New Yorkers might pride themselves on being able to survive by the skins of their monthly MetroCards, but every so often, even the most self-sufficient city dweller needs a little help with laundry, organization or ridding his or her bathroom of the dreaded tub ring. Here are our favorite home services in the city; as always, leave yours in the comments.
Wizard of Homes: Though the odd Swiffer job will suffice for a time, the kind folks at domestic referral agency Wizard of Homes will ensure your apartment gets the deep-clean you've been putting off since you first signed your lease six years ago. The Wizards leave no stone unturned, no microwave uncleaned, and no toilet seat underside un-scrubbed—a deep-clean runs $150 for a standard studio, $200 for a two-bed (or $40/hour for an hourly rate), which covers vacuuming, dusting, polishing, bathroom-sanitizing, baseboard-cleaning, window washing, mopping, and fridge-cleaning. Once you've undergone the full monty, you can set up weekly, biweekly or monthly basic cleans, or opt for a one-time job later down the road.
The Wizards, comprised of independent domestic workers/housekeepers who are outsourced by the company, also offer move-in/move-out cleans, home organizing and post-renovation scrubdowns. Unfortunately, they only service Manhattan below 110th Street, so borough-dwellers will have to do deep-disinfecting on their own.
Si Se Puede: Si Se Puede gets points both for its workers' skills and its humanitarian business model—the cooperative is women-owned and women-run, and all the housekeepers receive 100 percent of what you pay them, so you don't have to fear some corporate overlord is raking in cash from your dustbunnies. You can opt for a standard cleaning (vacuuming, mopping, dusting) or fork over for more serious work, like oven-cleaning and organizing—it's about $85 to $140 for an apartment-clean, depending on bedrooms, with prices a little higher for lofts and duplexes.
Do note that you'll have to provide your own cleaning supplies, and appointments are only available Monday through Friday, 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Slate: Designed with harried 9-to-5ers in mind, Slate provides a full roster of housekeeping services every weekday to save you time for all of the adventurous evening activities you could be enjoying instead of cleaning, like odious rooftop parties and Scandal. If you find yourself paralyzed by the Sisyphean task of routinely making your bed only to destroy it, Slate promises to take care of the upkeep "so you can stop 'keeping up.'" Just let go, Jack. In addition to washing Indian food you ate alone off of dishes you were too sad to face after the deed was done, employees who have been "background-checked, vetted, trained, uniformed," and most importantly insured will wash your dirty laundry every Monday without airing it. Discretion is priceless. Dry cleaning is extra. (Roxie Pell)
Blue Apron: Blue Apron is the chef's meal service, whether you're an accomplished cook or just learned how to boil spaghetti. The site's pretty simple—after you subscribe to the service, you can pick three of their weekly recipes, which include options like Fingerling Potato & Kale Hash or pan-seared steak, and indicate how many people you'll be cooking for. The Blue Apron team will provide all the ingredients—most of which are locally-sourced—for you along with recipe cards and step-by-step instructions for preparing your meal. The subscription service runs $9.99-a-person per meal (three meals per week), or $60 a week per couple. You can opt for vegetarian meals or their poultry, meat or fish plan, and it's possible to put the service on hold if you plan to spend a week living solely off pizza.
Portable Chef: This NYC-based meal service is similar to Blue Apron, Plated and the like in theory, but instead of providing you with the tools to cook your own meal, the Portable Chef crew prepares a fresh breakfast, lunch or dinner that's ready to heat-and-eat on the spot. Founder Uri Attia whips up a monthly menu of schmancy dishes like seared yellowfin tuna steak slices with Sichuan peppercorns and ginger-lime sauce, Szechuan beef, and barbecue seitan, which he'll deliver to you on a recurring or one-time basis, as many times a week as you like; you can also get customized meals made depending on your dietary restrictions and food preferences, and he offers special 5-7 per week meal plans for people looking to lose weight or combat illness.
You can opt for an a la carte meal selection or a subscription—check the website for pricing, and do note that delivery runs $20.
Drill 4 u: Assembling an IKEA desk isn't the most difficult task in the world, provided you have an extra pair of hands and the arm strength to rotate an Allen key for several hours. But if you've got, say, an entire room or apartment to assemble, John Martinez and his Drill 4 U team will do a far quicker, cleaner job than you can, and they probably won't forget to screw in all the washers. Though my couch is perfectly safe to sit on, I swear! Rates depend on the project size, but they're fairly reasonable and respond quickly to requests, plus they're able to fix any booboos you've made while trying to set up your bed yourself.
