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6 Ways to Clean Up Your Act in 2013

Is 2013 the year you resolved to keep your house tidy? With planning, a bit of extra effort and these six tips to start you off, you can succeed where your 2012 diet failed. 1. Start with a clean slate. Get a leg up on your new cleaning regiment by bringing in professionals to tackle major jobs, like cleaning the stove or scrubbing floors. Once your home is spic and span, make it your resolution to keep it that way. 2. Make a cleaning plan. The best resolutions have clear, concise goals and a timeline to accomplish them. Check out the 2013 New Year’s Cleaning Grand Plan Challenge, a 14-week program by the Organized Home web blog, for a step-by-step schedule, as well as cleaning tips and tricks. 3. Invest in tools to make cleaning easier. Often, it’s the simple things that help keep a space clean: a cover for the microwave, baking soda for the fridge, automatic cleaners for toilet and shower. And let’s not forget that industrious robotic helper, the Roomba. It cleans your floors while you’re away, then recharges itself automatically. 4. Clear that clutter. The post-Christmas season is a good time to take stock of your living space. Has paperwork taken over your desk? File it away. Ages-old condiments in the fridge? Toss ’em. Invest in storage containers to put away odds and ends. 5. Tackle cleaning one chore at a time. With any New Year’s resolution, the quickest route to failure is to tackle too much at once. Resolve to set aside just fifteen minutes per day to clean your home, focusing on one room at a time. 6. Reward yourself for a job well done. Resolve to treat yourself whenever you reach a milestone on your cleaning plan. A new flat-screen TV would look great mounted of the wall of your squeaky clean living room.

Meet the Winner of Extreme Makover: Clean Home Edition

In the end, there can be only one. Goldstar Cleaning Services would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate their neighbours, friends and family members for the Extreme Makeover: Clean Home Edition contest. It was a difficult decision, but we managed to narrow down the entries to a single winner: George Torresani of Fernie, B.C. We were genuinely touched by the story of George, his wife Rochelle Simmons, and their family. We were also overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from their friends in the community, who submitted nominations on their behalf. The story is best told by those who know George and Rochelle best, so we’ll let them do the talking. Here’s what nominee Cindy wrote:

“Rochelle’s daughter Brooke, who was 17 at the time, was diagnosed with lung cancer last December.¬† She had her lung removed at that point.¬† Unfortunately, the cancer didn’t go away, and she has been going through chemo since then… Right after graduation, Brooke and her mom headed to Vancouver to undergo more chemo. They have been there ever since, staying at the Ronald McDonald House in between treatments at the Children’s Hospital.¬†

Rochelle has a partner George (the meat manager at Overwaitea) and a son Wesley, who is still in high school.¬† So, not only has Rochelle been living away from Fernie since the end of July, she has left behind her partner and son. One can only imagine how difficult it must be for her to be by herself in Vancouver, and how hard it must be not to be at home, being a “family.”¬† The boys have been bachelors, looking after each other as best they can.

“I know there have been some very kind people in Fernie, who have been doing a meal train for the guys, making sure they eat properly. George has been an amazing step father to Brooke and Wesley, and again, one can only imagine the toll this must be taking on him. Working full time, being a single parent to Wesley, and having his loving partner and step daughter miles away.¬† Now, being guys, working full time, going to school, I’m sure house cleaning hasn’t been on the top of their “to do” list!¬† I can’t imagine any family more deserving of needing this extreme make over.”

Cindy, we couldn’t agree more! Goldstar understands the importance of helping families affected by cancer stay on top of everyday household chores. That’s why Goldstar is a longtime supporter of Cleaning for a Reason, a charity that provides professional free cleaning services for women affected by cancer. So get ready, George, because your bachelor pad is about to receive an Extreme Makeover! On Tuesday, November 13, the full staff of Goldstar Cleaning Services will be at George’s house, says Jill Barclay, owner and founder of Goldstar. “We’ll be giving the place a complete clean makeover, from the floors to the ceilings,” Barclay says. Stay tuned next week for a wrap-up of Extreme Makeover: Clean Home Edition, including amazing before-and-after shots of George’s house!

