CARY – With the rubber gloves on, Kristi Butkus was hit with a moment of clarity.
"One day, I was literally on my knees, elbow deep in my client's muckety-muck, and realized I was doing a disservice to my clients," Butkus said. "I was the quick fix. I was the Band-aid."
In 2002, Butkus started her business, Cleaning Solutions of Cary, to try to help people maintain a cleaner way of life. A few years later, she realized her work was not having the effect she'd hoped. She would give houses a thorough cleaning knowing full-well her clients would be going back to their same dirty lifestyles the moment she left.
Butkus decided to try something new. Instead of being the excuse for uncleanly living, she reasoned, why not give those clients the tools they need to get on track?
"I decided I wanted to turn my business around (180) degrees, and start with educating the community as a whole about cleaner and healthier spaces," she said.
Butkus started leading educational cleaning classes through the Cary Park District in 2006. Today, her business offers classes on topics like self improvement, staff development and "breaking the cycle."
The classes are geared toward certain groups and ages, and delivered anywhere from the park district to schools to businesses.
The other side of Butkus' business is to provide consulting to properties on the market or soon to be. Butkus meets with homeowners at their residences to discuss ways to improve the property's appeal, occasionally cleaning and organizing alongside the client.
"I walk the fine line between the homeowner and the agent when it comes to the cleanliness of the property," she said.
That side of things "merges" with the educational services Cleaning Solutions provides, but also "stands on its own." Butkus offers a class on getting a property ready to enter the market. Last month, the class was offered free through a partnership of Cleaning Solutions and Servpro of Southern McHenry County in Cary.
Butkus said she usually puts on about one free class per month.
Her "breaking the cycle" class discusses how to stop the cycle of germs traveling to and from work. It's a class she said helps staff members understand how to stay healthy at the office rather than having to use sick days.
Butkus also has expanded her service to involve younger ages, gearing classes toward teaching kids, from grade school through high school, how to live a cleaner life.
And now, instead of cleaning houses and businesses that are destined to end up just as dirty the next time around, Butkus will meet with individuals or business owners who want to turn the problem around.
After a personal consultation, Butkus provides a plan of action, offering steps toward living better.
"I've slowly climbed the ladder to where I am right now, which is the goal," she said. "The goal and focus for my business has always been to help maintain a clean and healthy lifestyle."
Cleaning Solutions of Cary: What: A cleaning education and consultation business geared toward helping people live cleaner and healthier lives. Information: Call 847-644-4397 or email firstname.lastname@example.org