The Life-Changing Magic Of Hiring A Cleaner
Marie-Kondo, I have failed you.
It was a long-time coming. My office was in an embarassing state of awry, I’d already lost the colour-coded weekly cleaning checklist I’d spent three hours making and the coffee rings imprinted on my bedside table were a sad reminder of both my addiction to caffeine and my lack of ability to keep on top of my cleaning. It took one moment of madness. It stemmed from a realisation that I would never be able to clean my snazzy new mirror and not leave telltale wax on/wax off streaks only Mr Miyage could love. Followed by frustration that I was having to spend eight and a half minutes watching an instructional YouTube video that promised to teach me how to do it properly. Add a well targeted Facebook ad for the aptly named Queen Of Clean who told me that I could spend more time doing what I love and less time cleaning my home. The queen didn’t have to tell me twice.
Let me tell you, it’s been life changing.
Cleaning has never been my forte. As a teenager, I was in constant battle to find an agreeable level of mess that I could maintain and my mum could just about live with. My floordrobe has been the one consistency in my adult life and to this day I still don’t understand what cillit bang actually does. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my moments. When Mrs Hinch went viral I thought I had found my spark, but after spending £37.49 in Home Bargains on sponges with names and personalities, my cleaning fire went out, and Minky, Vera and Stewart lay abandoned underneath the sink. I’ve just never found the happy medium when it comes to cleaning. I picked up both ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up’ and ‘‘The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck’ in the same Amazon order, and I think that sums up my approach to it: polarising, and confused. I’m either scrubbing at my skirting boards with a toothbrush, or I’m signing myself up for the next series of How Clean Is Your House?
I may have been horrible at cleaning, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I can’t live in squalor. It always got done, but not without undeniable dread and three evenings of longingly hoping my carpet would just hoover itself. I took great comfort in Chloe’s admission that she too just finds cleaning deathly boring. I may hate cleaning, but the very notion of someone turning up at my dirty house unannounced is enough to have me scrambling for Vera, Minky and whats-his-name again. I'm fascinated by those who don't have to do the five minute scramble before visitors arrive. Part of me likes to imagine Marie Kondo stuffing dishes in drawers and piling toys high in the shoe cupboard in a desperate attempt at maintaining the facade of being a put together human being. Part of me realises I’m just trying to justify being horrible at cleaning. I wish I wasn’t. It’s hygienic, it’s necessary and it feels f*cking fantastic to sit down and put your feet up after scrubbing every inch of your floor. The act of scrubbing the floor though? Not so much.
Justifying a cleaner to myself was simple. I can part with £25. I don’t want to sacrifice the time and mental capacity it takes to scrub my drains. Call me a millennial snowflake all you want, but paying someone else to do it was a no-brainer for me. It was everyone else around me that had the issue. Domestic help is still very much viewed as an upper class commodity, a bracket I don’t fall close to, and this was something people focused on. But does it really matter? Truth be told, I think a lot more people dabble with a helping hand every so often than who let on, for fear of perception. The L-word. Cleaning is a habit, a necessary one for adult life, so if we are unwilling to do so, are we lazy? Perhaps. Or perhaps we just have priorities that fall above.
Laziness; (noun) - the quality of being unwilling to work or use energy.
I’m not unwilling to work or use energy. I’m unwilling to use my energy on a task I find tedious and draining, when I could use the time to work on nurturing a business, or spending time with my family, or doing something that brings me joy, like eating digestives. The time we have is not in endless supply, so if delegating the tasks that I derive no happiness from can buy me some extra time, is it really such a bad thing?
A survey done way back when showed that as many as one in four brits had used cleaner of some sort. It’s not exactly uncommon, but how many of them tell Sam, Dick and Harry down the street? Not many. It’s as though we are embarrassed to admit that either (a) we need a little bit of help to reach Kim + Aggie standard or (b) we can’t really be arsed to reach Kim + Aggie standards on our own accord. I’m a mixture of the two, and I’m not embarrassed by either. I’m viewing it as buying back my own time. Although tempting, it doesn’t mean I’ll be paying someone to complete every minorly inconvenient task in my life, even if I’m certain I could find anyone on Gumtree these days. Time is precious. If getting someone in every week to whip my house back into shape means I can stick a facemask on and have ten minutes to myself to breathe, then sign me up.
Life’s short. Hire the cleaner.