Professional House-cleaners, Where Have You Been All My Life?
January 15, 2011
We relocated our cats this past week. They ranked highest on Kaspar’s (growing) list of allergens, so there wasn’t any way around it. Our first prospect fell through, and while Aaron concocted schemes for quarantining them to our backyard and office, I grew vaguely desperate, knowing they had to go (as in gone, not quarantined) and dreading the prospect of leaving them at a shelter. This chapter had a happy ending, however, as a colleague of mine-- and his super sweet wife-- happened to be looking for a cat, came and met ours, and went ahead and put in for two. It was a sad moment (Kaspar cried and pointed after them when they left! Heart-breaking, really), but, honestly, our cats scored: they now have devoted, doting owners, some additional square footage, and no competition.
The next step in Operation Allergy Storm was to rid our space of residual cat dander. We clean regularly—tag-teaming on Kaspar-watch as we take turns de-cluttering, vacuuming, and wiping surfaces down-- but our home needed something more thorough than two sleep-deprived, round-the-clock-working-and-parenting, generally overextended people were realistically going to be able to pull off. We’ve never hired professional cleaners before because, well, babies are expensive, most of our collective cash-flow comes from freelance work (which is hands-down the way to go, but makes us wary of superfluous spending), and we just dropped a fat wad on a heavy-duty air purifier for Kaspar’s room. We decided, however, that it was worth “just poking around online” to see what might be available in terms of cleaning help.
We found a local ‘green’ cleaning business that starts new clients off by “deep cleaning” the entire home-- not once, but twice, during their first visit (so as to get whatever nasties loosen up and re-circulate in the first sweep). They clean with natural products and heat. Cool, right? I called to “just ask” if they might be able to address a situation such as ours, and a few short minutes later had scheduled an appointment for a Friday morning cleaning fest at our home.
I haven’t looked back since. Here’s how it went down: on Friday morning, two young women showed up at our door, cooed over our baby, got the lay of the land, and got to work. We went out for breakfast tacos and children’s story hour at the library, where Kaspar ran into one of his good baby friends and had a ball, and I got to catch up with her mom (Aaron did some work in another room, and I postponed mine for the afternoon). Three hours later, the super-cleaners called, and we returned home— with Kaspar sleeping peacefully in his car seat—to an unbelievably clean apartment. Everything from the bookcase shelves to the burners on the stove sparkled. Everything from our cooking oils to Kaspar’s blocks were lined up neatly in non-cluttered rows. The couch had been double-vacuumed with HEPA-filter wonder-technology. There weren’t any weird smells or questionable surface films to be found. Everything in our home just looked fantastic. Who knew we were such tasteful, organized people?
What these women did would have taken us a week to do ourselves, and that’s only if we weren’t also living here. It was a small miracle, worth every penny. A real gift, given the difficult few weeks we’ve had. I know that this first high may be unparalleled in future visits from these amazing people, but we are sold regardless-- hook, line and sinker—on this service, for life (I don’t care if it means eating more beans than we already do. Beans taste delicious in Texas. And, in fact, a monthly cleaning date costs only half of what the initial endeavor did… this is doable. So I guess we can still eat meat and fish).
As we get to the bottom of Kaspar’s allergy stuff (slash wait for him to outgrow the bulk of it), knowing that our home environment is clean and safe for him is reason enough to bring in the pros. But seriously, I feel like I’ve discovered the land of milk and honey, mama-style, irrespective of weird baby allergy problems. We’ll still do our maintenance cleaning, but to get the serious-business, deep-clean taken care of for us once a month while we go have fun together as a family, instead of spending a weekend exhausting ourselves with this chore (and yielding only mediocre results), is my idea of awesome.
Even if you just do this once or twice a year, I'm telling you: it’s better than a facial. My kid-free friends might think this crazy, but mamas, I’m sure you can imagine (or know firsthand) what I mean. Yep, I think I’m in love.
Tell me—do you hire professional help with any domestic stuff? Was that a no-brainer for you, or did you give DIY a go? Do you cut back on other expenses to make it possible, or do you feel guilty that you’re not adding that cash to the college fund? What other ways (multi-tasking, delegating, husband-bribing) do you ease your domestic burden, and what are doing with all that free time (kidding, kidding) instead?