A few weeks back, I had a conversation with a married couple and a high school classmate about the benefits of hiring a regular house cleaner. These three people were more than enthusiastic about their “help,” so much so that the classmate said that she “would give up lots of things, but never Angelica.”
Of course, the conversation turned into a Q&A session with my ignorance driving the back and forth.
How did you find her? (Word of mouth.)
How often does she come? (Weekly.)
Does she use her own supplies? (Yes, including her own vacuum, duster, and rags.)
What does she do? (Whatever you ask.)
When the inevitable question about cost came up, the answers were vague, at best. (That depends on lots of things. We’ve been using her a long time. If you can find other people near you who want to hire her, she’ll probably give you a better rate.)
Finally I said, “So, you really like having a house cleaner?” (She’s wonderful. I love how good I feel when I come home after she’s been there. She’s like family.)
“Family?” I asked. “Do you give her a gift during the holidays?” (Of course, we love her.)
I felt inspired by these reviews to thoughtfully consider whether this sort of “help” was something our family could afford. Despite having no idea how much a weekly housecleaning costs, I figured it would fall between $100 and $150 for Angelica, or someone like her, to clean my family’s house.
And so began the weighing of pros and cons. The pros were well outlined in my conversation with those homeowners who have the service. The cons seem only pecuniary.
Regular readers of these essays know my lean toward frugality. And with six people in my house, you’d think that there are plenty of hands to put to work. But no one likes to clean, excepting (perhaps) Angelica.
After much rumination, I knew it would be fiscally irresponsible for our family to hire a house cleaner. After considerable reflection, I knew that it would be proper for our family to get the work done ourselves.
So, I got to work. The first step was a trip to the store to get cleaning supplies. The cleaning aisle was overwhelming. Who knew that there were some many choices of products to clean so many different things? (Angelica probably.) I grabbed several spray bottles filled with magical liquid guaranteed to make my house “clean, fresh, and gleaming.”
The best item I picked up was the pair of Lysol lavender-scented toilet bowl cleaners that hang on the inside of the bowl. The packaging was persuasive: “It not only cleans your toilet bowl with every flush, but it also freshens you entire bathroom with the fresh scent of essential oils.”
Before I could “install” these wonders on modern society, I had to get the toilets super clean. This is not one of my many domestic jobs, nor has it ever been. My spouse has always been willing to do it. And now that the children are old enough, they are tasked with getting the chore done themselves. In peering into the bowls, it was clear to me that this chore hadn’t been done recently or well.
So I scrubbed and scoured, bring the porcelain back to its white wonder. Then I carefully cut open the package, revealing the powerful floral essential oils and convincing me that my $3.99 was more than well spent.
Ever since hooking these little miracle workers on the rim of the toilet bowls, I have consistently impressed with just how good our bathrooms smell. I know, a little weird, but not unlike the feeling that my classmate described when returning home after Angelica had been there earlier.
So, if you are considering hiring a house cleaner but are unsure about the financial cons outweighing the unknown pros, I suggest you take $3.99 to the cleaning-supply aisle at your local grocer and see if that little investment can bring you a level of happiness near to what Angelica could bring.
This experience helped to illustrate for me that sometimes it’s less about the process and more about the feelings engendered by the result.