Having a cleaner if you are a messy family

(33 Posts)
VinegarDrinker Thu 08-Aug-13 20:19:35

DC 2 arrived 5 weeks ago and we have long talked about getting a cleaner.

We both work ("part time" but actually FT hours), including evenings, weekends and antisocial hours and only have one day per week off together so have decided that it is important not to spend it all doing chores.

But we are not exactly the tidiest people. Not awful, but just general clutter and piles of "stuff", and upstairs in particular can get pretty crappy looking especially with DH's dirty clothes left on the floor of our room. One of the reasons I have put off getting a cleaner until now is embarrassment.

I guess it would make us have to be tidier? But I just can't decide if the stress of tidying for the cleaner would negate any reduction in stress levels?!

Please tell me how it works for you?

Al0uise Sun 18-Aug-13 12:32:41

I have a basket in each room. If there is stuff that doesn't have a home it gets put into the basket. If it isn't claimed and put away I happily bin it. Our cleaners are told to put anything that is preventing them from cleaning in to the basket.

I am chronically untidy and this is the only way I've found I can keep order.

SEWannabe Sun 18-Aug-13 12:21:05

I am a cleaner, so hopefully I can help.
What I generally do on being 1st contacted by a potential client is visit them at home.
That way I get to see their home, and talk to the client about what they would want me to tackle on a regular basis ( I have weekly clients and also fortnightly clients).
A few of them have had what you may call 'messy' houses, and have asked me to spend my 1st 3 hour session (I operate on a minimum of 3 hours per week) de-cluttering with them.
Then we normally agree that I hoover, mop floors, do general dusting, clean kitchens and bathrooms ( I always do this on every clean), and anything else I have time for.

I really wouldn't worry about being embarrassed, we are used to all sorts!

If I had a cleaner it would be purely to do floors - I'm quite happy doing bath, sinks, windows, surfaces, etc, but have a real thing against floors. Leaving floors clear and coming back to find that a fairy had swept/hoovered/mopped would be my idea of heaven.

<quite lazy>

teabagpleb Sat 17-Aug-13 08:59:48

We are in that situation, though I can't physically clean so choice was made. We usually manage to clear the floors so cleaner.can Hoover, and her priority is kitchen, bathroom and loo, change sheets and hoovering. Anything in the way to simply be piled on a table in the middle of the room so we can find stuff. Some weeks she's doing more tidying and less hoovering but works pretty well. She comes fortnightly, agencies will never agree to this but will send a one-off cleaner who either gives us her mobile number or recommends a friend.

notquiteruralbliss Sat 17-Aug-13 08:49:03

I don't think having a messy house matters if you have a cleaner who can tidy / organise and are prepared to pay for a realistic amount of their time. I certainly wouldn't employ a cleaner who felt they had a right to judge my (frankly non existent) housekeeping skills. The reason I employ someone to look after my house is because I have neither time nor inclination to do it myself. I pay my cleaner well, leave her to make decisions about when she works, what she does on which day etc & she knows I appreciate what she does. It does mean paying for 8-10h per week plus the occasional 'blitz' in school holidays but (for me) it makes sense as it means I can focus on work during he week & my kids @ weekends.

plipplops Thu 15-Aug-13 21:44:09

We've had a few cleaners in our time. At the beginning I was always really good at tidying first, but by the end the cleaner was spending loads of time tidying stuff into piles (which meant I could never find anything) and not enough time cleaning imo. I think she used to hate leaving a house looking a mess, even if it was clean iyswim? I would make sure you have a proper talk with whoever you choose as if it's more about getting stuff clean (bathrooms, kitchen, vacuuming) then get them to prioritise that. If it helps as well the reason we always got rid of them was that they never did that good a job and I inevitably felt I needed to make the time to do it properly myself (not really sure what I was expecting but I wanted to feel they'd made more effort than I would have in the same amount of time for £10+ an hour and ultimately this wasn't the case)

Murtette Tue 13-Aug-13 15:08:05

My theory is that a cleaner can't clean something if she can't get to it so we told our cleaner that there would be some tidying involved & allowed for that when working out her hours. With 2 young DC, i find it impossible to leave the house completely tidy so there would always be a few toys & other things to put away & she quickly learned where most things lived. Occasionally, things would be really bad & I'd just text her to apologise & ask her to do an extra 30mins if she could (we were her last job of the day) & if not to prioritise the kitchen & bathrooms. I also made sure she never had to do anything grim so dirty laundry was always in the laundry basket, nappies were thrown out etc (from comments she made, it was clear not everyone else did this).

