Do you clean before the cleaning people come? Do you think it is silly? There are many good reasons why organizing before the cleaning people come is a good idea.
First, you are not cleaning, you are organizing. Second, cleaning services can get pricey; you want to get the most for your money. To do that, get the stuff out of their way so they can clean. Third, even if you are your own cleaning company, the same rules apply. So, do you?
No way, that is what they are paid to do, not me! Have you ever tried to accomplish a task only to have one obstacle after another interfere? It is frustrating and that is what it is like for a cleaning service with an unorganized client. Unless an arrangement is made in advance, most cleaning people do not organize. They do not know where your stuff belongs. In fact, it can be uncomfortable because they fear putting it in the wrong place. Cleaning companies are usually hired to clean up the dirt, not the clutter, but in order to get to the dirt, you or they must move the stuff.
Yes, I clean, I mean organize, before the cleaning people come! Once you find your favorite cleaning people, you will want to hold on to them. The way to do that is to make it easy for them to do their job. Most people want to do a good job and you will get more for your money. A couple steps can make that happen: remove the clutter, provide a safe environment, provide supplies, and treat them with respect.
I am my own cleaning service! The same rules apply whether you clean your own house or someone else does the cleaning. If you do not organize before you start, it may take you longer because, most likely, you put things away as you go along. That means you have to stop and start cleaning. To make the process more efficient, the day before you clean, organize. If there is too much stuff to organize, push it to the side, clean around it, and organize later.
What is cleaning versus organizing?
Cleaning involves removing dirt and making your home clean. Organizing involves sorting, purging, and containerizing. An example, washing sheets and vacuuming is done by a cleaning service, deciding which clothes to keep and putting them away is not. If your clothes are all thrown around the bedroom, put them away before cleaning starts. Some cleaning services say they will organize but, usually, it is nothing more than putting your things away.
Organizing means you look at what you have, consider whether it is of use, make a decision to keep or get rid of, assigning a home, and making sure it gets there. You can delegate the last task to a cleaning service. Another example, loading the dish washer and putting clean dishes away is done by a cleaning service, reorganizing the kitchen cabinets is not. Organizing a kitchen involves pulling everything out of the cabinets, deciding what is useful, then putting it away in a meaningful spot. From that point forward, everyone in the family knows where to store the glasses, plates, etc. If needed, use labels.
One final example, dusting and cleaning the floor in a home office is done by a cleaning service, going through papers is not. Specific skills are necessary to decide what papers need to be retained, especially if they are financially related. The papers need to be moved so that the cleaning service can get to the desk and floor to clean. Asking them to deal with a messy office could lead to confidential information being exposed or misplaced and wasted time moving stacks around.
I’m still not convinced, why should I organize before I clean? To get the stuff out of the way so you can clean what is underneath. Dirt and dust cannot be removed if stuff is sitting on top of it. Clutter can be pushed to the side and cleaned around but, in time, that becomes inefficient. The stacks tend to hang around. Of course, the top of the stack can be cleaned but underneath is still a mess. Creatures like to hide under stacks. Mold grows if the least bit of moisture is present. The stuff on the bottom might break or ruin. And, most importantly, in time, you forget what is on the bottom, at which point valuable stuff turns to clutter.
There are cases when organizing and cleaning at the same time will work. For example, as you pick up the kids’ toys and put them away, you recognize some toys are outdated so you put them in a “donate” container. Once the toys are picked up, you dust and vacuum. Another example, when you specifically train the people who clean your house to: put stuff away, throw stuff away, or donate. You must pay them to do this. Often, this is most effective when the service has been working for you for a long time or you don’t have much stuff. Remember, you can hire a company to organize first and then have someone clean immediately after.
So you are saying to change my perspective? Yes! It is necessary to organize to clean. Expect that you may have to spend several hours before the cleaning service comes to get stuff out of the way, either that or routinely pick up throughout the week between cleaning appointments.