Have you ever had a house so messy you feel like you are going to scream? If that’s never been you, I envy you. (And how are you managing to achieve this?)
While we have had numerous fantastic once-off cleans and had a terrific weekly cleaner back when our first-born was a baby, for the past couple of years we haven’t had a cleaner. Unsurprisingly, with two kids now (and a hairy dog) our house also gets messier than ever.
I really don’t know why I get so stubborn and weird about hiring a cleaner, to be honest. In my mind I’m like – “Well, I’m at home, I’m lucky enough to work from home, too, we’ve got a Roomba too, surely I can manage to stay on top of the cleaning?” Or I think about how much hiring a cleaner costs, and I think, “Oh, for x amount of money we could put that away or do y, surely I can just bang out cleaning the bathrooms while the baby is having her nap.”
But then without fail, EVERY week I am exhausted from juggling two little kids and a job (not to mention cooking, cleaning, a dog and exercise).
To be quite honest, not so long ago, when Little Nerd was four and Miss Nerd was 18 months, we were in a spate of horrible 40-degree days, and I’d nearly had a meltdown at the state of our house and garden and my hubby (away on a job at the time) had suggested I hire someone just to come do a once-off clean. However, it was such an unsatisfactory experience it made me even more stubborn about “I can clean my own house myself!” This is what happened: a couple of friends suggested I use a fairly well-known site where you can advertise any sort of job that you need doing, write a little description of the task, share some photos, and state how much you’re happy to pay for it. Then you choose from the people who put their hand up. I put up an ad asking for someone to clean just our two bathrooms and vacuum and mop the floors; no need for them to do the kitchen or dusting. I picked a lady who said she had a professional cleaning business and had five star reviews, and arranged for her to come in first thing in the morning that weekend. She came in with her vacuum cleaner and tools and I took the kids and dog down to the river for a playdate, knowing that in our smaller house it would be easier for her to get the job done without them underfoot. I came home and the first thing I noticed was the floor. Small clods of matted, dog hair were stuck all over the floors. They’d obviously been wettened and now were drying and sticking to the floor. I can’t lie – I was miffed (and annoyed). I remember the cleaner had carried in her vacuum with her, but oddly, she started mopping just as I had herded the kids out of the house. I had dumbly just thought, ‘That’s strange and different, maybe that’s her method and she will vacuum and re-mop later after she’s done the bathrooms?’
I messaged her. “The bathrooms are spotless, but did you actually vacuum?”
“Oh, no I didn’t vacuum, I just used the mop to pick up the dog hair,” came the reply.
Who on earth – especially as a professional cleaner – thinks you can pick up dog hair with a wet mop? Even I, a cleaning rookie, know that’s a no-no. I sent the photos of the clods of not-picked-up dog hair, and can’t remember what I wrote back but let’s be honest it was probably something wildly passive aggressive.
“Oh that does look bad doesn’t it?” came the reply to my photos of hair stuck all over the floors and to chair legs. Yes, it did. She did apologise, and offered to come back to “do the floors properly” during the week, but honestly, I just wanted it done properly the first time. I was so annoyed and just getting my two out of the house in the morning, at that time, was a mission and a half that normally resulted in shouting and tears (theirs, mostly, mine, sometimes). I vacuumed up the dog hair myself and vowed never to use that website again. I know, I know. It’s such a totally privileged first world problem (“the cleaner didn’t clean properly”) but I can’t lie, I was so tired at that time, and I was cross – that niggling feel when you feel like you have been nice (and had paid her promptly via the site without even seeing the house first) and had been taken advantage of.
So we just went on without a cleaner, me boring EVERYONE with the story of the cleaner who didn’t, stubbornly running myself ragged every day trying to keep up with the house, two little kids, a dog, cooking and a job, so intent that, “I can do it all myself.”
But the thing is, whenever I DO try to do it all myself – the cleaning, the gardening, the cooking-from-scratch – I feel like I end up sacrificing other things – like my own sanity and wellbeing. Like yeah, I might be ABLE to scrub my bathroom, but the whole time Miss Nerd will be whining or crying for my attention, and by the time the job is done we’re both stressed and unhappy. Really, rather than scrubbing the shower, I would rather be spending my weekend time pottering around with the kids in the garden or taking them out on a playdate – something we all enjoy. Something that fills my cup and theirs. I know from having had great house cleans that there is something great for your wellbeing when you have a clean, shiny house to live in.
That was when Fantastic Services, who pride themselves as being a sort of one-stop platform for people to book all kinds of home cleaning and maintenance services, emailed to ask if they could gift me a house spring clean or some other sort of service in return for a review on House Nerd. I had sinusitis at the time and felt like death on toast. However, you might be surprised to learn that I actually still hesitated – so put off was I by my experience with that other-website-we-shall-not-name!
