Kids’ Summer Activities that Aren’t the Pool

Summer break is now halfway over!  Are you beginning to run out of fun activities for your kids to do?  Today we will give you ideas for indoor and outdoor activities that will keep your kids busy and while they make great memories on the last stretch of these summer days.

Kids' Summer Activities that Aren't the Pool | Carpe Diem CleaningTake a Hike!

If you want to get out of the house and go on an adventure, then geo-caching is perfect for your family!  Use the GPS and compass apps on your phone to go on a real life treasure hunt.  Get the coordinates for caches near you at geocaching.com.

 

There are so many fantastic hiking trails in the Triangle including the Eno River State Park, Duke Forest, Bolin Creek Trail, Neuse River Trail, Umstead Park and more!  Going on a family hike involves less planning than geocaching but is still a fun way to see more of our beautiful state.   A color scavenger hunt around your neighborhood or town is another creative way to get exercise and look at familiar places in a different light.

Backyard Fun

Kids' Summer Activities that Aren't the Pool | Carpe Diem Cleaning

If you’re wanting to keep your kids busy in the back yard, then here are some ways that they can play hard and get dirty — without dirtying up your house!  Just make sure to hose them down before letting them come back inside. ;-)

Make moon sand in a large bin by mixing together 9 cups of flour and 1 1/4 cups of baby oil.  Add cookie cutters, sand castle molds and more to keep your kids entertained for hours.

You can also make bouncing bubbles and break up the day while mixing up an old favorite activity!  Simply mix 1 cup distilled water with 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 1 teaspoon of glycerin and use your favorite bubble blowing device.  If you want to make giant bubbles, simply 10x the recipe and use cut off old t-shirt sleeves to form bigger bubbles.  Who doesn’t love playing with bubbles?

A newspaper snowball fight is a fun way to get some energy out!  Just make sure to set ground rules, including clean up, before the “snow ball” fight begins.  Then give your kids old newspapers or mail flyers to ball up and have a pretend “snow ball” fight.  You can even make a spider web with painter’s tape and have them throw the newspaper balls at the web to see if they can get their newspaper to stick!

Kids' Summer Activities that Aren't the Pool | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Inside Adventures

Stuck inside on a rainy day?  Or do you just need extra activities to keep your kids busy during the heat of the day? We’ve got you covered!

Try making a laser beam obstacle course in a hallway or between a large couch and a wall.  Your kids will get their energy out while staying occupied in a confined space — that’s a win-win!  For longer-lasting results, involve your kids in making the obstacle course, and they’ll be able to fix it when the tape inevitably starts to come off the walls.

Everything is more fun inside of a blanket fort!  Whether your kids enjoy reading, playing board games, making Lego creations or more, making a blanket fort in your living room or in their room is a fun way to mix up their environment and make fun memories.

Does your child enjoy baking or playing with playdough?  Then try making Jell-O playdough and cookies with just one recipe!  If your child loves mixing ingredients, then you should try making rainbow slime.  Simply mix equal parts liquid starch and glue together, divide, and add food coloring!  If you really want to mix things up, you can add glitter or glow in the dark paint to your slime.

Bonus tip: Make a boredom buster jar filled with these ideas and others!  Simply list an activity (or a chore) on a piece of paper and put it in a jar.  When your child says, “I’m bored,” you can point them to the jar instead of figuring out what to do on the spot!

How to Get Your Home Move Ready

If you’re selling your home, these tips will help you to feel move ready in no time!  Taking time to declutter and organize your home inside and out will ensure your peace of mind while you gear up for a move.  First impressions are important, especially when showing your house!  Follow these tips (along with your realtor’s advice) to help your home sell even faster.

How to Get Your Home Move Ready | Carpe Diem CleaningDeclutter

If you’re preparing to move, this is the perfect time to declutter your home!  Before you put your house on the market, clear out any items that you don’t love or aren’t using regularly.  By selling, donating or throwing away anything that you will not be taking with you, you will make the rest of the moving process easier.  Remember, the more things that you get rid of now, the more space you’ll have for your favorite things in your new place.

 

How to Get Your Home Move Ready | Carpe Diem CleaningOrganize

One upside to decluttering is that it makes your space feel bigger, which is always a win with potential buyers!  After decluttering, the next step is to organize what you have decided to keep in your home.  Store off-season clothes in the attic or under your bed so that your closet feels bigger.  Then remove extraneous family photos so that potential buyers can picture themselves living in your house.

