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Admitting Defeat

One of the things that I’ve always thought was quite the luxury was having a house cleaner. It’s not something I ever thought I’d have, only because I figured I’d never own a house large enough to NEED a house cleaner. I mean, really, unless your house is 2,000+ square feet, what would you need a house cleaner for? Unless, of course, you had the luxury of being able to AFFORD a house cleaner, which I never anticipated would be my situation.

There’s also the added problem that I’m a very thorough cleaner, and I don’t know that even if I WANTED a house cleaner, that anyone would live up to my standards.

Well, circumstances have become such that not only would I like a house cleaner, I NEED a house cleaner. I’m working two jobs, and my second job is doing great, which is I’m thrilled about, except for the fact that I still have to work my day job, and so I’m left with extremely little time to do anything but eat, sleep, and, err…spend time with my husband. 😉

I asked around to my friends to see if they had a personal recommendation for a house cleaner. I mean, aren’t house cleaners kind of like hair dressers, where if they’re good they’re booked, and if they’re not good, they’ve got plenty of openings? I’m sure that’s not true in all cases, but a personal recommendation would go far for me. I lucked out that a friend of mine has a house cleaner she adores, and this woman, Christine, has a few openings. As it turns out, Christine is trying to cut back on her business, but has a hard time saying no. So I made an appointment for her to come look at my house.

Now, here’s where things get guilt-inducing. If you stand in my living room, I could give you a tour of the house without having to move. My place is TINY. Less-than-1,000-square-feet tiny. So asking someone to help me clean this speck of a house is embarrassing! Am I really that busy that I can’t clean my own house? Unfortunately, I am.

When Christine said she would be willing to clean my house, I think a tear escaped down my cheek. A weight lifted off my shoulders that was getting heavier and heavier the busier I’ve gotten. Christine came over and told me what she’d do. She told me she’s vacuum the edges, and she pointed out things she’d clean, things that I would do if I only had the time, things I think most people don’t notice, but *I* notice. It’s like I’ve hired myself to clean my own house, and I couldn’t be happier.

The only thing I worry about is liking it so much that I’ll want to continue having a house cleaner even after I’m back down to one job. I guess I’ll justify keeping her when I get to that point.

Do you have a house cleaner? How much do you love it?

51 comments »

51 Responses to “Admitting Defeat”

  1. Trisha

    I have had a house keeper for almost two years now and I love it. She only comes in once a month, but she has had such a huge impact on my life. I hate housework with a passion. She vacuums, dusts, cleans the sheets, washes the towels, cleans the floors; I love her. I have never met anyone who regretted hiring a housekeeper! I just wish I could justify having her come in every other week to my husband!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    HA! The one thing I can’t justify to my husband is letting her change the sheets.

    I don’t hate housework, but I have a strange suspicion that I’m going to LOVE this!

    [Reply]

  2. Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy)

    What Trisha said. I would go without a LOT of things before giving up my cleaning service. Like you, I never imagined ever getting to a station in life where I would be able to afford one (and there are months where it is truly a luxury) or have a house large enough.

    It is such a sanity-saver for me. Truly.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Melissa, I was totally imagining myself rearranging my budget so we can still afford her when I’m not working two jobs…you’re not helping me! 😉

    [Reply]

  3. heidenkind

    We used to have someone clean our house. It was awesome, but she didn’t clean as much as my mom wanted her too. Then the cleaning lady had her sketchy son helping her, and my mom decided she would just as soon have us clean the house.

    Since then, our house has been pretty messy.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Dude, “sketchy son” is totally not cool. You should scout out some house cleaners so you don’t have to clean the house. 😉

    [Reply]

  4. raych

    I was JUST THINKING (like, literally two minutes ago) about dusting, and how I dust maybe once a year because there never seems to be any point. In winter it’s too dark for anyone to see it, and in summer you have the windows open all the time so everything gets dusty two seconds later. I would hire someone JUST to come in and dust. All the other shit I can either do or not do and live with, but dusting…

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    I’m totally with you on the dusting thing. In fact, as the lady was looking around, she’s like, I’d dust. I almost said, Don’t bother; I don’t dust. I mean, my standard of cleanliness does not include a white glove test.

