Anyone use a cleaning service? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 22 Old 06-06-2009, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been thinking about hiring a cleaning service once or twice a month to help with housework. DH is against it because he thinks we can't afford it, and thinks we should be able to do everything ourselves. I'm just finding that their aren't enough hours in the day after we both get home from work, cook dinner, etc... The house is constantly trashed. I usually use at least one of my days off to clean, but that mostly just takes care of laundry, dishes, and some vaccuming. The bathrooms haven't been cleaned, floors haven't been mopped in months. I don't know if I've set foot in the (finished) basement at all this year. Dusting never happens. Windows have never been cleaned. Sheets only get washed when they are peed on...

Is this normal? Do other working mamas/families manage to keep a relatively clean/sanitary house? Does anyone have a cleaning service? If so, is it worth the money?


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#2 of 22 Old 06-06-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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I think if you haven't washed the bathrooms or floors in months?
Then obviously you don't have the time, and it needs to get done.
Its about priorities, and you both have others. Obviously he wants to spend his time with you, the kids etc instead of cleaning. Ask him not to commit to a cleaning service doing it every week but once a week for "just" a month. I've found cleaning ladies cheaper, friendlier and more flexible than services.. Also for the women who are truly gifted at cleaning $100 bucks for 4-5 hours is pretty good money under the table.

My biggest issue with cleaning companies is that a lot of what happens is surface cleaning, which I can easily do myself.

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Is this normal? Do other working mamas/families manage to keep a relatively clean/sanitary house? Does anyone have a cleaning service? If so, is it worth the money?
I have done every situation, cleaning lady, nanny, housekeeper and going it alone. Honestly if you have everything clean its not hard to keep it clean its once it falls apart. I have min standards like toilets once a week (I have boys they spray), sheets once a week (dust allergies), fridge cleaned on grocery day.

Or you could get your dh to commit to a schedual.
How old are your kids? If they are over 3 get them involved, there is a lot they can do. Sort clothes, vaccuum, dust.

8 might be enough?
Or maybe 9 will be?
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#3 of 22 Old 06-06-2009, 10:44 PM
 
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I used to use one, wouldn't be surprised if we use one again.

We used to live in a tiny apartment, and it was easy for things to just pile up. Having someone come in straighten up, clean the bathroom, wash any dishes in the sink etc . . . was just magnificent. Sometimes we would forget it was Monday and walking in at the end of the day was like magic.

We just moved into a much bigger place, which seems a little easier to keep tidy, so for now we're on our own, but I'm sure I'll cave and hire someone eventually. I'm a single mom who works probably 50 hours a week, and I have a kid who is a bunch of activities. Our time at home is precious so not having to spend it all cleaning the toilets is wonderful. I have a 2nd job that pays well, and I figure I can work an extra hour doing something I love and am good at to pay someone else to spend 4 hours (or in the case of a service 4 people to spend one hour) cleaning which I hate. For me its a great trade off.

I had a service before, and I have to admit I loved the anonymity of it. Not knowing the people meant I didn't have to be embarrassed at all. Now, however, I'm hoping I can find someone to come in once or twice a week and clean, walk the dog, and pick up DS from school (he's been protesting being in aftercare day after day). I figure if I combine what I currently pay for dog walking, aftercare, and what I used to pay for cleaning I can get someone twice a week for 3 hours. At least that's what I hope.

Good luck!
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#4 of 22 Old 06-07-2009, 06:56 AM
 
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I am in the process of hiring a cleaning service. DH doesn't help. The city is threatening to fine us because the weeds in our yard are too high, and they get "too high" in 3 days. So I am mowing the lawn twice a week. I'm also working with DS on his summer school activities, working full time, trying to cook, clean, etc., etc. and I am about to lose it. DH was complaining about the state of the kitchen (which is picked up but not "clean" IYKWIM). I told him he had two choices... help me or I will hire help, because I am at the end of my rope. He has chosen not to help, so I will be hiring a cleaning service.

I hear of many husbands who are against hiring help, but I don't understand it... 90% of the time they are not helping enough and expecting the wife to pick up the slack, which is mind-bogglingly unfair!
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#5 of 22 Old 06-07-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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I was a SAHM for over 6 years because my youngest has special needs, but we couldn't ever really afford that. I've been working now since January. It should take us about 3 more months to get comfortably on top of our finances again, and then I'll definitely be hiring a cleaning service! We'll just have them in every other week to mop (all our floors are hardwood or time) and to do the bathrooms and kitchen. I can stay on top of the rest.

I can't wait. It's really yucky around here. We don't even have any little tiny kids anymore, but DP and I (with some contribution from our kids) cannot keep up. We both have pretty stressful jobs and work long hours so we get home just dead. Beyond a load or two of laundry, fixing dinner and tidying the kitchen, it just ain't happening!

