Steam-powered technology might often be viewed as a thing of the past, but the technicians at Howard's Steam Clean use it daily to clean carpets and upholstery in modern homes. They use a truck-mounted system to force dirt, allergens, and soil out of fibers, instantly vacuuming away the resulting dirty water into a holding tank so the pollutants don't wind up back in the air. They employ similarly large machinery on tiles and grout, using heat and water pressure to scrape away stains that might otherwise be permanent. They also offer window-cleaning services, scrubbing panes inside and out so that passersby can see how clean the carpets inside are.
Knickerbocker Gallery is a family-owned showroom whose copious inventory of furniture and home-decorating accessories has been used to furnish upscale home showcases such as Homearama. Empty space and wall safes containing rare sandwiches can be covered with framed prints ($49–$389) displaying such artful imagery as cups of espresso ($49), sun-dappled wine fields ($63), and reclining nudes of famous yetis (bidding starts at $500,000). Table lamps (starting at $29) and buffet lamps (starting at $59) will bring less spooky luminescence into any enclosure than a common candelabra. Fouled fowls and mud-wrestling squirrels, meanwhile, can wash up in an exquisite iron birdbath ($49). The Knickerbocker showroom also features a large variety of resplendent woodcraft dining room, office, and bedroom pieces.
Liberty Dryclean $3.99 banishes stains with dry-cleaning services for apparel as well as fabric-bound home décor. Business shirts, blouses, pants, jeans, and dresses sans beads or sequins emerge from the inner depths of the store looking refreshed and bearing slideshows of their vacation away from the closet ($3.99 each). Short coats and jackets shed their sullied appearances ($5.99 each) as their down-filled companions elicit extra care to maintain their fluffy complexions ($13.99 each). Prom-hopping debutantes can touch up their formal dresses between appearances ($15.99 each), and meal-scarred tablecloths reinvigorate dining rooms and Sunday brunches alike after a thread-count makeover ($12.99 each).
Since 1989, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has saved more than 1.5 billion pounds of possessions from nearby landfills, earning mentions on Dr. Phil and a starring role on A&E's Hoarders. After booking appointments, clients receive a two-hour window during which the crew will arrive, as well as a warning phone call 15–30 minutes before its actual appearance. Once onsite, the team quickly clears away 19 types of undesirable items from cluttered homes, businesses, and construction sites, loading them into their truck before thoroughly cleaning the vacated area to make way for life-size statues of Felix Unger, the patron saint of cleanliness. Once loaded, the bric-a-brac makes its way to recycling centers, donation drops, and safe disposal sites, preventing usable furniture, computer monitors, and worn-out banana suits from languishing in landfills.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.