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shit scared of having a cleaner

(60 Posts)
Sloven Mon 30-Oct-17 10:21:30

NC for this as I don't want to be outed.

I am a single parent to one DC, and we live in an old largeish 3 bedroom house. Cheap rent because it is damp and falling apart around the edges and not in particularly good nick.

Over the last few years my health has taken a turn for the worse and I can no longer be as physically active as I used to be, especially in winter. I have joint and mobility problems and can't keep the house as clean and tidy as I would like it and the mess makes me very irritable and depressive. I finally bit the bullet and have hired a cleaner, as I also work full time and feel that it would be a good use of some of my income.

I'm sitting here waiting for her to turn up and starting to get really really nervous - to the point of feeling like cancelling - because I am embarrassed at the state of my house and I don't know what I can reasonably ask her to do or what to expect. I was raised a working class girl with no airs or graces and have been a chambermaid, scrubbed toilets, done a lot of domestic and cleaning work myself over the years and part of me is very uncomfortable delegating those tasks to someone else now (even though a lot of my closest friends and my DP have been gently suggesting it for a while knowing that I struggle with heavy jobs).

I am painfully shy with new people and a bit of a doormat. I've booked her for 5 hours - what can I reasonably expect? Do cleaners wash up? Make beds? Clear surfaces? Generally tidy? Judge you for dried in sauce stains you never even noticed clinging to cupboard doors? Change bins? Should I go out? How do I pay her? Do I make tea? Would that be weird? What if she thinks I'm a slob?

Can people with cleaners advise? I posted on my FB and took it down a few mins later as distant family members who have no idea how unwell I am started weighing in calling me 'lazy' and 'up myself' for getting domestic help. I feel enough of a failure as it is without their sly digs.

JustHappy3 Mon 30-Oct-17 10:25:54

You are not up yourself at all.

Santawontbelong Mon 30-Oct-17 10:26:50

Cleaner here!! I certainly don't judge anyone's home!! As long as I know where the kettle is and the hoover I am happy! Is she bringing her own cleaning products etc? Do her a list!! It isn't cheeky or presumptuous!! She needs to know what you want!! After a few visits she will know what needs doing!! I have regular customers and leave their homes as I would like mine!! I do beds, wash up, windows, put rubbish out, have been known to clean out chickens, take dogs out, help dc with homework!! Good luck and be friendly!! She will reward you with a home to be proud of!!

Babieseverywhere Mon 30-Oct-17 10:27:23

Ask her what she can do in that time.

I think most people tidy before their cleaners arrive to get the most cleaning done.

But with your ill health, she won't have expected you to do that.

I was told it was 2/3 hours cleaning for an average house. So 5 hours sounds plenty !

amibeingaprude Mon 30-Oct-17 10:29:33

I make my cleaner a cuppa when she arrives, and we chat. Make a list of what you'd like done. If you can tidy before she arrives, she'll be able to spend more time cleaning.

ZaphodBeeblerox Mon 30-Oct-17 10:29:57

Oh dear OP, don’t worry about twats weighing in with their own opinions. Nothing wrong with outsourcing some of your tasks so you can put your energy towards looking after your health and spending time with your partner and kid.

IME cleaners never judge. They’ve seen inconsiderate sods who leave them to clean up sex residue on beds and after a d&v bug so a considerate home is unlikely to be a challenge.

Cleaner will appreciate guidance on what you’d like them to focus on. If physically possible, strip the beds before, but if you can’t just tell him or her to put on new sheets.

In our small flat I normall tell the Cleaner to start in the bathrooms and give them both a thorough cleaning, then do the kitchen (no oven, only once every 2-3 months for that), load the dishwasher and hand wash anything that can’t go in the dishwasher, dust all the rooms and vacuum. Change sheets on all the beds.

If there is time, she also mops, or does a more thorough dusting including cleaning the ceiling etc. And takes out all the garbage and recycling.

Every once in a while I ask her to do more in-depth things like clean the fridge or a particular set of cupboard but that’s either extra time or some other tasks are not done that visit.

Anatidae Mon 30-Oct-17 10:30:48

You’re not up yourself! First time you meet her, make her a cuppa and just talk about what you need doing, what she does/doesn’t do and agree on what you’d like to do. It’ll probably be in two stages: sorting stuff out at first then regular maintenance. So think about what needs deep cleaning - tell her your aims.

Just talk to her - write down a list of the regular stuff , ask what she needs/supplies/does/doesn’t do.

She’s a professional doing a job and you’re a client setting expectations.

WorraLiberty Mon 30-Oct-17 10:31:00

You don't need to have 'airs and graces' to have a cleaner. It's more common now than ever, due to so many couples working long hours confused

Does your DP have trouble cleaning too/work very long hours?

I only ask because your OP makes it sound as though you're the only person responsible for the cleanliness of your house.

JustHappy3 Mon 30-Oct-17 10:32:08

She should get loads done in 5 hours.

Generally rooms need dusting and hoovering/mopping. I would specify you want skirting boards either wiping or dusting and point out your (sentimentally) valuable nick nacks.