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#6 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 12:05 AM
 
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I convinced my DH a year or so ago that we really needed to hire a cleaner since with a new baby and a full time jon, I wasn't going to have time. He kept referring to the woman we had at the time as the "maid." Ha! I wish!
He was against it and thought it was a waste of money, etc. Then he got used to it. I cancelled our person for a couple of months recently to save money. DH actually cleaned the whole house one weekend and then promptly asked if we could rehire our person. We have two dogs that shed like mad, so having someone to do a really thorough floor cleaning twice a month is worth every penny. I also ask them to change sheets.

The trick is finding someone good and that usually costs a bit more, I've found. Ask around and get someone highly recommended. Nothing worse that shelling out $75 or whatever to come home and notice all the little things that weren't cleaned.
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#7 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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Do it – I haven't even gone back to work yet from having my son and I find it's worth it, although not for the reason I thought!
I like it because it makes US tidy up for when they come every two weeks. It really keeps the clutter down.

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#8 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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We have someone every 2 weeks. Both DH and I work full time and while we probably could do more on nights and weekends, we prefer to give that time to the kids and our marriage. We gave the clearning up for a while, and then realized we'd rather save that money somewhere else. In our old house (7 smaller rooms) each cleaning cost $60 and in our new house (9 bigger rooms) it costs $90. I ran the budget and decided we could come up with the $180/month by giving up the takeout food I had started to rely on 1-2x a week. Cooking is something I actually like, and my preschoolers enjoy "helping" me with it. So now every meal is "from scratch" and we eat more sandwiches LOL.

Having occasional cleaners doesn't mean no more housework. We still do dishes, clean kitchen counters and sink, and pick up basic house clutter every night after kids go to bed. I do laundry, sweep kitchen floors, get rid of the recyclables and do a very cursory bathroom wipedown every weekend. (DH and I fold laundry while watching TV on Sat nights, we are so lame.) I still have do "major" projects like cleaning out the fridge, washing windows, cleaning couch slipcovers and shower curtains, or moving heavy furniture to evict the dust bunnies - all of which ONLY happen when the circumstances are desperate and dire - maybe every 6 months.

I am very, very, very happy not to have to wash floors, vacuum, dust, polish the table or clean the tub. Ever. A clean freak would not survive in my house, where the toliet is only thoroughly sanitized every 2 weeks - but it works fine for us.
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#9 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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I hired a cleaning service this spring. DH has been out of town and I was exhaused from pregnancy and WOTH. I don't come from the sort of people who hire maids. It is a completely alien idea to both my mother and MIL (who have no hobbies.)

Worth every penny.

I also feel like I'm contributing to the local economy without buying stuff. Considering they are able to come out the day after I initally called them I think they might be needing the business. Additionally, I am much more likely to deal with day to day clutter so that "I get my money's worth" when they come to clean every other week.

I talked to two services that were just not used to dealing with tiny houses. Considering my address they must have been expecting a mansion but I have a little ranch between two big old 3 story homes. I found them all through Angie's list. I might have gone with a small local service or individual but didn't feel well enought to do the legwork to check them out.
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#10 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, I think maybe I will start getting quotes from cleaning people. I'm just always so overwhelmed. I feel guilty enough for putting my baby in daycare, and all I want to do is hold/nurse her when I get home. My 3YO also wants my constant undivided attention. DH works long hours, but usually does cooking/grocery shopping and some laundry. I think our main problem is that he doesn't care if the toilets and the floors aren't mopped anytime in this decade... His argument against paying someone to clean is that it will just get dirty again anyway. :

What do they ususally clean when they come? I am assuming mopping/vaccuming and bathroom cleaning. Do you think it is reasonable to ask someone to also do carpet cleaning on occasion (we have a full size carpet cleaner)? Do they normally clean around piles of toys or occasional dishes? Its just such a foreign concept to me.... but I'm beginning to think it would make life a lot less stressfull!


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#11 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 06:06 PM
 
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YES!! She's awesome!! A laid off professional that does creative projects on the side (photography, events, scrapbooking, etc) but needed a steady income. She's AMAZING. We have her for 3 hrs every other week at $25/hr. When I looked at it by week and thought how easilly we could waste that money, it sealed the deal.

One thing to consider is hiring an individual rather than a service. GENERALLY, you'll get a better quality cleaning done...not the surface cleaning a PP mentioned. PLUS, the person actually doing the cleaning keeps all the money (services pay their people very badly). Our cleaner is phenomenal. She doesn't have a checklist. She does the basics (and believe me, it took several weeks to where the basics were done to HER standards!). She's been branching out since then.

Our house is still crazy in between, but every two weeks it all has to be picked up in preparation of her coming. And each time it gets a little easier. It's like my mom is coming every two weeks...except my mom doesn't clean the shower or toilet!!!

