Quitters: Why I Quit Cleaning My House


I have a secret. But I can tell you, right? I know you won't judge.

Last spring, I quit cleaning my house.


It began as a way to quell my ever-mounting, pre-wedding stress. How in the hell was I supposed to plan a wedding, work full-time, do Hey Eleanor almost full-time, exercise, cook, be an awesome partner, friend and dog mom.... and keep my house clean? 

I couldn't pay someone to go to work for me, and I wasn't going to pay someone to plan my entire wedding (though a wedding planner was hugely helpful). The cleaning my house thing? I could pay someone to do that.

So I did. And I freaking loved it. 

For the two months leading up to my June wedding, we hired a company to clean every other week. They do the normal stuff, like wash the floors, clean the stovetop, but also things I never, ever got around to doing, like sweeping my front entry way, vacuuming the couch and washing the baseboards. Plus, they make the beds like you live in a hotel (my dream!). 

Initially, I was pretty ashamed of it.

Just who do I think I am?! Paying someone to clean my house for me?! Isn't that just a thing everyone should be doing themselves. I'm certainly not incapable of it in any way.  

But I loved coming home to a tidy and CLEAN house that smelled like Pine Sol. This is especially great when you have a cat, dog and two humans sharing a 1,200 sq foot space. So much crap and hair everywhere! It's hard to keep up.

The wedding came and went. And guess what?

I never cancelled the cleaners.

You'd think when I quit my job and started working for myself (making waaaay less money), that would've been the first thing to go. But no. I cut back on going out, buying clothes and fueling up my car. But the money we spend on a cleaning service is worth every cent. Here's why.

1. Less Distractions in My New Office

Since I'm now working at home, I'm extra tuned in to my surroundings. Dust bunnies in the hallway? I drop everything and start sweeping. Food-speckled stove? I stop writing and spend 40 minutes chiseling away. Between emails, phone calls and my needy dog, I have enough distractions as it is without getting sucked into a cleaning project. With a bi-weekly thorough clean, there's less to throw me off my game. Plus, I have an easier time letting things go-- the rug might need vacuuming, but the cleaners are coming tomorrow, so who cares! I can leave it. 


2. Less Irritations in My Relationship

Josh and I really do share duties around the house. He's so helpful and handy! That said, he works full-time, is getting his masters and also falls victim to filthy home blindness... which is to say, he doesn't always 'see' what I see. Therefore, I end up cleaning quite a bit more than he does. Having a little extra help with the deep cleaning stuff (for example, scrubbing the tub/toilet) makes it easier to keep the house clean, which means there's less filth for me to see and him to ignore. It's just nice.

As an aside, I initially felt really guilty that I couldn't keep up with cleaning our small-ish apartment. When I finally voiced that to Josh, he said, "That's exactly how I feel every time we hire a plumber or handyman to do a job I know I could do myself, but don't always have time for." I thought he was secretly thinking I was lazy. Nope. Just busy, like everyone else.     


3. I Simply Don't Clean That Well

I don't know if this is 100 percent true, but I just don't think I'm that good at cleaning. Maybe it's just that things almost always seem cleaner when someone else does it. Who knows!

4. Time. 

I'm not an efficient cleaner, at all. It would take me 12 hours to do what our cleaners do in 3. Truly. Not to mention the fact that it can become a black hole. I'll be dusting my dresser and next thing you know, I've got all of my clothes pulled out of it and am in the midst of giant organization project. An organized dresser is great, but did I really need to do that right now? Probably not. 

So there, I said it. I am a 32-year-old woman who works from home and pays someone else to clean it. It's fabulous.


* * *

What's your [sorta] guilty pleasure that makes your life so much better? AND speaking of tidiness, part of the reason I hired a cleaning lady is because Elizabeth Dehn told me to. The gal knows her stuff. And here's an example of a small cleaning task that turned into a major closet purge. Sometimes getting rid of stuff feels oh-so-good.