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Spring Cleaning Considerations

Posted By Kimberly Delaney On March 25, 2009 @ 11:50 am In Green Living, Healthy Home | No Comments

I keep seeing articles on this apparently national seasonal phenomenon, and they always have bright, fresh photos and great encouragement to dive in and clean your whole house at once. What fun! Pardon my whining, But it’s SPRING! And the sun’s out! And if I’m not working, I definitely want to be out there in the spring sunshine!

I am feeling very strongly about this because my husband and I spent a good portion of the weekend “spring cleaning.” The house looks and feels great. But what happened to my weekend?

I used to love spring cleaning [1]. The mild weather means you can open up the house, drag the furniture outside and really clear the clutter [2], beat the rugs, and get the muck out. It can feel like a major accomplishment. But this weekend, it just felt like I never had a break. It’s clear — I’m ready to look for some housecleaning help.

Believe it or not, even taking the time to find a housecleaner seems daunting right now. So, like anything, I’m going to just do this in bites to make it manageable. This week I’m just going to decide on my budget and the type of housecleaner I want to hire.

Budget considerations

I’ve done enough research to know that in my area there are independent housecleaners offering their services for as little as $12 an hour and larger cleaning services who charge about $30 an hour for a team of people to clean your home. Of course, the team will work faster than one person, so it’s not necessarily a worse deal.

It turns out the hourly wage is not the best gauge. We need to get estimates on how long it will take to clean our home. It takes us forever and I’d rather not pay hourly for that!

We decided that our budget for cleaning is $240 month. That’s $60/week if we can find someone or possibly $120 every two weeks.

Legal issues

Obviously our budget will play a role in determining whether we go with a service or someone who cleans houses. But we also need to consider a few legal aspects of this decision.

I am not giving tax advice [3]on this subject, but I read far enough in the IRS publication [4] on domestic payroll taxes to know that it would be a much easier if I hired a cleaning person who is self-employed or working for a service than one who would be my employee.

Since we would be paying more than $1,400 for the year, we would need to cover Social Security, Medicare, federal unemployment taxes and state unemployment taxes for an employee. A self-employed cleaning person or business would take care of the tax end themselves. Since I’d actually rather clean than spend more time on taxes, I’m going to look for a self-employed cleaning person or business.

Kimberly Delaney is the author of Clean Home, Green Home: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Eco-Friendly Homekeeping, published by the Knack imprint of Globe Pequot Press.


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URLs in this post:

[1] cleaning: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/So-Fresh-and-So-Clean-Four-Ways-to-Freshen-Your-Air.html

[2] clutter: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Clutter-Its-Not-Always-about-the-Stuff.html

[3] tax advice : http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Taxes/P43440.asp

[4] IRS publication: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p926/ar02.html

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