If anyone is in the TC area, she's got openings!!!

I will gladly feed my family rice and beans if we can keep her. She's worth it for our sanity.
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#12 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post
What do they ususally clean when they come? I am assuming mopping/vaccuming and bathroom cleaning. Do you think it is reasonable to ask someone to also do carpet cleaning on occasion (we have a full size carpet cleaner)? Do they normally clean around piles of toys or occasional dishes? Its just such a foreign concept to me.... but I'm beginning to think it would make life a lot less stressfull!
You pick what they do. I asked mine to do floors, kitchen and bathroom. Beyond that she picks her projects. One week she pulled out all the kitchen appliances and scrubbed. (Seriously embarassing back there!!) Another week she organized my pantry!! I tend to pick up when she's coming so she can get right to it...but if we leave a dish out, she washes it. I also find it's handy to keep a temp toy bin to chuck in the occaisional toy.

I'm lucky and have no guilt about the idea of a cleaner...my mom had one when we were little, and again when moved out until my dad retired (now it's his job). My sister has one, my aunt has one. None of us are lazy or rich or anything...just BUSY!!!! And I don't want to spend all my off-time doing housework when I've got a little boy at home.
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#13 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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For a about a year about 5 years ago we used a cleaning service. OMG I LOVED it!! I would go back in a second if we had the money at this point (lots of job changes between then and now). I was more comfortable with a service because they sent in a team of people and I figured stuff was less likely to be either damaged and not reported or stolen since I would never be here when they were.

They wouldn't put away clutter, so having them come did force one evening when we "De-cluttered" so the maids could clean the actual surfaces--good discipline of us, actually. Although they did frequently put toys back on shelves and stack things neatly whenever I hadn't. The would completely scrub down the kitchen (including the kitchen window and inside microwave) and bathrooms, plus vacuum, change the beds, and dust everything. I think that was the only time in my life that the window sills, baseboards and tops of paintings were dust-free.

I know they offered a carpet cleaning service for extra money, but we didn't use it.

I miss them!
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#14 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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THe only thing I would not recommend is to NOT use a service. I used to work for one, a well known chain.

One of my co-workers had just gotten out of prision for accidentaly killing someone (kinda sorta an accident I think).
Anyway - what I am saying is with a service, you can often times get someone good that day, otherdays, an ex murderer. Remember, they will have access to EVERYTHING in your home.
Jewlery, bank records. Everything that does not have a key. Even a utility bill you may leave on the counter. I have known lots of people that have had maids steal, lie, or break something and lie about it.

I would hired someone YOU know or someone that has worked for people you know. Seriously, it took me many interviews to find a good one I would allow into my home. I pay gas milage to bring her from a nearby town, but it is worth it. I was picky - my mom has had her share of prima donna ones who won't change sheets and such. I figure this one is worth her weight in gold because she even picks up my husbands socks he leaves everywhere (although, to find where she unloads the dishwasher dishes to is a great scavenger hunt some times.)

Also - I know my mom would always let other mommies who needed extra work do her house, and allow them to bring thier kids. Maybe this is something you could do.
Anyway - just an FYI.

I think hiring a cleaning lady is a built in cost of returning to work. Not negotiable, like gas to and from work and the cost of daycare. It seriously improved my marriage when we got one. We have one only every other week, but DH is considering applying for the police department, which would mean he would leave me alone with the kids 3-11 and then I may go weekly just to have someone fold the laundry and such.
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#15 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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Oh, and I really don't pick up clutter, just $$ type bills and records. Seriously - that is her job. She usually puts the socks down the laundrey shoot, stacks the kids books, even takes out the diaper pail. I figure that is why I pay her. SHe will even do painting and all that if I ask or need it done.
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#16 of 22 Old 06-08-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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after ds was born and i started to work again we did hire someone to clean our home weekly. she is AMAZING, my entire family, incluidng dd, appreciate her so much. we pay her $70 a week. she does everything. picks up, kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, moves furniture and rugs to clean the floors, picks up and reorganizes toys, takes out garbage, even uses a lint roller on the couches for the dog hair. every other week she changes all the bed sheets, washes them, drys them, folds them and puts them away before leaving. once a month she compeltely takes the fridge apart and cleans it. it's worth it's weight in gold to have her come.

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#17 of 22 Old 06-09-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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I've never done it, but we did just buy an iRobot Roomba and plan to buy a Scooba (scrubs the floors) next month. The floors are what I hate doing, so I think this is going to work for us. My DH and DD15 help a lot, though. If I didn't have a DH that helped, it would be a lot harder to keep up. We are pretty good at cleaning up behind ourselves, though, so YMMV. I also don't think a cleaner would solve my issue as much as these 'bots, because our floor seems to get so dirty so quickly - I have to vacuum every day to keep up. Can't imagine letting it go a week, and I am NOT a neat freak by any stretch.