You’ll want to make sure that any of the items that you have displayed are done so attractively and without too much clutter so that the buyer can envision their things in your home.  When you’re organizing your home, expect people to snoop in your closets and cabinets so that you can be okay with what they find there. :-)  Finally, keep a plastic bin near your door so that you can throw anything extraneous into it when a realtor shows your home unexpectedly.

How to Get Your Home Move Ready | Carpe Diem CleaningInside

Once your house is decluttered and organized, it’s time to tackle some of the bigger projects.  Touch up the paint on your walls and make sure that all holes are patched and painted over.  Also, strip any out-dated wallpaper or paint over any paint colors that might put off potential buyers.

Do you have a door that won’t close all the way or a broken ice maker in your freezer?  Go ahead and repair any appliances that aren’t working and fix other issues with your house before putting it on the market.

 

How to Get Your Home Move Ready | Carpe Diem CleaningOutside

Your house’s curb appeal is the first in-person impression that potential buyers will have of your home–so you’ll want to make it a great one!  Make sure that the outside of your house has been pressure washed and that your windows have been cleaned.

Clear out any cobwebs from corners of your house or porch.  Mulching and planting flowers will help your home to be more visually appealing and welcoming to visitors.  Make sure to trim any bushes that are getting out of control, too!

 

Finally, have your home professionally cleaned before pictures are taken for the realtor and when you move out. You can give us a call 919-682-5326, or shoot us an email info@carpediemcleaning.com!

Mattress Cleaning Guide

Mattress Cleaning Guide | Carpe Diem CleaningIt’s spring cleaning time, which means that now is the time to give your mattress some TLC!  This often-neglected piece of furniture supports us for about a third of our lives while we sleep and deserves extra care.

Here are 5 easy steps to cleaning and caring for your mattress so that it can continue to give you amazing support!

 

washing machine

1.Wash all sheets and mattress covers.  Make sure that you have a waterproof mattress cover to keep out any dust and dust mites that can get into your mattress.

2. Sprinkle with baking soda and your favorite essential oil.  Cover your mattress with 1/4 cup of baking soda, and let it sit for 30 minutes.  You can also mix 2 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil into the baking soda to keep your mattress smelling extra fresh!

 

Mattress

3. Vacuum up the baking soda with a clean vacuum attachment.  Make sure that you vacuum slowly to pick up all of the baking soda.  This step will also ensure that you clean out any dust or dust mites that may be in your mattress.

4. Flip your mattress over if you have a two-sided mattress.  Want to really extend the life of your mattress?  Ideally, try to flip and rotate your mattress 180° every 3 months (or when the seasons change).  This step is crucial to making sure that your mattress will continue to support you for years to come.

 

Calm Bedroom5. Re-dress and admire your fresh mattress.  Finally, put your clean mattress cover and sheets back on your mattress with your pillows.  Take in the fact that your whole bed is neat and clean!

 

 

pillows, bedBonus tip – Wash your pillows!  Dirt and dust from your body causes pillows to get denser over time if they’re not cleaned regularly.  However, if you have foam pillows, do not wash them in the washing machine; simply spot clean them instead.

To wash your pillows, first remove all pillow covers and protectors.  Place 2 to 3 pillows vertically in the washing machine using gentle laundry detergent on a gentle cycle with warm water.  Make sure to add an extra rinse cycle and wring the pillows out.

Next, put them in the dryer on the low- to no-heat setting and put wool balls in to fluff up the pillows.  Replace their covers, and you have clean pillows to lay your head on again!  Want more tips for cleaning a different type of pillow?  Check out eHow’s tutorial!

If you’re interested in more tips for keeping your home neat and clean, be sure to check out our Facebook page!  Need help with cleaning the rest of your house?  Reach out to us today at 919-68-CLEAN or info@carpediemcleaning.com to schedule your free consultation!

19 Essential Spring Cleaning Tips

Ready to pump up your Spring Cleaning game? Here are 19 areas & items to tackle that will take your Spring Clean to a whole new level!

19 Essential Spring Cleaning Tips | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Living Room
Air Filter
1.     Move large furniture to clean behind and underneath it.

