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Gift Ideas for Mom and Dad

December 20, 2014

According to think with Google’s Advent-ageous calendar, online searches for gift ideas for dad and gift ideas for mom peak a few days before Christmas. That got Molly Maid thinking about holiday gifts and we created a “hits and misses survey” to find out what people said were their best and worst gifts over the years.

Over 1,500 people responded and popular responses for best gifts included engagement rings, children born on or near Christmas, new pets and Keurig coffee makers! Some heartfelt comments shared members of the military who returned in time to celebrate safely with friends and family. One thankful spouse said, “My husband returning from the Vietnam War in December of 1967 safely to his family!”

A mother told the tale of her daughter’s gift and said she received a hat of invisibility with a note that said, “Mom, whenever you want to be invisible so you can have some peace and quiet, wear this hat!” She went on to say the hat was a homemade cone modeled after the sorting hat from Harry Potter.

Another woman said her mom and dad provided the best gift when she was a child, and she loved her gold, stingray bicycle with monkey bar handles and a banana seat!

We loved this response about a lady’s gift from her husband, “He got me a stand-up paddle board.  I am 62 years old and so appreciated not getting an old woman’s gift!”

Over 20 people responded that they received Molly Maid gift certificates as holiday gifts and it was their favorite of all time! That correlates with the question we mm giftcards Gift Ideas for Mom and Dadasked about the top item respondents would love to have removed from their To Do lists, and 68% of people said no more house cleaning! The second most dreaded task was laundry at 14%!

Almost 60% of responses said they do not give their loved ones ideas for gifts and 46% said their spouse or significant other needs the most help when it comes to selecting presents.

Here’s an example of last-minute shopping gone wrong, “I received a door mat! My husband did not get around to shopping until late one Christmas Eve, and he thought a door mat would keep my kitchen floor clean! He has since redeemed himself! He now gives very thoughtful gifts!”

Another epic miss was described as, “matching hats for my dog and me made by my mother in law. It wasn’t a joke; it was completely serious.”

The worst may have been, “An egg separator where the egg whites come out a man’s nostrils!”

Don’t make our list of worst gifts next year. The best gifts are considerate of the person and may be as simple as a handwritten card, a keepsake ornament or a sweet photograph. Good luck with your shopping and may your holidays be filled with love and laughter – hopefully not at the gifts you receive! Share any impressive or entertaining items you receive in the comments section below!

How to Clean Tarnished Silver | The Easy Way

December 17, 2014
3286872590 d5f72fb93f m  How to Clean Tarnished Silver | The Easy Way

Photo Credit Chinkerfly via Flickr

Do holiday meals at your house call for silverware made of actual silver? If so, then you likely have on your to-do list to clean and polish the pieces long before dinner is served. Keep reading for Molly Maid’s tips on how to clean tarnished silver without too much effort…

How to Clean Stained Silver With Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

In this video from the Molly Maid Institute, we show you a quick and easy way to clean up your set of silverware. Start by pulling out a large cookie sheet and lining it with aluminum foil. Then create a mixture of 1 tbsp. baking soda to 2 cups of water, enough to fill the pan to the top lip. Add the mixture and a layer of silverware to the pan, and then place in an oven preheated to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the silverware every five minutes until all stains and tarnish are gone.

Tip: Use tongs to handle the hot pieces. You can also boil the mixture and aluminum foil for 10-second intervals, but this method may result in scratching.

How Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda Work to Clean Silverware

Tarnish is actually silver sulfide that forms on silverware when the pieces come into contact with sulfur-containing substances in the air. (This is why manufacturers recommend keeping pieces in cases that do not regularly get opened and closed like a silverware storage chest.)

The above method uses a metal that also can form compounds with sulfur, in this case aluminum.  When you put silverware into contact with aluminum foil in a baking soda solution, a chemical reaction occurs that creates an electrical current that carries the sulfur atoms from the silver to the aluminum. Once the transfer is complete, you may see the sulfide as pale yellow flakes in the bottom of the pan. The amount of time this takes depends on how tarnished the silverware has become.

