutiny of a very patient and accepting manor may be necessary to gather all the information that will support the power of your choices.  And as you choose the source from which your item or service follows, regard for yourself how the source of that item or service serves this world.

     Do not be afraid to be self serving in creating a world that will allow for your differences and the differences of others.  Sustainability is only possible through community, connection, creativity, growth, and change.  By this, I mean that I am relying on you to make decisions that will benefit yourself and others and that you are relying on me for the same.  In this way, we create the connections of trust between us that create society.  We create our environment and our communication from this.  In THIS way, we thrive.

I do not have to show you that I am the most punctual, perfectly clean, most affordable cleaner ever, because the heart of my work lies in my ability to be trustworthy, compassionate, knowledgeable, and helpful.  In THIS way, I will serve you best.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Files and Forms: Chore list for Roommates

Here is a simple chore list that you can use if you have roommates.  It can also be adapted to include other chores and other living situations (family, or office).  Another good thing to add at the bottom is "supplies needed" which will be a place to write in things like toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, etc.

Chore List for Roommates

Keeping Order: An Interview with the Artist Jocelyn Krodman

     Upon entering her house, I was surprised to see that Jocelyn Krodman, a local artist and business professional, had a dustless, clutterless, fussless layout.  As a woman that sees a lot of messes and makes plenty around my own house, it made me wonder why her house was so clean and how did she do it?  Not only was it clean (no dust to be seen anywhere!) but it was also nicely organized and extremely cozy!  My curiosity sparked, I demanded an interview so that I could bring to you the secrets of a lady not so different from you and I.

Visit her etsy page at:

Top Ten Tricks from Jocelyn Krodman:
1.      1.     It’s okay to be sentimental but get a grip!
     Surround yourself with what you love.
     Less is better or at least easier.
     Hide unuseful things like clutter in aesthetically pleasing compartments around the home.
     Clean along the way -1 hour now vs.a whole day later.
     Only keep useful and beloved items.
     Fewer options creates more freedom.
     Create specific areas for specific activities. – work space for work and sleep space for sleep.
     If you like all the spaces in your home you won’t be afraid to use them.

At the House of Jocelyn Gayle Krodman June 13th, 2010
Listen to the audio file here!

CW:  How does your house function for you in your life?

JGK:  When I first moved into the apartment, I traveled so much that it took me a while to decide if I even wanted to rent a space.  Was it going to feel like storage?  I am someone who’s very affected by my environment.

CW:  In what kind of atmosphere did you grow up?

JGK:  We moved a lot.  My dad’s job took us to other states so they’d hire movers.  When you don’t have to move yourself, the natural inclination is to take everything!  After years of doing that and living in houses with basements, we managed to accumulate a ridiculous amount of crap!  The house itself was never cluttered, or didn’t seem so.  My mom has things around, and as I got older that started to bug me, but it typically doesn’t bother me in other people’s homes.  My parent’s home is like an extension of my home so I guess that’s why it bothers me more than if I walked into a stranger’s house.  I’m like “mom, why do you really need that” ?!  But she loves it, and I like to surround myself with things that I love too.  So, if she wants to have that little elf, let her lave that little elf.   
            Our house was typically clean.  We always had someone that would come to clean every other week.  It was a clean environment until you got to the basement.  It was not until two summers ago when I was moving to Nashville but staying in my parent’s house until the moving date that I discovered that it hadn’t gotten so bad that you could hardly walk down there.  The basement is the same surface area as our house and yet its filled with boxes, things that aren’t even opened…It was ridiculous! 
            Finally I was like “mom, I’m gonna be home this summer, you’re home, you’re a teacher, you don’t work, let’s tackle this!  You want to?” and she was like “ yeah, it’ll be fun!”.  We spent about 2 months, okay maybe two weeks, but it was daily…it was a full time job!  My dad had saved all his paperwork since 1972 and he had saved every mini soap from every hotel he had visited.  We had to confront him!  I thought “do you really need this”?  People’s sentimental attachment to things is so fascinating to me!  I understand being sentimental but do you really need a huge cardboard box full of checkbooks that you can’t even pick up?!  Probably not. 
            I was like “ how about this… you pick out one checkbook out of this box and you can keep that”.  That was the rule I made with him…he got to keep one checkbook.  It was ridiculous.  No one needs all that stuff, but then there’s things like all my childhood toys and my mom had saved every pair of shoes that my sister and I had worn as children. I was grateful that I had a mom that thought it was important enough to keep that stuff around, but do I need EVERY pair of shoes?  Probably not.  Do we need every single toy?  No.
            You know the pound puppy that I got on Valentine’s Day in first grade that little Joe or whoever I had a crush on got for me; I want that!  (And I still have it!  His name is Pierre because he looks like he has a mustache!)  I have my mom’s sentimentality to thank for that, but do I need everything?  I appreciate the sentiment, but you have to get a grip!

CW:  But I do think that some people have trouble figuring out the level of importance of their things.

JGK:  And some of it is superstition.   My mom can’t throw away photographs.  We have all of them!  She thinks that the person will drop dead as soon as she puts it in the trashcan.  It’s rubbed off on me too! I would feel terrible for throwing away a photograph.  I have tons of photos I don’t need. 

CW:  So then what do you do with all the stuff, like photos, or gifts, or momentos, that you don’t want to get rid of? 


CW:  (I thought that was the punchline to a joke but she was serious)  Well what would you do if you didn’t have that?

JGK:  Typically I try to store things around here in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.  Like, I love old suitcases.  I use them in decorating and they are just great for storing stuff like that!  I have a couple of train cases in my bedroom.  They look great but open ‘em up and you’ll find all types of clutter!  But I know where they are and they are organized too.  That’s my “go to”.  You know, “I’m looking for THIS item” and I know where it’s gonna be. 

CW:  And all the cases kind of look different too, so that you can tell which one has what.  That way you’re not just looking through unmarked box after unmarked box stuffed in your closet!
            So how do you maintain the order around your house?  I know you talked about productive procrastination which is when you are cleaning house for example instead of doing some other type of work, but when you’re tired and you don’t really want to do anything, how do you keep it clean?  What are some of your self imposed rules?

JGK:  I’m not typically faced with situations where I’m having to take the time to clean my house or put stuff away because of you do really small things like that all along the way and keep up with it, there’s never a time in which you’re like “oh god, I have to stay home and do this today!”  I do have days where I’m like “I need to spend an hour picking up” or doing dishes, or whatever else it is that needs to get done, but it’s never this overwhelming problem because I just don’t let it get to that point.  
            I remember in college, I had this one chair that I would just throw stuff on.  Do you know what lesson I learned from doing that?  Well I had this toy snake and it was filled with barley and a mouse had begun to live inside it but I didn’t know!  One day I was like “I’ve got to clean the stuff off this chair; it’s disgusting!”  I started finding what looked like food and I was like “I don’t eat in here, what is this barley stuff?”  So I realized the mouse was living inside the snake that was on the chair under all this stuff and I FLIPPED OUT!  I threw everything away that was on the chair, gone in the trash, and I don’t ever do that anymore.
            Even if I’m tired and I throw my dress on the chair beside my bed, the next day I throw it in the laundry or hang it back up…takes two seconds.

Thanks Jocelyn for opening up your home to me and the viewers of ATL Clean Extreme!

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