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Having a cleaner if you are a messy family

(34 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?

MelanieCheeks Thu 08-Aug-13 20:22:44

What would the cleaner be doing? We have one who primarily does floors- hovers top to bottom in a 3 storey house, and mops the kitchen and other Lino floors. So all she needs is clear floor space.

VinegarDrinker Thu 08-Aug-13 20:24:54

Good question. Floors is the main thing tbh. Bathroom would be good, too. What else do cleaners do? (As you can tell, I don't know really how these things work!)

superbagpuss Thu 08-Aug-13 20:26:51

my cleaner cleans kitchen, bathroom, sweeps and washes floor downstairs , hoovers stairs and probably some other stuff

2 hours a week, keeps the place clean while not touching our clutter

ManicMinor Thu 08-Aug-13 20:27:56

We have a cleaner, and are not very tidy. We do make an effort to tidy up before she comes, so that she can get on with what she needs to do - washing up all cleared, floors clear of toys and clothes - but occasionally it falls down, and she has seen the house in a bit of a mess. I have become thick skinned about it, and don't feel as embarrassed anymore, though I do apologise (I am sometimes around as I may be working from home).

It helps us keep on top of things - where the house is tidy once a week, so can't get in too bad a state. Definitely worth the momentary embarrassment.

EuphemiaLennox Thu 08-Aug-13 20:28:16

Some cleaners will tidy for you if that's also helpful.

Obviously you need to discuss how that would work and it would limit cleaning time overall though.

but I have a friend who has 4 children and a very demanding full time job, the house is very messy. Her cleaner comes in once a week and does 2 hours tidying blitzing putting on washing and generally creating some order and then does 2 hours basic cleaning after this.

It works for my frind, as once a week she feels her house is ordered and clean before the slow descent into chaos starts again.

Obviously you'd need to feel comfortable with a cleaner to have this arrangement and quite relaxed.

I go the mad tidy night before cleaner comes route, so she do a really good clean.

ManicMinor Thu 08-Aug-13 20:31:15

Priority for me is clean kitchen and bathroom, including floors, and vacuuming and mopping elsewhere; she also pulls off the sofa cushions, vacuums out any crumbs. If she's got any extra time (she comes for 2 hours a week, and we have 4 beds), she might clean the fridge.

VinegarDrinker Thu 08-Aug-13 20:36:08

Thanks, this is all really useful. I guess from a practical point of view all she would need is access to floors/surfaces etc which is eminently do-able. It's the 'bigger' jobs like hoovering everywhere that often get left far too long. We only have a 3 bed flat but seem to spend at least half an hour most evenings just getting it back to usable state (tidying toys, clearing and cleaning kitchen, putting washing away etc) by which time any enthusiasm for other jobs has definitely evaporated!.

Sounds like it is definitely a good idea and hopefully I'll not get too ashamed of our shabby abode! (We also have a few DIY jobs pending)

It doesn't help that the lady we have been recommended cleans for my friends who are both artistic types and have the most spotless, chic, trendy flat!

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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...

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

*professional declutter person

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

poocatcherchampion Mon 12-Aug-13 21:26:33

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!

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!

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