The Dos and Don’ts of Window Cleaning

We all want to live in a home that feels clean and welcoming. However, windows may get left off our lists when it comes to regular cleanings. Clean windows let the sunshine in so your home streams with natural light. 

The dos and Don’ts of window cleaning

Although you don’t have to clean your windows often, it’s a chore you should tackle twice a year in the spring and early fall. 

Cleaning windows is much easier when you know how to do it right. Here we share the best way to clean windows with our list of window cleaning do’s and don’ts.

Do Use the Right Tools

Every job done well begins with the right tools. Your window cleaning BFFs include:

  • DIY eco-friendly vinegar 
  • Bucket of warm water and dishwashing detergent for window sills and frames
  • Spray bottle for your DIY cleaner
  • Lint-free microfibre cloths 
  • Newspaper
  • Squeegee with a pole
  • New razor blades

Don’t Focus on Squeegees

Although squeegeeing seems like the best way to clean windows, they aren’t necessary. 

They can be messy and awkward when trying to clean smaller windows. So keep your squeegee for tackling floor-to-ceiling windows like the sliding glass doors on your balcony. 

Do Use Microfibre Cloths

Microfibre cloths are lint-free and won’t leave traces of lint on your windows. They are also absorbent and work well for sopping up the drops on the window sill and frame. 

Don’t Use Paper Towels

Paper towels are handy for spilling and cleaning many surfaces around your home. However, they are not as good for windows. They leave behind tiny traces of lint that are noticeable when the sun shines in.

Do Use Newspaper

Instead of paper towels, use old newspapers in your recycle bin. Newspaper is the eco-friendly way to get a streak and lint-free shine.

Don’t Use Razor Blades on Safety Glass

If your windows have specialty safety or security glass, do not use a razor blade to remove built-up messes like bird poop. 

This type of glass has specialty coatings that will scratch the surface and ruin the integrity of the window.

Do Use Razor Blades for Stubborn Buildup on Basic Window Glass

You can use razor blades on basic windows as the ideal tool to scrape off the dry, hardened residue. Just be sure you use a new, wet blade to avoid leaving scratch marks. 

Dull, dry blades can cause tiny pits and dents, making it easier for window glass to break.

Don’t Use Ammonia Based Window Cleaners

Ammonia and alcohol-based window cleaners will leave streaks. Many will also create a film on the glass that attracts dust and holds onto moisture. 

Do Use Vinegar

Good old-fashioned vinegar is the best way to clean windows for a streak-free shine. Mix your DIY window cleaner in a clean spray bottle using 2 cups water and 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar. 

It just takes a few spritzes to get sparkling windows. Vinegar disappears quickly, so you will only have a little dripping as you work.

Don’t Get Wood Window Frames and Sills Wet

If you use a squeegee and bucket of water with cleaner, ensure you sop up all drips on the window frame and sill. Otherwise, the moisture can damage the wood. That’s why using your DIY vinegar, and a spray bottle is always best.

Do Wash Windows on a Cloudy Day

Direct sunlight on window panes heats your windows, making your cleaning products dry too quickly. As a result, you’ll find you’re leaving lots of streaks as you work. 

Don’t Wash Windows When It’s Raining

Although cloudy, overcast days are good for window cleaning, rainy days are not. The dripping and raindrops make it hard to tell if you’ve removed all the dirt and streaks.

Do Spot Clean Glass

Spot cleaning your windows makes it easier to keep them sparkling clean. 

When you notice things like fingerprints or smudges on your windows, apply a small amount of window cleaner or vinegar to the glass and wipe away the dirt with a dry, clean lint free microfibre cloth.

Don’t Clean Inside First

Accessing your outside windows poses a challenge if you live in a condo or apartment building. However, if you can safely clean the outside of your windows via your balcony, always clean the outside of the windows first. 

You can then focus on the dirt inside and avoid wasting time scrubbing something you can’t reach! Also, if you don’t have a balcony, aim to clean your windows the same day or soon after your property management has window cleaners do the outside. It will make your job easier and let even more light shine in.  

Do Dust Away Dirt

Removing dust and cobwebs from your window panes and frames before you start spritzing the glass is a window-cleaning must. Otherwise, the dirt will get wet as you clean the windows and create a real mess. 

Don’t Use a Bucket and Water

You want to use your vinegar and water spritzer instead of a bucket and water for your window panes. Spritzing applies the right amount of liquid and clean moisture needed for clean windows. 

Otherwise, you’re just using dirty water on windows as you work. Spritz small amounts of your DIY cleaner, and add a little more at a time as needed to avoid drips that can get in behind the window frame and sill.

Do Know When to Squeegee

While squeegees aren’t practical for smaller windows, you need a squeegee to tackle your large windows to avoid streaking. In this case, you do need a bucket and water. 

Dip your squeegee into the warm water and start at the top of the window. Swipe down, trying to do it in a single top-to-bottom motion. This motion will reduce the number of swipes you’ll need to make and the number of streaks left behind. 

As you work, use the squeegee to remove the wet streaks. Then, use your vinegar and a microfibre cloth to remove any remaining smudges and smears.

Don’t Forget the Final Swipe

Once you’re done, you’ll need to reclean your windowsills and possibly the frames to remove any mess or spritz left behind. Do your best to avoid touching the glass, or you’ll have to do yet another swipe to remove the marks. 

Mixing warm water and a touch of dish detergent is the best way to clean those sills. Stand back to look for any streaks or smudges and remove them using a dry, clean microfibre cloth. 

Although cleaning your windows is a lot of work, you’ll love seeing all that natural light streaming into your space. 

Clean windows make a huge difference in how your home looks, letting in all that beautiful sunlight and giving you an amazing view. Stick to the dos and don’ts we’ve shared in this blog, and you’ll have windows that sparkle and shine all the time.

If you’d rather let the pros handle it, reach out to Maid4Condos and let us get your home and windows in top shape. Our experienced crew has all the know-how, tools, and skills to make your windows look incredible. 

Get in touch with us for a quote or to find out more about our incredible services. Let’s make those windows shine together! For more information, you can contact us online or call us at 647-822-0601.

12 Good Habits to Help Manage Your Family’s Mess

Having kids adds a whole other level to house cleaning. They are big mess-makers who create a never-ending cycle of cleaning that is hard to get out of. However, kids are creatures of habit, and it is possible to teach them how to help keep your home clean at an early age. 