    [Reply]

  5. Jeane

    Funny, I’m reading a book about a housecleaner right now. I’ve always thought, if I can do it myself, why hire someone else to? But I admit I’m not a very thorough housecleaner. If I had a job that left me with no time to clean (and enabled me to afford it) I’d certainly hire someone! It must be hard to find the right fit, though- sounds like you’ve done so well.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    It seems like it would be hard to find the right fit. Hopefully I’ve lucked out and found the right person on my first try!

    [Reply]

  6. SuziQoregon

    Yes I have a house cleaner and we’ve had a house cleaner since we could work it into the budget a couple of years after we got married. For us it’s an investment in time we can spend together rather than doing housework. As long as we’re both working full time jobs and can afford it we’ll have the house cleaned every other week.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    That’s SMART! I was toying with this idea before now, but our budget’s been pretty tight so I couldn’t justify it. But I think after I’m over this hard time, I might still try to justify keeping her. 🙂

    [Reply]

  7. Lisa

    I would love to have someone come in just to clean the bathrooms thoroughly every couple of weeks. I hate, hate cleaning them! With three men in the house and a teen-aged girl, it’s all I can do to keep them presentable, let alone clean. But with a second kid headed off to college next year, I don’t think that’s going to happen!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    OH, I am SO WITH YOU on the bathrooms thing. I’d pay someone JUST to do that. You know how you pay someone to JUST mow your lawn? Someone should hire themself out to just do bathrooms. Seems like you could make a fortune doing that!

    [Reply]

  8. Lenore

    Having a house cleaner is really normal in Germany. Pretty much ALL of our friends have one. But we never have, although we could totally afford it. But now, it seems like I am cleaning EVERY day because of these two fluffy white cats who leave their fur on everything. So maybe it is time for me to admit defeat too.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    I know what you mean about the pet hair. I can’t believe it gets EVERYWHERE. Interesting that it’s more common in Germany than here in the States. I think I need to move. LOL

    [Reply]

  9. Meghan

    I would absolutely love to have a house cleaner. I hate cleaning but I love when everything is clean. We don’t have a big enough place (and can’t afford it yet) but when both of those factors fall into line, I’ll be hiring one. I’m glad you’re pleased with yours!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Hey, with your new job, you guys’ll be there in no time! 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. Jena

    It is a dream of ours to hire a housekeeper. We have a friend who has a housekeeper come in every other week, and we keep saying one of these days we’ll give her a call. I hate housework most of the time (although sometimes I find it totally satisfying), so we can go weeks without vacuuming (especially since my leg injury, which makes vacuuming around the obstacle course that is our house nearly impossible), and I couldn’t tell you the last time I dusted.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure a housekeeper would step into our house and instantly insist that we have to pay double. (I’m not kidding when I call the house an obstacle course–we have pathways for walking through and that’s about it for free space. It drives me nuts.)

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Oh, dusting it totally out. I do it a few times a year. I would vacuum less if my dogs didn’t drag in stuff from the yard all the time. It’s not even that they necessarily do it on purpose. It just clings to their fur and all of a sudden, my floor looks terrible even though I vacuumed YESTERDAY.

    [Reply]

  11. Kristi

    I just had a discussion with my husband last week about hiring a housekeeper. I work with someone who swoons over her cleaning service and I was admittedly a little jealous. I almost dd a little jig when my husband agreed that it was a good idea to give her a shot! I have a feeling that I will never be able to turn back!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    WOW! That’s AWESOME! Let me know what you think…I think it’ll be one of those things that I never knew I needed. LOL

    [Reply]

  12. Pam

    I’ve had a housekeeper for a couple of years and I love it. As someone else said, I would (and did) give up other things to have her. Like you, I work two jobs,and I have two teen daughters. I have very little free time. And I don’t want to spend it cleaning house. Yuck! Right now, Edie only comes once a month, but on that day when I walk in the door after work, I say, right out loud, “God Bless, Edie.”

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    LOL. I think I’ll be uttering that same comment every other week.

    [Reply]

  13. Beth F

    I used to have a house cleaner and I loved it on so many levels. It was amazing. She came twice a month and caught my house up on all the things I let go during the off weeks. It was a major stress reducer on so many levels.

    But because I work at home, it eventually became a burden in it’s own right. I started to dread cleaning days. The woman was very nice and I liked her a lot — but I never got any work done on the days she was here and so stress started building up on another front.

    My new method is to try to keep up myself and then hire someone twice a year or so to give the house a thorough cleaning. We struggle along (poorly) the rest of the time.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    ACK! Beth, you totally hit on something I was worrying about. At some point within the next year, I’ll be working from home, and I was wondering if having her come in would be disruptive to my work. Hmm…well, thanks for warning me. I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford her when I’m down to one job, but we’ll see if it even works when I’m working at home.

    [Reply]

  14. Frankie

    I have a cleaning person in every other week. It
    keeps me on my toes with keeping the clutter down. I don’t want anyone doing my laundry( yet) but she can (and will) clean anything else. YEA!!!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    HA! I know what you mean about the laundry. I even told this lady not to change our bedding (yet!). Maybe someday!

    [Reply]

  15. Helen

    My parents and I share a house so it’s plenty big enough for a cleaner and we have one come every other week. The night before is a scramble as we “pick up” so she can clean. 🙂 Totally worth it. I am a neat-freak, but hate cleaning.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Hehe! That’s the whole “clean up for the house cleaner” thing. I’m hoping I can be neat between her visits, though I’m not hopeful. LOL

    [Reply]

  16. jill

    Having someone clean my house twice a month is easily the best money I spend…and I’d cut out anything to keep it going. I’m very, very good at neat…but I can’t stand spending free time really cleaning. I don’t have children, my house doesn’t get that dirty, but it’s the same feeling of luxury, walking in from work on a day she’s been here, as getting a pedicure. Worth every penny.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    I’m totally with you on the pedicure thing. I was sure I’d love her, but you just convinced me with that analogy. 🙂

    [Reply]

  17. Colleen (Books in the City)

    Let go of the guilt – I live in a sub 1000 sq ft apt in NYC and I have a cleaning person that I honestly cannot live without. I love a clean place but couldn’t always prioritize it over everything else – Rebecca stepped in to clean twice a month and I haven’t looked back once! She cleans and organizes things I never even realize need attention until she does it. Worth every penny and any sacrifice to be able to afford it – enjoy!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    !!! I’m so glad I’m not the only one with a tiny house AND a house cleaner! I was surprised at what she noticed while she was here…

    [Reply]

  18. Stephanie

    I’m one of those weird people who don’t mind cleaning that much (and since I’m a stay-at-home Mom I do have the time to do it). Having said that though, when I was first diagnosed with cancer we hired a young girl Dominicka to come an clean once every two weeks. She was a really hard worker and always took a few minutes to chat. When she moved in December we decided that now that I’m better I could go back to cleaning the house myself, but I do miss the fact that when Dominicka was here the entire house was clean at once!! I’m now lucky to have one out of my three bathrooms cleaned at one time!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Do you think you’d still have a house cleaner if Dominicka hadn’t moved?

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    YEs we would have kept her on (she was so sweet that I wouldn’t wanted to give her the boot)!!

    [Reply]

  19. Stephanie

    Oh, forgot to mention. The other really great thing about having a house cleaner is that it forces you to pick up and organize the day before they come so that they don’t have to clean around your junk. Not only was my house thoroughly cleaned, but also not at all cluttered! 🙂

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    AHH!! You’ve totally given me hope that I might be able to STAY organized…or at least not have to spend hours on it once a month, since I’ll have to do it more regularly. 🙂

    [Reply]

  20. Jenn's Bookshelves

    Oh how I wish we could have a housecleaner! With two boys, two cats, and one dog, it takes a lot to keep our house clean. We, too, have a small townhouse; it’s only about 1700 feet.

    When my husband was traveling every other week for work, he promised me that we’d get a cleaning service. However, he was out of work for six months so those plans were pushed to the back burner. Now that he’s been working again for nearly a year, I think it’s time we start discussing it again!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    LOL. Especially since at least one of your sons likes to get into stuff…like Vapor Rub? 😉

    But in all seriousness, you need to revive the conversation about the house cleaner! 🙂

    [Reply]

  21. zibilee

    Oh, you lucky duck! I would absolutely LOVE to have a housekeeper, but as my husband is out of work right now, that’s really not an option for us. I hate cleaning the house with a passion, but I do it. I can think of a million things that I could get done if I had a housekeeper and could save myself the time, but alas, it’s not in the cards for me. I am so glad that you found someone who works for you and that you will now have a nice, clean house!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Oh, don’t be too jealous. It probably won’t be in the cards for me when I’m down to one job, though it is fun to dream about it! *sigh* I’ll enjoy it while I *can* have it though!

    [Reply]

  22. Alyce

    I had a house cleaner for about six months, only because I was teaching her daughter how to play the flute in exchange for a half hour of cleaning each week. My problem is that our house is full of clutter and she wouldn’t touch the clutter. She would get frustrated with me because I didn’t have things picked up for her when she came. So the hour before she got there became panic-induced craziness as I ran around scooping things off the floor so that she could mop or clean the bathroom, or whatever it was we had agreed on for that day. How I would love to have someone who wouldn’t mind dealing with my clutter. 🙂

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    LOL. Yeah, that’s the hard part about someone else coming and cleaning your house. Your house has to be relatively clean to begin with. Ironic, isn’t it? I’d pay double if I could teach someone where all the stuff goes that doesn’t get put away!

    [Reply]

  23. Lorin

    My house is basically one big room and only 800 sf. Its teeny. And I am thrilled that we have a housekeeper. She was supposed to be temporary but that was 4 years ago. There’s no going back after you discover the joy of coming home to a spotless house. And it honestly keeps us neater, as we have the deadline of needing to pick up after ourselves and do laundry every two weeks (she folds our laundry).

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Ahaha!! “She was supposed to be temporary but that was 4 years ago.” I’m hoping I can say that sentence in 4 years! She comes tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited!

    [Reply]

  24. Teddy

    We have a house cleaner and have for years. It’s hard to get good ones here though. We had a great one but she was a single mom putting herself through school. Once she graduated she went and got a great job. That was years ago and we have only had mediocre cleaners since.

    The thing is, we don’t have high standards. I do expect that a rag used to clean my bathroom, not be used to clean my kitchen. I also ask that small kitchen appliances like the toaster oven and espresso make be moved to clean the crumbs underneath. Gosh, I really don’t think that’s asking too much. Is it? Apparently it is, because we have tried several cleaners and they all did these things. I gave up, the one I have now, I remind every time. We don’t know anyone who is satisfied with their cleaner here.

    We have a 1700 sq foot townhouse and have our cleaner for 4 hours every other week and spot clean ourselves in between. We do our own laundry but on the day that she comes, I wash the sheets and then she makes up the bed.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Gosh, you’re so unreasonable, Teddy! Cleaning the crumbs under the appliances on the counter would seem standard to me. But maybe that’s why it takes me so long to clean! If I see something that needs to be done (while I’m cleaning…if I’m not cleaning, there’s a high probability I’ll pretend I didn’t see it), I do it.

    [Reply]

  25. Amber Stults

    I have someone who comes in once a month. I’m allergic to dust so now I don’t have to deal with it or with trying to get my husband to do cleaning when I want him to. (Sometimes when he thinks it is time to clean is way after I’m ready for the cleaning to be done.)

    [Reply]

  26. Michelle

    Before I moved into my small two-bedroom apartment I lived with my sister in a HUGE three floor colonial. There wasn’t any way I was cleaning that sucker! We had two phenomenal cleaning ladies who came every other week and did the really heavy lifting (vaacum, dusting, bathroom, kitchen). It was THE best money I’ve spent in my entire life. Seriously, besides the time it saved it really did make the house much cleaner than if I did it all myself.

    I say go for the cleaning lady and keep her for as long as you can 🙂

    [Reply]

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