I feel certain that I’ve used this photo (above) of our hall before, but the reason I’m showing it again is to demonstrate how pale our hall carpet is.
Yes, I know! A rather silly colour for a hall with all the ‘traffic’ that passes through. Yes, I know! Hard flooring would be much more practical. Light oak strips or rich mahogany parquet, for example. Indeed, in our previous home (we have only had two homes in almost 53 years of married life) the first thing my brand new husband did shortly after our marriage in 1964 was to lay parquet flooring in our hall, and my goodness, it looked lovely. OK, it was only veneer-thick, not blocks of parquet which we couldn’t possibly have afforded, but it remained looking lovely for the 21 years we were in that home.
But hard flooring isn’t comforting to the touch, it’s not warm in winter, and all sounds are amplified. A more practical carpet might’ve been coir or sea grass, but we found such carpets were even more expensive than a high-quality wool carpet we eventually chose, and also coir and sea grass are harsh to the touch.
And so we decided on a good quality wool carpet. And that is what we bought 15 years ago, for the hall, stairs, and landing (as well as the sitting/dining room.)
Over the years my husband has cleaned this carpet himself with one of those machines you can hire from the supermarket. But as the years have gone on, the area near the kitchen door had become decidedly grubby and I thought it was time to call in a professional.
Jonathan arrived last Thursday. So large was the cleaning machine that it remained outside the back door …
He then dragged in hoses and cables the like of which I’ve never seen before in a domestic setting …
Three hours later our hall, stairs and landing carpets were like new. Although the carpet was still damp and he said we must on not on any account put furniture onto it until it was completely dry, as that might leave stains, right away we could see the benefit of having called in a professional to do this work. And, if having a very clean carpet wasn’t sufficient, to add to our satisfaction, he didn’t charge much more than what we’d have spent hiring equipment ourselves and struggling to do the work ourselves.
I don’t have a photo of the carpet, but here again, just inside the front door and at the foot of the stairs (that’s the newel post, bottom left) you can see that it is a very light-coloured carpet.
It wasn’t until a few years ago when a window cleaner was coming around, asking those in our Close whether they would like their windows cleaned that we decided this might be a good idea. Husband had always cleaned the windows himself – when young we could never afford to have such luxuries as people doing things we could quite easily do ourselves – and when I asked the price and it was reasonable, I agreed to him cleaning the windows when he came around every eight or so weeks. That was about a decade ago now, and it has certainly been worthwhile.
At much the same time, the Council provided the residents of the Bay with wheelie bins. Several small companies then set themselves up offering bin cleaning. Husband had always washed out our dustbin with hot water and some bleach, and then inserted a bin liner, but again, I thought, “if it’s a reasonable price, why not have someone do this for us?” And then the Council changed the green wheelie bin for two black lid-less boxes and a small food waste bin, and so I asked if these could be washed out once a month, too? For a very small amount extra, all the bins – black wheelie bin for residual (non-recycling) waste, two recycling boxes, and the food waste bin – now receive a thorough clean once a month, money which I think is well spent.
[I should make it clear that the recycling and food waste is collected each week, and the black wheelie bin once a fortnight, but we only have the bins cleaned once a month]
Best of all was the day I decided to have our oven professionally cleaned. A neighbour was having her oven cleaned and she asked if I’d like to see the finished job as I was considering booking to have ours done. The result was remarkable and so I had our oven cleaned, too.
It is a Neff circotherm double oven and it takes at least two hours, if not longer, to have it cleaned professionally, but my goodness, what a great job the cleaner makes, and without any mess whatsoever in the kitchen and also without using any chemicals, it’s all hot water and elbow grease.
I have now had the oven cleaned on average every 9 months over the past four or five years. It isn’t a job quite as inexpensive as the carpet cleaning, but it keeps the oven looking clean and definitely hygienic. I think it looks good for an oven that is now 17 years old! The cleaner also cleans hobs and extractor fans, and I’ve had the extractor done on occasion, too.
It isn’t an easy oven to photograph as it faces the window and there is much that is reflected in the glass oven doors.
I suppose the next move would be to have a cleaner come in once or twice a week. But as yet I don’t think I’ve reached that stage and I quite like, as I’ve said before, housekeeping. It isn’t so much whether we can afford a cleaner, but whether we actually want one! And having the bins, the windows, the oven, and the carpets professionally cleaned, we are only left with general cleaning – dusting, polishing, vacuuming, laundry, etc – the really hard tasks have been removed.
Do you call a professional or do you do it all yourself?
PS I would like to add that a by-product of this is that we are helping the local economy, as all the professionals mentioned are local people with small businesses.