Friday, August 27, 2010

All Systems Go {A Series}: To Clean or Pay Someone to Clean? That is the Question.

Remember when I told you that I'd sworn off systems? Remember when I said I'd be providing a few tips of my own, tips that are very non-system like?

Well, the wait is over.

Here is where I reveal never-before-seen secrets on how to easily and effortlessly keep your house cleanish while homeschooling three young children, working part-time and living in a small space. {I may even turn this into an e-book.}

Hire someone.

In the words of a dear friend and fellow homeschooling mom, keeping your own house is highly overrated.

My kids help with daily tasks like the dishwasher and laundry but the rest tends to fall upon me and I was feeling increasingly loaded down and overwhelmed. The Man and I discussed this issue and came to the same conclusion: I needed help.

I had our house cleaned the first week of August. Because the house is smallish, it took 3 hours. From here on out, it will take 2 hours once a month which comes out to roughly $1 a day. I have a jar on my counter where we dump loose change and dollars. Sometimes I fine my kids if they're naughty or don't pick up their stuff. It all adds up. Don't worry, I won't hand the jar to my cleaning friend. But I will take the jar to the bank when it's full and feel a little better about money I never missed paying for something that blesses our family. And by family, I mean me.

We are not rich. But The Man and I both know that the time and energy I spend homeschooling, working, and keeping up with the daily demands of home and family is time and energy I do not have for other things, like cleaning. And when you break it down to $1 a day, well, that's just a no-brainer.

Some of you may be thinking that if I managed my time better or gave my children more responsibility, I could save that money each month. And you would be right. But this is about knowing myself, knowing our family's schedule, and accepting what is realistic for us during this season.

You don't need a systems guru to tell you how to manage daily life, you just need a bit of common sense and a hefty dose of freedom to embrace what works for you.

Having the house all clean at once makes it way easier for me to maintain during the rest of the month, not to mention that my floor will actually get mopped every. single. month. Bliss. Once The Man saw how insanely happy the all-at-once clean house made me, he knew without a doubt that this was a good decision for us.

So, this is my system and I'm sticking to it...instead of sticking to my juice-and-lint smeared floor.

More to come.


I'd love to know what you think. Do you have a system that you consistently stick to or do you {gulp} actually pay someone to clean? If you have older kids, did you gradually transition the cleaning responsibilities to them?


  1. Awesome that you've found something that works so well. Agreed that it's incredible to have that clean house feeling. It's addictive and the all the world seems in order.

    I only have one little, immobile guy so I'm still cleaning myself. Mondays are cleaning days...and it usually takes the whole day in between baby and students. I wash on Mondays, Wednesdays and/or Fridays only... But with a dorm full of students I think the future may hold some of their hired help. ;)

  2. "You don't need a systems guru to tell you how to manage daily life, you just need a bit of common sense and a hefty dose of freedom to embrace what works for you"--umm...AMEN!!!
    & a double AMEN!!

    love it girl

    i think i should embrace this post
    & then embrace a cleaning company
    but then
    i'm not so sure i could embrace my desire to eat out...all weekend, wink

  3. So right! I'm currently Looking for someone to clean my house. For these same reasons- I can't work and take care of Judah and have a house that looks great . But I get stressed out when it's so messy. I'm learning I'm not superwoman and can't try to be.

  4. I love the idea of a housekeeper. But my big kids are now 8 and 5 and have reached the age of being able to vacuum, clean bathrooms, and take out trash. Plus I realized my mess happens every day when nobody picks up after themselves. We can clean one day and the place is trashed the next, because we just come in and dump on it.

    My mess is the papers I don't file; the laundry I don't fold; the toys I don't chase back upstairs; MY ROOM. I don't need a housekeeper, I need to teach us all to pick up after ourselves every day.

    I'm still working on a system for those messes. Fortunately, my husband's job is all about analyzing systems and putting them in place. He's a good help. Lucky for me, he's also patient and tolerant of my chaotic mind that really struggles with implementing them.

    This momma decided homeschooling was too much to do in addition to all the trouble I have with systems. I sent #1 and #2 off to school at the beginning of this week, and have had enough time in the day to work on those chronic messes so I can spend intentional time with the kids at the end of the day.

