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Cleaning Ash After The Woolsey Fire

The recent devastating fires in the Los Angeles area have created a myriad of housecleaning challenges. Depending upon your proximity to the fires or the direction of the winds, a house can be blanketed in ash. Removing ash from the exterior or interior premises can be daunting and even hazardous. Here are a few steps for tackling this job.

  • Protect yourself: Wear an N-95 or P-100 mask. Wear a long sleeved shirt, pants, boots, and gloves if the as is thick and can come in contact with your skin.
  • Avoid stirring up the ash as much as possible. Do not use leaf blowers or do other things that will put ash back into the atmosphere
  • Vacuum the ash with a high efficiency HEPA-filter vacuum. Do not use a vacuum without one as it will only expel the ash back into the atmosphere. You can also gently sweep ash with a push broom and put into plastic bags for disposal.
  • Clean from top to bottom and move around the room. Wipe surface areas or items with a damp cloth or mop. Rinse as necessary. Close doors after finishing each room. Pour water into vegetation and not down the drain.
  • Don’t forget the toys. Wipe them with a damp cloth and the clean before allowing your children or pets to play with them.
  •  After removing the initial layer of ash, don’t forget to vacuum sofas, chairs, carpets and beds as they too will have a layer of ash. To keep furniture and surfaces cleaner roll up area rugs and cover furniture after you’ve vacuumed them.
  • Gently hose exterior areas by directing water into landscaped areas and not into storm drains. You can also sweep first and then gently hose. Accumulated ash can be hosed and then bagged and placed in the trash bin.
  • If you have a vegetable or fruit garden be sure to wash it well as ash has mostly likely accumulated on it.
  • Lastly, just as in a construction clean-up, there is dust and ash in the atmosphere. It will most likely resettle and will need to be wiped again in a few days.

 

Cleaning is a task in and of itself, but dealing with ash which may contain hazardous metals, chemicals and potentially asbestos can be toxic. Be safe and be prepared. 

 

Spring Cleaning!

tulip-115036_1920Those from areas outside Southern California would say that we get spring all year round! Here in Los Angeles, however, we CLAIM our “winter” fiercely with light cotton scarves and chunky boots.

Though our flowers tend to bloom year round and the sun shines on most day, we still go round the sun and feel our own little version of the seasons – days getting longer, holiday hustle sliding into a state of hibernation which eventually awakens to spring fever. Planting flowers, first dates and of course…spring cleaning!

The origins of the spring cleaning tradition are mixed. Some say it ties in with the Jewish custom of cleansing the home before Passover. It’s also present in early Christian heritages, in preparation for Easter and Palm Sunday. The custom can be traced back to celebration of the Persian New Year. Most likely, it stems from the days in which homes were heated with fire and coal…causing the house to be filled and sullied with smoke, soot and ash throughout the long winter. Spring cleaning was a time to beat down rugs, wash the walls, open windows and rid the home of soot.

Today, it means fresh air and sunshine. Throwing on some good tunes and washing the windows. Citrus scents, first garden berries and cut flowers in a glass. Transferring the winter wardrobe to the lighter materials and colors of spring and summer. Refreshing ritual and organization. Release and relief. Optimism. Minimalism. Looking ahead.

Happy, happy Spring!

What a girl really wants.

heart-762564_1280It’s Valentine’s Day. You bought her flowers and chocolate, scored the elusive reservation for two – no easy feat in L.A.

Perhaps you found a good Groupon for a massage or a 10-pass at the new yoga studio down the street.

Even if you went above and beyond – postcards from where you first vacationed together, perhaps, or concert tickets for her favorite band…chances are she was expecting SOMETHING. It’s Valentine’s Day. SOMETHING must happen.

But what about the day after Valentine’s Day? And the day after that? What gets her going once the once a year lingerie goes back in the drawer?

A clean house. Honestly. Truly.

She wants YOU to do the dishes – happily and without being asked. She wants the dirty laundry to land in the hamper. A simple wipe of the toothpaste smudge in the sink goes a long way. AND – ahem – she wants a cleaning crew. She want you to support that decision wholeheartedly and unapologetically – because she works too hard, because she deserves help, because a clean house is happiness. A clean house is foreplay.

Winter Restoration Smoothie

green-422995_1280Though we live in sunny Southern California, we still encounter a winter cool down AND the dreaded cold and flu season. Boost your immunity with this tasty super smoothie! The only smoothie recipe you’ll need for winter wellness.

Blend:

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen mango and/or pineapple
  • 1 full banana
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Optional Add Ins:

  • Protein Powder
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Almond Butter

Here’s to your health!

Getting Organized: Think Big, Start Small

toys-457809_640There’s something about starting fresh in the new year.

We freshen our wardrobes (Thanks, Santa) and revisit our goals. We take inventory, we make lists, we declare, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

The urge to purge, clean and organizing is strong in January. Going through closets and desk drawers, we sort through our belongings and papers and give the home an early spring cleaning.

Sometimes the task of “getting organized” can seem overwhelming.

Tips for Organization in the New Year:

  1. Pick one.
    Sometimes we can work ourselves into a tailspin when we set out to organize the home. Seeing one small area through to completion gives, instead, a greater sense of organization and accomplishment. Projects will bleed into one another here and there, but try to stay on task. Don’t start your closet until you tackle the kids’ play room, for example. 
  2. Partner up.
    What makes cleaning more fun? A friend. Find one the who is brutally honest, enjoys cleaning and remembers to bring the beer. You know – the one who will give it to you straight about the maroon jumpsuit. 
  3. Be selectively sentimental.
    When doing a full sweep and purge of your life, keep only what you can’t possibly live without. Treasure the things that are important to you, donate those that you keep out of obligation or fear of letting go. 

Happy organizing!