Housekeeping 101

I work pretty hard. (I also play pretty hard!) That doesn’t leave too much time for much else. I tend to get home late enough that most people would have already eaten their dinner long ago, then I do a mad dash to eat and QUICK, QUICK, must RELAX, and FAST – there’s only 19 minutes of relax time then bed, HURRY. No wonder I sometimes don’t sleep well, huh.

Food wise, I look forward to weekends – this is when I make yummy food that takes hours, like the big roast beef and roast veg I did for Sunday lunch this week. The weekdays are planned out carefully to include slow cooker meals that can be popped on in the morning and ready by evening, or quick meals like grilled veggies and lamb rumps on the BBQ.

Not that I meant to start carping on about food – clearly I should not have skipped breakfast in my tearing hurry this morning! I am simply trying to explain I have very little free time through the week. I don’t mind, in fact I enjoy, spending a few hours cooking up something tasty, but I don’t really think I’m getting the best return on my limited weekend time if I spend half a day cleaning the house.

A few weeks ago a friend (friendly acquaintance more like – lovely girl but not on my speed dial, when I see her I am happy to talk to her but don’t tend to catch up other than randomly when we’re both at the same place) told me she’d started doing house cleaning with another couple, and was after a couple of places she could do on her own, on her days off, as she didn’t get quite enough hours. I jumped up and suggested she could do my place – how could this go wrong!  I’ve wanted a cleaner for years, but have not gone ahead with it mostly as I am a little nervous about letting someone I don’t know into my house when I’m at work.Here was someone I trusted, brilliant.

Well of course it could go wrong! Not dreadfully wrong, but it did start getting a little awkward. You see, even if you’re not close friends, it’s sort of awkward to say to a friend of any level that you don’t think they did a good job cleaning your toilet that week. Then The Boyfriend happened to get home from work early one day, and caught her leaving about half an hour early. Another time he mentioned she’d been on the phone for quite a while during the hours I pay her. I started wondering if I was getting ripped off.

Yesterday I left a note for the cleaner/friend. I tried to be as light as I could, and just stated I wanted to make it easier for her to work out what to do on top of the usual every week tasks when she had the time, so I made 2 lists – one of “Weekly” items, and one of “Extra” items for her to get started on to make up the time when she finished the other jobs with time to spare. I tried to make it sound like I was trying to help rather than preach.

She left me a note in reply saying that she was already doing all the weekly tasks, and they took up about  2 1/2 to 3 hours (I’m paying her for 3), and that she’d get onto the other items as she could with that up-to-half hour left. Phew. Sounds like I managed to word it all delicately enough to not make her take offence at my suggestion that she could do more. Plus, my house has never been more clean than after yesterday’s cleaning session.  I must have given her a gentle but well earned kick up the bum to remind her that I can tell if she slacks off, because my house today is sparkling.



11 Responses to “Housekeeping 101”

  1. campingshop Says:

    I do hope your cleaner/friendly acquaintance continues to clean your house to the standard you expect. Must admit thats why I’ve never hired a cleaner for fear of them not doing it properly. But excellent way of getting her to do what you expect without being harsh!

  2. WT Says:

    Yeah, good luck with that…we had a friend doing our place for a while. Same scenario, no real attention to detail and things that you would normally do weren’t touched, whereas things that you don’t care about were always done.

    The occasional note did improve things, but only in the short term as things would always return to how they wanted to do it. There was one note that worked really well though, it was along the the lines of “thanks, but we’ll take over from here”

  3. Pamela Says:

    several times thru the years (while I was still working) we hired people. Once it was a friend/acquaintance. and other times not known. None worked out. I was never satisfied. maybe at first. But they never kept up their end of the bargain.

  4. carissa Says:

    Well hooray to your clean house! I never have had a house keeper but I’d give y left arm for one at this point!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      I’d probably not give an arm but gee I’d be pleased with one that worked as hard as I do! 🙂

  5. Kelley @ Magnetoboldtoo Says:

    I am eligible for home help. I tried it a couple of times but after seeing the woman clean my toilet and then KITCHEN BENCHES with the same cloth, I decided to live in squalor thankyouverymuch.

    Hope she keeps up with doing the right thing.

    • 12ontheinside Says:


      That, my dear, is truly the stuff nightmares are made of.

      I am glad I am not home to see what sort of similar things happen on my cleaning days!

      Although, I am not sure if I should admit I kacked myself reading that comment. 🙂

  6. Word to the Wise « 12 On The Inside Says:

    […] diss your cleaner online. Never even hint that you’re tempted to sack her. For one Tuesday, when you’re least […]

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