12 good habits to help manage your family’s mess

When everyone pitches in, messes are easier to manage, and the entire household benefits from living in a happy, clean, and harmonious home. Here, Maid4Condos will share twelve good habits to manage your family’s mess and how our cleaning services in Toronto can help.

1. Accept the mess

Expecting you to “become one with the mess” is unrealistic. However, you can learn to accept the mess as part of hectic family life. If you can do this, you will reduce stress in the home, and learn to be less hard on yourself. When you just let your kids be kids, you aren’t constantly picking up after them, and maybe you can even get in there and join the fun.

2. Become a minimalist

As a parent, it’s hard not to spoil our kids and provide them with the things we didn’t have when we were growing up. However, it can make a mess of your home if you fail to understand the things that are worthwhile and the things that are simply wasteful and lack purpose. 

Focus on becoming a minimalist, identifying the types of toys that make your kids happy, serve a purpose in their development, and help free up space and clutter in your home. If you do this from day one, kids will learn the importance of needs versus wants; in turn, your home will be easier to manage.

3. Purge old toys

Holding on to toys your kids have clearly outgrown is nostalgic, but also plays a major role in messes. It takes space to keep a home organized with kids, so, as mentioned above, the less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep your home clean. 

Also, remember that toys the kids aren’t using can also go to families in need. Not only can you keep your home clutter-free, but also teach your kids the importance of sharing and charity.

4. Teach your kids where things “go”

Taking the time to create special areas for your kids’ belongings makes it easier for them to put things away. Invest in some storage bins, and label them. This way, kids a) know where to find things and b) know where they go when they are done with them.

You will reduce the amount of times you hear your kids shouting, “Mom, where’s my [insert toy of choice here]?” That way, you can relax while enjoying a more organized, tidier home. Best of all, you teach your kids about responsibility. 

To make this plan work, take the kids out on a storage bin shopping trip and let them get involved in picking them out. Then, have them help sort their toys into the bins.

5. Organize the kids’ rooms

Use the same approach for toy organization in point number four in each child’s bedroom. Storage bins come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used for storing everything from hair accessories to art supplies and clothes to books.

6. Organize the entryway

Another area likely to overflow with belongings is the entryway. Whether you have a spacious entry with a closet or a tiny hall where you practically step into the living room, keeping the entryway organized goes a long way in keeping things clean. 

Smaller halls can have hooks for each family member to hang coats and knapsacks/purses, along with a shoe bench or tray for footwear. Bins are great for smaller items, like hats and mitts. You can also hang a bag on each person’s hook for smaller items if space is limited.

7. Organize the bathroom

The older your kids get, the more products they will have in the family bathroom. Some ideas to keep things organized include:

  • Drawers: If your vanity has drawers, give each person their own drawer. If it doesn’t have drawers, measure the area under the sink and invest in some affordable drawers at your local storage store. If your vanity has limited drawers, give each person a tray in the drawer.
  • Personal care caddies: If your bathroom is unmanageably small, give each kid a personal care caddy they can bring into the bathroom when they get ready in the morning. They can keep it in their bedroom closet, on a desk, or wherever they like, just as long as it isn’t taking up space in the bathroom.
  • Shower caddy: Shower caddies that fit neatly in the top corner or hang from the shower head are great for large families or families with kids who prefer their own soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shavers, etc.

When everyone gets into the habit of using their own designated space, the bathroom becomes neater. 

8. Use laundry bags

Hang laundry bags on each kid’s bedroom door knob. They can get into the habit of tossing their laundry into the bag each night to keep their rooms tidy. You can then collect the bags on laundry day.

9. Teach them to clean their own messes

As your child develops skills, teach them age-appropriate cleaning tasks, so they understand the importance of cleaning up their messes. For example, toddlers can pick up their toys and put them back in the toy bin. Work alongside them until they are old enough to start doing it on their own. Then, have a rule that they must clean up any mess they make.

10. Clean your own messes

Messy habits are usually taught. Therefore, set a good example by cleaning up your own messes. That way, your kids will learn from you and make an effort to clean up after themselves.

11. Assign age-appropriate chores

Have kids pitch in on cleaning day, handling age-appropriate chores. Whether it is helping to sweep the floor, dusting, vacuuming, etc., it’s important that kids understand families work together to keep the home clean. The more, the merrier, and the faster the work gets done.

12. Take a mindful approach

If the idea of cleaning is stressful, take a mindful approach when doing so. Focus on completing each task as a form of meditation. Envision the reward of a tidy home, listen to soothing music, or practice deep breathing as you clean.

Your good cleaning habits are passed down to your kids, so they will enjoy the calm of a clean home when it’s time to fly the coop. 

If the idea of cleaning is still overwhelming, you can depend on Maid4Condo’s cleaning services in Toronto to do the work for you. For more information, you can contact us online or call us at 647-822-0601.

10 Reasons to Hire Cleaning Professionals for Your Condo

Keeping a condo neat and clean can be a hassle. Whether you are too busy, have limited storage space, or just plain hate cleaning, your condo can become dirty fast. The longer you put cleaning off, the worse things get, thus creating a snowball effect that becomes impossible to manage.

Why should you hire professionals to clean your condo?

Even if you do consider yourself a pretty good cleaner, you might be missing key areas where bacteria lurk or allergens like to hang out. The truth is that nothing is easier or more effective than hiring cleaning professionals to tackle your cleaning. Here, we offer 10 solid reasons why hiring a cleaning professional is the right choice for your condo.

1. Healthier home environment

Although we’ve lived with COVID-19 for a while now, it sure brought the idea of harmful bacteria and viruses living in our homes to the forefront. Even if you aren’t a germaphobe, it just shows how easy our homes can make us sick. However, it’s not just about viruses.

Our homes are filled with harmful airborne bacteria that can impact our health. From allergies to irritating asthma and from food-borne germs to mould, a condo cleaning service uses clean tools, effective cleaners, and, above all else, a commitment to thoroughness to keep your condo safe.

2. Free time

This probably is priority number one for most of us. Cleaning takes up valuable time that most of us just don’t have. A cleaning service takes care of all that monotonous cleaning so you can focus on other things, whether it is work, family and friends, your love life, or good old alone time.

3. Every inch is clean

If you are being perfectly honest with yourself, you know you aren’t putting in 100% effort to reach every nook and cranny of your condo. Even total neat freaks can miss a spot here and there. Cleaning teams love cleaning and spend their days looking for dirt so they can conquer it.