Other Quick and Easy Ways to Clean and Polish Silverware

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Photo Credit Gwen Roolf (nimariel) via Flickr

In addition to baking soda, other household items can remove tarnish from silverware, but since many substances remove the tarnish through rubbing you must be careful not to scratch the silverware in the process.

For example, toothpaste has long been used to polish silverware in a pinch. Make sure the toothpaste is smooth and does not contain any granules that can scratch the surface, such as in whitening formulas that use baking soda; the ingredient works in the above method because it simply acts as a conductor and is not rubbed against the silverware.

Ketchup is another cleaner that gets gently rubbed onto silverware to remove tarnish. You may need to let the silverware sit in the ketchup for 15 minute intervals until you see results.

Other Tips for Cleaning Silverware

A soft toothbrush makes an excellent cleaning tool for silverware with fine detail. Simply use it to gently lift tarnish from crevices with your cleaner of choice.

The best way to keep silverware in company-ready shape is to prevent tarnish. As mentioned above, keep it from being regularly exposed to sulfur in the air. Experts also recommend keeping pieces of chalk with the silverware; it will absorb moisture in the air and help to prevent tarnish from forming.

For your home cleaning needs, call the professionals at Molly Maid. Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises bonded, insured, licensed and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click here to request service in your area.

Ugly sweater party fun

December 13, 2014

Since the 1980s, the ugly sweater has risen to the top of “must have” fashionable items for the holidays. The gaudier, shinier and more ridiculous the attire is… the better!

Molly Maid and Mr. Handyman team members got in the spirit with our first annual ugly sweater party and with a $200 first prize on the line, the employees got creative! An afternoon trip to the Salvation Army provided a pretty nice stack of sweatshirts, sweaters and decorative enhancements while others had gifts gone wrong from years’ past they wore for the event.

If you are crafty, your apparel can represent a holiday scene. Check out Karen’s fireplace and mantel, complete with grandkids’ stockings.

IMG 5820 300x200 Ugly sweater party fun

Karen’s fireplace and mantel are complete with garland and her grandkids’ mini stockings!

Perhaps ribbon and safety pins with paper ornaments are more your thing? Tony made an easy DIY ugly sweater without ruining the item for future, non-Christmas outfits!

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Tony shows off his DIY ugly sweater

The first, second and third place winners of the ugly sweater contest used embellishments such as sparkly letters, furry purses and blinking lights to steal the spotlight.

Steve Elisa Jeannie 218x300 Ugly sweater party fun

Steve, Elisa and Jeannie win the top three prizes from Molly Maid and Mr. Handyman’s ugly sweater contest.

Options runneth over if purchasing a tacky top fits your time-starved schedule better. A quick search on Amazon also netted some impressive finds for if you’re willing to invest. Nike Dunk High SB PRM CNCPTS have an “ugly sweater package” with black and gold metallic gold fabric or even an ugly Christmas sweater pair. These stylish sneaks range from $294 – $369!

Fanatical sports fans can even find their favorite college or professional sports team, proving ugly sweaters are as main stream as eggnog and tinsel so everyone can dress as nutty as a fruitcake every December!

2014 Christmas Tree Ornaments Tips

December 7, 2014

Tis’ the season for unpacking your Christmas tree ornaments and getting in the spirit of the season! Whether your tree is covered in tinsel or subtle, white lights, hanging ornaments is typically part of the Christmas décor chore.family hiking 300x220 2014 Christmas Tree Ornaments Tips

In addition to visiting a store, there are tons of ideas out there to make homemade ornaments. The funandfactswithkids.blogspot.com site features Family Fun Magazine’s snow globe ornaments and faux gingerbread folk ideas. Click on the images to read which materials and steps are needed to recreate the projects. These make great gifts and can also help personalize your own tree – making memories for years to come.

