As a professional house cleaner and home organizer, I get asked for tips and help, probably in much the same way that the lawyer knows to expect the inevitable, “Do you mind if I ask you a quick legal question?” or the vet, “My dog/cat/canary/horse has been having this problem, do you think it’s worth taking them in to get checked?” I am always flattered when asked, because while house cleaning is a lucrative business, it’s hardly one covered in ….erm…”glory” usually! There’s a reason people pay good money for someone else to clean those toilets! 🙂
While trying to decide what to cover in this series, I found myself wondering what exactly people want help with when they ask. Obviously if they ask me to come on over I know what to expect! But just advice or tips…well, I’ve always assumed that most everybody actually knows how to clean. Is that what people want to know? Or are they asking if I know the more elusive secret of life…how do I get my house cleaning knowledge to make a sparkling, clean, de-cluttered, neat house appear??
I’ve been in quite a few homes by now. And I’ve dealt with, probably, the entire range of “dirt” – from the “I’m not sure if this house is salvageable, have you considered burning it down?” level of pure filth, to the “Where, exactly, did you say you saw dirt here? Cuz I can’t see it!” One thing I can say with confidence: innate “cleanliness” has nothing to do with economic status. And one other thing: there is no such thing as “innate cleanliness,” there is only “how dirty am I comfortable in allowing my house/surroundings to get?” Because let’s face it, that saying, that “Nothing is certain except death and taxes” is incomplete: it should be, “Nothing is certain except death, dirt and taxes!”
Really, a clean house depends on only a few things.
- First – those who live there. Are there little ones running around undoing every bit of cleaning as it happens?? Are there animals doing their animal thing, shedding and other unmentionables? Do the people in the house make any effort at daily combating the dark forces of chaos that descend?
- Next, the second most important element is this: does whoever who is in charge of the cleaning have enough time, energy and get-to-it-edness to actually do the daily grind that’s required to keep that chaos under control?
- And finally, the last element is this: has “stuff” taken over the house so that no matter how much effort is put in, the house remains cluttered, hard to use and hard to live in?
Depending on the answers to those questions, a clean house may or may not be possible. A home owned by someone with a dozen cats will be harder to keep clean than a home owned by a small family who is never there. A house of 4000′ will be harder to keep clean than an apartment of 700′. So before getting into the nitty gritty of actual cleaning tips, you need to know what your expectations are, what they should be, and what help you may possibly need. That is what will be covered next in Part 2.