They use an insane level of detail when cleaning, and also have proper tools to reach those harder-to-clean areas you tend to miss. The result is a truly clean condo that makes your day-to-day cleaning easier.

4. Guest-ready condo

If you’ve ever been out with friends or on a date and wanted to ask people to come back and hang out but couldn’t because your condo is a mess, then a cleaning service is the answer.

Why miss opportunities because you don’t have time to clean? Or worse, maybe you did extend the invite, but to the horror of your guest. No one wants to enter a terrible mess when socializing. You can have your condo guest-ready whether you plan to entertain or have friends pop in unexpectedly.

5. Convenient schedules

Cleaning services offer flexible schedules, so they clean when it suits you. You don’t have to commit to a specific day, time, or even frequency. Instead, you can schedule as needed, or keep up a steady pace with a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule. The messier you are, the more frequent the times. You might also need a special call, such as after a party, before you move, or before you sell your condo.

6. Less chance of bugs

Yuck. In some condos, the risk of pests is high. The best way to keep your home pest-free is to make sure there isn’t any food or water to sustain them. A clean home without food crumbs, sauce drippings, and dishes in the sink is far less likely to attract pests to your unit.

7. No more cleaning supplies

You can save some money on cleaning supplies and equipment with a professional cleaning team taking care of everything. They bring all the equipment and cleaning products, so you don’t have to worry about them. You also free up your limited condo storage space without all those bottles, mops, buckets, etc.

8. Increase appliance life span

Proper care of your appliances can help them run more efficiently so they last longer. Cleaning is a key part of appliance maintenance, especially your oven, stovetop, and fridge. Dirty build-up can interfere with operation, leading to the need for emergency repairs. Cleaning teams can keep your appliances sparkling, so they are given a better chance of lasting longer.

9. Your choice of services

You can also choose the type of cleaning service you need, whether it is a basic clean, a more thorough clean, or a deep clean. A cleaning schedule can be set, or you can simply call when services are needed as mentioned above.

10. No ick factor

Professional cleaners take care of the dirty work, so you don’t have to. The dirty toilet, soiled bathtub ring, filthy sink, and stained countertop are not something you want to contend with, so they might be left as is due to the ick factor. However, professional cleaners will take care of it for you, so your home is always clean, and you don’t have to worry about things like dirty toilets.

When you are ready to hire a condo cleaning service, speak to the experts at Maid4Condos. Our name says it all. You can also reach us by phone at 647-822-0601.

How to Keep Your Condo Organized When Working From Home

Whether you’re still working from home temporarily or it’s now a permanent arrangement, keeping your workspace organized is a must. Nothing is worse than having your messy work area staring you in the face when you’re done for the day. Also, it makes it easier to work efficiently when you know where everything is. One more benefit is just having a nicer place to work and of course, a Zoom-friendly spot for your meetings. Here we offer tips on how to keep your condo organized when you work from home.

Tips to keep your condo organized when working from home

1. Clean everything up now

Well, it doesn’t have to be now, but you want to straighten everything up as soon as possible. A clear base allows you to keep on top of things. So look at your desk and do a quick cleaning and organizing of everything now, so you have a process to keep things organized in future. Sort papers, make sure you have office supplies handy and wipe everything down, using a pleasant smelling cleaner.

2. Organize things logically

The best thing about working from home is you can create your own method to keep things organized. Even if you tend to be a messy person, your work area should be clutter-free. This is important when working from home because unless you have a secret button you push that neatly folds your desk, mess and all into the wall, you’ll be looking at the mess when work is done. This will keep you subconsciously preoccupied with work, and you won’t be able to relax. So come up with a logical way to organize things whether it’s stacks, files or little baskets.

Make sure you have a place for the things you need to save, the things that need action and the things you can recycle. This allows you to know where to start each morning, as well as find stuff you often refer to. Keep everything in order by sorting things as you work, and then toss the stuff you can recycle into your general blue bin at the end of the day. Nothing gets lost and your home remains a little more Zen.

3. Minimize to optimize

When you work in an office you tend to need stuff on your desk to help personalize the space like a plant or family pics. However, since you’re home, you’re already surrounded by the things you love. So instead of cluttering your desk with personal items, minimize the clutter to optimize the space and your productivity.

4. Find the right space

This is very important if you want to keep organized. Find a dedicated workspace somewhere in your condo that is used strictly for working. This can be a real challenge in small spaces but if you think strategically, it can be done. Some examples might include using a closet with a pull-down desk, one end of your dining room table, a small spot of your kitchen counter, somewhere in your utility room if you have one, etc.

It is even more important if you share your condo with family, a partner or a roommate, as they can learn that when you’re at that spot, you’re working, and they’ll leave you alone. Ideally, you want to avoid the bedroom but if you have to work there, find a way to do so that it remains less invasive. This brings us to point #5: Managing spillover.

5. Manage ‘spill over’

Your workspace should not start spilling over into your living space. Keep the stuff you need for work contained to whatever corner you’ve committed to working so your home is for relaxing and living, and your workspace is, well – just for working. Again, it’s all about Zen and calm.

If you have an actual room for your office, you can just close the door. But chances are if you live in a condo, space is at a premium and you’re more likely to have work crammed in a corner somewhere. So keep it dedicated to work, and leave the rest of your home for downtime. Some tips to keep things contained might include:

  • Hanging a curtain that you can pull across the area when you’re done for the day
  • Investing in a desk or fold up table that can be tucked away when work is over
  • As mentioned, using space in a closet, so you can shut the door when you’re done
  • Covering your work area with a tablecloth to disguise it (although the mound will be just as distracting for most people!)
  • Using a pretty, foldable partition wall

6. Work is work; personal is personal

Tying in with points #4 and #5, don’t start using your workspace as a dumping ground. You can become very disorganized quickly by tossing things like credit card bills, kids’ permission slips, doctor’s appointments cards, receipts, etc., on your desk and then losing them in your work. Keep a separate place for your personal paperwork to avoid confusion, while also helping keep your workspace neater. Whatever you can do to keep your work life separate from your living space will help keep your condo organized.

7. Learn from your old job

If you find it difficult to keep things organized, use your in-person office set up to help. How did your office keep paperwork organized? What kind of filing system or cloud storage files did they use? What tools or equipment did they have to keep things more productive? You can adopt these same practices at home to keep yourself organized and provide a more familiar work environment that can make you feel more comfortable working from home.

