TO SCRUB, OR NOT TO SCRUB // Is It Genius Or Lazy To Hire A Cleaner?

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Is it worth it to hire a cleaner? Allow me to answer from my point of view… not just worth it, but one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Of course, I understand that it’s not an essential service – nor is it an option for everyone – but, personally, a home cleaner is a justifiable luxury that doesn’t just make life a little easier, it makes good business sense too.

OH works extremely long hours and I don’t have family nearby (or even in this hemisphere), so the house and childcare duties fall under my remit during the week. On top of that, I’m a self-employed journalist and blogger, and soon-to-be puppy mum. Oh, and I like to get to the gym too.

I hate to resort to tired clichés, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done (which is one of the reasons why lockdown was a positive experience for me – I finally had the time to tackle my to-do list).

When I concentrate on the kids, my work lags behind; when I’m on fire writing wise, the house looks like a tip; when I’m cooking elaborate meals, the kids lose big chunks of time – something always has to give.

As soon as I admitted I couldn’t physically manage it all (not as well as I wanted to, at least) it became obvious I needed help. I knew I didn’t want that to take the form of childcare – caring for the girls was my most important role (and something I was lucky to be able to prioritise, as I freelanced from home).

My writing came a solid second, as it’s something I’ve loved for 30 years and feel extremely passionate about. I would not be a happy bunny if I didn’t have that creative outlet to inspire and give me purpose.

Since lockdown, food has become really important in our household. Unable to go out to eat, we’ve concentrated on delicious, nutritious family meals at home instead, and I’ve found a new appreciation for cooking. I love making dishes from scratch and have even discovering a love for veggies – which I only used to eat out of obligation.

So that just leaves the house.

I adore having a home that’s spick and span – it makes me feel calm and relaxed to look around and see everything in order – I just hate what has to happen first to get it that way… the cleaning part.

If something has to go, it makes logical sense that it’s the thing you least enjoy, right?

Getting a cleaner was actually one of the first joint decisions OH and I made after moving in together, 20 years ago. We both had busy jobs in London and long daily commutes, and wanted our spare time to be just that – time we could dedicate to watching movies and going for meals and having fun, rather than scrubbing toilets and hoovering the floors.

To us, it was a small price to pay to have one of life’s less-glamorous aspects taken care of, so we could enjoy our time together. An investment into us.

When our eldest was born, it became quite essential. I was freelancing around the unrelenting demands of a newborn, and finding the juggle incredibly tough. To have our wonderful cleaner (who I’m still in contact with, 12 years on) come once a week and sort out the cleaning, so I could concentrate on babies and deadlines and the bottomless laundry pile, was my sanity saver.

Also, at that point (in the heyday of magazine journalism, just before the 2008 crash) I could have made much more money in those two hours than it cost me in cleaning fees, so it was a no-brainer.

These days the costs aren’t so easily recouped, but it still doesn’t make sense for me to lose hours out of the limited work time I have between school hours. Plus, I know I’d feel resentful if I was stuck with ALL the cleaning duties, and that’s never a good thing to add to a relationship.

Once lockdown had eased and OH and I were back on track with finances, one of the first things I did was text our cleaner to restart her fortnightly visits.

Not only is it a real morale boost to have the place looking swish (I only had time to tackle a room or two a day, so we never got the full ‘wow’ effect of having the entire house sparkling at one time), it actually helps me to concentrate, as I’m not constantly distracted by the jobs that need doing.

Having the deep cleaning taken care of means I can spend more time on the aesthetics, those finishing touches that make the house homely and inviting. Plus, who doesn’t want an extra level of cleanliness in this hygiene-obsessed world?

A home cleaner is a cost I’m happy to justify for the benefits I get back.

HOW TO FIND A CLEANER:

• use your postcode to find a home cleaner locally

• read the message boards at your local shops and community centres

• ask your friends for recommendations

• check the classified adverts on your local news website

Your next read: Older & Wiser, Why You Should Choose Antique Jewellery

(photo courtesy of Jan Kopřiva, Unsplash)

2 Comments

  1. I struggle with this all the time. We don’t have money to spare and we are only two females in a not enormous apartment. I feel like I should be able to clean up our own space without help and that the money could be spent better elsewhere. So I say that I clean my own home but actually I let it go for far too long and it makes me miserable living in a place that always seems to need cleaning. But I won’t get a cleaner – I’ll just make more promises to myself and carry on beating myself up about my less than clean home. Such is life. (Except this time I really am going change. @flylady, etc… )

    • I totally know how you feel – we paused the cleaning during lockdown to save every penny and I actually didn’t mind doing it at first as I had all that extra time on my hands. But then as my work picked back up again I was falling further behind and it ended up being a bit of a false economy… but I still felt guilty spending that money until it became clear I could earn substantially more by clawing back that time to work instead! I wonder if it’s a bit of a gender thing too, the pressure we put on ourselves – I’m pretty sure men wouldn’t worry nearly so much about trying to ‘do it all’ (well, my hubby wouldn’t, at least!). xx

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