3 Tips on Organizing your Living-room for the Holidays

personal concierge York RegionThe festive season is soon upon us; which for most of us, means entertaining family and friends. So let’s make your space welcoming and festive! Here are 3 essential tips to organizing your living room ahead of time, so you will be able to relax and enjoy your friends and family when they arrive. You will want to start with a clean room. This way, each week leading up visitors, you only have to do a light dusting and quick vacuum. The simpler you keep it, the easier it is to manage and makes your life a whole lot easier too!

1.  Furniture

  • Good furniture arrangement encourages socializing, so consider removing any excess pieces that are not going to serve a purpose, during the holidays.
  • Ensure single chair seating has easy access to a side table or coffee table.
  • Consider using small stools or ottomans that take little space and can moved easily to conversation areas.
  • Where possible, arrange furniture to make guests feel comfortable and relaxed but not on top of one another.

2.  Lighting

  • Dim the room lighting. Consider purchasing inexpensive dimmers if you don’t have any.
  • Place votive candles* (protected) all around the room and placed high enough, so little hands can’t get at them.
  • Have some large pillar candles* (with clear plates under them) around the space, to enhance the ambiance.
  • Ensure the Christmas tree has lots and lots of LED lights on it. This will act as your focal point in the room, so lots of lights…..

* Remember never leave burning candles unattended…

3. Holiday Décor

Since your living-room will be the focal point, it’s important to get the décor right

  • Create a simple colour theme to work with.
  • Spread the décor around the living-room, without over doing it.
  • Ensure the Christmas tree is not over-powered by a tonne of decorations in the rest of the room.
  • If you have a fireplace, try placing garland across it and add some lights.
  • If you have a large window, consider hanging Christmas bulbs using some colour themed ribbon.

Setting the tone of the living-room is what makes your guests feel welcome, relaxed and able to enjoy themselves. But, if organizing or setting up for the holidays are overwhelming, or you simply don’t have time, consider hiring a personal concierge to help!

You can connect with us via phone or email, leave a question or comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

Tips on Tipping in the Service Industry

how much to tipWe are often faced with the dilemma about tipping. What should I tip for and what shouldn’t I tip for? For most people, the few obvious ones are waiters, waitresses, taxis and hairstylists. However, listed below are some recommendations for people in the service industry, where tipping should be considered……

Home Related

  • Cleaning Service 15%
  • Movers $25.00 per mover
  • Furniture/Appliance Delivery $10.00 per person
  • Flower Delivery $5.00
  • Food Delivery $5-10.00

Continue reading

5 Tips to Protect your Home from Burglars

how to safeproof a houseDid you know that every three minutes a house in Canada gets robbed?! Although, Canada is a relatively safe county, let’s decrease your chance of a break-in. Below are 5 tips to help you protect your home from burglars.

1. Doors/Windows

  • You can never have enough locks
  • Deadbolts on every exterior door
  • Patio doors should have a pin, key lock or a piece of dowel on back track
  • Garage doors should have bolt locks
  • Double paned windows

2. Lighting

  • Ensure you have adequate night time illumination
  • Timers for indoor lighting (these start at $5.00 and up)
  • Install motion sensor lighting
  • Light all dark areas around house
  • Make sure your house number is visible
  • Use LED lighting – they last longer and are earth-friendly

3. Alarm

  • Install an alarm system (if you can)
  • Publicize that you have an alarm (Stickers/Decals on your windows)
  • Always set your alarm when you leave
  • You may qualify for an insurance discount by having an alarm
  • In addition to being a wonderful pet, a dog is a wonderful alarm…

4. Valuables

  • Make a list of your most important valuables
  • Keep all receipts in a safe place
  • Photograph your valuables
  • Engrave your initials on your computer equipment
  • Keep valuables away from outside view
  • Install a home safe and bolt it down

5. Secure the outside

  • Maintain landscaping
  • Ensure bushes are trimmed back
  • Cut grass
  • Clear snow
  • Avoid clutter by the doorway (Newspapers, flyers)
  • Have a car in driveway
  • Don’t leave spare key in planter or under door mat

Are you a snow-bird? Planning a Christmas vacation? Travelling for business? Did you know that most insurance policies state that your dwelling should be checked every 4 days? So, it’s important to protect your home even when you are away.  As discussed in a previous blog, having a professional house-sitter coming and going, deters burglars who might be watching your home. We can put out your garbage or recycling bin, pick-up your mail and make it look like you’re home.  Need more information?  Please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!

