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House Talk

No. 11 - August, 2003

A Fresh Approach to Clean Living
A talk with "clean living" specialist Robin Burns

When Sheila Sabine of the Glass-Sabine real estate team met with Robins Burns, the owner of "Elbow-Grease Cleaning Service," she was amazed to learn more about the business and Robin's involvement in it. Using non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning products, Robin basically transforms environments - and as recently as June 13, 2003, Robin was certified by the Alameda County Green Business Program and became the very first cleaning/maintenance business to go through their program. She cleans homes and offices all over the East Bay Area using products that are free of harsh chemicals - and the results speak for themselves.

Several years ago in Southern California Robin first heard about non-toxic cleaning products. She had already chosen a career in what she refers to as Home Environment Maintenance, but she was skeptical about the use of natural cleaning products; she really wondered how they could possibly get things clean. However, now that she uses environmentally sensitive products almost exclusively, she is convinced that the results far exceed those achieved by using the "old standards." The other benefit for Robin is that she experiences the difference in her own well-being. After years of using standard cleaning products - and inhaling the fumes emitted by the harmful chemicals found in the mixtures - she made the change to alternative "natural" cleaners. She found that widely used poisons were neither "clean" nor necessary. And that change was definitely a move in the right direction: for her clients' health, her own health, and the health of the planet. And, of course, natural methods smell better!

Robin first became interested in the environmental movement in the early 1970's when she and several of her high school friends volunteered at the local Oakland recycling center. Their job was to sort bottles and cans at the center where people dropped them off. The students in turn introduced their parents to the concept of recycling; they worked at a grass roots' level and were instrumental in promoting the benefits of basic recycling.

Running a business using environmentally friendly products is a natural step for Robin. She is a multi-talented individual who finds delight in many of the simple pleasures of life. She loves to grow many of her own edibles and flowers in a magical garden in her own backyard located near Acme Bread in North Berkeley. She loves to hike, bike, cook, sew, read, meditate, dance, and indulge in many of the home-based activities that the rest of us have long forgotten - those hobbies that have been lost in the shuffle of fast-paced lives and careers. As for Robin's career in home environment maintenance, she chose it because she felt a calling to work with not only the obvious dirt, dust and grime syndrome, but also the invisible aspects of "stuck" energy that show up amidst the clutter found in every household. When Robin completes a cleaning project with a client, the rooms aren't just clean - the whole environment has been transformed and uplifted. The sparkling, shiny surfaces and the fresh, sweet smells create an atmosphere of basic goodness and well-being. The people who then enter and use the transformed spaces can feel the flow of new and inspired energy leading, ultimately, to greater balance and sanity in their daily lives. For example, here are a few quotes from clients: "I love to come home after Robin's been here, it feels so good!" "I have more energy to do what I want to do!" "The best thing I did for myself in 2000 was to have Robin come every other week!" "She helps us to feel more sane!"

When Sheila Sabine asked Robin Burns what advice she would give our readers, here's what she said:

1. By all means, stop buying cleaning products that are not good for you (or the planet) and start experimenting with some of the eco-friendly alternatives. Robin will consult and help you find in local stores what works for your specific needs. 

2. Find small ways of creating order in your home; think like a minimalist. When you have a respect for details, the quality of your life will actually improve! 

3. Try to see your home from a fresh perspective and with new eyes - it will give you ideas for creative changes.

To learn more about Robin Burns' services and the use of eco-friendly products, she can be reached at 510-527-8885, or by email at antidust@flash.net.

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For further information or questions for our House Talk column, 
please contact Glass/Sabine by email:  Sheila@GlassSabine.com
or call us at 510-326-5055.

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