8. Go digital

When possible, limit the paperwork altogether. Instead of printing things, sort and file them in logical digital files that allow you to access them quickly. If you’re used to dealing with paper, this can take some time to adjust. However, paperless offices are the future and will keep you more organized and eco-friendly. Don’t forget that any documents you no longer need can either be archived or deleted to keep your digital files organized.

9. Use a checklist or spreadsheet

Create a list or spreadsheet of all the pending work that needs to get done. Again, adopting practices you used at the office will help keep you on top of your workload. You can also share these docs with co-workers. If you’re not ready for paperless, have a to-do basket to keep papers organized so you can access them easily.

10. Use your walls

Last but not least, with limited space to keep organized, use your walls. You can find affordable storage and office organization solutions that you can keep above your desk for files, storing pens, arts and crafts, personal paperwork, etc. This takes up less space than adding a filing cabinet or trying to keep everything on a tiny desk.

There you have it. Easy tips to keep your condo organized when working from home. If you’re having trouble coping with the mess, don’t stress.

To learn more about our condo home cleaning services, call Maid4Condos at 647-822-0601 or contact us here.

Your Fall Condo Cleaning Checklist

As condo cleaning experts we feel spring cleaning gets way too much airtime. Yes, we certainly look forward to this busy cleaning season but we also feel fall deserves just as much cleaning time as spring.

Checklist for fall condo cleaning

Fall is the perfect time of year to get rid of all the summer mess and put some of those summery things into storage to make way for the cooler days ahead. Here’s a fall condo cleaning checklist to help you tackle the seasonal chores.

The Kitchen

Fall is a time for major entertaining since it’s the season of Thanksgiving. This mighty feast is pretty intense and you want to know your kitchen is pristine so your meal is prepared in a clean, germ-free environment. You also want your kitchen to look its best since this is the room guests tend to gather. Here’s our fall kitchen cleaning to-do list:

  • Clean your grout with old toothpaste and abrasive cleaner
  • Wash down the walls with a grease-cutting kitchen cleaner
  • Look in your fridge and throw out anything that is expired and wash down the walls, shelves and drawers. This will make room for all those festive foods and drinks!
  • Place an open box of baking soda in the fridge to get rid of odours
  • Wipe down the outside of your fridge
  • Pull out the fridge and stove to sweep and mop the floor
  • If your oven is self-cleaning, switch it on. If not, use an oven cleaner following the instructions carefully.
  • Clean your stove top
  • Take out the garbage and give the pail a good cleaning with disinfectant
  • Wipe down all of your small appliances to remove gunk including the inside of your microwave
  • Go through your pantry and toss out any expired foods and organize everything to make it easier to find ingredients
  • Wipe the inside and outside of cupboards and lay down some shelf paper
  • Clean the dishwasher with a dishwasher cleaner
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Wipe down the backsplash with a grease-fighting cleaner
  • Wipe down your baseboards
  • Clean your light fixtures

The Living Room

Thanksgiving aside, whether it’s just you, you and some roommates, a partner, or a whole family with pets, your living room is the place that tends to see the most action and traffic in the winter and fall. A good fall cleaning will help set the stage for more time spent inside as the temperatures dip. This checklist will create a clean environment and make it easier to keep things neat when your living room becomes your hibernation headquarters:

  • Declutter the mess and organize everything in baskets, on shelves or pop things in drawers
  • Vacuum or wipe down your window treatments
  • Clean your windows
  • Wash noticeable scruffs and fingerprints on the walls
  • Dust and clean art on the walls and shelves
  • Dust your ceiling fan and/or light fixtures
  • Remove the cushions from your couch and chairs and vacuum the crumbs (you might also get lucky and find some loose change!)
  • Look for stains on your couch cushions you can spot clean
  • If you have carpeting, rent a carpet cleaner or have them professionally cleaned
  • Dust your TV and electronics
  • Wipe down baseboards

The Dining Room

A lot of condo owners don’t even have a dining room, but if you do have a dining area, it could use a fall cleaning as well. You might not even use it that often and tend to eat your meals in the kitchen or in front of the TV. If this is the case your dining room might become a dumping ground. Regardless of how you use it, apply the same cleaning tips above, with a few extras to help get it neat and ready for your next big meal:

  • Clean your table and chairs and vacuum upholstered seats
  • Wash your tablecloth and placemats
  • Dust your china cabinet or buffet if you have one

The Bedroom

Your bedroom is a very important room in your home. You need a good night’s sleep to stave off common fall and winter colds and flu, not to mention COVID which seems to want to hang around. Having a clean bedroom helps keep things calmer and more comfortable for a better sleep. Here’s our fall cleaning checklist for your bedroom:

  • Toss your bedding in the laundry following the instructions on the label
  • Follow these instructions to wash your pillows
  • Flip your mattress, or for pillow-topped mattresses, rotate it
  • Go through your clothes closet and get rid of anything you no longer wear and then get your summer clothes ready for storage
  • Do the same for your drawers
  • Vacuum and dust under the bed to get rid of those dust bunnies
  • Dust or vacuum your headboard
  • Dust all the furniture, curtains and light fixtures
  • Clean the windows and mirrors
  • If you have carpeting, include a pro cleaning when you do the rest of the condo

The Bathroom(s)

Whether you have one bathroom or a few, bathrooms are infamous for germs and stinky messes that need some special attention in the fall. Use this list to reach every germy corner and keep your bathroom looking spotless:

  • Scrub the grout with a toothbrush and cleaner
  • Take down the shower curtain and wash it (some can go in the laundry)
  • Wipe away calcium buildup from the showerhead
  • Disinfect the sink and toilet with a bathroom cleaner
  • Disinfect the toilet brush
  • Mop the floor
  • Wipe dust from the bathroom fan grill
  • Scrub the shower or tub to get rid of mildew and soap scum (they make some great non-scrub products for bathrooms)
  • Replace your towels and clean the bathmat
  • Organize your personal products and toss anything you no longer use

The Balcony/Patio

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space with your condo, you want to give it some TLC before the winter arrives. It is important to make sure your balcony or patio is compliant with your condo’s bylaws as well! Here are some tips to prepare your balcony for the winter:

  • Remove any stray leaves and dirt with a good sweep of the floor
  • If you have an outdoor carpet, roll it up and put it in storage or wrap it in plastic
  • Bring any plants you can salvage inside
  • Wash the windows and patio door
  • Stack your furniture for storage or, if you are allowed to, keep it in a back corner of the balcony
  • Take down any decorative pieces you might have affixed to the wall

These condo cleaning tips will get your condo clean and cozy for the chilly weather ahead.

