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Should You Hire a Maid?

By Josie Swindler

No matter how lazy you are, you still have to clean your place anywhere from once a year (before your mom visits) to once a week (for the Gossip Girl viewing party you host). We've all fantasized about hiring a maid, but is it really worth it?

First, ask yourself if you have the motivation to clean the apartment yourself. If the answer’s yes, ask yourself if you have the time (a couple hours on the weekend, depending on the size of your apartment, plus an hour or so through the week for upkeep). If the answer’s no, ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend.

If you get a starting stable of cleaning supplies (vacuum, mop, Swiffer, toilet brush, Lysol, etc.) at Target or Drugstore.com, it could run you a couple hundred dollars. (Cleaning, if you do it right, requires you to use more products than Patrick Dempsey.) But the pain will fade as you realize you’re set for months, if not years.

Alternately, the price tag for professional cleaning is between $100 and $200 for each visit (the prices is generally lower when visits are more frequent), and more if you have a pet, or live with John Belushi. Most professionals offer services on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, or one-time schedule.
National house-cleaning companies include Merry Maids, Maid to Perfection, Molly Maid, and The Maids. Generally, they provide free in-home consultations, bring their own supplies, and are probably more conscientious than you. Shop around to find out which companies offer cleaning teams and which use environmentally-friendly products. Or, consider hiring a professional just for the services you’re not sure you can do, like oven-cleaning, window-washing, and floor-waxing.

The bottom line is that a professional cleaning service will cost more money but save you time and energy. If you can solve that equation, you deserve the Fields Medal.

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