Taken to the cleaners

Just about fainted when I opened the bill from the cleaners: The total was $4,178.50.

This is for cleaning all of the textiles that were covered with debris when the tree fell on our house.

The tree punched five holes in the roof, including several on the main floor and a big one in our bedroom closet. Because the house has an open floor plan, the mess went everywhere – drywall dust, insulation, wood frame fragments, bark, leaves, and dirt from the tree.

Everything on the main floor and loft was dirty – rugs, wall hangings, blankets, dining table linens… Everything that was in the closet was dirty – coats, blazers, pants, belts, hats, shirts, shoes, shawls, towels…

In total, 60 pounds of laundry and 272 individual items.

The day the tree fell, I pulled the clothes out and laid them on the bed to get them away from any rain damage through the hole in the closet. I figured I’d have to cart them off and clean them all myself. I wasn’t even thinking about the rugs and wall hangings.

Instead, because our insurance has full replacement cost, the Fabric Restoration Service Team was tapped by the company that’s managing the house restoration. FRSTeam went to the house, picked up all the textiles, inventoried them, cleaned them, and now they’re storing all those items.

We can pick out whatever we need, and they’ll deliver it to us. The rest, they’ll deliver when the house restoration is done.

I am pretty amazed at this service, and even more amazed by how friendly, helpful and personable these folks have been.

Most of the prices were just normal cleaning costs. But some of the prices seemed, well, high: $8.37 to clean a baseball cap? $18.69 to clean a pair of overalls that we’d normally just throw in the laundry? $27.84 to clean a leather purse? $11.63 to clean a pair of leather slippers (that I got at Goodwill for $5)?

Just out of curiosity, when I talked to the nice lady who’s my contact at FRSTeam, I asked her about the prices.

She said the prices are set by the insurance companies. When a business agrees to a contract paid by insurance, they agree to those prices.

How lovely it would be, to do work where you know in advance exactly what you’ll be paid for a job, every piece of textile, right down to the cent, before you ever made the first call to the customer.

And how lovely it is, to think that someday I will return to a house where everything in the whole house is clean.

If only more things in my life were that tidy.

Today’s penny is a 2006. That’s the year that FRSTeam was founded.


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