To learn more about fall condo cleaning, call Maid4Condo at 647-822-0601 or contact us here.

How to Prepare Your Condo for a Professional Cleaning

Hiring a house cleaning service can feel a little intimidating the first time around. You’re hiring the service to keep your home clean, which is admirable so there’s no need to feel guilty if your home is messy!

How to Get Ready for a Professional Cleaning in Your Condo?

However, what many homeowners don’t realize is that the service they order can vary from cleaner to cleaner and even from service to service within the same cleaning company. That means you might need to know how to prepare your condo for your first professional cleaning. Here are our tips to house cleaning service virgins, to make your first time more comfortable.

Understand the Service You Ordered

First, make sure you are clear on the service you ordered. This is important because the condition of your home when the cleaners arrive can interfere with how well they can do their job. For example, our “basic” cleaning service includes the following:

  • Bathtub and shower enclosure
  • Inside, out and behind the toilet
  • Lights, mirrors, sink, countertops
  • Vacuum ceiling fan cover
  • Light switches, doorknobs
  • Empty garbage bin
  • Vacuum/mop floors
  • Make beds
  • Tidy any clothing
  • Dust counters, tabletops, picture frames
  • Clean mirrors and polish ornaments
  • Wipe switches, doorknobs
  • Vacuum/mop floors
  • If dishwasher empty, start a new load
  • If dishwasher full, put away clean dishes
  • Microwave inside
  • Stovetop
  • Fridge front polished
  • Backsplash, countertops, cupboard fronts
  • Sink
  • Wipe light switches & door knobs
  • Replace garbage and recycling liners
  • Vacuum/ mop floors
  • General tidying
  • Tidy sofa seating
  • Tabletops, picture frames, window ledges
  • Clean mirrors and polish ornaments
  • Wipe telephones, switches, doorknobs
  • Vacuum/mop floors
  • Clear air vent
  • Clear lint trap

Pretty thorough, right? So an example of something you might need to consider for this type of service would be dirty dishes. Since the cleaning includes cleaning the sink, but not cleaning dirty dishes or loading the dishwasher, having dirty dishes in the sink will mean we can’t clean the sink.

Also while we do some general tidying, a condo that is a disaster area will make it impossible to do everything from vacuuming to dusting. So you need to make sure the tidying is manageable and allows us to get to the floors without tons of dirty clothes, newspapers, toys, or other items all over the place.

Bathrooms are another good example: if your makeup, shaving, and hair products, an open tube of toothpaste, and old toothbrushes are littering the counter and sink, we can’t do much to clean that area either. You get the picture!

What Is Typically Is Considered “Extra”

So based on our basic cleaning service, some of the extras you would have to request would include things like:

  • Cleaning inside your fridge
  • Washing your sinkful of dishes
  • Wiping down extra surfaces like your windowsills, blinds, or baseboards
  • Cleaning up after pets like changing kitty litter
  • Doing your laundry
  • Changing your bed sheets

So the first thing you should do is look at the other packages to see what they cover, or specify what other things you need to add to the package so we can customize the service to suit your needs.

No Judgement

Just remember cleaning services make money by cleaning. So although you might feel embarrassed or even a little guilty about the state of your condo, we’re just glad you called. We clean houses for a living, so we don’t go into your home passing judgment and rolling our eyes at how messy you are. No matter what you throw at us, we can honestly say we’ve seen worse. Almost always.

How far do you need to clean?

As mentioned, the state of your home can make it difficult for us to perform the basic cleaning tasks. To make sure you get your money’s worth, we advise you to prepare for our arrival by taking the following steps:

  • Reduce Clutter: Since we are there to clean, not organize your home, we do ask that you reduce clutter as much as possible. Things like clothes on the floor or counters covered with dishes or personal care items make it difficult to do the deep clean we get paid to do.
  • Help Us Help You: Let us know where we can put things we can’t find a home for, so we don’t misplace anything we pick up. A good way to avoid this situation in the first place is to clear away clutter before we arrive. This way we aren’t left trying to decide what goes where or even what is garbage and what you need. So if you have a little spot like say the coffee table or your kitchen table where we can put anything without an obvious spot, you can come home, find it, and put it where it belongs.
  • Make a Don’t Touch Pile: If you find you are strapped for time, and can’t tidy like you should, feel free to just create a Don’t Touch pile in a corner of the room. Let us know it’s there and we will work around it. This clears the surfaces so we can clean while putting less pressure on you to keep things tidy.
  • Have a Pet Plan: We love pets as much as the next guy but they don’t always love us. Pets often view us as unwanted intruders, strangers if you will. And they’re not wrong. If you have pets, consider what can be done to avoid a) Us getting an unfriendly welcome and b) Your pet getting scared or worse “free” when we enter the home.

    This is especially important if you know your pet tends to get “territorial”. Some ideas include having someone in the building mind them during the time we are scheduled, designating a room for them to remain in while we work, putting them in a crate while we work, or you taking them out for a while so we can clean without worry.

  • Do a Home Sweep: By sweep, we don’t mean with a broom. In this case we mean, check everything in your home that you might be worried could get lost or ahem, broken so we don’t run into any chance of accusations of damaging or stealing goods. We trust our clients won’t try to pull a fast one and accuse of us anything “untoward” and hopefully you’ll give us the same courtesy. This way if something is missing or broken, you’ll be aware it could have been our team. But we’ll tell you if we break something, honest. But we won’t break anything.

Consider Your Priorities

Our packages are based on basic time allotments. We know on average how long it takes to complete the package and charge and schedule accordingly. If you take care of our suggestions above, chances are we’ll get through everything you paid for with time to spare. However, if you don’t take care of our recommendations, we can guarantee we won’t be able to do as good a job. If you do find you can’t prep as planned, leave us a note or give us a call and tell us what areas to prioritize.

Don’t Forget Security!

One last thing. Every condo has its own security system so don’t forget to tell your front desk if we need clarification. If your unit has a security system, make sure it’s off, or that we know how to turn it off.