You can connect with us via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

10 Easy Tips to Help you Organize your Storage Room

concierge services TorontoStorage rooms are notorious for clutter! It’s also the easiest space to ignore, until you can’t find anything. Here are 10 easy tips to help you organize and maintain your storage space and make it easier to locate items when you need them:

1. Make a time commitment

  • Mark time in your calendar
  • Do it in small manageable chunks

Continue reading

What is the Traditional Role of a Maid of Honour?

role of maid of honorWhat sparked me to write this particular blog is the number of bridal parties that really don’t know what their role is. Yes, it’s a great honour to be chosen, but it comes with a responsibility and you should accept with an understanding of what your duties are. Since the Maid of Honour has the most demanding and important role next to the bride and groom, below you will find the Maid of Honour’s traditional duties before and during the wedding. Continue reading

5 Easy Tips to Improve your Time Management

personal concierge York RegionHow often do you find yourself running out of time? Not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Too much to do? Here are 5 easy tips to help you improve your time management. Continue reading

3 Easy Tips to Keep your Kitchen Organized

uncluttered kitchenThe kitchen is the heaviest traffic area in most homes. For many, it is the dumping zone for lunch bags, mail, purses, wallets, newspaper, electronics etc. Since this is the most used room in your home, it makes sense to make it as functional as possible. By using these 3 easy tips to organize your kitchen space appropriately, you will feel less stressed and be able to locate and find things quickly.

1. Store items by use
• Everyday dishes and glasses, should be near the dishwasher
• Special occasion, seasonal dishes, bowls and platters, should be up high or in a storage area
• Essential tools, scissors, spatula, tongs, wooden spoons, should be handy in a caddy
• Items used every day, should be on lower shelves
• Pots, pans should be near the stove Continue reading

5 Ways Wait Staff/Servers Make Events Stress Free

licensed wait staffDo you have an upcoming event, BBQ, dinner party or celebration of some kind? Have you ever considered taking the pressure off yourself and hiring wait staff/servers? Consider being a guest at your own event! Here are 5 ways that wait staff/servers can make your special occasion/event/party stress-free…Tip – Make sure you hire staff that are trained, come in uniform, wear name badges, are SMART Serve licensed and are insured.

1. Set-up
• Tables and chairs
• Set place settings, dishes, napkins, glasses
• Centrepieces, flowers
• Ensure bathroom supplies are replenished
• Table accessories (Water, Salt, Pepper, Sauces etc.)

2. Entrance Area
• Receive guests
• Hang Coats
• Remove shoes & boots from door area
• Receive gifts

3. Food
• Heat up appetizers
• Garnish foods
• Set-up buffet style
• Replenish food trays
• Prepare desserts, cut cakes & pies
• Prepare Tea, Coffee/Espresso etc.
• Serve appetizers

4. Bar Area
• Set-up self-serve or beverage station
• Prepare garnishes (Lemons, Limes, Olives)
• Glasses, drink mixes, ice, napkins
• Ensure wines are opened and breathing
• Serve beverages

5. Clean-up
• Ensure garbage/recycle bins are emptied
• Remove plates, glasses, plates, utensils
• Wrap left over food
• Clean up kitchen and bar area

Utilizing this kind of service gives you peace of mind knowing your guests are continually taken care of, and you can enjoy your event. What’s the point of hosting if you can’t enjoy and spend time with your guests? The best part of our work is when clients say “we’re part of the family”, because we cover all their special occasions.

We look forward to connecting with you!  You can reach us by phone or email, leave a message right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

10 Tips on How to Remove Stains From Clothing

personal concierge York regionIt never fails right? Your brand new shirt gets a stain on it! As a Personal Concierge, we are often asked by clients to remove stains out of their clothing. While there are no guarantees that these methods will work with every fabric, the following research tips* might help. We thought we would share the 10 most common stains we remove or get asked about.

1. Blood – If the stain is still fresh, soak in cold water or use an eye dropper with hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain. For a dried blood stain, use a brush to remove surface deposit, then pretreat or soak in cool water after using a laundry product containing enzymes.

2. Chocolate – Scrape off any excess, pre-treat with stain remover, wash. If stain still appears, re-wash with bleach that is safe for the material.

3. Coffee – Use cool water and sponge the stain or soak for 30 minutes in cool water. Pre-treat with prewash stain remover, wash. If stain still appears, rewash with a small amount of bleach, safe for fabric.

4. Grease – Pre-treat with prewash stain remover, wash and use HOT water. Make sure it’s safe for the fabric.

5. Ink – Sponge gently with a dry-cleaning solvent until ink stops bleeding. Rinse, sponge with rubbing alcohol, then hang to dry. If stubborn stain remains, rub in liquid laundry detergent and let sit overnight. Rinse.