2.     Clean the windows and the inner seals of the windows.

3.     Change your air filters and clean your air vents.

clean ovenKitchen

4.     Defrost your freezer and wipe it out.

5.     Clean out your cabinets. Throw away expired food.

6.     Clean the oven, including the exhaust vents.

tileBathroom

7.     Dust those light fixtures!

8.     Go through your cabinets, throw away any expired makeup or beauty products.

9.     Check the grout in your shower. (The grout in tile can wear out.) Re-grout areas that are weak or damaged. (You can DIY or hire a professional.)

pillowsBedroom

10.  Flip your mattress and check your pillows! Pillows can house bacteria and mold. If they are machine washable, wash them, if not either hand wash or just replace.

11.  Clean out your drawers and closets.

12.  Clean off your blinds and ceiling fans.

washing machineLaundry Room

13.  Check the dryer’s lint trap and clean the vents and exhaust.

14.  Clean out your washing machine. See instructions for top loading and front loading.

General Living Areas

15.  Check your porches for cobwebs and debris

16.  Clean your blinds and wash your curtains.

17.  Look for those hard to reach baseboards and areas that are hard to dust.

Ceiling Fan18.  Free up space by putting coats and heavy blankets into storage.

19.  Change the direction that your ceiling fans turn. In the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor. Check out this detailed explanation from the professionals.

Need some help with the regular Spring Cleaning To Dos? Why not schedule a Deep Cleaning? Download our Deep Cleaning checklist to get started!  

Why You Should Change Your Fans & Filters with the Time Change

Looking for ways to save on heating and cooling costs while keeping your air at home healthy?  These two tips will improve your air quality, the life of your HVAC system (one of the most expensive appliances to replace) and keep your home at just the right temperature for YOU.

One of the best ways to build habits is to set triggers around those habits.   This Sunday is Daylight Savings Time, and though we’re losing an hour, it’s the perfect time to change your filters and fans.  Set a reminder on your calendar to turn your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, March 12th (2:00 am will become 3:00 am).

HVAC

HVAC

Call your HVAC guy to come and check out your system and give it a tune up. You’ll be beating the rush of all those calls he’ll get when things start heating up in March.

Haven’t changed your air filters in a while?  Make sure that you’re changing them monthly during winter and summer when your HVAC system is working the hardest.  During spring and fall, you can change them every three months if you have a pet-free home and good quality air filters.

If you suffer from allergies or notice your air quality going down, changing your filters will improve your air quality and preserve the life of your HVAC system since it keeps out dust and other particles that clog up the system.  Let’s take a second to breathe that in.

Why You Should Change Your Fans and Filters with the Time Change | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Ceiling Fans

When you turn your clock forward, it’s time to turn your ceiling fans back! Make sure your ceiling fans are spinning counterclockwise to force cool air downwards. When your fans are spinning clockwise they will create an updraft that will force warm air down downwards.  In spring, we want to prepare our house for the summer heat and use our fans efficiently.

This downward flow of air creates a windchill effect, which will make your home feel cooler than it is! Then you can raise your temperature and save your hard-earned money for something more fun–like spring break!

 

PollenBonus Tip

Pollen season in North Carolina lasts pretty much from March until September, with the worst of the yellow stuff plaguing us through March and April. Get some allergy medicine (antihistamines and/or nasal washes) now so you’ll have it when you need it!

By forming the habit of changing your fans and filters with the time change, you’ll be able to breathe easy as the seasons change.  Now go out there and make your home fresher and cooler!

Decluttering your House the Marie Kondo Way

Decluttering Your House the Marie Kondo Way | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Do you want to live more simply this year?  Or, do you just need to make room in your house for what you love?  This is a great time of year to declutter and get your house in order!  Marie Kondo’s book will help you to re-examine your space and things in a ruthless yet refreshing way.

We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what to get rid of. – Marie Kondo

Who is Marie Kondo?

Marie Kondo is a Japanese decluttering and organizing expert who has helped hundreds of clients tidy their homes.  Impressively, none of them have relapsed into how they managed their clutter before her.  Her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has sold over six million copies worldwide.

