Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cleaning so the cleaners can come. . .

It has been quite a few years since we had a cleaning service tend to the cleaning in our house. When I worked full-time, we employed one of the standard national branded cleaning companies. I can't say I was exactly thrilled with their work, but it sure was nice to come home to a freshly vacuumed carpet.

The irony was that I always cleaned the house before the cleaning people came. Oh, I didn't vacuum or dust. But I would red up the house. (Isn't that a grand expression--it's
Pennsylvania Dutch for tidy up.) Anything out of place was put in its place. Dishes were most certainly stored in the dishwasher. No dirty dishes in the sink. Clothes were hung up.

And then the cleaning people could come.

When we first stopped our cleaning service, I actually took great joy in cleaning the house--all except for cleaning bathrooms. I felt very righteous about the money I saved by not paying a cleaning service. I don't begrudge the women who work in such an endeavor, but reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s classic Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America opened my eyes to the degree to which such women are exploited by their employers.

So, I do my own cleaning. But yesterday, I had made arrangements for a carpet cleaner to come in and rejuvenate our carpets. The first time I had a carpet cleaner come in, quite some time ago, I naively picked the carpet steam cleaning company that includes St*nley in its name. The guys who came in whizzed through the cleaning, bonking furniture as they went. At one point they moved the dining room table by dragging it--promptly breaking one of its legs. Needless to say, I did not engage them again.

I found a wonderful efficient hard-working local man who owns his own little carpet steam cleaning company. And he has been doing the job ever since.

this photo comes from http://www.123carpetclean.com/-- this is NOT the company I used, and this is NOT my house.


But before he arrives, I have to get the house ready. I move small items sitting on any carpeted floor, so he can sail through his work. Then I vacuum the whole house. And then, after he leaves and the carpets have dried, I put everything back. Whew!

I love the end result, but the whole effort is tiring. (Oh, and the effort seems to contribute to a few back spasms!)

I have to stop getting people to help me clean the house--it is exhausting me just getting ready for them to clean.

19 comments:

Beverly said...

Oh, I miss having someone clean my house. Back in 1991 I was quite ill and out of commission for a while, and my husband hired a cleaning lady. She worked for us for a long time until she decided to go back to school and get a degree in interior design.

She recommended a lady who worked for us then until a couple of years ago when she needed some surgery. The last check my husband ever wrote was to Doreen. I continued to have her come every other week until she was no longer able to. I miss her terribly, and my house does too.

Yes, the Yellow pages are not always the best place to look for services. Often word of mouth gets you the best results.

Kallen305 said...

I would be just like you with a cleaning service and that is why I wouldn't ever have one.

I am not a super neat freak by any means, but if the oil man, appliance man or any other service person comes in my house I notice dirt that I had never seen before.

Enjoy your clean fresh carpets and get some rest!! LOL

JeanMac said...

I have never had help with the house - probably for this very reason - have to clean to let the cleaners come!

NCmountainwoman said...

I do the same thing. And I also shampoo just before an appointment with my hair stylist.

egretsnest said...

I actually found having a cleaning lady was a real benefit. I don't keep a tidy or clean house. I hate cleaning and never seem to be motivated to even tidy until the house is a disaster and then it's a HUGE amount of work. When I had a cleaning lady (ran her own business so I didn't have that guilt), I would keep it tidy and picked up. It never got terrible anymore. I wish we could afford one now . . . I hate knowing that for people to come over, I have to spend half a day or more cleaning to get ready for them. Sigh.

Beth said...

I read Nickel and Dimed, too, and it changed a lot of my actions, reactions and habits. In my other life that ended abruptly some ten years ago, I had a cleaning lady that came once a week. I always felt uncomfortable about it, but it was the what was expected. Now, in my new life where I actually get to be me--I relish housework and bread baking and firewood hauling and garden planting. Maybe some day it will get old, but when I tie up my hair and fill the mop bucket with hot sudsy water and pull on the rubber gloves, I am grateful. But, reading your post did remind me that a service to come in and clean the carpets might be a nice spring treat!

Jayne said...

LOL Donna. I used to do this too. Hubby would just look perplexed as I ran around picking up so that the girl could "clean." Like you, I finally just decided I'd do it, but more often than not, I will do the bathrooms one day and then dust/vacuum the next. Glad you found such a reliable carpet steamer guy. :c)

Ruth said...

I have never had a service because the house always reverts to its usual level of dust and dirt in 2 days. With our dog we have to do the floors every day (not that we always get it done) I did home visits for work for 10 years and realize that visitors do not notice a little dust or clutter. You can visit me an put your feet up!

Dog_geek said...

I've never had anyone come in for any kind of cleaning service, but I know I would be the same way, needing to tidy up before anyone came over. And I would probably still be embarassed by the amount of dog and cat hair everywhere - maybe I would have to pre-vacuum, too!

KGMom said...

I am chuckling at all your responses. And I see I have some company.

Quick clarification--I don't object at all to having someone come in to clean--had I found a local person, most likely young woman, that would have been great.

But I used a commercial service, and Nickel and Dimed really changed my view of such services. They work the women hard, pay them minimum wage, and if they get sick--they lose their day's wages.

Anvilcloud said...

You need a cleaner for the cleaner. :)

Denise said...

You are too funny! However, we do the same thing! I was laughing while I read this because this could be Gail and me. He actually does some pre-vacuuming!! I think our cleaners sail through our house without any problems because of how neat it is when they come in. I would love to know how long it actually takes them. I think it takes us longer to get ready for them then it does for them to clean. I am grateful they come and clean. It is worth it to me!

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Just reading about what you do to get ready for the cleaner-man exhausts me!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The solution to your distress over having the cleaning people come in you house is obvious. . . .pass off the job of precleaning the house to hubby!

mon@rch said...

LOL . . clean before the cleaners show up! LOL

Mary said...

I've been dreaming of hiring someone to help me clean for a few decades. To me, it would be worth every cent to have every other weekend FREE. Of course, I'd clean first...

linda said...

I grew up in Northern Virginia, but my folks grew up in North Central Penna. and being the youngest it was my task to red the table after dinner ( to my folks it meant clear the table). None of my friends knew what I was talking about. Thank you for the memory.

Susan Gets Native said...

We have had a cleaning service come exactly twice in the 9 years we have lived here. Both times, it was when I was in labor with the girls. Made a HUGE difference in how I felt about coming home with new babies.
Steam-cleaning the carpets has never worked out well for us. They just CAN'T get the stains out. (two dogs, four cats and two kids...there is just NO WAY) but I found that my Little Green machine does a better job that those "St*nley" people.
It's nice that you found a "mom 'n' pop" carpet cleaner. At least you are helping your local economy!

Cathy said...

Oh Donna! This really cracked me up. My little housekeeper has been coming for twenty-two years. She'll be 77 this April 13.
I clean like a fiend before she comes.

I don't dust. I hate dusting and she doesn't. We're a great team and when she'll no longer walk slowly up my driveway to ring the doorbell - my life will be sadly impoverished.