Contact Maid4Condos for Professional Cleaning

To learn more about Toronto condo cleaning, call Maid4Condos at (647) 822-0601 or contact us here.

10 Mental Health Benefits of a Clean Home

Busy lives can keep us from taking care of the most basic cleaning duties in our homes. Because we long for rest and recreation, the last thing we want to worry about is cleaning. However, living in a messy home can contribute to your feelings of stress. From piles of dirty laundry to those unwashed breakfast dishes, and mounting dust on your shelves to dust bunnies on your floors, all that mess is not doing your mind any good.

Mental Health Benefits of Keeping Your Home Clean

Here are 10 mental health benefits of a clean home.

1. Stress reducer

Cleaning is a real stress reducer according to many studies. In fact, one study, in particular, found that stress hormones are higher in people living in messy homes. On top of this, women are more impacted by clutter than their male counterparts. That is pretty revealing for many female readers we imagine!

Clean homes reduce stress levels. But there is a catch-22 to clean homes: If you are overtired and have to over-exert yourself to clean your home, you contribute to health problems and feelings of fatigue. The only answer is to hire a cleaning service to clean up the mess and reduce the stress.

2. Clearer mind

When your home is cluttered and dirty, your mind feels cluttered and dirty. The mess makes it difficult to get organized because there are just too many visual distractions. However, if your home is organized, neat, and tidy, your brain feels organized, neat and tidy – or at least, it’s getting there. A clear mind allows you to remain more focused on the things that matter so you aren’t constantly distracted by the elephant in the room – mess.

3. Increased productivity

When you get rid of the distracting power of mess, you can also find you become more productive. This is important with today’s trend to working and studying from home. You can focus on what needs to get done and become more efficient at absorbing information, making decisions, and even less “businessy” stuff like simply watching a movie or working out.

4. Improved self-esteem

A mess can continue to send subliminal messages that you’re a slob, can’t take care of yourself, can’t have a nice home, and more. These negative messages eat away at your self-esteem. When your home is clean, it has the opposite effect acting as a motivator that keeps you feeling better about yourself. Also, once your home is clean, it tends to create an incentive to keep it clean, so you generate a natural, positive cycle of cleaning and feeling good.

5. Stronger relationships

As mentioned in point #1, if men are less affected by clutter, the need to keep things clean can put pressure on a relationship. If you’re living in an Oscar and Felix situation where one of you is neat and the other one is messy, the condition of the home presents a constant source of frustration and conflict.

One person can’t be responsible for keeping things clean, yet if the other person doesn’t seem affected by the mess, they are less likely to pitch in. When your home is always clean, however, it provides a sense of calm. All is well with the world, and therefore with your relationship.

6. Harmonious homes

As with point #5, whether you are living with a partner, a roommate, or kids, when the home is kept clean it reduces feelings of resentment and even anger at the mess makers and those reluctant to pitch in with the cleaning.

This leads to homes that are less than harmonious as tempers rise and you can’t seem to foster a healthy, happy environment. A clean home reduces resentment and creates a happier attitude from all, making a harmonious home.

7. Fewer germs

You don’t have to be a germaphobe to feel the ick factor when faced with a filthy tub, repulsive toilet, or crust on the kitchen counter. These things will send most people’s germ radars into overdrive creating a feeling that your health is at risk. While there are many mental health benefits to clean homes, there are physical health benefits as well.

Clean surfaces reduce the spread of germs and bacteria that make people sick. Whether it is foodborne illnesses or viruses like the flu (or COVID!) a home that is cleaned regularly provides a more sanitary environment that reduces the risk of illness.

8. Reduced cleaning time

Overall, the cleaner your home, the less cleaning it requires. While you might resent the idea of cleaning because it eats into your downtime, consider this: if you clean regularly the job is easier and takes far less time than major deeper cleanings less frequently. Your home is clean, your mind is focused and you stay healthier and happier.

9. Sense of team

If you live with others, regular cleaning shared amongst everyone creates a sense of team. It encourages stronger, healthier relationships and everyone feels calmer and happier. When everyone pitches in, there is a shared sense of responsibility and a commitment to keeping the home looking and feeling its best.

10. Enlisting help frees time

Last but not least, if your home is always messy chances are you just don’t have time to stay on top of things. This is when to call in the big guns and hire a cleaning company. We can provide the deep cleaning services you need to get things started and then keep it that way with regularly scheduled cleaning. You free up your own time to do the things you love while investing in improving your comfort, well-being, and overall productivity whether it’s to focus on work, your favourite hobby, the kids, or the things you love to do.

You can choose the cleaning packages that suit your lifestyle – including our deep cleaning services – so you always feel your mind is at ease and you never need to worry about arguments, messes or clutter-related stress again.

Contact Maid4Condos Today!

For more information on our condo cleaning services, call Maid4Condos at (647) 822-0601 or contact us here.

15 Easy Condo Spring Cleaning Steps to Follow

Whether you just spotted your first robin or are suffering from the clocks springing forward, signs of spring are in the air. With those signs might come a sudden urge to tackle some serious cleaning in your condo. While it might seem like a daunting task, it’s something you should plan to do every spring. To make short work of a big job, here are 15 easy condo spring cleaning steps to follow.

15 easy condo spring cleaning steps to follow

1. Start with dusting

Dusting is a messy job that can send all kinds of particles into the air. The problem with this is that they have to fall down, which means if you don’t dust first, you’ll end up having to sweep or vacuum twice. A quick dusting, especially with a static duster that dirt will cling to, is the first step to every spring cleaning adventure.

2. Tackle your condo room by room

Work efficiently by tackling each room one by one. This allows you to feel a true sense of accomplishment as each room is finished. Although you could do the job by task, you won’t feel like you’re even putting a dent in the massive job ahead. This also keeps the job in bite-sized pieces so it’s not as overwhelming.

3. Clean your fridge inside and out

You can wipe down the fridge and feel a sense of cleanliness—until you open it, that is. Spring is the perfect time to clean out all the expired foods in your fridge. Tackle the job looking at expiry dates shelf by shelf, and then when the shelf is empty, you can wipe it down before putting the good stuff back in. You can also wipe down your drawers and remove things like rogue baby carrots and onion peels. Place a fresh paper towel on the drawer bottom to catch leaks or juices from bad fruit and vegetables. This makes it easier to clean up in the future.