Her main theme is that you should only keep items in your house that spark joy.  Any items that don’t bring you joy should be released with gratitude towards what they have done for you without guilt.  While some of her suggestions are quirky to our Western culture, the framework will help you to efficiently declutter your entire house.  She insists that this tidying process be done quickly in no more than 6 months.  This way, the dramatic change will affect you in such a way that you do not go back to your old ways of collecting clutter.

Decluttering in Action

Here are the things to declutter (in order) so that your decision-making skills are honed by the time you discard photos and mementos:

Clothes – Don’t let unwanted clothes be turned into lounge wear.
Books – Arrange books on your shelves so that you can see only books that you love without stacking them on top of each other.
Documents – Recycle (and shred as necessary) all documents except for ones such as birth certificates or passports. Find documents online as needed. And do you really need that pay stub or mortgage payment from 3 years ago?
Miscellaneous – Go through all other categories of items in your house separately.  These include such as skin care products, electrical equipment, household supplies, kitchen goods, etc.
Photos/Mementos– Set these items aside until the end of the tidying process, and discard what you don’t love.  This will make the things that spark joy feel even more special.

pillows, bed, decluttered

Gather items by category so that the entirety of that type of item is in one place when you sort through it.  This way, you only have to make the decision once regarding what things to donate or throw away.  For example, you might have six different pairs of scissors throughout your house when you really need only three.  Would you really remember where the best ones are? However, if you organized your house by room over the course of several weeks, as many decluttering experts recommend, you wouldn’t use the best scissors.

Stay Organized!

Deciding where every item in your house goes is an essential part of Marie Kondo’s decluttering process.  Often things that belong nowhere end up everywhere.  Store things where they are easily put away so that you don’t continue to clutter up your house. Marie Kondo suggests that you not stack things on top of each other since things on the bottom often are forgotten.  Instead, she says to use boxes to organize your things.  Shoe boxes work well for larger items such as clothes, and iPhone boxes work well for office supplies and makeup.

Her folding method for clothes is a game changer, as it allows you to see all of your clothes in each drawer and actually fits more clothing in the drawer. Fold your clothes in thirds twice, and place upright in your drawers.  Never again will you look in a drawer without being able to see everything at a glance!

Want to try it for yourself?  Check out the book from the library for details or just start tidying today!

Prepping your Home for Snow + Free Checklist!

prepping for snow checklist

In North Carolina, we never know what to expect from the weather, especially in the winter!  Some years we have lots of snow and ice and power outages, and during other years we barely have a snowflake.  Whatever comes our way, it’s good to be prepared!  Scroll to the bottom of this post for the link to a Winter Home Maintenance Checklist to get your home ready for snow and ice.

Serious Snow Prepping
snow-shovel

Worried about possibly being without power for a few days if a snow or ice storm hits?  Buy gas heater or generator and have everything on hand and set up in advance.  Make sure that you have a thorough knowledge of safety hazards around a gas heater as it can be a serious fire hazard if used incorrectly.  Never leave a gas heater unattended, and keep it clear of any fire hazards, such as curtains and blankets.  Wouldn’t it be awful to think that you’ll have power in an emergency and spend time and money setting up a generator, only to not have it work?  If you have never had a generator set up before, have an electrician come to your home ahead of time to set it up so that you know that it is functioning correctly.


During the Snow Storm
winter-boots

If your car is parked outside, do yourself a favor and put your windshield wipers up and cover with old tube socks.  This prevents your wipers from sticking to your windshield and saves them from the ice and snow.  If temperatures drop below 25 degrees F, turn your faucets to just a drip so that your pipes don’t freeze.  If your pipes freeze in the winter, wrap your pipes in newspaper, towels or rags as needed.  Then warm them with a hair dryer if they freeze.

Make sure that you have charged electronics as needed if there is a threat of snow or ice before there is a power outage.  If you lose power, unplug important electrical equipment to avoid ruining it in a power surge when power is restored.

Click here to download the FREE Winter Home Maintenance Checklist!

Hopefully, we’ll have safe and happy snow days this year, and with these tips, you’re sure to have a peaceful rather than stressed snow day! 

Post-Holiday Carpet Cleaning + Inclement Weather Policy

Many thanks to all our amazing clients, friends, fans, and family for an incredible 2016! We couldn’t do this without you! We are so excited for all that 2017 holds! 

