Cleaning Lady: Why My House is Not Cleaner Than Yours, But Actually Is (a four part series)

I get a lot of questions from clients about the state of my own house. I try to stay away from talking about that because part of why I am a cleaner-of-choice for so many people is because not only do I clean really well, I also do not shame or judge anyone for the state of their house. We all know what makes a house stay clean: habits. So if I’m cleaning someone’s place, the client often feels kind of bad for not already having a clean house. They think it reflects upon their bad habits. They try to explain to me why their house got into the state it is in. This is completely unnecessary because

1. if you kept it clean I wouldn’t have a job

2. keeping a house clean is a serious job that requires time and energy and commitment

3. if you already have a full-time job and/or raise kids, it’s a huge undertaking to keep a clean house

4. I can think of at least 20 reasons why a person might not have a clean house that you probably haven’t even considered and all of those reasons are perfectly “legit”

So no, I really do not judge any of my clients. I have been amazed at people’s strange priorities – like renting a 2 bedroom apartment so you can keep 27 cats in one room, or letting your kids eat anywhere in the house but not having any trash cans within reach- but I don’t judge because primarily, if you called me and you are willing to part with your hard-earned cash, then clearly you *want* a clean abode. Wanting something and being able to do it yourself are two different things. If you want a clean place, then you’re good with me. The only people I might judge are the people who never call me when they know they should.

That said, I decided to finally talk about how I keep *my* house. The difference between my house and your house has both a quick answer and a long answer. The quick answer is what I tell my clients “My house is just as messy as anyone else’s however, IF I need to suddenly clean it for any reason, I can get it super-spiffy in less than 4 hours”

That is the short, comforting answer. The long answer is more informative but I have only told a few people the long answer because I do not want anyone to feel like they are being judged. What I do to have a super-cleanable home is not hard, but it does require a change in attitude. Changing life habits and attitudes is not easy at all. Just ask anyone who quit smoking cigarettes. I do not judge anyone for not being like me because I’m fairly certain part of why I am this way is because I was born like this and because I spent far too much energy worrying about it. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize having a clean house is not nearly as important as I’ve believed it to be. Being happy with your family, being fulfilled in your work, being around good friends – those are important goals. Having a perfect-looking house is not that important. It can make you feel nice but the work required to make that happen is usually not worth the good feels you will get in return. So even though my house is easy to clean and I can get it close to perfect fairly quickly, most of the time, it is not at all perfect. In fact, most of the time, my house is comfortably messy. I like it that way. But it is easy to clean and here is the explanation of how that is possible for me.

I have two aspects of cleaning that are part of my life. I always clean *something* and I have things arranged such that cleaning is not hard to do.  You, my beloved client, do not have one or both of those two things working in your favor. Even if you did, you’d still probably call me once in a while, because you work full time, you raise kids, you have been sick, you have a chronic condition and/or you are alone and just really don’t care that much. This is called “priorities” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having priorities that are larger than keeping a perfect house. In fact, its a sign your life is going pretty well that you don’t spend too much time fretting over something as shallow as a presentable house.

That said, because so many people want to know, I will attempt to explain the difference between how I keep my house and how my clients keep their house.

continue to part 1