Utility Room

Spring Cleaning

The weather is not great this week (rainy), but in my gut I know that spring is finally here to stay in Boston. It’s been a long winter and I’ve got the itch to do some serious spring cleaning. I am in such a good mood when my house is really deep-down clean. With two…

The weather is not great this week (rainy), but in my gut I know that spring is finally here to stay in Boston. It’s been a long winter and I’ve got the itch to do some serious spring cleaning.

I am in such a good mood when my house is really deep-down clean. With two toddlers in the house, I feel like I can barely keep it “tidy” most days, let alone scrubbed down and organized.

My husband and I were talking about this the other day – about how hard it can be sometimes to keep a really clean house with children. I feel like it’s been especially hard since I’ve been working so much lately and Michael’s in the middle of finals. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

And here’s a dirty little secret: I actually hate cleaning. LOVE having a clean house, but don’t especially love the act of cleaning a toilet or doing the dishes (there’s no dishwasher in our super old house).

It’s definitely not in the budget right now, but I get fliers all the time for cleaning services. I’ve been surprised at how cheap some of them are – only about $15 per hour. I’m sure a lot of good could be done in just a few hours a week or every other week.

So, what do you readers think about hiring a cleaning person? Do you do it? Would you do it if you could? Are you/would you be embarrassed about admitting it to friends, family and coworkers?

Join the Conversation

44 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning

  1. I searched out and even interviewed a very nice girl to come and clean my old place up. All I wanted was the floors cleaned, the bathroom cleaned and the bedsheets changed. That’s it. I picked my least fav things to do and asked her to give me a price. Yet, even with the low low prive of $40 every two weeks I still haven’t hired her. I don’t know- it almost feels like I *should* be able to do it all… kwim?

  2. I TOTALLY would, if I could. I heard, though, that the more you clean before they come…. the deeper the clean is when they leave.
    It’s so commonplace now, there’s no way I would be ashamed to admit it. I would just be helping someone else make a living, right?

  3. I would love to get a cleaning service, but all of the quotes that I’ve gotten are between $140 and $200 a month for a twice-a-month very basic cleaning. I’d rather spend the money on furniture and rugs and lamps and pillows…

  4. I totally understand feeling embarrassed about it, I would a bit too, but as someone whose Grandmother was a cleaner all her life there really shouldn’t be any shame in it. She never begrudged doing her job and you’re giving someone a job-I think it makes sense. That said, I would always make sure my children did *some* cleaning-I wouldn’t like it if they grew up never having to do that. But to get a cleaner in weekly to do the ‘deep’ stuff-I will as soon as I can afford it!

  5. I had a cleaning service once a week up until last December. It was extremely hard to give up, especially because they came on Fridays and coming home from work every Friday and walking into a freshly cleaned home was glorious!
    But with the economy the way it is (and we sell luxury items) it didn’t seem right to keep paying $80 a week for something I could do myself. We have gotten fliers for cheaper services, but the people we had came recommended from a close friend and I trusted them in my home every week without us there. Wow, I ramble…point is, I will be hiring them again once things pick up, but I will also ask if they can work with me on the price.

  6. I have had a house cleaner for the past 4 years and adore her. She comes twice a month — every other Monday — and charges $80 for a 2,000 square foot house.
    At $160 a month, it is such a bargain to have my weekends free to enjoy my kids. (I’m a full-time working mother.) I still have to do the clutter clean up throughout the week, but I love not having to spend a Saturday or Sunday scrubbing!

  7. I’ve hired individuals to come clean once every 2 weeks and that’s always been really helpful. Not embarrassing!! (Embarrassing is how dirty my house gets if I’m left to my own devices – because cleaning is low priority to me!)

    If you can find some one for such a low price that you trust, go for it!!! It helps a lot!! I definitely learned a lot from my various cleaners….and am a better cleaner myself because of it!!


  8. I would totally do it! We’re students living on loans as it is, so not in our budget. But it’s no secret among my family and friends that I HATE to clean!

  9. My significant other hires a lady to come once a week to clean his place but if I’m there I’ll clean before she comes because I’d be too embarrassed about someone seeing his messy place – even if that’s the reason they’re there!! Ridiculous I know! So, would probably never hire someone myself for that reason.

  10. for working parents, I’m inclined to think that it’s almost a necessity. we both work full-time and it’s hard to keep out house in tip-top shape without any kids! especially if we want to enjoy the weekend at all.

  11. I grew up having someone come in and clean once a week and I have had someone clean my house bi-monthly as an adult. It just wasn’t worth the expense. I don’t have kids and they charged me $120 a visit and I am pretty clean to begin with! Now, I just do it myself.

  12. This post totally struck a chord as I completely agree that it is so difficult to keep a house clean with kids! I feel like I could spend my life cleaning if I allowed myself to. I think there is no shame in having a cleaning person. In fact, here in Brussels, everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) working moms and stay-at-home moms alike have them. If you can do it, go for it!