How much stuff have you got lying around? Does it have a place to go? Eg magazines in this rack, toys in this box etc. Is there a place in each room to put stuff the cleaner is unsure about (eg random earing under the sofa). Is the cleaner ok with that level of tidying.

What's the minimum you want done. What can you cope with easily? Eg i've always found it a doddle to keep my kitchen surfaces clean - but the kids' toy cooker needed dusting.

didyouseethesunwasred Mon 30-Oct-17 10:32:18

All cleaners are different and will do different things.
Some only like doing usual clean and some will do whatever you ask- I'm in the second bracket.
I have as well as usual cleaning- cleaned out fridges, ovens, cupboards, inside of windows, done dishes, ironing, walked dogs, filled dishwashers.
Ask her/ him.
They won't think your a slob.
And I'd stay around for the first bit of her first time in case any questions but after that get out of you can/want to

TheEmmaDilemma Mon 30-Oct-17 10:32:20

It'll be fine. Just have a cup of tea and chat when she arrives, and figure out the best way to start tackling it. It's her job!

Sotuko Mon 30-Oct-17 10:35:35

Santawontbelong - you sound amazing, are you anywhere near Hull as I'd love to hire you!!

Op - I'm considering getting a cleaner. I have no mobility problems, I just work all week and can't be arsed with housework - therefore my house is a tip.

It's not unreasonable at all to employ someone to do the work you can't or don't want to do.

Santawontbelong Mon 30-Oct-17 10:37:11

Sotuko sadly I am in County Durham....

StealthPolarBear Mon 30-Oct-17 10:37:48

Talk to her, ask her. Suspect the truth is it varies.
Do you have something to occupy yourself while she's there?

StealthPolarBear Mon 30-Oct-17 10:39:01

<waves> to santa, we must be close

Sloven Mon 30-Oct-17 10:39:07


DP and I don't live together. She stays at mine half the week and I stay at hers half the week. She helps when she is here and I am very lucky to have her ❤ but she works long hours too so I can't really hand her the hoover when she gets in at 8pm!

StealthPolarBear Mon 30-Oct-17 10:39:22

Well ish... County Durham is big

butterfly56 Mon 30-Oct-17 10:39:29

You are doing the right thing for yourself and your own wellbeing.
It will relieve a lot of stress for you having a cleaner.
It has made such a great difference to my life and she is lovely and will do anything for me.
I have not been able to do my own cleaning for a good few years due to health problems. It took me years to pluck up the courage to get help and I wish I had done it years ago.
I am sure you will be relieved when you see the difference she makes.

GBBOaddict Mon 30-Oct-17 10:39:53


The OP said in her post that she is a single parent. So no DP to help with the cleaning. ☺️

Bettyspants Mon 30-Oct-17 10:41:06

Lots of people have cleaners these days . I would have established prior to her coming what you expect her to do , and if this is a one off or a regular. I have a cleaner for 3 hrs a week , I'm on my 4th cleaner and have finally found someone who is consistent , honest and thorough. I tidy before she comes (and clean loo!) so she can clean rather than tidy but it sounds like you may need her to tidy too. In three hours she hoovers (furniture moved so all floor done) quick dusting /wet wipe where needed washes floors , tidies if needed, washes up odd bits left and puts away , cleans kitchen and two bathrooms well and does an hour ironing. I usually pay extra as she does way more than previous cleaners and o trust her 100%. I'm never in when she's here, I'd feel a bit embarrassed I think . 4 bed house. If it doesn't go that well today don't feel disheartened, there are AMAZING cleaners around! Have a chat with her prior to starting so you can both come to an agreement as to what is realisticly possible.

Santawontbelong Mon 30-Oct-17 10:41:31

Stealth - a bit away from CD tbh. Near a lovely beach!!

GBBOaddict Mon 30-Oct-17 10:42:07

X post 😆

grannysmiff Mon 30-Oct-17 10:44:29

5 hours is a helluva long time! Dont stress, be open.

WorraLiberty Mon 30-Oct-17 10:44:35

Sorry I missed that blush

I always take the word partner as living together for some reason.

FreudianSlurp Mon 30-Oct-17 10:44:54

You're not a failure! I have a cleaner (weekly) and an organiser/declutterer/PA (monthly), as well as 3 carers (daily). The first time each of them turned up, I opened the door and cried with sheer relief. Finally, there was going to be an end to the way I was living.

There is nothing you can show or tell them that they haven't seen or heard before! Make her a cuppa and discuss your - and her - expectations. I stay in with my PA and carers but go out when the cleaner is here, although for a few years I just moved to a different room when she was doing the living room. Set up systems for supplies, such as a book that she can write in what products you're running low on if she doesn't provide her own, and list what products you want used where e.g she's not to use bleach on the toilet seat because it's electric, and black screens just get wiped with a barely damp cloth. I also have an incident book, where she can write in if anyone comes to the door whilst I'm out or if she breaks something (accidents happen). You can also discuss frequency of jobs or special things you want done - for example, weekly jobs, monthly jobs and one-off jobs like pre-Christmas cleans.

I cherish the people that work for me, and over time we've become friends as well as employer/employee, which makes for a more pleasant experience for all of us. I hope your experience is just as good.

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