4. Clean your trash cans

Sometimes, you have a smell in your condo that you can’t quite place. It could be coming from your trash cans. This doesn’t necessarily mean your kitchen trash either. Give each can in your condo a good scrub down to help reduce odours and also keep them more sanitary.

5. Look up and down

When dusting, make sure you look up high and down low to get every surface. Things like your baseboards, the tops of shelves, the top of the fridge, and ceiling fans are all big dust collectors. Always work from the top down so you are cleaning the dust you release as you work.

6. Consider laundering your curtains

Spring is the perfect time to consider laundering your curtains. Since you have longer daylight, you can feel a little less vulnerable because you don’t have to turn your lights on until much later. It’s harder to see into your condo with the lights off even in the day, unless of course someone uses binoculars! If you have blinds, wipe each slat down to remove dust. A microfibre cloth is ideal for this job, as it helps capture the dust as you work. Fabric sheets work well too!

7. Clean windows and mirrors

You’d be surprised at how dirty your windows can get in a year. Use a window cleaner to wipe down your windows and watch the sun shine in. Do the same to your mirrors, including decorative ones, to help them sparkle and shine.

8. Sweep obsessively

Take this time to be more obsessed with your sweeping and vacuuming. Feel free to move furniture and appliances out to get the spaces beneath that you never see or worry about. This helps ensure a deeper clean.

9. Check those “chotchkies”

Chotskies are all those little decorative pieces that can include everything from figurines to faux plants and photo frames to vases. They can not only accumulate dust, but if placed in or near your kitchen, then can even get a grimy coating. Wipe them down and clean the space where they sat for a thorough clean.

10. Tackle that grout

Bathroom grout can really get dingy with all kinds of grime, mildew, and mould. Use a grout cleaner according to the instructions to help bring your tiles back to life.

11. Clean between your couch and chair cushions

Pull out your couch and chair cushions, and vacuum all the crumbs and other debris that tends to collect there. You might also find some loonies and toonies while you’re at it.

12. Toss blankets in the laundry

Most blankets are laundry friendly. Just make sure you do them alone, as they might give off lint or bleed.

13. Get organized

As you clean each room, look for opportunities to declutter:

  • Sort through papers and throw anything you don’t need in the recycle bin.
  • Toss out old clothes, or put them aside to give to charity.
  • Organize your makeup, small appliances, perfumes, shaving stuff, and so on in the bathroom to clear room on the counter.
  • Invest in a shoe rack that can be hung on the back of a closet door.

Generally do a declutter and help downsize belongings to the things you need, or as Marie Condo would say, “Bring you joy.”

14. Refresh your bedroom linens

While you’ve hopefully been throwing your sheets in the laundry often, you might overlook things like your duvet or throw cushions. Since the weather is warmer, bring your duvet to the laundry, and if you have throw cushions, see if they can do them as well. If not, use a spray fabric deodorizer on your linens and pillows to refresh everything.

15. Clean the pet beds

Do the same for your pet beds, but if using a deodorizer spray, make sure it lists the product as being pet friendly. Vacuum the pillows and the baskets they use to remove pet dander and hair.

Contact Maid4Condos

There you have it! If this still sounds like too much work, then hire spring cleaning services to do it all for you. Give us a call at Maid4Condos today.

14 Tips To Keep Your Arts and Crafts Tools Organized

It seems the pandemic brought out the creative side of many people stuck at home and trying to avoid boredom. Whether you are one of them or have always considered yourself a little crafty, it can be a challenge keeping your supplies and tools organized. It’s even worse if you live in a small space like a condo. But fear not! You can let your creative side blossom and still keep the mess to a minimum with these 14 craft organization tips.

14 tips to keep your arts and crafts tools organized

1. Invest in some shelves

What you lack in closet space you can make up for with shelves that can go right up to the ceiling. Vertical storage is by far the crafty person’s BFF when it comes to staying organized. You can arrange things with the most frequently used items within reach and then progress upwards based on how often you use things. Include baskets or large plastic lidded storage containers and mark everything clearly so you always know where everything is.

2. Hang things

If shelves aren’t your thing, use hooks and bags to store everything on your wall. If you want to keep things out of sight, you can put the hooks inside the closets. A great way to take advantage of your walls is to install pegboard, paint it your favourite colour and then add S hooks to hang tools or bags of craft materials.

3. Laundry basket for rolls

Tall laundry baskets make the ideal container to keep things like rolls of fabrics neat while also taking up less space. You can roll up materials like leather, paper, vinyl, etc. and then stand them in laundry baskets along the wall. This is ideal for tall rolls because they can be awkward and tend to fall over. It works perfectly for storing things like your holiday or birthday wrapping paper as well.

4. Every nook and cranny

Small spaces can pose a problem, including not necessarily having dedicated room for your arts and crafts. If this is the case, get creative and spread things out wherever space will allow. As mentioned, hanging things on the backs of closet doors works well.

Can you use a shoe organizer for smaller tools and materials? Can you use hanging veggie baskets anywhere to store things like wool? Would a spice rack do the trick for your small pots of paint or glitter glues? Can you slide flat storage boxes under your bed or couch? Taking advantage of every available nook and cranny in your home allows you to keep organized, albeit in a less than ideal way.

5. Use a toolbox

Traditional toolboxes found at your local hardware store can be the perfect solution for your arts and crafts storage. These handy boxes shut down into a neat and tidy small box that takes up very little room, yet opens up tons of storage space with pull-out shelves ideal for all sorts of crafty tools and materials.

6. Store smaller items in clear kitchen containers

Lidded containers designed for kitchen ingredients like pasta, flour and sugar can be ideal for storing smaller items. Tall pasta containers are great for things like paint brushes, pipe cleaners or knitting needles, while smaller containers can be perfect for things like beads, glitter, threads and more. They are clear so don’t need labels and are often also stackable to make the most of your shelf or desk space.

7. Medicine cabinets

Medicine cabinets are easy to mount and can also, having a mirror, be practical in bedrooms. Adjustable shelves allow you to accommodate different heights and you can keep smaller things such as spools of threads or small paint jars neat and tucked away until you need them. Add adhesive-backed magnetic strips to the inside of the door and hang little scissors and other small-scale metal tools there.

8. Drawer dividers

Kitchen drawer dividers can help keep things organized instead of just tossing things away and having to search through everything to find them. Excellent solutions such as spice racks work well but even common things like utensil trays can work.