Six Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

 
Caulk your window frames inside and out and weatherstrip around doors to prevent leaks. (istockphoto.com)
  If you thought last year’s mild winter was the new norm, think again. While¬†Canada¬†posted the third warmest winter on record in 2011-2012, meteorologists with AccuWeather¬†are predicting a healthy dose of snow and cold across the nation¬†this season. Alberta and British Columbia, in particular, are expected to experience colder and drier conditions than usual. But¬†homeowners need not fear; by¬†winterizing¬†areas in and around¬†the house, you can easily keep Jack Frost’s icy grip at bay. Gold Star Cleaning¬†offers these six tips to get your started. 1. The Furnace and fireplace Preparing your home’s heating system for winter won’t just save you money on your heating bills – it could also save your life. A build-up of dust or debris over the summer months can turn your furnace or fireplace into a potential fire hazard, so it’s important to make sure they’re functioning properly. Here’s a quick to-do checklist: -Have your furnace inspected annually by a qualified HVAC technician. Have your ducts cleaned every three years. -Clean or replace your furnace’s air filter. -Clean your vents, and ensure that vents are not obstructed by furniture or debris. -Have your chimney cleaned, and cap the top of your chimney. -Remove any flammable objects from around your furnace and fireplace. Star tip: remove glass from gas fireplaces with a screwdriver, lay flat on a drop sheet and wipe away stubborn mineral deposits using a gas fireplace glass cleaner. 2. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors While we’re on the topic of fire safety, now is a good time to ensure you have a working fire detector in your home, as required by law (the Office of the Fire Commissioner of British Columbia has a break-down of the new requirements for smoke detectors in private dwellings, which have been in place since 2010). If your smoke detector is battery-powered, replace the batteries in your smoke detector and test it. Replace smoke detectors every ten years. If you haven’t yet installed a lifesaving carbon monoxide detector in your home, get one. 3. Doors and windows Keep the warm air in your home by identifying and sealing leaks. An easy way to find leaks is by holding a candle near the edges of¬†a window or door¬†frame; if the flame flickers or goes out, you have a leak. Caulk your window frames inside and out and weatherstrip around doors. Remove your summer screens and install storm windows (or use good ol’ fashioned shrink wrap). 4. Roof, gutters and downspouts Take it from me – you don’t want to be climbing on your roof in the dead of winter to fix a leak. Take the time now to replace any damaged roof shingles or tiles, clear out of your gutters and install leaf guards. If necessary, add piping to your downspout so that it transports water at least 10 feet away from your home.¬†If your home has an attic, add additional insulation to keep warm air from escaping and forming condensation or ice dams in your home. 5. Pipes and Plumbing A burst pipe ¬†can cause untold damage to your home. Avoid this potential catastrophe by targeting pipes where water is likely to freeze. Turn off the water to your hose bibs via the shutoff valve inside your home. Look for exposed pipes in your house – likely locations include crawlspaces, basements or garages – and wrap them with foam rubber sleeves or fibreglass insulation. If you’re going away for the holidays, keep the temperature in your home above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) to reduce the risk of freezing. Star tip: Check that sump pumps are working and ready for the spring thaw. ¬†If you do have flooding problems later on ¬†a cleaning company that does restoration cleaning is a number you will want to have on hand. 6. The Great Outdoors Spring may seem like a distant memory, but that’s no reason to neglect your yard. Trim any tree branches hanging close to your house or near electrical wires. Protect garden tools and outdoor appliances by cleaning and storing them. Drain your garden hose. Remove the gas from your lawnmower – and while you’re at it, fill up the tank in your snowblower and test it. Finally, make sure you’re prepared for the inevitable snowfall with a sturdy shovel and bags of sand or salt. Star tip: Insist that people remove their shoes at the door and keep a rubber boot tray at each one to prevent the outdoors coming indoors.