Since the 1840s, glass ornaments have been sold commercially. Glass ornaments and strings of lights are often used year after year. You can keep your bulbs and baubles looking bright with one of our favorite cleaning products – microfiber! First, unplug your lights and wipe dingy bulbs and decorations with a clean cloth, which removes fingerprints, tree sap and dust accumulation.

Speaking of Christmas lights, Bronner’s is the world’s largest Christmas store, and they sell over 125,000 light sets annually. That’s enough to span 485 miles if they were all connected and they would completely cover the Empire State Building three times!

We’re sure you have far less decorating to do than Bronner’s, so check out Mr. Handyman’s DIY holiday decorating tips for hanging lights without nails and avoiding the pine needle mess. Check out the short video clips posted on their blog!

For displays big and small, Christmas tree ornaments, lights and trees are staples of the season. Enjoy the shopping, decorating, eating and celebrating with friends and family and share your favorite time saving and inexpensive tips to make the holidays even happier.

Give The Gift of Time for Cyber Monday | Molly Maid Gift Certificates

December 1, 2014
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It’s Cyber Monday. What are you buying for your loved ones online this holiday season? Have you ever considered a Molly Maid gift certificate?

Buying a Molly Maid gift certificate will give the recipient the gift of time, a sparkling clean home, and peace of mind! They will love such a thoughtful and wonderful gift. Keep reading to see what some of our gift-givers have said over the years:

“Merry belated Christmas!  Hopefully this allows for more free time to do fun stuff!”

“Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!  I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my best friend you’ll be :)”

“My service act of love for the holiday :)”

“A gift from Santa Claus to lend a helping hand to the ones we Love!”

“We all love you very much! Stay off your feet and let someone else do the cleaning for a change.”

“Congratulations on being selected as the winner in Imperial Sugar’s Holiday Cookie Decorating Contest!”

As you can see, the people giving the Molly Maid gift certificates love it almost as much as the people receiving it. Please consider purchasing a Molly Maid gift certificate this holiday season, people will love you for it!

Buy Molly Maid Gift Certificates Here: https://www.mollymaid.com/gift-certificates.aspx

For your home cleaning needs, call the professionals at Molly Maid. Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises bonded, insured, licensed and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click here to request service in your area.

Properly Saving Thanksgiving Leftovers so You Don’t Get Sick!

November 25, 2014
InaFrenzy Properly Saving Thanksgiving Leftovers so You Dont Get Sick!

Photo cred: InaFrenzy on Flickr.

 

Thanksgiving is one of Molly Maid’s favorite holidays. We love any opportunity to take time in expressing gratitude with family and friends while enjoying a beautiful meal. Often times, Thanksgiving preparation takes several days while consuming it takes under an hour. But many of us also know that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to end on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving leftovers can keep the holiday spirit going for days after the celebration is done. But proper storing and saving of your leftovers is important to ensuring it will be safe to eat later. This year, review Molly Maid’s guide to properly storing your Thanksgiving leftovers so you don’t get sick:

According to the Food Network, cooling your food down as soon as possible will help ensure your leftovers remain safe to eat later. Pack your leftover food into airtight, shallow containers—this will help the food cool down faster, giving the food less time to grow any unwanted bacteria. It is important to transfer your food into sealed containers instead of simply wrapping your serving dish in plastic wrap. This is a very important step to keep your food not only safe from bacteria, but as fresh as possible.

Another very important step to ensure your family doesn’t get sick is to throw out the leftovers at the appropriate time. Even if the leftovers still smell and look okay, there may be bacteria growing that could make you sick. StillTasty put together a handy guide that shows the leftover life span of each traditional Thanksgiving treat. Turkey, for example, should stay good in the fridge for up to four days after being cooked while cranberry sauce can last up to 14. Check out the full guide here.

Freezing leftovers is also a great option if you’re like many of us who tend to severely overestimate the amount of food you will consume. Again, it is very important that your containers are airtight when you freeze any type of food. This will safeguard your food from bacteria and freezer burn. Freezer bags are also a good option, but need to be securely closed. Tip: Write the date of when your leftovers were prepared and the date they should be consumed on each freezer ready container. Leftovers tend to get lost in the sea of frozen goods, so it will be a good reminder when you’re in need of a quick meal.

