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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Sock Monster Is Real

When I Googled “Do dryers eat socks?”, I found this on answerbag.com – “Yes. Yes they do. Have you ever seen your lint trap after just one load? No WAY that much lint is created. The machine is programmed to grab a sock and reduce it to lint. So says my single-sock sock drawer.”

We have a sock monster, and for some reason he likes my socks. This is a real problem since I wear a particular brand of running socks that cost almost $9 a pair. But given that I keep telling my son that there is no such thing as monsters and that dryers really don’t eat things, I have to come up with another explanation for my missing socks. And so began the search. Here are some places I found socks:

• Behind the washing machine
• In a pant leg as a cling on
• Inside a pillow case

Yet I still have single socks in the laundry room. So I again went to Google for suggestions. Here are some great ideas on how to prevent mateless socks:

• Consider washing smaller items like socks, wash cloths, and undergarments in their own load to prevent socks from being hidden in larger things. Or better yet, just do a load of only socks.
• Pin each pair together with a safety pin before adding to the washing machine.
• Give each family member a mesh bag to place their dirty socks in.
• Have everyone roll their dirty socks into pairs so they go into the laundry that way. Don’t unroll until they go into the washer and get rolled back up in pairs as soon as they come out of the dryer.
• Here’s one my husband practices – he buys large quantities of two exclusive socks – one athletic and one dress – and throws them all in a drawer. That way he never knows when one is missing.  And a bonus for me -- I don't have to match up his socks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet This Manager

I met Lisa Walters, currently the Manager of our A Cleaner World located at Wendover and 68 in High Point, roughly 15 years ago, and I immediately liked her. You can’t help but to like her. She is talkative, has a bubbly personality, and well -- is just plain nice.

When I was hired in 1996 as Controller/Office Manager, I spent the first month working in two different A Cleaner World locations. Chris (Edwards, President) believed it was important for me to really learn the business, and Lisa was one of the folks that showed me the ropes.

She worked at the same location but as a CSR, not as the Manager. But it was clear that she knew the business and knew it well. She taught me things like how to check in an order, how to work the line, and how to fold a dress shirt. But here’s the thing that really stuck with me over the years. She knew customer’s names. She knew how they liked their clothes. She knew about their kids and their pets. I am not a terribly outgoing person, and I found myself being amazed at how natural all of this came to her. Customer’s loved her and would ask about her if she wasn’t there.

So a number of years ago when we needed a Manager for our Jamestown location, she was a perfect fit. Since then she’s gone on to manage our Adams Farm location and is now in High Point.

I called her to tell her that I was writing this blog post and that I had this one question for her: What is your one favorite thing about A Cleaner World? She quickly answered, “Waiting on customers.” I knew she was going to say that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Helping You Keep Track Of Their Stuff

You tend to learn a lot with your first child – all the should and should not’s. Unfortunately when you only have one like me, you never get to go in with a younger sibling down the road and already know what’s going on. Consequently, I frequently don’t know what I should or should not be doing.

Here’s a perfect example. On the first day of kindergarten, parents were allowed to accompany their children into class for about the first thirty minutes. We sat at the table with our kids while they colored and got acquainted with their teacher. As I sat there, I noticed that another child had their name written all over everything. I started chatting with the mom. After inquiring about the labeling, she gave me the low down. This was her third child, so she’d experienced plenty of missing items over the years. I quickly found a sharpie and got to work.

Yet recently I spent a morning at school digging through lost and found looking for a jacket. Seems you need to label everything – and I failed to label this jacket. So this week’s message to you is this:

• Get a fabric pen or permanent marker

• Find the inside label (but don’t cover the washing instructions) and write your child’s name on it

• Have an item without a label? Write their name on a small piece of fabric and sew it into a seam or write it on an iron on patch and iron it in.

And label everything.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another Use for Soap

My dad’s parents were old school farmers, so they led a hardworking and simple life. Things I remember about those grandparents – a wringer washer, homemade lye soap, no air conditioning, homemade biscuits, gardening and canning, and salve being a cure all. They had very few frills and wasted nothing. But there was one thing that my Grandmother did that could have been considered extravagant back in the day, and it was something that I did for a long time.

Recently while working on a newsletter, I found this suggestion: to add luxury to a cashmere sweater, simply wrap a bar of soap in a handkerchief and tuck it into your sweater when stored. I immediately thought of my Grandmother. She would tuck bars of soap in her dresser drawers. But she didn’t use any old bar of soap; she used lovely bars of scented soap with hand painted flowers.

I decided that, in honor of my Grandmother, I would once again use bars of soap in my dresser drawers. I also decided to pass the tradition on. Since lavender is my favorite scent, I purchased several bars of lavender scented soap. I kept some for myself and gave a few to my niece for Christmas and shared the story with her.

I don’t know if she was quite as excited as I was, but I liked passing on the tradition. And now when I run, I sometimes catch a faint whiff of lavender. It makes me smile. So if you’d like to add a bit of luxury to your garments, consider this old trick.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Mudroom Completed

When Gray was around three he went through this phase of walking around saying “I’m happy” in this crazy high-pitched voice. Matt and I latched onto it. So when the mudroom was finished, the first thing I said was, “I’m happy.” That’s because this room absolutely drove an obsessive clean freak like me crazy.

Matt suggested that I take before, during, and after pictures. I couldn’t bring myself to take before and during pictures. I was too embarrassed. Let me just give you a mental picture: a wire rack next to the freezer with stuff falling off, drinks stacked on the freezer, Matt’s shoes on the floor, Gray’s shoes on the ledge, scuffed and chipped paint. The list really could go on.

But let me get back to my happy mood. The inspiration came from some photos I saw in a Family Circle magazine. A few simple things resulted in this:


We put up hooks for everyday items.

The rickety wire shelf was replaced by a custom piece built by Matt.  He built it because that’s something he just loves to do, but as we were planning this we found a number of great RTA items at a home improvement store that would have worked just as well.  Baskets now house items that were once loose and falling through the shelves.  The drinks now have a home as do the recycle bins which are on a shelf at the very bottom of the unit.
But the coolest thing of all is that he took advantage of an odd space.  Because of the foundation, there is a gap between the shelving unit and wall.  So he attached this shoe rack to the side of the unit and now places his shoes in it instead of all over the floor.

It really is amazing what you can do with some paint, hooks, and baskets.  And while this isn't the most stylish room in our house, it is the most functional.  And because of this organizational success, I’ve decided we need to tackle another project – organizing the laundry room. 
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