Your fairy godmother has arrived to offer you one wish, and you can only choose from:
- Get enough sleep every night for a year
- A house that cleans itself
- Donuts have zero calories forever.
Ok, that’s a terrible example, because obviously we are all going to pick number 3. Number 1 sounds pretty good too. But you actually can have number 2… sort of. It turns out that there are companies that exist for the sole purpose of turning some of your money into a beautiful, clean home! (Yes, that’s some pretty heavy sarcasm there. It’s my first language.)
What I’ve noticed when I talk about pro housecleaning with other moms is that we WANT to hire this task out, but we feel guilt. We “should” do it ourselves. We “should” not spend money on something we can definitely do. We “should” be making sure our kids know how to do these tasks and setting an example. We “should” not expect someone else to clean up after us.
I understand these feelings. I have always felt, particularly, that it’s a waste of good money to hire out something so… simple. (Let me pause a moment to laugh at myself, because keeping a house with a whole family and pets in it is a lot of things, but “simple” isn’t one of them. Kudos to those of you who make it look easy.)
Last holiday season, I had been sick for several weeks and also had been working on some construction projects, and I had a holiday gathering planned. Feeling completely overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to get the entire house cleaned, plaster dust and all, while still recovering from a respiratory illness, I decided to take advantage of an Angie’s List deal for deep cleaning.
Let me pause here and recommend an Angie’s List membership. It will pay for itself if you have a home to maintain. I now have several companies I depend on for home maintenance tasks that I first tried via Angie’s List, and a couple who did not meet expectations. When things didn’t work out, Angie’s List refunded my deal purchase without a runaround or a million follow up phone calls.
The need to get the house clean by any means necessary of course forced me to push the “I should really not waste money on this and should instead do it myself even if it half kills me” feelings aside, and I need to tell you… it. was. MAGICAL.
10 reasons to should stop “shoulding” yourself out of hiring a cleaning team:
- The job gets done in a fraction of the time. This seems obvious. There are two (or more) cleaners working, not just me by myself. But there’s more to it. They are here ONLY to clean. They are not going to stop to make anyone a sandwich or go pick someone up from school. They are better at this than I am. Two people clean my entire house in about 1/4 of the time it takes me.
- They are better at it than you are. I had given up on getting craft paint (yes, PAINT) off the protective pads for my dining room table and was researching new ones. The cleaning crew got them so clean you’d think they *are* new ones.
- Excellent cleaning skills save you money in the long run. Maybe you know exactly how to clean everything just right, but most people don’t. Hiring someone who knows how to do it properly can save you money over time. For example, my “ruined” table pads would have cost as much as the deep cleaning, so I came out ahead- my pads were in great shape and my whole house was clean.
- Keeping a clean home is a priority. If you think about the things you tend to spend money on, you’ll realize that usually these are things that are important, need to be done correctly, and which you can’t afford to ignore. Hire a cleaner for the same reason you pay someone to replace your brakes.
- No more arguing about chores. The cleaning people are coming tomorrow, and they do not care if they vacuum up your lego. Suddenly the need for a tidy room is blindingly obvious.
- It makes the effort needed to keep the house clean tangible. Anyone who has ever felt disrespected when a family member trashes a room they JUST cleaned knows that there is such a thing as invisible effort. Every adult in your house will be able to quantify the value of the check you write, and the kids will understand that these people come do this because it’s a job, which means work, not because adults just like doing chores for some weird reason. (Eye roll forever.)
- Not worrying about whether there are dust bunnies under the beds is worth money. Even if you have no problem getting all the cleaning chores done, it’s worth outsourcing the job to a trustworthy company because planning, keeping track of, and remembering which jobs need to be done is taking up mental bandwidth that you could spend on about a million other things. Most of those things can’t be delegated, but this one can. So do it.
- You can be friendlier. If you know your house is for sure going to be cleaned on Thursdays, you can feel confident inviting someone over for coffee on Friday.
- Your time is valuable. People depend on you for volunteer and paid help, even outside your family who need you. You can do a better job of running the school carnival if your bathtub is clean.
- It feels like having magic powers. If you could propose your own list to the fairy godmother who has just come by, wouldn’t you ask to have dinner appear on the table at the right time every night, with no grocery shopping, forgetting to thaw the chicken, or waiting for the timer to go off? And haven’t you, actually, done this by ordering food delivered at least once in a while? Why shouldn’t you and your family get to enjoy the benefits of a clean house the same way? You aren’t shirking a responsibility, you’re just ordering it for delivery.
Come read the rest of my posts about green & frugal living and then hit me up on Twitter to discuss how you are making the most of this season of joy and Thanksgiving.