FlatCapAndAWhippet Tue 13-Aug-13 07:37:40

I'm a cleaner and I too don't think it sounds that bad either. I don't mind tidying up, but as some one has already said, it does eat into the time for which your paying. Two hours or so cleaning a house flies by so if you want to walk back into a clean and tidy house, which everyone does, it's best to have it ok ish to start. Don't be embarrassed, have a wiz round before the cleaner comes and perhaps if you were thinking about a two hour weekly clean, have them for four initially to blitz it and then two regular weekly cleans. Keep on top of the tidying though, otherwise you'll be back where you started. smile

bringbackopalfruits Mon 12-Aug-13 21:37:29

We give our place a blitz tidy the evening before the cleaner comes. My DC's can fill my entire living room with mess and clutter in 5 minutes flat, so I'm used to living in a mess! We have a book case in the lounge that it always piled up with papers etc. There are also a couple of places on the kitchen work surface that are piled up with random stuff. The cleaner doesn't touch those places, which is fine. I'd rather tidy before she comes so she can spend her time actually cleaning. And it has definitely made me a bit tidier. And there is no shame in getting a cleaner either. Some people like cleaning, others don't!

it sounds like normal family life to me. pick stuff up from the floor and get them going on kitchen, bathroom and hoovering/mopping and then see where you are. my next items are changing sheets, ironing dh's workshirts and dusting.
enjoy your cleaner!

ShoeWhore Mon 12-Aug-13 13:37:20

It doesn't sound that bad OP, I am sure the cleaner will have seen worse!

As a fellow messy person I'd say one of the advantages of having a cleaner is that it does prompt you to do a quick extra tidy round once a week, which is quite a good discipline! Our old cleaner used to put any paper clutter into a pile so she could clean, it'll be fine.

VinegarDrinker Sat 10-Aug-13 11:05:39

No you are right, I totally agree. I think from reading threads on here that we do live in a much smaller place than many MNers with 2 kids although I don't know the square footage (downside of living in London). We also spend a lot of time here - DH works from home 75% of the time and I'm currently on mat leave. I really noticed the difference in mess on days when I was at work & the toddler at nursery all day! I also don't like to restrict his play too much by chasing him round making him tidy constantly or limiting what he can play with at once (even if I am not stuck on the sofa feeding!), so by the end of the day the downstairs looks like a very well "used" nursery classroom!

We send toys that aren't played with much to the GPs so maybe it's time for another run of that. I could lose a lot of clothes but am at that fat postnatal stage where I am still in some maternity stuff, and definitely not back in pre-pg stuff, so have everything from 12 to 16s in the wardrobe.

MinimalistMommi Sat 10-Aug-13 10:44:11

Sorry Vinegar, I didn't want to offend you, I guess I was just thinking of it too much from a minimal point of view. The cottage we bought is just over 500 sq ft and we are family of four and being minimal and really thinking about having only what we need and no multiples has really been a breakthrough here.

VinegarDrinker Sat 10-Aug-13 10:23:31

Yes I think decluttering is always a good plan, we do tend to do this fairly regularly and do trips to the charity shop once every couple of months. Looking around the front room I can't see much, if anything, that needs getting rid of. Likewise kitchen. We actually did a charity shop run from our room last week. I'm sure we can find more to chuck if we are ruthless, though.

VinegarDrinker Sat 10-Aug-13 10:15:23

Thanks everyone. Definitely useful to hear from the other side! Maybe I've given a worse impression of the amount of mess, floors downstairs are always clear before we go to bed. Likewise kitchen table/worksurfaces. It's bookshelves and the front room table that accumulate stuff (usually paperwork to deal with and toddler art/craft things). Toddler's room is fine, our room not so much, but just clothes on the floor usually (which obviously we would pick up before a cleaner came). Bathroom is far too tiny, has cloth nappy stuff/washing basket/baby bath etc all squeezed alongside the bath, but we are getting it done next month, with more storage built in.

We have as much storage as we have room for, it's really not a big flat. Actually thinking through where the mess "flash points" are is really useful though.

I don't think working alongside a cleaner would work for me at all, I would be far too embarrassed for starters, and while my 2.5 yr old quite likes "cleaning", the chances of both him and the newborn being happy for 2 hours are quite slim. Tbh if I could achieve that I wouldn't be needing a cleaner in the first place!

Also my hours are very variable - I do nights, weekends, long days (13+ hrs plus commute) etc so can't commit to always being at home at a set time.

MinimalistMommi Sat 10-Aug-13 10:12:08

*professional declutter person

MinimalistMommi Sat 10-Aug-13 10:11:20

In the nicest possible way it sounds like you possibly have too much stuff?
Just before you hire the cleaner, could you get in a professional declutter to help you out for a weekend to go through your flat? With that and the cleaner you would be winning! Often, people think they're messy but sometimes it's a case of having too much stuff. Quite basically:
Less stuff=Less Mess

Also you mentioned the laundry on the floor, can you get a pop up basket and stand it in the area where the laundry gets dropped? DH would have no excuse if the laundry basket was directly where he gets undressed...

