Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spring (for) cleaning

I've always felt I should be neater. I mean, inherently neater. Instead, I feel almost betrayed when I am confronted by my strong tendency towards chaos. Take my desk at work, for instance. Chaos reigns. But try as I might, I can't seem to keep it neat. It's like I'm fighting destiny.

Coupled with my husband's tendency to really let things go, our house has serious devolvement potential.

We lived in this precarious balance of hovel vs house for awhile before our first child. As my due date approached, my mother in law, one day, passed a piece of paper to me with the name and number of a woman who cleaned houses. "You'll be too busy."

Yet, I never saw myself as the type that would have someone clean my house. It's not like we lived in a mansion with a miniature train that traversed the living room. It seemed indulgent.

My parents both came to this country as graduate students with very little money. For awhile, their wardrobe was supplied by the Salvation Army for cents. There's a picture of me as a toddler sitting at my make-shift desk, built from 2 x 4's and milk crates.

Later, we were finanically more comfortable but saving was always emphasized. Paying someone to clean the house was out of my comfort zone. I also thought of it like a failure- as in - you should be able to do it all!

Yet, after our daughter was born, we seemed to prefer spending precious time at home eating, sleeping, caring for the baby and doing personal hygiene than scrubbing toilets. Our daughter's nanny (another story for another time) would periodically volunteer to clean ______ (insert any of a variety of areas in desperate need for attention) out of pity.

It wasn't until we moved into our current home, after growing out of our townhome, that I finally agreed that there was no way we could keep up with cleaning this house. Not with our full-time jobs and growing family. I gave in.

It's been over a year, and it has made our lives so much less stressful. I love it when I come home to find the house actually CLEAN; it's almost like a mild euphoria. If you can afford it, it is worth every penny.


  1. I absolutely agree with this. Spending your time scrubbing toilets and vacuuming when you can be spending quality time with your family - IF YOU CAN AFFORD HELP - is "crazy thinking". I've had the same people cleaning the house (once every 2 weeks) for 13 years and I don't regret a penny of it. The cleaning people are licensed, bonded, and "part of the family". One, in particular, is helping me civilize "stubble" the 17 year taking everything off his floor every cleaning day (books, CD's, soda cans, stray papers and clothes) putting it in a garbage bag and taking it to the garage....I asked her one day why she was willing to do this and she replied, "My boy is the same way and I do this to him also." I look forward to cleaning days and "stubble" having to go to the garage and "sort" the garbage bag that is his life.

  2. It's some of the best money I ever spent. The decision was clear early on: I could spend my off time doing things with the (now grown) children or I could spend it cleaning. The kids won. There is nothing like the charge it gives me to walk in the door, smell the furniture polish, and know that there will be clean sheets and clean bathrooms tonight!


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