Is Hiring a One-Time House Cleaning Service Worth It?

Cleaning the house is probably the last thing most of us have the time or desire to do. You might be thinking what you really want for Christmas is a cleaning service, even if it’s only once.

That’s how I felt a couple months ago.

We only get so many life hours, and there are a thousand things I want to do before sweeping cat hair out from under the baseboard heaters. But after a while that dust starts to weigh on you.

If you’re considering hiring a maid service, here’s what you should know.

There is an obvious solution to not having enough time for cleaning. I told Eric we should downsize to a tiny house, like maybe 400 square feet. Or—even better—a trailer. We could clean a trailer in 20 minutes tops.

Instead we decided to hire a one-time cleaning service. His solution was so simple, and it would require a much less drastic lifestyle change than squeezing our lives onto a fifth wheel.

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What to Expect When Getting Your House Cleaned

We found a cleaning service in our neighborhood and made an appointment to get a quote. The representative said getting our house in order would require seven maid hours at $38 per hour.

It wasn’t cheap but it seemed worth it as a one-time luxury and restorer of sanity. We happily agreed and set a date for the glorious day when the dust would go away. If you’re considering hiring a maid service, here’s what you should know.

1. You Will Probably Be Compelled to Clean Your House Before the Big Day

Where are my fellow Monica Gellers? We can’t help ourselves. Before the cleaners arrive, you will need to spruce up your house and search for anything you don’t want strangers to see (hide the handcuffs).

Throw the rugs in the laundry so they’ll be fresh. Tidy up and do a quick sweep to make it look like you really don’t need a cleaning service. And clear the sink of dishes, because…

Dust mop under the couch

2. Some House Cleaners Won’t Do Dishes or Laundry

I mean, I get it. People don’t want to be rifling through your laundry. Just explain to me how they can get personal with your toilet but don’t want to touch a dirty dish.

Dishes and laundry are the two most burdensome, never-ending tasks that afflict our daily lives. Getting your house cleaned except for the dishes and laundry seems like washing your car but leaving bugs on the windshield.

3. You Could Lose Power and Return to the Dark Ages

All of the above was fine, but then the power went out during the cleaning. We had no internet, people. I could practically hear the Little House on the Prairie theme song.

One of our electrical sockets had a loose wire nut connection. As three house cleaners made their way through each room of my home, their multiple vacuums put enough heat through the socket to finally separate the wires, causing the power to go down.

Using Dyson handheld vacuum

Eric and I work from home, so losing power in the middle of the workday isn’t fun. No curling up in a blanket for a game of crazy 8’s while swapping life stories surrounded by romantic candlelight. Instead, we faced lost work hours and the threat of missed deadlines as we rushed to save the internet.

We reset the circuit breaker and the internet came back with most of our power—yay!—but the office and kitchen remained in the dark because of that bad socket. After three days of checking, tinkering with and replacing several sockets, Eric and his brother Andy found the offending socket and fully restored the electricity. Until then we worked with extension cords zigzagging around the house.

Eric and I have a saying: Electricity is the foundation of a good marriage. Society wants you to think it’s trust or open communication, but lose your electricity and see how long the magic lasts.

4. Cleaning Makes Your House a Mess

After the cleaners leave, you will have to put your house back together. Bless the hearts of our house cleaners—they vacuumed under and behind couches, chairs and beds, and they dusted every lamp and display shelf. Their job is to get everything clean, which requires moving furniture and rearranging shelves. Your job is to put everything back.

Vacuuming the couch
I recently read that you’re supposed to vacuum your couch once a month. Does anyone do this?

The Verdict

We lost time by hiring a cleaning service. It took me about half an hour to readjust the shelves, rugs, furniture and blinds. And Eric and Andy spent more than seven hours fixing the electrical problem. The verdict: usually it’s best to do it yourself, especially when it comes to your home and garden.

However, I’m also a big advocate of treating yourself. Life is hard enough. If you have the opportunity to get help now and then, maybe you should accept it. If your sockets are in better shape than mine were, you probably could save yourself some time with a maid service.

Would I try a cleaning service again? I think so, but only after we finished getting all of our sockets up to date. The more important takeaway is that Eric attained husband-of-the-year status for hiring us a cleaning service, even if things didn’t turn out as planned.

If you stick with the DIY route, stock up on efficient cleaning supplies to make your housework easier. Try my favorite cleaning tools for people who hate cleaning.

Get more ideas for tidying up your house.

9 thoughts on “Is Hiring a One-Time House Cleaning Service Worth It?”

  1. Tara, this post is packed with Epic Truths. But, like the maid service, I also don’t want to know about your handcuffs.

    Thx for posting.

  2. lol..I remember when this happened…..I am sure you would rather not remember it! It was a great “gift” that Eric gave you! It was awesome when Eric and Andy figured out the electrical problem and fixed it! Your house is always clean and tidy….we have alot of clutter and “whimsy” but we clean it together since Prentice retired so not too bad. Used to think it would be nice to have a cleaning service but I dont want people in here seeing all our stuff.. at least with all the new cleaning products (swiffers, etc.) it makes it easier than in the good ol days when I scrubbed the floors on my hands and knees! the marriage and trust thing..try having your central ac break down for over a week in July in Las Vegas and see how the magic is! (we said if we could make it thru that we could make it thru anything!)

  3. Tara- Just discovered your site & love it! So many helpful tips! I’m an interior designer & lighting designer and moved into an MCM gem in Minneapolis this past summer. I treat myself to an intense cleaning once a year. I also have a German mother-in-law that cleans even more intense than professionals. She cat-sits when we’re gone and cleans.

    I’m tidy but let dust settle too. I life saver for owning 3 long haired cats is my Roomba. Best investment ever! I empty about 1lb of cat fur a day.

    • Haha, thank you Timmy! I always find pounds of cat hair collecting under the heaters and on the staircase. I like the idea of trying a Roomba. And send your mother-in-law over to my house!

  4. I’m a house cleaner and I put everything back to where it was, sometimes I’ll take a picture so I remember how it was so I can put it back properly.

    • That’s good to hear, and a great idea about taking a picture. I want to try another house cleaner eventually, maybe as a once a year gift to myself. Maybe next time will go a little better! 🙂


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