ThisIsYourSong Sat 10-Aug-13 07:38:50

We're not that tidy and have recently moved into a house with lots more storage. It makes it SO much easier to be a bit tidier.

The Ikea Trofast is often mentioned and you can do things like shelves in half of the DCs wardrobes, plastic storage box by the door to chuck shoes in etc.

When we had a cleaner we asked her not to tidy as I felt her time was better used cleaning than putting stuff in piles. She always did it though so we ended up going around tidying the night before she came.

SquidgyMummy Sat 10-Aug-13 07:31:37

I used to have a cleaner when i was single & working (lazy i know,) but I grew up in a very cluttered house so was lovely to come back to a pristine flat. Also forced me to tidy up on a weekly basis before she came.

What may help you OP, based on frustratedashell's comments would be to pay someone to come as a one off to help you de-clutter and get some order (whilst you are there, so that you can go through stuff together) it may cost you a couple of hundred pounds for a day, but then it would be easier for your cleaner and you would not feel so embarassed.

I think if you have a place for everything, that really is the key to not having a messy house

frustratedashell Sat 10-Aug-13 07:22:33

I am a cleaner thought you may like to hear things from my perspective !
I used to clean for a family that were very untidy! It used to frustrate me. How can you clean if it's a tip. Plus I only went for 2hrs a week. The worst thing was it was very dirty when I first went, to the point of being a health hazard! I spent one 2hour session just trying to get the bathroom clean. It was revolting! And I could have spent another hour if I had got it to the standard I wanted. Think black shower cubicle etc! Yuk!
Anyway I digress. From my point of view Iddon't mind a little tidying up but that eats into the cleaning time. It depends on your expectations and the cleaners. The thing that used to annoy me was i would blitz a room and when I went back a week later it was almost as bad again! Perhaps I'm judgemental but that's just my personal opinion. Some cleaners probably don't mind.

ComtesseDeFrouFrou Sat 10-Aug-13 07:06:07

To be honest, I find that we (me and DH, surprisingly untidy, but not messy IYSWIM) keep things tidier when we have a cleaner. It just seems easier if that's all we've really got to do and if it starts each week tidy, rather than with three weeks' accumulated piles of crap, it's easier to whizz round and get it looking reasonable.

Daisybell1 Sat 10-Aug-13 06:55:36

I have a cleaner too and we really aren't tidy. Plus like you, I work pt but oh is a farmer so he never has a day off. For someone who's always working he seems to create an awful lot of mess in the house hmm

Is there any slot when you could book the cleaner and be around? Our cleaner comes on one of my non-working days and we blitz the house together - I go round in advance of her clearing work surfaces, picking up toys and clearing the bathroom floor.

It works well, and she prefers to come when I'm home. Plus, she ends up being a mothers help as well as dd follows her round and 'helps'.

Could this work for you?

lotsofcheese Fri 09-Aug-13 21:57:22

I got a cleaner when pregnant with DD, who is now 16ish weeks. It's been a godsend, as I had an EMCS & a have a 4-year-old too.

We have her in once a fortnight - I would not like to have to do the "pre-cleaners tidy" every week. It does force us all to be a bit tidier & she does the jobs that I can't keep on top of (and don't really like doing!!) eg bathrooms, vacuuming etc. She'll also do beds & ironing if needed.

Don't feel guilty - you'll not regret it & will wonder how you managed (or didn't, most likely), before.

VinegarDrinker Thu 08-Aug-13 20:50:03

You are right, cantreach (we are on the July thread together I think?) - I grew up in a household with no spare cash and it still feels a bit "wrong" to pay someone to do something we are capable of doing. But I'm trying to get over it! In the job I do now I seem practically unique in not having a cleaner!

Oh this is all sounding very appealing. I am fed up of a residual feeling of guilt that whenever I sit down there is some housework or other that I should be doing.

cantreachmytoes Thu 08-Aug-13 20:45:15

I'm really messy, DH is the opposite. I used to tidy before a cleaner came, but I stopped a while ago. I freely admit that I'm great at some things, but keeping the house tidy I need help with. Now we have two DC the need for a cleaner has multiplied!

The lady who does what I'm so rubbish at does floors, kitchen and bathrooms, irons and empties washing machine if there's anything in it and sweeps outside the front door (wind blows leaves from nearby trees to it and we end up with a compost heap if not cleared away). She arranges things on surfaces into piles on their respective surfaces.

We used to have a very efficient cleaner who would put everything on surfaces into drawers and cupboards rather randomly. The house always looked AMAZING when she'd finished, but we could never find anything!

If i read correctly, you seem slightly apologetic about getting a cleaner. My suggestion would be not to be: you need something doing and can can afford help with it and someone else will benefit from extra wages. It's win win.

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