9. Tool belts

Tool belts can be hung at the side of your work table, so you have easy access to the things you need as you work. You can also use gardening aprons with plenty of pockets or even sew your own canvas tool container to keep everything within reach.

10. Pillboxes for tiny beads

If you do beadwork, pillboxes make an excellent storage solution. You can keep beads separated while you work, and then close the lids and store them away when you’re done. This works well for scrapbooking tabs and finicky little decorative details.

11. Empty cans

Repurposing empty cans whether they are kitchen cans or paint cans is an eco-friendly solution ideal for all kinds of writing and painting tools. Taller items like rulers have an easy place to rest when not in use, while all your colouring pencils, markers and paintbrushes can also be sorted by size and colour.

12. Shower caddies

Shower caddies offer excellent shelves and even little hooks to hang items. They are great for keeping things organized and take up very little space.

13. Party serving trays

Trays designed for things like crudités and dips can be used to sort small items as you work. This is a great way to organize threads, beads, scrapbooking items for effective craft organization. They come in different shapes and sizes so you just need to choose one that will make the most sense for the materials and tools you use.

14. Wall-mounted file slots

Grab some wall-mounted file slots at your local office supply store. These are ideal for sorting things like decorative sheets of paper or various sizes of cutting and measuring boards. You can line them up above your desk or inside a closet or cupboard.

For help keeping your arts and crafts equipment organized, call Maid4Condos at (647) 822-0601 or contact us here.

How to Keep Your Place Clean When You Have Roommates

Ah, the early years of living on your own, free from the rules of mom and dad. Unfortunately, these also tend to be the years where your budget requires a little support and therefore you live with roommates.

How to keep your place clean when you have roommates

While these days of youth are some of the best days of your life, when you find yourself staring at dirty dishes in the sink, black rings in the tub and crusted food on the stovetop, you might start thinking about the good old days when you lived at home. If you are constantly facing the struggle of keeping your place clean with roommates, use these home cleaning hacks to not only keep your home clean but also keep the peace.

List All The Chores

First, write up a list of chores that should be dealt with on a regular basis. Do this as a team so that everyone has input and also realizes they need to share the cleaning responsibilities. Note how often each task should be done, such as dishes at least once a day and vacuuming at least once a week, so everyone feels comfortable with the workload you’ll need to share.

Understand Timing

It can be hard to tell how often you have to clean. A good rule of thumb is:

  • Sweeping should be daily at least in the kitchen
  • Dusting and vacuuming once every two weeks
  • Dishes, at least daily and preferably everyone does their dishes after each meal
  • Microwaves should be cleaned after every explosion or mishap!
  • Bathrooms should be cleaned when you notice they’re looking grim, although you should always wipe up after brushing your teeth.
  • Things like the fridge and oven should be cleaned every season or so to keep them presentable.

Then set up a schedule where each task is managed and shared equally.

Post the Cleaning Schedule

To make sure you don’t lose track of cleaning tasks, post a cleaning schedule on the fridge or in a common area. Use a calendar to mark the task, the person who has to do it and hold each other responsible for making sure you each complete your tasks on time. You can also set phone message reminders, so people know when they are due for a cleaning task. Consider using colour coding either using a different colour for each roommate or a different colour based on the task. This makes it easier to spot what has to get done and who has to do it.

Have Some Rules

Set some common sense rules to help people contribute equally to the cleaning cause. Some good rules should include:

  • Everyone has to do their own dishes, including dishes of guests
  • Cleaning the toilet after a burrito-related incident or a night of overindulgence is a must
  • Cleaning up after guests is a must
  • Leaving clothes in common areas is not allowed
  • Towels must always be hung up
  • Shower curtains should be pulled across the tub after showering (this reduces mould and mildew growth)

These basics help keep the apartment tidier and reasonably sanitary.

Be Fair

Never allow one person to carry the burden of cleaning. This creates resentment and simply isn’t fair. Just because someone wants things clean, doesn’t mean they should be the one responsible for cleaning. It has to be a shared task with everyone taking an equal part in the chores.

Invest in the Right Cleaning Tools

Take a group trip to the hardware store and share the expenses for the right cleaning tools. At the very least, every household should have:

  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mop or wet mop product like a Swiffer
  • Toilet brush for each bathroom
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Sponges
  • Vacuum
  • Duster

These tools will make home cleaning hacks a lot easier and faster.

Choose a Cleaning Day

It can be helpful to choose a team cleaning day, so everyone has to participate. This way the work is done more quickly. This can be difficult if you all have conflicting schedules but it can be the best way to keep cleaning under control. If your schedules don’t allow for a group cleaning day, make sure tasks on the calendar don’t lead to conflicts that mean the cleaning doesn’t get done!

Reduce Clutter

If people’s stuff starts to spread out into common areas, make sure you have a plan to reduce clutter. Living with a packrat can be a real challenge but if you try to keep their mess and jumble limited to their own rooms, it can be easier to deal with.

If you share a room with someone, this becomes more difficult. Discuss clutter issues and come up with storage solutions that make this problem easier to manage. This is a good practice for all shared spaces. You can also make sure everyone has their fair share of closet space, so they have fewer excuses for why their stack of magazines has to be kept on the coffee table.

Keep Things On Track

If you find someone isn’t pulling their weight, try these ideas to keep things on track:

1. Trick them into cleaning

If your lazy roommate is sitting on the couch playing video games or scrolling on Instagram, ask “So what are you up to today?” They’ll probably say nothing, so you can then say, “Perfect, you can get the vacuuming done.”

2. Group dynamic

If you have a cleaning day planned, and someone isn’t joining in, make a point of getting them involved. Ask if they’d prefer to start in the bathroom or kitchen, or say “Can you give me a hand here?” as you clean off the coffee table.

3. Group meetings

The group meeting is awkward because it singles out the individual. You have to be tactful and try not to get them on the defensive. Discuss how the mess is stressing people out and that you all share a space and need to respect each other’s needs.

If it gets to the point where the living situation is too stressful or unpleasant, a discussion about moving is required. Since money usually is a factor, bringing up the idea that you’ll need to move if the person doesn’t start pitching in could get them into the cleaning spirit. Chances are, they will probably fall back into the same bad habits and you’ll have to part ways.

For help keeping your place clean when you have roommates, call Maid4Condos at (647) 822-0601 or contact us here.