We leave on a quick vacation soon and in the midst of all the hectic preparations, I decided to call our house cleaner to come yesterday. I took the kids out of the house for the three hours and then when we walked in the front door and I smelled the clean house smell, I immediately said to myself, “That was so worth it.” I know a house cleaner isn’t right for every budget but if you can make room in your budget occasionally for one then I definitely suggest it. Currently, we have a house cleaner come about once every three months (that’s what works for our current budget) but my longterm wish is to have one come twice a month.
The cost of a house cleaner depends on the size of your home, number of bathrooms, etc. and I’m sure it fluctuates by area too. To give you a jumping off point though we have a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home in Central California and getting our house cleaned is $120. That could seem like a lot but if you hold back on your clothing budget or your eating out budget or if you decide to drive the old beat up car a little longer then it’s amazing to see how you can find that money somewhere.
So that’s the money side of it!
What I find more interesting though is that usually what holds people back from having a housecleaner isn’t necessarily the money, it’s the stigma. I’ve heard people say “But if I have a housecleaner then my kids will never learn to clean up after themselves” or “I am a stay-at-home mom and since I am home I should be able to clean my own home. I don’t want to seem lazy.”
I’ve definitely had these thoughts. But a year and a half ago, I asked Aaron for a one-time house cleaning for my Mother’s Day gift. For some reason I felt like I couldn’t judge myself with these stigmas if it was for a gift and if it was just one time. And after the house cleaner came and I experienced the process first hand, I realized I was crazy for letting those stigmas keep me down before.
So here’s why I think a house cleaner is worth it, even if they come just occasionally…
1) It keeps me accountable.
I love having a deadline. By Tuesday at 11 am, every little thing needs to be put away because the house cleaner is coming. I put every loose bobby pin in its rightful place. I go through all my clutter spots (the entryway drop zone, my bathroom sink, my bedroom closet, my laundry room, etc.) and make sure everything is put away where it actually belongs. And because I know I’m not going to have to do the second step of deep cleaning myself, I have time to do a little more organizing than usual. I find myself getting in the tidying groove and before I know it I’m organizing the junk drawer or the linen closet.
2) It helps me prepare for a big event (party, houseguests, going out of town, etc.).
I try to time our quarterly house cleanings to happen just before some big event. Those are the weeks where I have a million errands to run and things to coordinate. And it gives me peace of mind to take one major part of the prep off my plate so I can focus on the other things I need to do.
There are so many life events that a house cleaner can help with. I had the house cleaner come just prior to Rosie’s birth. I wanted the house deep cleaned but I had a huge pregnant belly and a sore back.We also had a house cleaner come just prior to having all our family come to town for Rosie’s baby blessing. I had a little newborn and was so grateful for the extra cleaning help.
Or this week, when I made my list of twenty errands to do before we go out of town (car wash, return wood flooring samples, doctors appointment, grocery run, post office, etc.) I looked up at Aaron and said, “We need the house cleaner this week.” I love knowing we’ll come home to a clean house after our trip.
And sometimes it’s not an event at all, but you just need help. Like when I was first trimester pregnant and sick and Aaron had just gotten his appendix out and Ford and Eleanor were sick (all at once!). I had gotten behind on chores and just wanted a fresh house free of germs. So worth it.
3) My whole house is clean at one time.
This is the part that really gets me. I’ve done all the systems (clean the toilets on Monday, mop the floors on Tuesday, dust and vacuum on Wednesday, wash windows on Thursday) and while they can work, my house will never be clean all at once. With three young kids, I just can’t set aside a block of four hours to tidy and then scrub every surface. But oh my goodness, that moment where the house cleaner leaves and the house smells good and I know that every surface has been cleaned is THE BEST MOMENT for a stay-at-home, mom-of-three-kids. I just breathe it in and feel the stress leave. 4) Parts of my house get cleaned that I never get around to.
I’m a tidy-er by nature and a deep cleaner when necessary. I do my best to stay on top of the floors and toilets (and even then I struggle) but there are most definitely deep cleaning tasks I never get to. There’s just not enough time or energy. The house cleaner though will dust my ceiling fans and window treatments, wipe all the finger prints off my windows and scrub down all my doors and door knobs. It’s amazing.
5) We are still cleaning in between house cleaning visits so I haven’t become lazy and neither have my kids.
This was my biggest epiphany after using a house cleaner. For some reason, there’s this idea that someone with a house cleaner can just put their feet up and relax forevermore. But unless you have a live-in maid, you are going to still be cleaning.
House cleaner or no house cleaner, I still have to do three loads of dishes a day. I’m constantly picking up toys. I’m sweeping after every meal (or I should be at least ;)). I’m washing and folding all my laundry weekly. I’m swiffer-ing up my floors as needed. And I’m trying to have my kids be apart of each of these too. The kids have to clear their plates after meals and help put the silverware away from the dishwasher. And we play the clean up song to get them to pick up their toys. There are still beds to be made every morning and toilets still need to be scrubbed in between house cleanings (Eleanor currently loves scrubbing the toilet, I’m relishing in that while it lasts!).
And when the house cleaner does come, I’m tidying the whole house like a crazy woman the night before to prepare.
I’m learning that if I want a clean house, it requires constant vigilance no matter what. I don’t think having someone come help you clean on one day negates all your hard work and your children’s hard work on the other days. 6) I find more beauty in my home, as is.
Sometimes I find myself itching for a change in our house. We need a new lamp to light this dark corner! If only we could swap out the seashell sinks in our bathroom! I can’t stand my brown painted cabinets! I want to rip out all the upper cabinetry in the kitchen! But then the house cleaner comes and my house feels so fresh and clean. I don’t know how it happens but those voices in my head itching for updating and tweaking are quieted. It’s like I see my house through fresh eyes and realize that my home is beautiful as is, just the way it is. A clean house is a beautiful house.
7) It’s a great reset.
Lastly, sometimes you just need a good reset. When it’s been a couple months since the house cleaner last came, I start to feel like the house needs an overhaul but it’s all so daunting. Clutter has built up in the usual spots and I’m just getting behind on all the deep cleaning tasks. Then the house cleaner comes and it’s like the house has new life and I can feel like I am on top of it again. It’s easier to clean things on the spot from there on out.What’s your approach to house cleaning? Do you do all your house cleaning yourself? Or do you have a house cleaner come occasionally? Every week? If so, why is it worth it to you? Or have you had a house cleaner come and decided the whole thing just wasn’t for you? Have you ever worried about the stigmas I mentioned? I’m so curious! There can be such guilt surrounding getting a house cleaner.
And if you had $120 to spend on a house cleaner but chose to spend that money elsewhere, what would you buy? Everyone has their different indulgences. I must admit, sometimes I’m tempted to get a new lamp or some new throw pillows instead. Ha!
And if this post has made you interested in a housecleaner, I’d try texting a handful of friends in your area and ask if they have a housecleaner they’d recommend (that’s how I found ours). Or ask on your local facebook group. You could always add a house cleaning to your Christmas, birthday or Mother’s Day wish list! My 16-year-old self would be SHOCKED knowing that I’d prefer that gift over a new pair of jeans 😉
Happy cleaning to you, however you decide to do it! 🙂