With this guide in mind, we hope you can all enjoy a healthy, happy and safe Thanksgiving!

For your home cleaning needs, call the professionals at Molly Maid. Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises bonded, insured, license and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click  here to request service in your area.

Linen Cabinet and Closet Organization Ideas

November 20, 2014

The holiday season brings with it houseguests. To make them feel at home, create a space all their own. You can achieve this, in part, with a freshly made bed and room in the closet. These linen cabinet and closet organization ideas will help make that happen.

Get Organized!

sheets in closet 248x300 Linen Cabinet and Closet Organization IdeasAt least a week before your first guests arrive, pull everything from your linen closet. Set aside any items you no longer need to make room for those you do regularly use. Sheets, blankets, and other linens make excellent donations to an animal shelter, as they use the items to care for homeless cats and dogs in their care.

A good guideline for extra linens is:

  • Three sets of sheets per regularly used bed
  • Three sets of towels per resident
  • Two sets of sheets per guest bed
  • Two sets of towels per houseguest
  • This ensures that there are sets of towels and sheets at the ready at all times, allowing for a set to be in the laundry room

Store all items by type (sheets with sheets, towels with towels) and always place freshly washed linens on top and pull linens to be used from bottom. Put regularly used items at eye level, with those used less often higher and lower and at the back of shelves.

Finally, hang sachets in the closet to infuse linens with a soothing scent, such as lavender for a good night’s sleep for your guests.

Once your linen closet has been organized, move on to the closet in your guestroom. You likely use this storage space as overflow for other closets in the home. To ensure your guests do not feel as if they are putting you out, clear a space well toward the front of the closet ahead of time for their hanging items as well as their suitcase.

To make room, pulling everything out like you did with the linen closet allows you to do exactly that while also ridding your home of items you no longer use. Again, sort into donate and keep piles.

Assess the items left and make a list of closet organization tools needed to hide them from view, thus creating a clutter-free space that won’t have your guests feeling as if an item might fall on their head. Bins, baskets and the like with labels on the end achieve this result while also making it easy for you to identify what you need to pull from the closet.

Purchase a Standalone Closet

If closet space is limited in your home, with little room for guest items, consider purchasing a standalone closet. Such a unit, whether placed in the guest room or guest bath, can be set aside for their use only and include items they may need during their stay, such as extra blankets, toiletries, and a robe and slippers. And using one allows you to continue procrastinating when it comes to organizing other closets in the home.

Rewash Linens Ahead of Time

laundry room Linen Cabinet and Closet Organization IdeasIf you have houseguests staying throughout the holiday season, plan prep for the guestroom at least a few days prior to their arrival so that linens will be freshly washed but not so much so that you’re making the bed as your guests pull into the driveway. Simply spritz with linen spray to achieve a freshly washed effect if prepping more than a week in advance.

The holiday season serves as a time for friends and family to gather. Granted, it also can be stressful, especially if you are a host, but these tips will help keep you on track and allow you to enjoy your company.

For your home cleaning needs, call the professionals at Molly Maid. Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises bonded, insured, licensed and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click here to request service in your area.

The Complete Checklist to Prepare Rooms for Holiday Guests

November 13, 2014

Few homes are ready for company at all times. A pair of shoes in the hallway, an unwashed pot in the sink, and a guest room without fresh linens all need to be addressed before friends or family arrive. Even if you keep your home in tip-top shape, there are still tasks to be done in preparation for company. Use this checklist to create a welcoming environment for your holiday guests.

