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APRIL 28, 2015
Original Post:APRIL 1, 2015 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2015, 12:16 AM

There was time that having a maid was a perk of being wealthy. Today, with many two-income households and numerous extracurricular activities for family members, hiring a maid, or a housekeeper or cleaning service, is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for many busy families.

According to the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARSCI), the number one reason people hire cleaning services for the home is “to save valuable time.”

On its website, ARCSI states that, “It seems that life just keeps moving at a faster pace. It is easy for valuable, personal or family time to get shortened. Hiring a good home cleaning service can give you back some of that time.”

Making time for family and other activities is a main reason area residents are opting for a cleaning service or housekeeper to keep up with the mundane tasks that take time away from other, more desirable activities.

“We are a two-working-parent household with two tween kids. We have had cleaning ladies for about a year now,” says Lisa Gordon, a Pequannock resident. “With working full time and other sports and activities, the time on the weekend that I would normally spend cleaning the house I can now spend quality time with the family. It’s less stressful.”

Carolyn Hook of Palm Beach Gardens agrees.

“Lots of my coworkers have someone clean their homes and I resisted for a long time,” says Hook. “Fifteen years ago, during a stressful time, my boss actually told me to get a cleaning lady. I resisted because I felt disappointed in myself for not being able to take care of my own home, a home I love and pride myself in making a home. Finally, I realized, she’s just cleaning! She’s not taking over my house.”

Hook’s cleaning service vacuums, dusts, cleans the hardwood floors, cleans the kitchen and bedrooms, makes the beds and changes the sheets if needed.

“I’ve had her clean the fridge, oven (inside) and windows as needed. She has offered to do the laundry, but I haven’t had her do that. I supply cleaning supplies,” Hook says.

Once the decision is made to hire a housekeeper or cleaning service, there are a number of factors to consider and questions to ask before finding the right fit for the family home.

According to ARSCI, all reputable, professional cleaning services should offer a list of what services they provide. ARSCI states the most common services include cleaning most surfaces in the kitchen, bathrooms, living areas, bedrooms and floors. Key services such as vacuuming and wet mopping are usually also included. A quote should then be secured for these basic services. Additional services, such as laundry, oven cleaning, and doing dishes, should be discussed and quoted separately.

Other issues that should be discussed with an individual or a service are the types of insurance the company or individual carries (liability, theft bond and workmen’s compensation), what to do with the family pet, what happens if something is broken in the home, who provides the cleaning supplies and what happens if the cleaning person is injured in the home.

“I found my private cleaning service Clean Extreme Pro from word of mouth,” says Theresa Graham Emma, whose North Palm Beach Florida two-working-parent household includes a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old. “I have had my cleaning service for the seven years. They come every other week and it’s the best money I could spend. I find that the time I would be spending cleaning could be spent with my kids.”

Gordon also found her cleaning service, Clean Extreme Pro through a recommendation from a neighbor. Bryan vacuums, dusts, washes floors and generally cleans the family’s three-bathroom, one-kitchen home. He also changes the sheets in each of the home’s three bedrooms.

“There are some things I wish they did better, but at this point, we trust them and that is the hardest thing (to do), letting someone in your home when you are not there,” says Gordon.

Hook says that she is usually home when Clean Extreme Pro comes, but before she had a dog, there were times that she couldn’t be home and the housekeeper would have access.

“We’ve never had any problems. Bryan is great with pets,” Hook says.

While having a housekeeper or cleaning service does free up the family for more fun activities, a phenomenon called “cleaning for the cleaning lady” persists in many homes.

“The night before is always ‘cleaning for the cleaning lady’ night,” laughs Hook. “Putting clutter away, throwing papers out, making sure no one’s underwear is on the floor. When she came every other week, the night before wasn’t so bad. We all were good about keeping things tidy, but we’ve gotten lax,” says Hook.

Gordon agrees saying her family also has to clean the house the night before the cleaning service comes.

“If things are left out, they will stuff it in places and then we can’t find anything, she laughs,” Gordon says.

Clean Extreme Pro is here for all of your cleaning needs in North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter Florida. You can find them them on the Internet at

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