Then I looked around at the current hovel that was my home, and realised I was guilty of tarring one with the same brush. After a closer inspection of the Fantastic Services website, I felt much more confident about responding with an excited, slightly desperate, “YES PLEASE” because I could see that they worked with only legit, approved cleaning businesses and specialists.
Their services don’t run to just house cleaning, by the way, they cover all kinds of things from pressure washing, carpet cleaning, gardening and odd jobs, etc. Price-wise for house cleaning, they are not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive I’ve come across either. Their hourly one-off cleaning rate is $45 per cleaner per hour without any discounts; for Fantastic Club members, who receive discounts and special offers, their fee is $41 per cleaner per hour. We had two cleaners for three hours which came to a little below $300 (we have a three bedroom, two bathroom house with no carpets). With the oven clean, it came to a little over $500 (we have a double oven). They list their prices for each type of service on their website to minimise any hidden surprises or time wasting, which I thought was good (you can see their prices here).
The cleaners came (two of them) and they were polite, professional and friendly. While they cleaned, I took Nala and the kids out for a play in the morning, then went to my mum’s, put the baby down, went for a nice long walk with Nala and my sister along the river and grabbed a takeaway coffee at one of my favourite cafes before returning home. Like, an ideal Saturday.
Fantastic Services had organised for our house to have a spring clean as well as an oven clean, something I’d never had before. Oven cleaning is another one of those household tasks where I’m always like, “I can do it myself.” Well, let me tell you. I have NEVER cleaned our oven to that standard. It looked like brand new. I don’t know what kind of voodoo they did to our oven but it absolutely sparkled. I was so impressed. Now I totally see why people spend money to get their ovens cleaned professionally.
The bathrooms were spotless, the floors were clean, the windows glowed and looked like they didn’t even have panes of glass in them. They had never been so clean in their window lives. I cannot even explain how even three weeks later, the windows have sort of STAYED cleaner than they have all those times I’ve painstakingly Karchered them myself (again, some sort of amazing cleaning repelling voodoo? These cleaners clearly knew tricks I didn’t). The house smelt pleasantly like eucalyptus oil (the cleaners Fantastic Services organised for my house prefer natural cleaning methods).
After a hectic fortnight, I cannot explain to you how nice it was to have a proper Saturday, then sit back that night to a nice-smelling, freshly cleaned house – I didn’t even want to mess up the kitchen, so I treated myself to takeaway. It sounds so weird that a house clean would be my Saturday night ‘treat of choice’ as an adult in my 30s (I can see early 20s Maya shaking her head in sad disbelief at her future self) but trust me. Who needs flowers or chocolates or a massage? A super-clean house feels so very good. I felt so quietly relaxed. I have 2.2 kids, a marriage and a mortgage – but it’s having my house cleaned that makes me feel like I am A Real Mature Adult.
I’m thinking now of hiring someone through the site to pressure-wash our garden path – again, one of those tasks I could really do myself, if I wanted to – but sometimes it’s just nicer to stop trying to ‘do it all’ and take the pressure off. Er, no pun intended.
Thanks to Fantastic Services for gifting us this clean! If you register to join the Fantastic Club at this link (you must use this link!) and use the referral code ‘housenerd’, you’ll get a $20 credit to use off a clean or service. You can follow them too on Instagram @fantasticservices or Facebook.
WIN! A HOUSE CLEAN, DEEP OVEN CLEAN OR OTHER SERVICE FOR YOUR HOME –
WITH A $200 FANTASTIC SERVICES VOUCHER
Have something around the house you’d love to have done for you? Whether you’re craving sparkling clean windows, your bathrooms need scrubbing or you would love your crusty oven brought back from the brink, you can win a $200 Fantastic Services voucher to spend on or put towards your dream home service. Leave home (if you can), relax a little and come back to a cleaner house.
All you have to be doing is follow Fantastic Services on Instagram @fantasticservices or Facebook and leave a comment below saying what you’d love to have done below. Don’t use social media? Let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include your email (not published) so I can contact you if you win!
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
● We provide a $200 worth voucher that can be used towards cleaning services from Fantastic Services.
● Won service to be delivered by three months from the draw.
● Valid for Sydney, Melbourne and Perth residents ONLY.
● Winners must be following Fantastic Services Instagram or Facebook account at the time of the prize draw.
● T&C and minimum charges apply.
● The prize does not have a cash equivalent and cannot be exchanged for another service.
● Prize cannot be regifted.
● If chosen service/s price exceeds voucher value, it is the client’s responsibility to cover the difference.
● Cannot be combined with any other deals and promotions.
● Subject to availability.
● Must be 18 years old to participate.
● If the won prize is not claimed by 48 hours after contacting the winner, a new winner will be drawn.
Competition drawn 11am Sunday September 13th.