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#18 of 22 Old 06-09-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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We have had a cleaner (different people) for over 10 years.

In my experience, when it is good, its great! But unfortunately, when someone doesn't meet your expectations, it can be very frustrating.

The "great" lady we had was truly amazing. She actually started cleaning homes when her husband grew annoyed with how much she cleaned at home. Health issued forced her to retire

The lady we have now is on a different page than me. Her idea of cleaning is making the beds and little (very light) surface cleaning. In her mind, that is cleaning. She will be moving on next week.

My advice -

Declutter as much as possible. Years later, I am still working on this.

Make a list of your must-haves like must mop floors, must dust all surfaces and MOVE all lamps and such (my current person goes around the lamps), and so on.

Put your musts on paper. If and when your requirements are not met, speak up immediately. Here is where I messed up, I didn't address her not scrubbing the sink out. Now, she thinks a quick wipe is cleaning the sink.

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#19 of 22 Old 06-10-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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Yes, we have a wonderful woman every other week. It lets us focus on enjoying DS. We really only clean the kitchen because we cook a lot. We buy enough stuff so that laundry is done every week, even when DS was an infant. We are going to have to adjust though because DD is on the way and we are using cloth.
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#20 of 22 Old 06-10-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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@bauchtanz Oh wow, it is SO good to know that somewhere out there a cleaning person exists that tackles clutter.

The last time we hired a cleaning person we did so when I was preg. with DD #2 and DD #1 was 7mos. - I was TIRED. She showed up, lectured me on how messy I was (her exact quote was something like, "I'm OCD about cleaning...you're, like, the opposite of me...") which made me feel like crap because I totally tried to pick up as much as possible before she got there.

I thanked her profusely, paid her extra for the extra time she put in, and then she just never showed up again or returned my calls.

So now I'm SCARED to even try and talk to a cleaning person. I mean, I'm willing to pay $20/hr. ... my house isn't "dirty" it's just messy, and not THAT messy because we don't have tons of stuff.

It's so stupid that one woman has made me feel so insecure about my own home that I'm scared to try and get help.

I never understood why most cleaning services only want to clean houses that are already clean...but I guess that makes it easier and the job goes faster...must be nice - when I do my job I don't get someone doing all the hard stuff first so I can come in and do a light dust and vacuum LOL

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#21 of 22 Old 06-10-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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@bauchtanz Oh wow, it is SO good to know that somewhere out there a cleaning person exists that tackles clutter.

The last time we hired a cleaning person we did so when I was preg. with DD #2 and DD #1 was 7mos. - I was TIRED. She showed up, lectured me on how messy I was (her exact quote was something like, "I'm OCD about cleaning...you're, like, the opposite of me...") which made me feel like crap because I totally tried to pick up as much as possible before she got there.

I thanked her profusely, paid her extra for the extra time she put in, and then she just never showed up again or returned my calls.

So now I'm SCARED to even try and talk to a cleaning person. I mean, I'm willing to pay $20/hr. ... my house isn't "dirty" it's just messy, and not THAT messy because we don't have tons of stuff.

It's so stupid that one woman has made me feel so insecure about my own home that I'm scared to try and get help.

I never understood why most cleaning services only want to clean houses that are already clean...but I guess that makes it easier and the job goes faster...must be nice - when I do my job I don't get someone doing all the hard stuff first so I can come in and do a light dust and vacuum LOL

Oh that's awful!!! Just to be clear, mine would be completely content to do clutter/pick-up/laundry/dishes! I just have her booked for a shorter amount of time to save money - so I try to do the pick-up before she gets there in order to let her focus on the deep cleaning stuff I never seem to get to!! It just depends on the person. A service has much different ideas than an individual. Be clear what you're looking for and be tell them at the interview.

At our interview I picked up...but to be honest...three hours of cleaning with the help of a toddler, and it was still pretty embarrassing!!!
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#22 of 22 Old 06-10-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I never understood why most cleaning services only want to clean houses that are already clean...but I guess that makes it easier and the job goes faster...must be nice - when I do my job I don't get someone doing all the hard stuff first so I can come in and do a light dust and vacuum LOL
Hm.. for me, its the opposite. I have no problem picking up most of the clutter. I just hate scrubbing things. I'm not sure I would want someone putting things into drawers and opening closets. Or even kitchen cabinets. I want someone to mop the floor and scrub toilets. And vacuum and dust so that I don't have my weekly asthma attack while I do so. So for us, the cleaning service that focused on cleaning/sanitizing stuff was perfect. But if you need clutter tackled, you might be better off with an individual that will do that. But clearly not one who has no clear understanding of customer service and is insulting! How horrid.
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