As the months of pandemic life wear on, many of us are finding ourselves weary of the homes we rarely leave. Sure, some people have gotten their cleaning routines down to an art, with sinks that sparkle and coffee tables that display only coffee-table books. But I am not one of those people.
My home is in a constant state of use, and so the clutter gathers and the dust settles. With no deadlines on the horizon — forget summer parties, we don’t even aspire to leave the house on Monday morning — the days bleed into one another, each a surreal version of the last. Even with lockdown orders lifted, we remain perpetually quasi-homebound. Where is there to go anyway?
“Everything is so loosey-goosey, there’s no finite end to any of this and we’re coasting from one week to another,” said Cynthia Kienzle, a home organizer in Manhattan whose business is down almost 90 percent since the start of the pandemic. “We’re all just drifting. We can’t plan anything, we can’t travel. It just destroys any sense of orderliness that you might have had in your home.”
Many homeowners, concerned about letting anyone inside, are still not calling their housekeepers back yet. The housekeepers that have returned are finding rooms in need of some serious scrubbing. Not only have homeowners struggled to keep up with the weekly regime, they’ve also been using their spaces more — a lot more.
“After two or three months, even if the clients tried to keep it nice and clean, they still needed the help,” said Anna Harasim, the owner of Anna’s Cleaning Service in Manhattan, who said that only half of her regular clients have resumed services.
Ms. Teplin, of the Home Edit, attributes the malaise to summer doldrums. Who wants to keep up with the house when the weather is nice and we can finally venture out? But she is already looking ahead to September, when another year of tele-schooling begins for millions of families around the country. She sees now as the time to get it together and figure out where everything belongs.
“Winter is coming,” Ms. Teplin said. “I know no one wants to think about that stuff and do the prep because everyone is trying to have a semblance of summer, but it’s going to be so much harder when the kids go back to school.”