The holidays were just us this year - me and Charles. No relatives, no neighbors, no guests, no one. So then how did the house turn into a world-class mess?

Here's how: when folks come over, I'm forced to clean. No visitors, no cleaning. Over the past months and months and months with the two of us stuck inside, I've done my best to keep things tidy. But as this dusty and disorganized year drew to a close, I was getting by with a lick and a promise - tossing clutter in closets just to clear the rooms. Dust bunnies romped through the hallways. The top of the stove looked like an explosion in a spaghetti house. I was absolutely overwhelmed.

So, I made a decision - we're getting a cleaning plan. We're scrubbing this house from top to bottom and keeping our house sparkling clean from here on out.

So I googled "most reliable name in housecleaning" and up popped Handy, an app you can use to book a professional cleaner. They connect you to cleaning professionals in your area. You can sign up for monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly plans, and scheduling is super flexible with booking availability 7 days a week from 7am-11pm. Plus, the app even lets you track a cleaning while it's in progress.

With the Handy app, you can leave special instructions and even add on extra services such as laundry, cleaning interior windows, inside fridges and stoves, and even deep cleanings!

This all sounded amazing but then I thought, who's doing the laundry and the cleaning? Are Handy's cleaners reliable?

Then I learned Handy does a background check and vets each of the Cleaning Pros booked through their app. You can also read reviews and see a Pro's rating before you book. And with a Handy plan, you can even request the same Pro if there's someone you really like. A pro booked through Handy can become a steady and welcome part of the household routine.

And this being the era we live in, I was pleased and relieved to learn that Handy prioritizes the health and safety of the professionals and customers who use their platform by implementing the Handy Safety Standard. Not only are Pros required to wear face coverings during bookings, but they must also complete daily in-app checkups to confirm they are in good health before they claim a booking.

Handy also shares the CDC's health and safety guidelines and best practices to all customers and professionals and even provides guidance on the use of EPA-approved cleaning products.

This all made me feel more confident about trying Handy, but I was still a tad sticker-shy - how much would all this cost?

I was thrilled to see that Handy's cleaning prices are truly affordable for us. And I especially appreciate how transparent they are. They give you a fixed, upfront price before you book so there's no negotiating and you don't have to deal with cash. They make the whole process as clear, open, and worry-free as possible. And it looks super easy to set up an appointment and you can even reschedule if things change.

So, to start the New Year off right, I'm signing up for a cleaning plan with Handy. Since none of us is going anywhere anytime soon, I'm thinking a deep-deep-deep cleaning and a weekly plan would be a good start. Toys and books and laundry and papers and pizza boxes pile up mighty quickly these days.

I'm just glad we don't have any pets - dust bunnies don't count! But I bet Handy could handle that if we needed them to.

With Handy to rescue, I'm looking forward to a clean start for 2021.

Update: Handy is offering a limited time discount for our readers! Follow this link today to get a special offer on your first time cleaning plan.


What To Do About Messy Roommates

The Solution That Makes Everyone Happy

When I moved in with my college friends Melissa and Jessica, I was super excited.

At first, everything was great. Jessica would sometimes cook for me, Melissa lets us borrow her cute clothes, and I always pick up their favorite snacks when I'm in the store.

But soon the mess started to build up and we began to butt heads, especially now that everyone works from home. Jessica leaves her towels on the bathroom floor and Melissa never washes the dishes after making food. I'll even admit, I have a habit of leaving my stuff all around the apartment.

We started a chore wheel to divide the cleaning fairly (and stop us from killing each other). It was working for a while, but we're all so busy with our jobs that some chores didn't get done.

One evening, Jessica called a meeting for us all. She complained about the dishes in the sink and I complained about the dust on the shelf. We all came to realize that we were all as messy as each other, but too busy adjusting to working from home to give the apartment the clean it really needs.

We were brainstorming solutions when Melissa said she remembered her previous neighbor using Handy to book cleanings for her home. Jessica and I weren't too enthused. The sound of a deep clean of the whole apartment did sound great, but I was worried about the cost.

Plus, Jessica was worried about the quality of the cleaning service. I mean, would they be vetted professionals? How had the company handled the pandemic? Melissa insisted we check out the Handy site.