  13. For me, it all comes down to where I want to spend my time. I love having the house clean (but not doing it myself) and having someone come in twice a month isn’t something I’m willing to give up. I share my housecleaners with my friends, too. It’s totally worth it! There’s no shame in deciding that you’d like to spend more time with friends/family/doing something other than cleaning.

  14. I had a cleaning lady for several years and LOVED her. I justified it because when I’m not working I want to enjoy time with my children and not cleaning! Last summer with the cost of gas, we had to stop using her and I miss her tremendously. It always felt GREAT to come home from work and have my entire house clean at once! Right now when I clean myself, I only have time to do one thing at a time, very rarely do I have a huge block of time to deep clean the entire house at once. Before I had Celina, I tried using a service and I’ll say that there was a huge difference between a company who charges you a pretty penny but only pays their employees minimum wage and a self employed person. I liked the fact that I knew all the money I spent was going straight to her. And she worked hard to keep my business. I got the feeling with the company that the employees didn’t really care about keeping me as a customer. I was just another house.. I say do it!

  15. I’m not going to say I would never do it, but my husband would not be comfortable with it. He doesn’t trust many people, and to have someone in our house without us, he just wouldn’t go for it.

  16. I wouldn’t be embarrassed at all! I’d love it…the more hours the better! You can’t do everything! And, I would if I could.

  17. You blog is great.

    If I could afford it (and I probably could if I packed my own lunches instead of eating out, hmm), I would have someone come in to do the deep cleaning too, plus the dreaded dusting. It would have to be a good fit, though, and I would definitely have to feel that I could trust them completely.


  18. One (compound) word: baseboards. I hate cleaning baseboards, so I hired someone to come in and clean them all, and get all the dog hair that accumulates in the corners (I have carpet). Best money ever spent.

  19. The linen closets in those pictures, I get. But who would want their kitchen cabinets looking like that? There’s clean and organized, and then there’s Old Mother Hubbard. :)

  20. I love our cleaner. We don’t have kids, but my husband and I both work full time and he also teaches night school, and it was just impossible to stay on top of the chores. I’m so much happier using my precious spare hours in the garden or crafting, rather than scrubbing the tub. It’s 100% worth it to me. And many of our friends and family also use cleaners, so no embarassment.

  21. I hired someone a few months ago and it is the best $120 a month (she comes twice a month) I’ve ever spent! I am lucky, I have my little part-time gig to supplement our income. I hired this lovely woman because I was tired of spending more than half of my Saturday cleaning my house! I feel like I have my weekends back. :)

  22. While I do love to clean, it is so hard keeping up the everyday things. I dont have two kids running around but it always amazes me the mess a grown man can make.

    I we could afford it, hopfully at somepoint, I would love to be able to get someone in my house every other week to do a serious deep cleaning- things like washing drapes, washing windows, dusting the baseboards, etc. Till then I can call myself the maid because I do it.

  23. We too gave up our 2X month house cleaner last summer. Yes, we certainly do miss her.

    But I am now working from home, (post lay off) and making less $$$.

    Someday, when we have her back again, she’ll be much more appreciated!
    Steph in Metro NYC

  24. When I was fresh out of college, I worked as a housecleaner, and I realized what an amazing bargain it was for the homeowner. I vowed then that I would definitely get a housecleaner someday! And now, I get a housecleaner to come in twice a month. Just as I thought, it’s worth every penny! Really, find a way to add it to your budget. It frees up so much time and feels like such a luxury! Even in this down economy, I decided to keep the service and forgo other luxuries.

  25. i clean my 1500 sqft apt. myself and really do not understand people who need to hire someone to do that for them. My neighbors who are a young couple in their late 20s (wife does not work, no kids, no pets) have a cleaning service, and their illegal immigrants cleaning people broke into my unit one day after they were done cleaning downstairs. I have also heard countless horror stories of cleaners committing identity theft, etc. so this whole thing of acting noveau rich by hiring cleaning ladies is a big huge NO in my book. Unless you live in a castle or have 12 kids, you should be able to clean your own house!

  26. Before we moved from Utah, Luke was crammed with finals, I was working full-time and had just started my master’s program – and our kitchen and bathroom were disgusting and no way did I have time – and we didn’t even have kids – so I totally hired a woman from our congregation to deep clean the whole thing – twice – it was worth every penny!
    I too love a clean house – and I do actually enjoy the cleaning provided the baby is sleeping and I’m well-rested. And I cannot start a birthday without a clean house. It’s some omen for the year or something.
    But once we have a “real job”, I’ve told Luke that would be my ideal present – a thorough cleaning once a year, every year!