    Kudos to you and all the homeschooling moms who bravely commit to doing it all. You deserve a housekeeper every WEEK.

  5. Good for you Marian! How did you manage to find someone so cheap? I charge $80 per cleaning here. Regardless, glad you are happy and it works for you. Don't feel guilty about it ether- enjoy!

  6. I have nothing but admiration for how you figured out what you needed and went for it!

    I thought cleaning would get easier when my kids became teens, especially since we homeschool so we would all be home together. But I had no idea how busy teens are with jobs and outside classes and such. Now I have one gone to college so it's just my daughter and me. Even so, when she has such a busy schedule and I homeschool, write and run a business, it's still hard to fit in the housework for either of us.

    Right now money is very tight so hiring someone isn't an option, but if it was I'd so be doing it.

    Enjoy your clean house and more time to do the other things you need to do!

  7. The common-sense decision, the jar's contents to pay for it, the incredible sensation of the it's-all-clean-at-once . . . now that's a good thing!

    My system: getting all the kids grown and out of the house = two loads of laundry per week (one lights/whites, one dark), about a once-a-month cleaning of the house (by me), and a dishwasher load every other day. Nice . . . but, it's almost too quiet . . . sometimes!!!

    So happy for you.


  8. OHHH!! How wonderful! Someone else to vacuum!!!!!

    you, my friend, are a lucky duck. Good advice though. I may have to pass it on to MY husband.

  9. Wow oh wow! We've debated about this, for the same reasons you do-time and some freedom as a very busy homeschooling mom. I've always wondered about the cost, but that doesn't seem too bad. Just might have to check that out. The whole house clean at once? That would be pure bliss!

  10. I'm impressed you found someone to clean your house so quickly and for so little money! We have a teeny little house and everyone we've ever had has asked for at least twice that much. Oh, I miss those days...

  11. that sounds like a good system to me! maybe some day we can save our pennies to do that. funny thing is, i am actually thinking about taking up a couple of cleaning jobs myself to make extra cash! i didn't know you worked part time too marian! what do you do? i don't blame you a bit for hiring some one, home-schooling alone is enough i bet! love love love your posts!

    (amy beckey) forgot to sign in , ha)

  12. Hahaha! This is a system that I can live with. In fact, right now, in the living room floor lies a bag half full of items yet to be unpacked from vacation 3 weeks ago, expired coupons (because I started a system for using coupons), school supplies, and a fort that I built out of empty boxes. (Since we aren't moving for another month, it seemed more fun to build a fort than pack.)

    I've tried to do the kitchen timer, one-chore-a-day, leave-it-until-someone-else-does-it (never happens), and do it all myself systems. I make a million excuses as to why these don't work. But the bottom line is this: I don't like to clean. I'd rather read, write, cook, or make something pretty. My current system is "Clean every Friday before the parents or in-laws come to help work on the house...but only the rooms they will need to use." I don't like this system either, but it's all I've got.

    I always enjoy reading your blog...always inspired.

  13. My old system?
    Pay the house keeper. Have the kids do chores.
    My new system?
    I'm renting. I don't own it so why keep it that clean for the next guy.
    May be a little off kilter but it works.
    Plus I'm too busy home schooling.

  14. Scooper,
    This is wonderful news!
    I really like your mom's comments, she is so insightful. I echo her sentiment of using the jar to pay for your need of a house cleaner.
    What a wonderful way to pay for that type of therapy!

  15. Yep, we have to look at what works best for our family and do it. Enjoy! :)

  16. Girl, you are living my dream! I have always told my hubby that I am not a stay-at-home-mom because I love cleaning house. Good for you for finding a way to make it work, and for your husband for being so supportive. Blessings!

  17. wow, how good it feels when someone else does those cleaning habits you have been stuck with for years,i have the pleasure of having a house-keeper for how long,i will enjoy it while i in the phillipines for a couple of years gives us that luxury,but one thing i refuse to call them house maids as they do.
    i think every house wife out there should have that luxury,so we could concentrate on more important things in our life,like feeling and looking good because its our pay back from our husbands and kids for all the stuff we put up with.Enjoy Des


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