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We read that Handy does background checks on all the cleaning pros booked through their platform to make sure they are experienced and reliable. We also liked that we could read reviews and request the Pro we wanted to work with. They also provided a lot of information on the Handy Safety Standard they've implemented to maintain the health and safety of the customers and professionals who use their platform. Not only do they require Pros to confirm they are symptom free before they can claim jobs, they've also provided Pros with face coverings to wear during bookings. This made us all feel more comfortable with the idea.

We also found the prices to be super affordable, especially when split 3 ways! This wasn't going to be a major splurge.

Handy offers weekly, biweekly, or monthly cleaning plans. We decided that the monthly would be best for us to start with. The fact that you can manage everything online or through the Handy app is super convenient.

Plus you can add extras, like laundry, inside the fridge, inside the oven, windows. We might use this in the future since our fridge can get pretty disgusting! Also, if we needed to reschedule a cleaning, we could just go on our phones and move the day or time of the cleaning super easily.

We never expected to be able to afford a cleaning service, but we are planning to sign up for a monthly cleaning plan with Handy and we're all really looking forward to having a clean and tidy home.

With Handy's guarantee for happiness and safety, we're feeling confident that this will be a great way for us to take some stress and pressure off ourselves.

Update: The folks at Handy are extending a Special offer to our readers. For a limited time follow this link to get a special offer on a cleaning plan!


Tackle The New Year With A Fresh, Clean Home

Organize your home in 2020, the easy way.

Like most people, I start each new year with a new resolution.

Surprisingly, I've been successful at keeping them up over the past few years. Last year I ate more home cooked meals.

When I realized how much money it saved me, I kept it up.

The year before that I vowed to exercise and hit the gym - I still get to the gym once a week! I never thought I'd consistently fit these habits into my busy life.

The one area that could definitely be improved is my messy - and if I'm being honest, dirty - apartment. My job can be pretty demanding so I'm rarely home.

And when I am, I'm either cooking, eating, or sleeping. I can only manage the bare minimum - no mopping, no vacuuming. I've struggled to fit cleaning into my schedule, but it's hopeless - I'm hopeless. It's gotten so bad, I hate having company over.

So, this year I decided to get help maintaining my apartment. My friend Amy told me about this company called Handywhich sounds cool.

It's a site that connects you with top rated cleaning professionals in your area - they also have an app that is super easy to use. Amy's house always looks spectacular, so I was curious about trying out Handy.

I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive about letting a stranger into my home, but I looked into it and Handy is committed to providing their customers with a safe cleaning experience.

Before Handy matches a professional with jobs, the company uses credential verification technology with background check screenings. Plus, Handy has a helpful customer service team that can answer all of my questions.

The great thing about Handy is you can schedule regular appointments with cleaning professionals as often as you like. You can create a 3, 6, or 12-month membership, and you can tweak your plan at any time.

Appointments can sometimes be made as soon as the day before and can be cancelled up to 24 hours prior to the service.

Handy allows you to book a wide range of services that can make any bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and other living areas shine. Before your appointment, simply provide your cleaning professional instructions through the app. It's super easy!

Amy values her cleaning service and depends on Handyso much that she has a 12-month membership with monthly appointments. However, she often uses it more when scheduling a last-minute spruce-up before having guests over.

To start, I'm going for a 3-month membership with weekly appointments. I'm so excited to begin booking cleanings through Handy. I'm already relieved knowing I don't have to feel guilty about not cleaning.

I can't wait to throw a dinner party for my friends without worrying about the dust bunnies in the corner.

Whether you have kids, just don't have the energy, or are crazy-busy with work like me, Handy can bring so much value to your day to day.

Handy works with your schedule and with any home's needs.

Update: The folks at Handy are extending a Special offer to our readers. For a limited time follow this link to get a special offer on a cleaning plan!

You move into a new place, decorate, and promise you'll treat it right. Then . . . life happens, and the dust on the mantel settles at the bottom of your to-do list for the next year. Cross. It. Off. With a cleaning service.

Everyone's busy as a bee, so instead of feeling distracted by the chores you know you should be doing, take a load off with Handy.

It's an app that connects you with a cleaning professional in your area to do the hard work at a surprisingly affordable price!

You work hard, so you deserve to knock a couple of things off your list. To reduce your burden, take our quiz to figure out the exact amount of cleaning you need for your lifestyle.