Some Suggestions on Keeping Your Home Presentable When it is For Sale

Staging a home for sale involves such cosmetic changes as necessary to make the home appear to be in an up to date and well cared for condition. Simple additions such as an inexpensive but stylish light for the entry or a coordinating shower curtain and towels for the bath can make a difference in the way a home is presented. In fact, concentrating on the entryway and the kitchen and bath often give the most return for your dollar and are the easiest updates to accomplish. While granite counter tops are very much in style and appreciated by the home buyer, an impeccably clean kitchen with laminated countertops completely clear of clutter can also give an inviting look to a prospective homebuyer. In the same way, a bathroom that is spotless and outfitted with a beautiful set of towels and a lovely set of shower curtains can go a long way in making the bathroom more appealing.

Homes are languishing on the market for months anymore and it is more important than ever that these homes are kept in a perfectly pristine condition for viewing at anytime. Any opportunity to show a house may result in a sale and should be taken very seriously by the seller. Here are a few suggestions to keep a home in a desired condition:

o Consider hiring a person to come in every week or so to take care of the routine jobs such as vacuuming, scrubbing bathroom and kitchen fixtures and changing bedding. This frees up the homeowner to attend to everyday things like loading the dishwasher, putting away laundry and making beds. The idea here is to always return items to their proper place so that the house appears easy to maintain and large enough to have a place for everything that is needed in everyday life.

o Give thought to meal preparation so that the kitchen can be kept in a condition that is easy to clean up and make presentable at any given time. Sometimes it may be advantageous to cook several meals at one time so that there can be a freezer full of dinners that only require being thawed and heated up. This can be especially beneficial after a full and tiring day at work when the last thing you want to do is spend time tidying up the kitchen after cooking a meal. This reduces the amount of time that is needed in the kitchen and also dramatically cuts down on the cleanup end of things. Ideally, if these so called “batch cooking” sessions can take place in the home of a relative or friend it is even better because the mess can be cleaned up at the leisure of everyone involved and a person does not risk getting a call for a home showing during this busy time.

o Involve the whole family in everyday tasks such as making sure dirty laundry makes it to the hamper and then to the laundry room. Controlling the accumulation of magazines, newspapers and school papers brought home by the children can go a long way in making a home neat and clutter free.

Are We Mediating or Negotiating?

In order to succeed in life, we learn early on the techniques of negotiation. We start negotiating as babies, knowing that when we coo in a certain way, we get a favorable response. When we say mama or dada, our parents respond with smiles, hugs and kisses, so we begin to learn that if we give others what they want, we will get what we want. As we get older, we start learning how to negotiate verbally. Our parents tell us that if we eat our vegetables, we will make them happy and we can get a toy (or whatever makes us happy). Or, if we do what they want, such as cleaning our room, we get a certain CD that we have wanted. As we mature into adolescence and early adulthood, we find that art of negotiation comes in handy when we want something more substantial. For example, we will do anything in order to get our own car and will offer to do things for years to come in order to have that special transportation. As adults, we have already learned that negotiation is the basis for acquisition. In business, negotiation is used multiple times daily in order to attain whatever is necessary to make a deal. In marriage, negotiation becomes the art of staying together, and when marriages don’t work out, we see that our negotiation skills are what we need in order to get out of the marriage as intact as possible. It appears that negotiation is central to our lives, since we find that we are forever negotiating in one form or another. So is there a difference between negotiation and mediation, or are they the same?

Negotiation* is defined as:

1.conferring, discussing, or bargaining to reach agreement make arrangements for, settle, or conclude (a business transaction, treaty, etc.) transfer, assign, or sell (negotiable paper) succeed in crossing, surmounting, moving through, etc.

Whereas, Mediation* is:

1.The act of mediating; intervention.
2.The state of being mediated.
3.The act or process of mediating; friendly or diplomatic intervention, usually by

consent or invitation, for settling differences between persons, nations, etc.

* Webster’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

To recap, negotiation is the art of reaching an agreement with another party through discussion and compromise, and mediation is ending a disagreement between at least two parties by use of a middle person not having anything to do with the disagreement. We use negotiation regularly in everyday life, but we use mediation only when we can’t come to an agreement with the other party directly. While both methodologies employ similar aspects, mediation utilizes a more formal protocol.

In our everyday lives, we employ negotiation in order to help facilitate what we want and to make our lives easier. In a marriage, the art of negotiation is paramount to allowing the marriage to continue. When marriages can’t continue, for whatever reason, it is usually a sign that the negotiations have broken down, and mediation becomes necessary in order to allow the marriage to either continue or end. Counselors serve as objective third parties (mediators) with appropriate training who essentially assist the parties in finding answers and in learning to negotiate their problems. When counseling doesn’t work, which means the parties no longer wish to negotiate their issues, then mediation is the next step, orchestrated by Family Mediators who assist the parties to negotiate the marriage’s end and allow the participants to continue with their separate lives.

