cleaning service vs. do it yourself
Over the past 20 yrs I've battled with either having a cleaning service or doing it myself. My husband and I are both professionals and can afford to have a service (in the relative sense--money spent there can't be used for something else). However, it's very hard to organize myself or the family for "cleaning" day (stuff picked up, etc). Obviously "clutter"--mail, papers, clothes--are part of it, and I don't control my husband or even teenager in this regard, so it would turn out that on the morning of cleaning service day, I would end up doing several hours of whole-house picking up. In all fairness, my husband handles a large amount of our family affairs in other areas, so it's not so much an unfair time distribution, it's that picking up seems endless and so personal--and I've used the "all your stuff is going into a basket" approach before. It's not just picking up, it's the day is typically a set day and seems often there are conflicts (services will let you switch days, but even that is a hurdle for me). So sometimes I've just tried to clean a room at a time, or one aspect at a time, and do without a service. I appear to hate housecleaning myself, although I did used to think, if only we could all do it together--but that has never worked. I prefer to be outside gardening and so I can clearly tell that, no matter how "fast" you could clean your home, I seem to not want to spend even an hour or 2 on it. I've read Speed Cleaning, and practiced "just do it" on small areas at a time. For a cleaning service, we've tried every 2 weeks and also just once a month with the idea was that "WE" would partially clean by ourselves on an alternate week--but we never did well at that I found that within 2 weeks house was dirty again, and somehow psychologically, I felt like I was cleaning "right before" the service was to clean, anyway, so always felt like the house was clean for a week and dirty for 3. ( I'm no clean fanatic--just talking cat fur puffs, stuff spilled on kitchen floor, and the usual). Anyway, I came to the conclusion that if I were to have a service, I might decide to pay more and use every 2 weeks so things would be pretty clean most of the time--but then the family would have to "pick up" twice a month--and on the cycle goes. I go back and forth between trying to tell myself that it's not that hard to do 30 min of cleaning maybe every day and a bit more on weekends week and be free of cleaning-service day panic, vs. wondering why I'm trying to work 55-60 hours a week at a job and then go home and clean house.
I don't expect complete problem-solving or wondering how come we never got ourselves organized to take care of our home. Plus, I'm trying to stay out of the chore wars game and figure out what part of my own clutter and systems and housework avoidance are making things harder, rather than blaming it all on someone else. It's not out of the question for me to try to re-design a system that requires my husband's help, but...might be better not to hinge success on that. Just wondered, have some of you landed on one side or the other in terms of how you either focused on how to use your time to get everything "picked up" and organized around a cleaning service, or on the flip side, did your own cleaning a bit at a time so that you did not have to have the major clean sweep? And what drove you to one solution or the other?