How Hiring a House Cleaner Made Me Happier, Healthier and More Productive

The transformation in my outlook was remarkable. Now I could see the toothpaste splatters on the bathroom mirror or the balls of dog hair tumbleweeding across the floors and shake it off; rather than fretting about the impossibility of ever catching up, “M’s coming Friday, she’ll take care of it,” I could think, and return to my own work.

For the first time, my husband and I fell into an easy routine of keeping things picked up. We don’t consider it M’s job to pick up dog toys, do dishes or fold our laundry, so we make a point by Thursday evening to have the house clutter-free and ready for her. That deadline, and the freedom of knowing that’s all we have to do, that the heavy lifting will be done by a pro, means no more danger of letting things pile up — and a drastic reduction in arguing about who does what.

This approach is a definite benefit of working with a cleaner, says Ellen Delap, a certified professional organizer and president of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. The schedule “gives you that little extra nudge that many of us require,” she tells BETTER.

Delap looks at enlisting outside help as a team model, she says. Whether it’s sending out laundry, hiring an organizer or cleaner or using meal preparation plans, “you’re just enlarging your team,” she says, freeing your time to do what you do best.

And what I do best is the work I love: writing, reporting, sharing stories. With several hours a week freed up from cleaning — not to mention a great deal more mental space — I’m busier than ever, in a good way. That’s because I make a concerted effort to use my newfound time wisely. After all, the adjustment to the household budget has to be covered by an increase in my earnings.

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