Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Letting the House Cleaners Go

We decided this week that we won't have paid house cleaners next year. We had hired a couple to clean our home a year ago, after I had surgery. They were very nice and they did a fantastic job. Letting them go was hard.

We've had house cleaners off and on over the years. I don't think that there is a reason not to have cleaners, in terms of the Compact.

One of the reasons we made this decision was financial. While we can technically afford to pay people to clean our home, we decided that what we could save was significant. We've diverted the amount we would pay the house cleaners directly into our automatic savings. Every time one of us thinks that we'd rather not be cleaning house, we can think of the growing savings account and what it means to our future goals.

Another reason involves my boys. They are old enough to be of real help when tackling household chores, and I think there is value in learning to clean, not only the skills gained but a better sense of the work it takes to maintain a home.

A big reason for letting the cleaners go is the fact that there was always stress involved in their coming. The boys had to get their room clean, and then it had to stay that way until it had been dusted and mopped. I had to figure out where we would go while they were here. I usually had it coincide with our weekly park outing, however, rain or cold could cancel our plans. When they came in the morning I had to have everything prepared the night before. I thought that was stressful, but trying to keep the boys' room clean until 2 p.m. was far harder.

Also, when I cleaned my own house I used natural and/or homemade cleaners. At first, I just requested that these house cleaners refrain from sprinkling anything on the carpets. Later I realized that I experienced fatigue and headaches after they had cleaned. I tried to air things out by opening windows. I tried to have them use my non-chemical cleaners. It didn't work. Many house cleaners prefer their chemicals because they work fast. I can understand that, but I still needed to stop the toxic contamination of my home.

We have been in transition for many years, moving always toward lighter living on the earth. 2007 has been a transformative year for us, and we expect just as much from 2008. Our year is not only about mindful purchasing, but about making changes that reduce our carbon emissions and making choices that simplify and enhance our lives. It will be another year of learning, as we garden, hone our cooking and homemaking skills, and move more toward a car-lite lifestyle. We will continue to build community and relationships. Most of all, we will continue our journey through this life together, the four of us, attached, loving, and learning.

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