6. Lipstick – Scrape any excess off, pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover, wash. If stain remains, repeat steps.

7. Nail Polish – Put fabric face down on a paper towel and blot with acetone (make sure it’s safe for fabric). Rinse with cold water. Repeat steps until blotting no longer transfers the stain. Apply pre-wash stain remover and wash.

8. Salad Dressing – Pre-treat-with pre-wash stain remover, wash, using HOT water (make sure safe for fabric).

9. Spaghetti Sauce – Working from the back of the stain, flush with cool water. Pre-treat with liquid laundry soap and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, repeat until you have removed most of the stain. Pre-treat with stain remover and wash.

10. Red Wine – Sponge the spot with cool water. Soak for thirty minutes or so in a sink or pail. Pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover, wash. If it’s safe for fabric, use small amount of chlorine bleach.

Other Helpful Hints:

Bleach – There are two types: non chlorine and chlorine bleach

Pre-treat/pre-wash products – Available in many different forms:

  • pumps
  • stick
  • spray
  • gels, and
  • liquids

Make sure you read the labels as it may not be suitable for all fabrics.

Tools – Brushes, cotton swabs, white cloth, eye dropper, spray bottle and paper towels. These items are what you need to keep in a container in your laundry area. This way, when a spill happens, you have all you need on hand.

One of the keys to getting nasty stains out is taking the time to read what your fabric states is the right pre-treat and pre-wash methods. Hope these will help you. If you have no time for your laundry, we would be happy to help :-)

Share your favourite stain removal tips with our readers! We love getting feedback. You can connect with us via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

*Experts from Good Housekeeping Research Institute

5 Unique Client Tasks we’ve Done as Personal Concierge

As a Personal Concierge, we pretty much do anything our clients ask as long as it’s legal and ethical. We are always up for the challenge! Our goal is to provide the best and most efficient service to our clients. However, from one day to the next we never know what a client may ask us to do for them, so you always have to be ready for the unexpected. Below are a few examples of very unique tasks we have completed for clients.

personal concierge Newmarket1. Medication to Alaska

A new client called, advising her mother had been in a hospital in Ontario and she wanted to take her home to Alaska to get better. In doing so, she inadvertently forgot her medications. She asked if we could pick up the numerous prescriptions from the pharmacy and send them to her.
Yes, sending medication across the border is a huge task; paper work, documentation etc., however since it’s legal and ethical, we can do it. She was so happy we were able to accomplish the task thus allowing her mother to recover with her.

 

Personal Concierge Toronto2. Passport Application

A new client called and asked if we could help with her and her husband’s passport renewal. The challenge was that he is in hospital, chronically disabled. Yes this posed some challenges, however, utilizing our resources and specific skill sets we were able to complete all the documents, photos and send them off to passport office. We received the new passports in 22 days….again, as long as it’s legal and ethical, we can do it!

 

Personal Concierge York Region3. Sell an Engagement Ring

A client called and asked if we would be able to sell an engagement ring. With discretion (we do not asked what happened), we do the task at hand. Since she did not have an appraisal or any documentation, we took the necessary steps; getting it appraised and finding a buyer. Once the transaction was complete, we met with the client and transferred over the money. In this case we were dealing with a lot of cash and potential risk, so we were not about to leave it at her residence. Again, it was legal, so we completed the task.

 

Personal Concierge Ontario4. Pick up Ashes

A client called and asked if we would be able to pick up her husband’s ashes for her. She was grieving and did not have the stamina to go back to the funeral home and get them. This was something new for us. However, we went through the process, picked up the ashes and delivered them to the client. When the client came out to the car, she could not believe (and was most touched) that we had seat-belted them in the back seat of our vehicle. (It’s the respectful thing to do).

 

Certified Personal Concierge York Region5. Notarize Permit Documents

A new client called and asked if we would be able to get some documents notarized. Sounds easy enough. Well, the documents had to be picked up from her in Toronto and taken to Oshawa. From there a notary in Oshawa needed to be found that would be able meet the appropriate individual at the client’s place of employment and sign the document. The challenge was trying to co-ordinate the timing with three parties within a 24 hour window. We were able to research, find someone to do it and get them back to the client within 24 hours…whew!

When there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things you need to do, consider hiring a personal concierge to assist with the task and give you your time back to focus on more important things! We are here to serve you.

How about you? Do you have some unique challenges we can help you with? We look forward to connecting with you. You can reach me by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy