When you start living in a clutter-free and organized home after doing the KonMari Method, or even just living with fewer things, it makes cleaning your home so much easier. It’s so important to create a healthy environment in your own home so that the air you breathe is safe and you can avoid getting sick. I have always cleaned my own home, but as life gets busier I can only make time to clean countertops, wash dishes, sweep the kitchen and living room floors, and take out the trash and recycling on a daily, regular basis. However, general cleaning including dusting, vacuuming, and washing the floors, does not happen as often as I would like it to be. Being a busy parent living an entrepreneurial lifestyle, cleaning does not always make the top of my priority list. Did you know that 25% of Torontonians spend about an hour cleaning their homes each week? Only 33% of Torontonians pay for regular weekly house cleaning. Also, women find that household chores are their second-biggest daily stress (just after finances), and for men household chores are last on the list! Even though my house is in order, I am the main person doing the majority of the cleaning at home, which can be frustrating at times. Almost half (45%) of Torontonians feel the cleanliness of their homes has been the source of conflict in their relationship. So I decided to experience a professional cleaning service so that I can make better use of my time and have some self-care, by having an expert take care of things while I work during the day.
I discovered Adèle House Cleaning, a professional house cleaning service based in Toronto, as well as Montreal. Adèle uses a unique online booking system, with technology that caters to today’s busy clients like myself. I really like that you can easily book and pay for their services online, up to 24 hours in advance, and there’s even flexible and commitment-free appointments for people looking for one-time or continuous services. It was really important for me that the cleaning company I chose to use works with healthy natural products for the health and well-being of my family, and I was happy to know that Adèle uses eco-friendly ECOLOGO® certified products which means it has the highest international environmental certification, and that gives me peace of mind. The Adèle cleaning Pros are thoroughly trained and insured, so you know you are getting trustworthy and reliable people working in your home.
When it came to booking my appointment, it was user-friendly and everything was really simple to enter in and it felt like an easy process to make the appointment. When you first book, it asks you for your postal code and then what kind of home you live in to determine the service that would suit your home. I live in a typical semi-detached house in Leslieville, Toronto with three bedrooms, one and a half bath, kitchen, dining and living room with three floors. So the size of my home would mean my appointment would be approximately 3-4 hrs and 40 min. long. There are three service options to choose from, and I chose an “on-demand” service for just one time. You can also select a “subscription” option for weekly, every 2-3 weeks, or monthly services. If you do Airbnb or any short-term rental you can pick an option for this service which happens between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day. You can include what times the Adèle Pro expert can arrive from the earliest to latest times and if you will be there or not and special instructions for entering the home.
When my appointment was confirmed, I realized that I didn’t enter the correct date that I wanted, so I quickly sent a message through their online chat and submitted my message. However I was able to figure out when checking my dashboard that I could easily edit and change the dates on my own, and it was quick to fix to change the date and get a confirmation instantly. I was relieved that I didn’t have to get on the phone to waste time to change this. I received an email notification to inform me of the change and also of when my Adèle cleaning expert would be available to come that day. You also get notification reminders of your appointment and your Adèle cleaning Pro will contact you via text message to let you know exactly what time they will arrive. It really feels like the Airbnb of cleaning services which I like.
On the day of the scheduled cleaning service, I decided to welcome the Adèle cleaning expert on arrival. When she arrived at my doorstep, she was really friendly and I instantly felt comfortable having her in my home. I showed her around my house and then provided my vacuum for her to use throughout the house, as this is required for them to do the work. Then I decided to work outside of home at a local cafe so that I could focus on my work and let her clean and work her magic! When I returned after 4 hours, she was just about finished and then she had me inspect the home before she left. I quickly noticed right away an incredible change in my home; it felt like the time when I first moved into my house almost nine years ago! Everything was shining, from my toaster, to the fridge, the faucets and mirrors (even the toilet!), which I haven’t seen shine and sparkle in so long. Everything felt so brand new and it was such a difference to see and even feel. I could even sense from breathing that my home was no longer dusty.
Getting a professional cleaning is like a whole new level of cleaning that I think I can’t even make my home sparkle in the same way. One thing to note is that the cleaning service is actually not a deep cleaning that does scouring or scrubbing down the inside of your oven or shower and it does not include tidying the "things"you have. Even though deep cleaning is not part of the service, you really feel and see the difference with getting your home a really good refresh. Click here: https://www.adelehousecleaning.com/house-cleaning-services/) to check out what’s included in the service. After my cleaning was complete, Adèle sent me an email for a cool meal box for three free meals delivered to my home so I don’t have to worry about cooking and I can save even more time, such a nice surprise! I would definitely consider using this service again, and to me it really felt like self-care for both my time and my home and is definitely worth the investment to experience.
If your interested to have the Adèle cleaning experience, visit https://www.adelehousecleaning.com/ and use my promo code Michele30 for $30 off your first cleaning (only valid for first-time users).
How to Start A Digital Declutter
Lately people have been asking me if I know how I can help them start a digital declutter and get organized, and to be honest I have to admit that I am not totally decluttered in my own digital world. I think I haven't pushed myself to do a real digital declutter because it doesn't bother me since it's not physical and around me to see all the time. However, not being diligent in deleting files, especially image files, has caused me issues when my computer is slow or I run out of space on my phone when I'm travelling especially when I want to take more photos. I think this is definitely something that affects everyone in this digital age, so I decided to finally push myself to start a digital declutter and share how you can start doing this too. Here are a few ways you can get started with your digital declutter:
Track How Many Files you have
First off the only way to know how much you are sinking in digital clutter is to check how many files you have overall. I decided to start with the files I have on my laptop instead of my smart phone device, as my laptop is much older and gets slower to use the more I have huge files on my computer. It's good to get some real numbers to understand how much digital clutter you are dealing with. So here's the number of files that I am currently dealing with so you can see:
Images: 7, 148 (OMG!)
PDF Docs: 523
All I can say is damn, I'm a digital image hoarder! I do love photography and I have to really learn to go through my images and choose what I still need. I have transferred all of the images I have taken with a DSLR as well as all the smart phone devices I ever had since 2010. I have managed to let go of many printed photos and negatives in the physical world, but it seems there is just so much more digital images that I’ve accumulated with being able to take many good quality photos with my own handheld devices.
Create File Folders & Start Small
You should start the process with the folders containing the least amount of files to sort and delete, and then work your way to the most. I started to go through the "Documents" folder of my laptop which were all mixed up with files of work I have done for clients in my past marketing freelance work, and then everything else I have worked on in the past five years. The documents I have are mixed with files of resumes and cover letters, invoices, bills, receipts, confirmations, and only some files already in their proper folders. There are so many files just on their own in no "home" and just living in the "documents" section. I was very happy to delete the files of cover letters to the many jobs I had applied to (and never got the job), when I was laid off from my last corporate job back in 2015...it felt really good and so satisfying to let those all go! It's amazing how far I have come since that time. I created 25 folders to organize all my files, (not sure if that is too much but for now it helps me). Then I created one folder called "All Folders" on my desktop screen to store all those folders into, so visually they are hidden away in their new master home.
Take Your Time To Delete & Organize
Doing this digital declutter process will not be complete in one day, it takes time just like doing the KonMari Method in your home. I have spent approximately three hours just going through my documents and downloaded files, and I am no where near being done. If you start to get frustrated, then it's time to take a break, breathe and leave it for another day. For me it really helped me to create the folders (homes) to organize and sort through the files. As I was sorting, I could already identify which files could be deleted and let them go right away. I definitely felt the frustration when I realized how many more files I had to go through, and I reminded myself that this will not get done in a day. Take time to do this once a week, or every other week and you will get through it all.
Save De-Cluttering Photos for Last
In the KonMari Method, the Sentimental category is last for a reason and it should be the same for digital decluttering. I was able to place images in folders as I went through my downloaded files, but I know that I will have to do little by little every once in a while through my 7, 148 digital images! I know that's a lot to admit, but it's something I will work on as I am not yet a digital minimalist but I'm working on it. I have so many images that are a mix of personal and business (most are personal) and imagine if I had printed all of these images out that would be insane to go through physically. I think that is an important thing to ask yourself when doing your joy checks with digital images, does it spark joy enough for you to print? If not then let it go...I'm gonna try that.
Deal With Email De-cluttering After Computer Files
Just when I thought I only had to deal with my laptop files, I realize that emails are another huge digital thing to go through. I have three email accounts that I use, two personal and one for business. The reason I have two personal emails is because I still have one of my very first email accounts using "Hotmail"...and admitting that must have aged me! If I sign up for anything I like to use my Hotmail account, but also I have some friends and relatives who only know this email so I use it to keep in touch. The email declutter is also another lengthy process so remember that this takes time too. Create folders to organize your emails and treat this like the paper category of the KonMari Method when you deal with incoming mail...only have emails in your in-box that are for "immediate attention", then create a "pending/temporary" folder, then finally you can have a "keep forever" folder for those really important emails. Remember to un-subscribe to mailing lists that are no longer of interest to you, and only stay subscribed to emails that add value to your life so that you can take control of what comes in.
De-clutter Phone After Email
Once I finally have my laptop files and emails decluttered, organized and in their homes, I will move on to decluttering my phone. I would start with checking what apps are being used and not used at all, then delete what has never been used and then you can organize what apps are left on your phone. Always make sure you are only keeping apps that add value to your life of course. I have organized my phone using the colour folder app way of organization, and I have to say it has worked well for me. You just have to get familiar with what colour your apps are that are frequently used, so you can find and open them easily. I know I have my app situation under control, but again I have many images on my phone so I will tackle that more. I will do a little everyday, and I usually like to do this if I have no data or wifi and travelling on the subway train or just commuting in general. I have to remind myself to control the amount of photos I decide to take with my phone and if they are really worth keeping memories of.
I hope this gives you a good idea of how to get your digital declutter started. Then you can start to be more mindful of what images or files you decide to keep in your laptop or phone and get it under control. I will share a part-two of this blog about my life after doing my digital de-clutter once it is fully complete...I wonder how long it will take me? So stay tuned.