Post Holiday Carpet CleaningCarpet Stain

Congratulations – you’ve survived the holidays! …But did your carpets? The holidays are a major source of activity in your home, often bringing extra foot traffic and brightly colored food and beverages.

The parties are over and the guests are gone – now is the perfect time to have your carpets steam cleaned! We’ll take care of any unfortunate party-induced stains your carpet may have suffered over the holidays, leaving it clean and fresh for the New Year. We even clean upholstery! Go ahead and download our Carpet Cleaning Checklist to get things started.

You can give us a call 919-682-5326, or shoot us an email info@carpediemcleaning.com to schedule your carpet cleaning today!

Inclement Weather PolicyInclementRoad

So far our winter has been pretty mild, but in North Carolina, that can change at any moment! Whatever comes, it’s good to be prepared.

Here’s a quick summary of our Inclement Weather Policy:

In the event of inclement weather, our Main Office and Southpoint Office will follow the Durham county schools for closings and delays, and our Cary-Apex office will follow the Wake County school system. School system closures are determined by the safety of bus routes. This provides a good indicator to us for both the safety of our crews coming to work from their own homes, as well as the safety of the routes to our clients’ homes.

Our route schedules will also follow the local schools for whatever county they are in. For example, if Durham schools are open but Orange County schools are closed, the Carpe Diem office in Durham will be open, but we will not be servicing homes in Orange County.

For a complete explanation of our Inclement Weather Policy, you can refer to our blog post.

You can also “Like” our Facebook page where we’ll be posting information about delays and closings. 

QUICK LINKS TO CHECK OUT

So You Want to Build a Snowman…

It seems like every year Snow Days in NC are becoming more and more common. Whether your kids are home from school, or you’re just a kid at heart, make the most of your snow day with these creative activities!

Nathan Shield's delicious pancake art!

Nathan Shield’s delicious pancake art!

Pancake Art

Start your morning off right with a breakfast that’s both delicious and fun! Watch Nathan Shield’s hilarious pancake tutorial (or any of his incredible videos) for some inspiration. From Disney Princesses to dinosaurs to David Bowie, all you need is a squeeze bottle and a little creativity.

Frozen Bubbles

Ready to see something super cool? Bubbles will actually freeze if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit! Whip up some homemade bubble solution — 3 cups water, 1 cup liquid dish soap, 1/2 cup white corn syrup (sugar makes your bubbles extra strong) — grab your coat and mittens, and head outside. Blow your bubbles into the air, then watch them freeze when they touch the ground.

Snow Ice Cream

While you’re outside braving the cold, scoop up some clean snow to make a delectable treat. All you’ll need is a little milk, sugar, and vanilla to make your own Snow Ice Cream – click here for the recipe.

Frozen Snowflakes from Anthony Herrera Designs!

Frozen Snowflakes from Anthony Herrera Designs!

Paper Snowflakes

Ready to come inside and warm up? Make your own snowflakes with paper and scissors! Download PDFs of Frozen themed snowflakes from Anthony Herrera Designs (or check out his amazing Star Wars designs!). For littler folks who can’t use an exacto knife yet, try these simpler designs from Disney.

Homemade Playdough

So you want to build a snowman, but one that’s not so cold and wet? With homemade playdough you can build just about anything. You’ll need flour, water, salt, oil, cream of tarter, and food coloring – follow this super easy recipe for play-ready playdough in less than 10 minutes.

Time to De-clutter!

Time to Declutter

De-Clutter Diva

Looking for a practical project? A snow day can be a great opportunity to do a little de-cluttering! Pick a spot in your home that needs some help, maybe it’s a closet, a desk, that corner of the bedroom, or the shelf in the garage. Start sorting! Have bags handy for trash, recycling, and items to donate. Put away any items you’re keeping that have a home somewhere else in the house. Focusing on one spot at a time can be more productive than trying to tackle the whole house at once. You’re taking on a manageable, bite-sized project that can easily be accomplished in a short amount of time.

15 Extra Simple Cocktails for your Snowday - from The Kitchn

15 Extra Simple Cocktails for your Snow Day – from The Kitchn

Snowed-in Cocktails

What an action-packed day you’ve had! Time to put up your feet and relax with an adult beverage. Check out these extra-simple cocktails  that use ingredients you’re likely to have in your cupboards.