Ending a marriage by mediation allows the participants to leave the entity with a measure of respect and an enhanced ability to move on with their lives. While “moving on” is very difficult for most people who have been married many years and who elect to end the marriage, it is a necessary and meaningful result. Those people who can’t “move on”, are strongly urged to get counseling to assist them in their new roles.

What Should Be Included In A Restaurant Cleaning Checklist?

Most restaurants, as a policy, issue uniforms to their staff, which prevents the cross contamination of food. If staff are allowed to wear their normal day to day clothing while preparing and serving food, it could get contaminated with bacteria, dust, fur and dirt from the outside world, which is why kitchen staff and servers are issued with uniforms, and such items as hats and chef aprons. Even front of house staff are given server aprons, and at times even bib aprons which cover their entire body, to ensure that the food served in the restaurant is clean and hygienic, making sure that customers won’t fall ill after consuming it.

There are areas in a restaurant which should be cleaned on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, with deep cleaning done by a professional cleaning company at least once every six months. This applies to both the front and back of house, and it is best to give such responsibilities to specific staff members so that there is someone accountable for it at all times. However, keeping the work area clean and sanitized should be the responsibility of all staff working at the restaurant, since closure of the business will mean that they will be out of a job.

One of the best ways to make sure that everything is being cleaned properly, without any areas being missed out, is to have a cleaning checklist. Creating a cleaning checklist makes it easier for the staff to do a better job, as well as for management to monitor the work, and there are no excuses which people can give for not keeping things clean according to procedure. So, what are the things that should be included in a restaurant cleaning checklist?

For starters, checklists should be made for daily, weekly and monthly cleaning, and staff assigned to both supervise and carry out the work.

For the front of house, the cleaning checklist should include the following.

Daily Cleaning:
Wipe clean the walls.
Clean and sanitize tables.
Wipe down and refill (if required) the condiments and salt and pepper shakers.
Wipe down all counters.
Clean seats and benches.
Run cloth napkins, tablecloths, bib aprons and wait staff aprons through the washing machine or put them to be laundered.
Vacuuming carpets.
Take out trash and sent the relevant items for recycling.
Clean the interior and exterior of all the trash and recycling bins.
Sweep and mop the floors.
Clean and sanitize restroom surfaces.
Disinfect toilets and ensure air freshener is placed.
Wipe down bathroom sinks.
Empty out feminine hygiene product bags.
Take out the bathroom trash.
Sweep and mop the restroom floors.
Refill soaps and sanitizers and paper rolls.

Weekly Cleaning:
Dust and wipe down light fixtures and other fittings.
Wash glass windows and doors.
Disinfect door handles.

Monthly Cleaning:
Dust or vacuum any decorations or wall art.
Dust or vacuum curtaining or other window treatments.
Check ceiling for cobwebs.
Wash and clean walls thoroughly.

For the back of house, the cleaning checklist should include:

Daily Cleaning:
Wipe down splashes on walls.
Clean equipment making sure to clean the underneath of each: grill, griddle, range, flattop, fryer.
Change foil lining on griddle, range and flattop.
Wipe down smaller equipment: coffee makers, microwaves, toasters, meat slicers.
Disinfect prep area surfaces using surface sanitizing chemicals
Clean dispenser heads in soda fountains, and the tips of the soda guns.
Sweep walk-in refrigerators and storage areas.
Wash the utensils, small wares, flatware, and glassware and let them air dry overnight.
Wash rags, towels, chef aprons, and uniforms, or put them to be laundered.
Refill soap dispensers and replace paper towel rolls.
Clean and sanitize sinks.
Take out the trash and send relevant items for recycling.
Disinfect the waste disposal area and clean the trash cans.
Sweep and mop the floors with floor care supplies and disinfectant.

Weekly Cleaning:
Clean ovens, including walls, doors, and racks.
Wash and sanitize refrigerators and freezers.
Sinks and faucets should be delimed.
Boil out the deep fryer.
Clean any anti-fatigue mats.
Use drain cleaner on the floor drains.

Monthly Cleaning:
Wash behind the hot line to prevent clogging.
Remove built-up grime from coffee and espresso machines by running cleaning and sanitizing chemicals through them.
Clean and sanitize the ice machine.
Clean and sanitize freezer.
Clean refrigerator coils to remove dust.
Empty grease traps.
Washing and cleaning walls and ceiling to remove grease buildup.
Washing and cleaning vent hoods.
Replace pest traps.

By following a comprehensive checklist on what should be cleaned at the restaurant, can ensure that you always have a clean and hygienic environment conducive to food preparation and serving. It is also important that the food in the restaurant is stored in a proper manner, to prevent cross contamination, with properly labeled containers. Freezers and coolers should be checked daily to ensure that the different types of food are being stored in the right manner.