Hamperville: The venerable laundromat is a city institution that should be supported and preserved. But if you're too far from a real washing machine, now that they're dropping like Blockbusters, you can opt for this laundry service, which will pick up your dirty clothes, wash-and-fold them, and return them to you within two working days (or in 24 hours for an extra $7). You can also opt to have clothes dry-cleaned or hung dry for an extra price, which is a bonus if you've got a bunch of dresses you are certain will shrink if they come into contact with heat.
Pricing varies depending on whether you've subscribed to the service ($1.33/lb for basic fold) or are paying as you go ($1.48/lb), so check Hamperville's website for a full rundown. Do note that while pickups and drop-offs are free, there is a $30 minimum, and they only service select areas.
Cleanly: If a service is being offered, but there isn't an app for it, does it even exist? Smartphone owners can ignore this question and others by downloading Cleanly, a valet app that delivers laundry "at the tap of a button." Options for "Wash & Fold," "Wash & Press," and dry cleaning, as well as a note box for any other specific instructions, assure that your reliably office-appropriate shirt doesn't come back looking like something Britney would have worn back in '98. Although the pretty interface may give the impression that clothing is magically cleaned somewhere Inside the internet and returned to your doorstep, Cleanly uses the same laundromats you would be going to if they weren’t “soooooo faaaaaaaar” from your apartment.
Prices vary by weight starting at a $20 minimum, and washables should be back within 24 hours (dry cleaning takes twice as long). While Manhattanites and Brooklyn's westernmost residents are good to go, anyone living north of Harlem or east of Prospect Park is out of luck for the time being. Fortunately, like most apps, Cleanly has plans to take over the world and is likely coming soon to a laundromat near you. (Roxie Pell)
Goodbye Clutter: Though some of us toss half our belongings each time we're forced to relocate thanks to a rent increase, if you've been living somewhere for years and are lucky enough to have a closet or space under your bed, there's a good chance your home is starting to resemble some nightmarish episode of Hoarders, Rodents Of Unusual Size included. That's where Nancy Heller, a "Certified Professional Organizer," comes into play—she'll declutter your closets, garages, pantries or other space now used as a dumpster for American Express credit card offers, leaving you with plenty of room to fill right back up again.
Heller says she'll be able to get your apartment in check in under 4 hours—you need to be present for the first hour or so, but she can do the rest without you, and she won't even yell at you for failing to properly fold your aging JNCOs.
Genius Organizing: On the website for Genius Organizing, chief organizer and founder Nicole Abramovici gets right down to brass tacks: "Why are you disorganized?" she asks visitors. Whether the answer is "just busy, IDK" or "I've become a shell of my former self, long since abandoning the will to live deliberately," Abramovici warns that a cluttered space can obstruct life goals, destroy personal relationships, lower your self-esteem, and just generally ruin your life. Genius Organizing provides in-person consultations at a minimum of four hours a session, beginning with a self-help power hour before starting in on the empty material trappings of your sad, cluttered life.
In addition to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, the team is willing to schlep out to Westchester, Long Island, and North Jersey; noticeably absent from their wide purview is the Bronx (and sort of Staten Island but, I mean, come on). (Roxie Pell)
InstaCart: FreshDirect might be a bigger brand name when it comes to grocery delivery in this city, but folks who've made the switch swear by this service, which will send a shopper out to purchase food for you before delivering it to your abode. You can order online from a variety of grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Fairway, and Costco, and you can schedule delivery an hour after placing your order if you're looking to get your goods immediately, instead of within a later timeframe (though that option is available). If something's out of stock, your shopper will text or call you, so you can opt for a replacement item if possible.
Delivery is free for your first order and runs about $6 for a one-hour delivery, but be forewarned: food prices are a tad bit ticked up from what you might find in an actual grocery store, though Whole Foods prices are the same thanks to a deal struck between the two companies. Be sure to tip your shopper.
Postmates: It was bound to happen. As the concept of a "gig economy" boasting flexible hours for workers and instant gratification for consumers picks up speed, an app has emerged that ambitiously offers "any product delivered in under one hour." Postmates hires local contractors to run errands for users in the area, bringing us all one step closer to the total mind-numbing convenience that is the American dream. The Sacramento-born startup uses a similar model to that of vehicular counterparts Uber and Lyft and may face similar issues regarding gray-area employees, but the company has so far emphasized its community-based approach to connecting workers with clients. All the things, all the time. Now that’s what I call capitalism. (Roxie Pell)
Minibar: For those times when a drink can't come fast enough, Minibar promises to deliver your booze of choice within an hour. The app doesn't have its own liquor license but rather partners with liquor stores that handle the delivery in addition to providing the drank. Prices range from the vodka you bought in college to bottles that cannot but be popped, and mixers are on the menu. Indecisive drinkers can also get recommendations for large parties, such that no one need ever turn down again. (Roxie Pell)