Don’t Judge Me Because I Pay Someone To Clean My House

Photographed by Nicholas Bloise.
There’s a growing cottage industry around ways to make cleaning your house even easier. Apps and websites like Handy, TaskRabbit, and Thumbtack offer ways to set up this service without even having to talk to another human first. Despite this, many millennials are still reluctant to use a housecleaning service themselves. It can be seen as a an unnecessary luxury, or something that’s easier to just do yourself. But there are some who swear by their regular house cleanings. It can be easy to see why: With work weeks growing longer, it can be hard to find time to do a good deep clean yourself, even with the aid of modern appliances. “With two dogs and both of us traveling for work, we want to enjoy what little free time we get,” explains Hannah Bowers. A newlywed, Bowers found that many of her friends already employed a cleaning service of some kind. The thing she kept hearing? Having one is a “marriage saver.” In fact, many of the millennials I found who employ a regular cleaning service were married or in serious relationships. Kathleen Harrison first started using one after she graduated from law school and found herself with more disposable income. “During law school I would be annoyed if [my husband] didn't want to clean or didn't clean in a way that was up to my standards (and vice versa). Now we don't have that issue,” she says. While being in a long-term relationship may be one reason, conflict alone might not be the only explanation. “My apartment with [my finacé] Jake feels more like an adult home,” former R29 staffer Julie Bogen tells me. Before they moved in, she didn’t care about her old apartment enough to invest in regular cleaning.
Similarly, Harrison said that her decision to hire a cleaning service also coincided with their move to a bigger, nicer place. But is waiting till you're more settled really the time to get a cleaner? Based on the glowing reports I got from couples, a cleaning service could be a "roommate saver" as well. After all, roommates share many of the same things as co-habitating couples: common areas, fights over dishes, and the ability to share costs in a dual-income household. If one stress has remained constant in my 10 years of having roommates, its the cleanliness — or lack thereof — of my current living situation. And while a weekly cleaning might be out of the budget for many millennials, a monthly cleaning is generally under $100 (though rates vary by location and home size). Beyond cost, however, some millennials expressed concern over the rights of the workers they might employ. “It was also really important to us to make sure we were hiring folks who were earning a living wage, either through a service or being self employed,” Emily Dake said of her and her partner’s choice to get a monthly cleaning service. She was able to use a local wage-certification process in their home city of Asheville, North Carolina, to make sure that was the case. While not all cities will have a similar service, doing a little bit of research on the front end could help. Additionally, hiring someone who is self-employed, rather than working for a company, may not be as convenient as booking via an app, but it will ensure that 100% of what you’re paying goes to the cleaner. The research may take a little bit more effort, but then your conscience, as well as your apartment, will be clean.

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