Funny About Money’s ruminations on the one-day, one-housekeeping task approach reinforces the idea that simple /= always easy. For a little over a year now, I’ve been doing a similar thing with our housework despite my preference to do big-clean-days which are both time and energy monsters.
More sensible, it seemed, to take it in turn: do the routine things that will drive me batty if not done regularly, and insert one other chore. It’s like a special housekeeping menu.
Routine: dishes every day, trash and recycling when it’s more than half full, picking up the kitchen after cooking.
Insert one: Brush the dog, human laundry (full wash, dry, fold and store), dog laundry, vacuuming. Full counter wipedown (instead of the clean as you go). Clear out the fridge or freezer. Clear the dining table of the inevitable pile of things. Pick up the bedroom and living room.
It doesn’t seem like much but there are plenty of days where I’ve worked 13 hours, cooked dinner and cleared up afterward only to curl up in the corner, refusing to do any more. And any time I tackle more than one optional chore, I find myself sucked into a snowball of more related chores. Well heck, that happens anyway.
- Clearing the table leads to needing to file and/or shred paperwork. Which leads to filling up the recycling that needs to be taken out. Which also means I’d need to pick up all other recycling because why not take out everything?
- On the other hand, properly starting a chore like laundry means all the clothing, or towels or toys shed randomly in various places gets picked up so it goes both ways.
- Vacuuming, oh vacuuming. As we get more things, we have more things the dog can shed on. So the decision: do a half-arsed job or go whole hog? Whole hog means pulling out everything he might have shed on, vacuuming and wiping them down, vacuuming behind, under, and over everything. Three guesses how often whole-hog turns into half-arsed? There are times I’ve considered vacuuming him. Like when my pants are so furry from crawling about and hugging Doggle that I take a few passes at them.
The interesting thing is, while I’m in favor of exchanging money for time, and just as importantly, money for energy, within reason, it seems more obvious to the outside observer than to me that hiring a cleaner would be as a good an investment in protecting my health and sparing PiC’s energy as any other thing we’d try. Priorities, right? After all, do I need to be the one vacuuming or could a good cleaning service do it just as well?
Obviously, a good cleaner could do just as well.
My three objections:
A) It’s work but not that much work. Especially when I lower my cleaning standards. So is it really worth it? (maaaayybe)
B) I don’t want to hire a cleaner and then spend time cleaning before they get here. That’s annoying. I have better things to do with my paid for time. But I know PiC would be inclined to do this. This is a houseful of neurotics.
C) Cost: I’m not prepared to give up something to afford a cleaner just yet.
The assumption is that we have plenty of Disposable Income between the two of us. We do have enough to live comfortably now, with a few luxuries like eating well and traveling occasionally (on a budget of course), but that’s about it if we’re going to keep saving because I still pay a good chunk of Dad’s living expenses. I spend about $20K/year right off the top for his regular expenses, excluding medical or emergencies, and that’s less than ever before. He’s been working himself to the bone to make enough to pay for the utilities, gas, groceries, and any necessary incidentals. I can’t and don’t begrudge what I do still pay but that’s also money not available to pay for cleaning.
Still, I wonder whether it’d be worth stretching or wiggling the budget to make it happen.
Does anyone have help at home? What does it entail and how much does it cost?