  27. this is something i’ve mulled over several times, but haven’t taken the plunge yet. i have three little boys and no time to clean. okay, i could make time, but i’d rather spend it with my kids.

    for me, the larger issue is the expectations we are placing on ourselves and others. the reality is that raising small children is very time-consuming and demanding and important work, and it’s perfectly okay if some chores fall by the wayside for a while. still, i rarely host friends because my house is always in disarray and i am embarrassed, guilty that i can’t do it all–even though i would never expect it of anyone else.

    it does get better! my youngest just turned three, and it’s finally becoming easier to keep up with the bare minimum.

  28. whatever you do, please don’t hire one of those services like ‘The Maids’ or ‘Molly Maids.’ They treat there workers terribly and have very poor cleaning practices (essentially, they’re just pushing the dirt around). See the fantastic book Nickled and Dimed for more on that. Provided you’re going to pay fairly, hiring an undocumented worker would be really helpful for their family, especially with today’s economic climate.

  29. I grew up in South America where a good maid was very affordable. She cleaned, did laundry and cooked. She also made a good living by local standards.

    I have thought it over, and if I had the extra money I’d hire someone to help clean. If it were a choice between regular pedicures/manicures or hiring household help, I wouldn’t even flinch. Household help it would be!

  30. No because it would never be done as well as I’d think I could do and the house isn’t that big. However, would love a painter..one who would paint the rooms the colors I pick out. I’m the world’s worst wall painter but love to change room colors. Working parents definitely should hire cleaners if they can afford it.

  31. I actually really love to clean, so I probably shouldn’t pipe in on this post, but I just couldn’t help it.

    This post made me think about another one I read recently about “outsourcing our homes”. At what point do we draw the line? Take out dinners, pre-packaged food, gardeners, house cleaners. At what cost to our children’s view of hard work? Just a thought that Clarke and I talk about a lot, actually.

    My very favorite quote is: it’s not about doing the work you love, but loving the work you do. Sometimes I think working hard is just a blessing.

    But, that said, you guys have a lot going on right now, and I of course don’t judge any decisions :) If I had your talents in decorating, maybe I wouldn’t take so much pride in my abilities to mop a floor really well :)

  32. I would have to have a lot of money to justify paying someone else to clean. Plus, I don’t mind it too much. Some things are totally worth it though. If you hate cleaning that much, why not? I wouldn’t worry about what anyone thinks, it’s your life right? =)

  33. Okay, so I’ll admit to having a cleaner come twice a month. It is only $15 an hour (not through a service and prob. under the table -I pay cash and don’t ask questions) and it is worth every penny. You don’t realize how much gunk you’re willing to put up with or just don’t see until you have someone deep cleaning your house. I work full time so I don’t want to waste my time at home scrubbing tubs and mopping. Plus, if you have kids, wouldn’t you rather spend those couple of hours with them than tackling your house cleaning? If you can afford it- definitely do it. That feeling when you come home to a clean house is priceless.

  34. Oh get a maid!!! Live a little!!!
    You will have more time to do the things you really love to do.
    I have a maid and I just love it.

  35. I say go for it- at least a one-time cleaning. I’ve only done it once, when I had a newborn and a toddler and just couldn’t stand to look at the mess and didn’t have the energy to do it myself, and was amazed at the clean! The only part I disliked was the smell of all the cleaning products….guess my house had never been that clean all at once.

  36. Don’t be embarrassed! I know plenty of non “nouveau riche” people who save on other things so that they can have a cleaning service once a week or two weeks. It is fantastic, and not at all expensive compared to other things middle class people spend their money on. You will still have to clean, though – the everyday stuff, AND the deep stuff, which cleaners usually don’t do. But you won’t have to d it ias often, and your house will never get that depressing feeling that happens when you’ve let it slide for a while.

  37. My husband hired a cleaning lady to come once a month for Valentines this year. It is the best gift ever, he will never top that:) Unless he gets her to come two times a month.

  38. I clean houses for extra money – and my “dirty” little secret is that I much prefer to clean a house that is actually dirty! I have clients who clean before I get there and I feel so useless! It makes me feel great to help somebody make a home. I also barter with a few of my clients – in fact I just brought a home an incredible MCM couch from an interior designer client of mine!

  39. i work part time, my fiance works full time, no children, and we have three cats. even with all of the extra time i have since getting laid off and going to part time work, i find that i really don’t relish cleaning *certain* things. cat hair in the corners, up against baseboards, and on the stairs is one of them. if i could afford to, i would hire someone to come in once or twice a month to deal with those things and other “deep” cleaning jobs (washing windows, dusting, cleaning under furniture). i don’t mind everyday chores and organizing. i think it is just baloney for someone to assume that cleaning people will steal from you, cause trouble, commit identity theft, etc. it’s all about finding trustworthy people. in this economy most people value making money enough not to risk it. also, even though i don’t have 12 kids i still like to spend my time doing more worthwhile things than detailed vacuuming and washing windows.

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