“How much should I clean up before my appointment?” This is a question we are frequently asked by prospective clients. To some this may seem like a waste of time-what is the point in cleaning before paying for your house to be cleaned? And I would agree, don’t clean prior to us arriving, let us do the cleaning! However, tidying up is certainly something I would suggest prior to a cleaning appointment because it will allow more thorough cleaning to be done.
First off, there is a large difference between the word cleaning and the phrase tidying up. The dictionary would define cleaning as “free from dirt or pollution” and tidy as “neat and orderly in appearance…” (Source: Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America’s most-trusted online dictionary). Cleaning and organizing/tidying gets referred to as one in the same very frequently when they are in fact very different actions. Cleaning usually involves the use of cleaning products, the action of scrubbing surfaces, polishing furniture, vacuuming floors, mopping floors, etc. Tidying up involves actions like picking up toys, laundry and putting them in their designated spaces.
When you hire a cleaning service to come into your home the team will be assigned an approximate job time. For example: 4 hours. The team will be coming into your home with the focus of cleaning. They will be sanitizing and disinfecting the surfaces available to them. If the surfaces, including floors, are cluttered they will spend the time, that you are paying for, tidying up first so that they have an area to clean. This reduces the amount of time that can actually be spent cleaning your home because time had to be taken away from cleaning to tidy up first. This results in more of a surface clean versus a deeper clean.
Perhaps you have strategically placed bins for your kids toys, a basket for your dog toys, hampers for your laundry throughout your home and it is important to you that tidying up be included in your cleaning service. Make sure you tell the service provider you are hiring to come into your home that this is important to you to ensure your expectations are being met. Typically cleaning service providers will be ok with cursory tidying up, especially if you have receptacles (like toy bins and laundry hampers) throughout your home, making the tidying up a quick job.
Conversely, if you are paying for cleaning and you want every minute in your home spent sanitizing, disinfecting and polishing, then tidying up prior to your cleaning appointment will be important. At Caliber Cleaning, Inc. we have a 12-item rule. If a surface (shelf/nightstand/table, etc.) has 12 items or less, we will remove each item to dust underneath it. If a surface has more than 12 items, we will dust around the items instead of under them. A great question to ask prior to a first cleaning appointment with a company is: “Do you pick up and dust/clean underneath items? Is there a rule as to how many items can be on a surface and still have your team remove the items to dust/clean under?” If you have surfaces with excessive items and it is important to you to have a thorough dusting completed, you could either remove the items prior to your cleaning or you could ask your service provider if you could pay for more time. An example of this would be a bar cart or shelf with several bottles and glasses. You could ask to pay for an additional 30 minutes (more or less, depending on the size of the area) and have your cleaning team remove everything to wipe down and then put them back. Another option that you could consider would be asking if you can skip a Bathroom for an additional 20-25 minutes of detail dusting. Most companies will work with you to accommodate special requests. We all realize that every home is different, and every client has different priorities!
The point of hiring a cleaning service is to reduce stress in your life, take something off your to-do list and save you some time. If you have kids that tend to be a little messy, (and if there is a kid out there who isn’t messy I want to meet them!), get them involved in the pre-cleaning tidy up. Have them put their toys in their toy bins, pick up their clothes and towels from the Bathroom, load dishes from the sink into the dishwasher, pick up their shoes, etc. And maybe, just maybe, as a side benefit they will want to keep their things picked up in between cleanings so they don’t have to do as much on cleaning day 😊
I was chatting with a client awhile back, and he told me that he and his wife have a whole pre-cleaning routine that they go thru the night before we come clean their home. He didn’t elaborate too much on the specifics but said it included tidying up throughout, taking out the garbage and making the beds. I told him that if they ever decided they didn’t want to do their pre-cleaning routine we offer taking out the garbage and changing linens for no additional charge. He said it was just part of their routine though. Everybody has a different way of getting ready for their cleaning team. Personally, I like to take all my towels and rugs out of the Bathrooms and Kitchen and wash them. Then after cleaning I put out fresh towels and lay down fresh rugs. That makes me feel like everything is super clean and I love that feeling!
Cheers to a clean home!