I think we need to hire someone to help with cleaning & laundry. If you have someone, how do you like it? How does your arrangement work? How much do you pay? Any major pitfalls that I should know? I've been toying with the idea for a long time, but I need to just make the plunge.
Before we moved, I had a woman who was AMAZING. I don't remember what she charged, but she did EVERYTHING--washed and dried our sheets while she cleaned and put them back on. Wasn't afraid to put things away. She did windows, she oiled the cabinets.
The cleaning service we have now is okay. It's a small business rather than one person, so the people who actually clean each week vary. I pay $75/week for them to clean each Friday for 1.5 hours, and it's usually 2 people, sometimes 3 if they're training someone. They are good at the important stuff (to me): bathrooms, floors, countertops, surfaces. They will change the sheets if I set clean ones out. They always do any left over dishes. The agreement was that they would do one "extra" thing each week, but I usually have to ask for something specific to be done if I want it. Like wiping down the moulding along the floorboard, that sort of thing.
For a while they came every other week, but I really like coming home to a clean house on the weekend. It makes it easy for me to get the laundry done because I'm not worried about everything else--DD eating a "raisin" off the floor, etc. It took me a while to get over myself, and admit that I like having help with the cleaning, but it is nice. There's no way I could get my house clean in 1.5 hours each week, and this gives me more time to spend with DD, which is my priority. I say go for it.
ETA: re. pitfalls--you have to speak up if something isn't being done to your satisfaction. I struggle with conflict, so I make DH do this part. :)
We have a woman who is a cleaning lady by trade but who also watches our children from time to time. She does everything--windows, floors, bathrooms, sheets, laundry, organizing, walls, outdoor cleaning (decks, etc.) and she does it well. Her starting pay was/is $15 per hour but I'm about to give her a raise because she does awesome work and I don't want her to feel unappreciated.
My husband is out of town a lot and for long periods of time, so she's been a real blessing. If you need or even just want the help, do it! It's money well spent IMO. I rarely use her services, but when I need her she's a lifesaver.
You'll definitely want to establish ahead of time what she is and isn't willing to do. For instance, mine won't use toxic chemicals to clean (bleach, cleanser, etc.) which is fine because I don't use them either--just vinegar and water--but I could see that being a problem for someone else. Mine also won't empty our canister vacuum because it irritates her lungs, so DH or I will do it before she arrives. These are little issues that aren't dealbreakers for me, but everyone is different. Don't be afraid to be entirely honest about what your expectations are and how much you're willing to pay! Good communication is everything.
I should add that my housekeeper/nanny's rates seem really low to me; I was paying almost twice that in NYC. I would expect to pay more in a big city, though.
Yeah, I worry about how to handle being unhappy with something. I'm also intensely private. There are very few people I invite into my house, and I'm afraid of opening the house up to anyone. I'm not sure how I'll handle that part.
My mom has someone for 8 hours once a week, and she does pretty much everything. I'm not sure we could afford that. I don't know the going rates in our area, but she does a lot of the laundry and everything while she's there.
Unfortunately we bought a house that needed work, and now every weekend is filled with things we need to fix. There are rooms that we aren't using because they're just not in good shape yet. At this rate, we'll never get there, and I think having someone clean our living space would make that better/easier for us.
You can always call around and have people come by and give you a quote on what they would charge to do what you want in the rooms that you want. I dont' really like my laundry being touched; I think it's weird to mess with others' dirty clothes. And I hate to criticize others' work, but just like childcare, when something's not right, you have to make it known. I hope you find the right arrangement!
It is AWESOME. If you can't get a recommendation from a friend, you might consider a service. They tend to work in teams, have contracts, and clear written policies about what they do. Personally, I prefer to hire directly.
You also need to be clear on who pays/brings supplies. Many people prefer to bring their own because they have their favorite methods. If you prefer other things "non toxic" or vinegar/water you may need to look harder or pay a premium. Some cleaning people are afraid of them or think they have to work harder to use them (which is sometimes true.) We compromise with their weekly cleaning supplies and our nontoxic stuff when we clean.
In my experience, cleaning quality does decline over time so be prepared to speak up if you need to and/or change services. Laundry is usually a separate charge. I think it is easier to pre-sort everything and exclude special stuff. i.e. everything here is washed on cold, dried in the dryer.
She brings her own supplies and does everything but windows. She washes dishes and pots (that I save up for her), loads or unloads the dishwasher, folds clean clothes, changes bed linens, vacuums, dusts, bathrooms, trash out, etc. We pay $70 a week and it is worth every penny. My DH is unable to help with the housework, so having her help is non negotiable. I made sure that she was bonded and really checked her references in the beginning because she has a key to our home.
I make sure to have all clothes and linens washed by Thursday so that she can fold. She's been with us for four years and It's been working wonderfully. If I have an issue, I just let her know. "I just wanted to let you know that you forgot to _____." And she always apologizes and does that and more the next week. Win Win. You will love it once you get into the groove with someone.
I have a cleaning man who comes out and I don't know what I would do without him. I do the laundry, however. Well, I do my and my ds laundry. The hubs is on his own for his. Ha ha! The money spent is totally worth it for the extra time that I get with my kiddo. We don't have a ton of time during the week to spend together (my DS is 2 and goes to bed fairly early) and I don't want to waste our weekends cleaning.
I do like cleaning, as weird as it sounds. I always feel really good after I've scrubbed the bathroom or dusted the baseboards. There just isn't much time for it, though, being a WOHM.