One big no-no is to hire a rude and ineffective cleaning company to clean your house.
We used Elbow Grease Organics, they were recommended by a friend (who hasn't used them, but knows the owner). If I were writing their ad, it would say "Elbow Grease Organics — We provide the Organics, YOU provide the Elbow Grease."
Thursday night I stayed up ALL night (yes that means zero sleep) to get the house packed and ready for the cleaners on Friday morning. My mom showed up, packed until Midnight, slept for a bit and got up at 5:00AM to finish things off. Needless to say, we were exhausted!
One of the first things Liz O'Donnell, owner of Elbow Grease organics, says to my mother is,"How can you see through those glasses, I just want to take them off and clean them." Then she started ripping on the house. My instinct was to send her home right then, but I needed the house cleaned because the renters were moving in the next day and I couldn't take the day off.
My mom was there for a bit while I was at work and got to hear Liz make other professional comments like, "When I clean rich people's houses there isn't this much clutter."
I should mention here that we were in the midst of MOVING and that most everything had already been packed up and stored or sent to Boston. There were some things still in flux, of course. But we told her that would be the case when she came and gave a bid. The house is literally echoey because it is so emptied out.
Unfortunately, I not only did not send her home, I also wrote her a big fat check in advance of the house being finished. Big mistake!!!
I got home after work to find the house was NOT clean. Some small amount of cleaning had happened...but there were three people cleaning and it didn't look a lot different than it did when I left in the morning (other than my stuff having been moved around to random locations).
So I stayed up until 4:30AM cleaning and sorting through all the bags they had dumped my stuff into. Miles, bless his heart, refused to go to sleep until around midnight. He insisted on staying up and helping me clean. At eight years old, he could see how bad the situation was...and how bad the cleaning was!
The house looked great by the time we were done. On the plus side, I found a nice hoodie to use as a rag to clean the toilet (ooops...hope it wasn't yours' Liz). And the renters have moved in and seem to be very happy there.
Moral of the story: Avoid Elbow Grease Organics