Clean & Prep Guest Room

If you have a dedicated guest room, prepping it will take less time than if the space doubles as a home office or if one of the kids will give up his or her bedroom.

well made bed with duvet 300x227 The Complete Checklist to Prepare Rooms for Holiday Guests

Photo Credit: PoshSurfside.com on Flickr

In a true guest room, you will need to:

  • Dust and vacuum or mop per usual
  • Put fresh linens on the bed
  • Store extra blankets and pillows in an easily accessible place
  • Clear a spot for luggage and other items in the room or closet
  • Provide plenty of hangers and drawer space
  • Make sockets available by each side of the bed
  • Empty the wastebasket
  • Add a box of tissues to each nightstand

For a guest room that also serves another purpose, reduce clutter as much as possible, such as putting away all paperwork in a home office and loose toys in a kid’s room. Remove anything you or the regular occupant might need during your guests’ stay so that they truly have a space to call their own.

Complete the prep by adding fresh, seasonal flowers to the nightstands if your guests are not allergic, a nightlight for late trips to the bathroom, and a welcome note that also includes the password to your wi-fi. Also leave an extra house key if your guests will be coming and going on their own.

Clean & Prep Guest Bath

Many of us have two levels of clean in the bathroom: immediate-family clean and company clean, with the latter reaching spring-cleaning status. To prep for holiday guests, you will need to:

  • detailed bathroom cleaning2 The Complete Checklist to Prepare Rooms for Holiday GuestsRemove all washable items—bath/hand towels and rugs—to wash
  • Empty wastebasket
  • Spray shower/tub walls and floor, and toilet, with diluted vinegar and let sit
  • Dust any blinds and clean any windows, mirrors and countertop containers
  • Wipe down all cabinetry and countertops with appropriate products
  • Scrub shower/tub walls and floor, plus toilet, with a hard-bristle brush, then rinse
  • Sweep and mop the floor with appropriate products
  • Replace freshly washed or vacuumed rugs and any laundered items

Just like with a guest room that does double duty, a bathroom used by other members of the family should be decluttered as much as possible. Move any items not used on a regular basis to inside cabinets and create space for your guests.

Complete the prep by adding a basket filled with travel-size items they might have forgotten to pack, such as:

toiletries 300x229 The Complete Checklist to Prepare Rooms for Holiday Guests

Photo Credit: Aaron Gustafson on Flickr

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Disposable razors and shaving cream
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Hand cream
  • Holiday first-aid supplies, such as pain reliever and acid reducer for too much celebrating

Stock Up on Their Favorite Foods & Drinks

Speaking of celebrating, before your guests arrive ask for a list of must-have pantry items, including:

cup of tea cake cookies 300x226 The Complete Checklist to Prepare Rooms for Holiday Guests

Photo Credit: Helena Jacoba on Flickr

  • Preferred breakfast beverage, creamer and sweetener
  • Favorite breakfast items, such as a specific cereal or another item you might not have handy
  • Other beverages, including those for adults only; be sure to leave bottled water in their room along with a coaster
  • Snacks
  • Any items to meet dietary restrictions

While many guests say they do not want to put you out, explain that you are going grocery shopping the day before their arrival so that it need not be done once they get to your home. That leaves you more time to spend relaxing, as there is nothing relaxing about shopping during the holiday season.

Have a wonderful holiday season with your guests!

For your home cleaning needs, call the professionals at Molly Maid. Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises bonded, insured, licensed and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click here to request service in your area.

Clean Up Before & After the Holiday Party

November 11, 2014

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, which means, food, family, friends and FRENZY as the preparation begins! Molly Maid has assembled 2014’s tips to help kitchen cleaning oven 300x300 Clean Up Before & After the Holiday Partymake house cleaning chores more manageable.

Pre-Event Cleaning Tips:

  • Scrub your entryway. Wipe down your front door, shake out the doormat and make sure dust and dirt haven’t collected on floors and furniture legs. These are the first things guests will see when they arrive, so keeping them clean will guarantee a good first impression.
  • Focus on the kitchen. People tend to gather around the food during the holidays, so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice. Don’t forget to dust the light fixtures and flush sink drains with boiling water.
  • Get the kids involved! Make it fun by turning on some holiday music or making games out of cleaning like playing basketball while sorting laundry. Many kids respond well when they know what is expected so a chore chart may be helpful. Having a reward at the end of the week is particularly motivational – an extra dessert, extended bedtime or even a toy or allowance.
  • Ensure your home is “company ready” anytime with only 15 minutes a day. Make the bed every day or at least straighten the covers each morning. Pick up mail, toys, keys and loose change each evening. In bathrooms, squeegee shower doors and walls. Wipe off counters and sinks after every use.

