A couple of months ago, I was off for a few days to take care of some home maintenance. The first day, I was expecting a windows guy to come over to inspect (and hopefully re-insulate) a recently-installed window as cold air was seemingly seeping through. On the second day, the insulation in my attic was getting topped up. Let’s face it, finding drafts and eradicating them is a key deliverable in the job description of being a middle-aged man.
The weekend prior, I did what anyone would do before anyone comes over. I cleaned the house. The error of my ways became evident when my partner pointed out, “Won’t you need to clean up AFTER they have done their work?”
He was right though. Why is it that when tradespeople are coming over, I clean the house to the same extent as I would if I was entertaining guests?
Hmmm… Lightbulb moment!
The fact is that anytime someone is coming to fix or check something in the house, I will make the extra effort to clear furniture out of the way in order to give them lots of room to work, as well as to ensure that there are no breakables within proximity for them to worry about. To me it just makes common sense and helps them to do a better job if they aren’t worrying about “stuff” surrounding them.
But in the process of pulling furniture out of the way, I might possibly reveal dust bunnies lurking in places that aren’t usually in the vacuum cleaner’s path over the course of regular housecleaning. I can’t leave those there… so out comes the vacuum cleaner.
And when I pulled out the furniture, it appeared that I had left a little scuff on the wall, so out came the microfibre cleaning cloths and my trusty all-purpose cleaner.
Of course, once you have one corner of the room spruced up and neat as a pin, you can’t just leave the rest of the room undone. The vacuum cleaner and cleaning cloths are already out anyway, so I might as well keep going. Before I know it, the room is sparkling and done.
But then I realize you can’t have one room looking like a page out of a magazine and the adjacent room still looking “lived-in”, that would look silly, so I clean that room too.
The routine continued and before I knew it, the whole house has been tidied up.
Thus the question, could I not save the top-to-bottom house cleaning until after they are done? The answer is “Probably”, but I think a pride thing kicks in. I don’t think it matters if it is a good friend, a family member or a total stranger whom I will likely never see again, I like to think that a tidy house shows respect plus it won’t have them running screaming in the opposite direction, nor will they be secretly nominating me for one of those de-cluttering/spring cleaning reality shows.
Also, for a stranger to be navigating for a few hours in a house they have never been to before, there is no reason to have them risking life and limb just trying to do their job. That is why I think it is important to get ALL of the dust bunnies out of the way. Safety first!
Nonetheless, after the two days of work was completed, if you know me, you can be pretty sure I did end up waiting for the “insulation dust” to settle, only to dust and vacuum again. But the job ended up being more of a quick touch-up than a deep cleaning, so it wasn’t a bad thing that I did it before the tradespeople arrived.
Funny enough, one of the insulation guys commented to the effect that this was one of the cleanest houses he had visited in this maintenance run. He totally made my day. I really could not hold back my Stepford Wife smile.
In the end, I rationalized that despite my boundless glee at a clean and shiny house only to have someone come over and mess it up again, I was probably not far from the norm. After all, if people can tidy up before the cleaning lady comes over, cleaning up before the repair guy comes over doesn’t seem that odd now does it?
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