A good friend has waxed poetically indignant about why his wife (all three of them, actually — don’t worry: sequential, not contemporaneous) insists on “cleaning up for the cleaning lady.”
His points appear valid. The cleaning lady is being paid to clean. Why bother with preparatory cleaning? The principal hypothesis seems to be that she (and by extension, all women who clean before the cleaning lady arrives) is worried that the cleaning lady will think she is a bad housekeeper.
Um, no. We don’t give a rodent’s patootie what the cleaning crew thinks of us. Well, I don’t, at any rate. Here’s what’s really going on:
The confusion is partly semantic. I do not “clean” — as in “remove dirt” — before the cleaning lady arrives. What I do is pick up, straighten up, and put stuff away, even though it might be referred to as “cleaning up”. There are two significant (and perfectly valid) reasons why I and other women do this:
1. It makes life easier for the cleaning lady, who is being paid to come in and actually remove the dirt from floors, furniture, windows, etc. It’s much quicker for her to vacuum if the floor is clear, dust if there’s not a ton of junk all over tables, and so on. Since many cleaning people are paid on the basis of time, arranging the home so that she can get her work done more quickly can be significantly more economical.
2. I clean up for the cleaning lady so I can find things after she leaves. Listen, it’s hard enough for me to find stuff even when I’m the one putting it away. FSM only knows where she thinks they ought to go.
Now I will admit to a little bit of “chore ADD”. As in, Hey, now that the coffee table is clear, I really should dust it. In that sense, I will admit, it takes a little self-control to recognize that you’re paying someone to do that. (Even if you think you’re saving them time, you’re not. They’re going to do it again anyway.)
But “cleaning up for the cleaning lady” is a perfectly sensible thing to do.