Most homes typically encounter a few spills or cooking casualties, so use our ideas below to remove the most common issues when your party’s over.

Post-Event Cleaning Tips:

  • Cleaning Glassware and Remove Hard Water, Lipstick & Coffee Stains: For hard water and lipstick stains, wash your glasses in warm soapy water and add a half cup of white vinegar. If you soak them in the vinegar overnight that will help to loosen and remove the stains.
  • Wine on the Carpet: First, it’s important to act quickly. Don’t let the stain set for long before you spring into cleaning mode. A little bit of salt on the stain will help prevent the stain from setting into the carpet and prevent larger problems. You have a few options for removing the stain – white wine, club soda, and commercial carpet cleaner products are the most popular. Simply pour your cleaning solution of choice onto the stain, and then gently blot up as much wine as possible. Remember – rubbing will force the stain into the carpet and make cleanup more difficult.
  • Burnt Pots, Pans and Casserole Dishes: The best-kept secret is using Pepsi or Coke to remove burnt stains from pots. Pour in the pop, let it sit overnight and the stains practically wipe off.
  • Buff out Hardwood Floor Scuffs: You can buff out most scuffs on a polyurethane hardwood floor by rubbing the area vigorously with a soft cloth.  If this doesn’t fully remove the scuff, use a small amount of floor cleaner and vigorously rub the area with a soft cloth.

For your home cleaning needs, call the professionals at Molly Maid. Call 1-888-583-6490 now to connect directly with your local Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises bonded, insured, licensed and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click here to request service in your area.

Ms. Molly Teams Up with NFL Player to Tackle Domestic Violence

November 7, 2014
Ms. Molly Foundation

Molly Maid’s non-profit organization the Ms. Molly Foundation teamed up with Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin on Tuesday, Nov. 4, for a Celebrity Guest Griller event at bd’s Mongolian Grill in Ann Arbor, Mich. – where Molly Maid USA headquarters are located.

Since Ms. Molly’s inception in 1996, the organization has raised over $1.9 million dollars for local domestic violence shelters and agencies throughout the United States.

Proceeds from the event benefited SafeHouse Center, which provides free and confidential services for those impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault, and live or work within Washtenaw County.

For more than two hours, Glover spoke to reporters, patrons at the restaurant, and fans of all ages where he signed autographs and even grilled dinner for a few lucky folks.

IMG 5560 Ms. Molly Teams Up with NFL Player to Tackle Domestic Violence

President of Molly Maid Meg Roberts and Glover Quin get ready to start grilling.

IMG 5578 300x200 Ms. Molly Teams Up with NFL Player to Tackle Domestic Violence

Glover tests his grilling skills while raising funds and awareness for local domestic violence victims.

IMG 5608 300x200 Ms. Molly Teams Up with NFL Player to Tackle Domestic Violence

Taking a break from the grill, Glover signs autographs and interacts with fans.

KateGlover rev 225x300 Ms. Molly Teams Up with NFL Player to Tackle Domestic Violence

Glover and Kate MacEwen of SafeHouse Center smile for the camera during the event.

This week the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) announced Glover as the NFLPA Community MVP for his involvement in Ms. Molly’s event.

Thank you Glover for teaming up with Molly Maid and the Ms. Molly Foundation to help raise awareness and funds that support victims of domestic violence!

If you or someone you know needs help with a domestic violence or sexual assault issue, please call:

THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233
THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE at 1-800-656-4673
THE NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HOTLINE at 1-866-331-9474

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