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I must admit, lately I have been thinking about whether or not I should be “keeping up with the Jones“. Most of my usually frugal friends (they shop at Value Village, are not shopaholics, and are not “Foodies” that spend $50 per person per meal a few times a week) have a housekeeper. Someone comes every two weeks for about 2-3 hours and cleans their toilets, vacuums their floors, wipes their floors, and even folds their clothes.
Sometimes I am tempted to hire a housekeeper, because I dislike dusting and I dislike mopping the floor (I dislike them so much that I do these tasks less often than I really should) and because I am just so darn busy… I would rather go and do stuff (you know, like enjoy my limited downtime on the weekends) than spend time getting acquainted with the floor when I clean it.
There are a few reasons why my friends decided to take the housekeeping outsourcing plunge:
One of my frugal friend argues with her husband, who is kind of messy (this is an understatement), regularly before they had a housekeeper. She would always be picking up after him and they would not be pleased with each other because she did not like picking up after him and they had different values when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene in the home.
Another girlfriend just had a baby and so she does not have time to clean the home, let alone get groceries and cook food. The housekeeper comes every two weeks too.
Finally, another friend hired a housekeeper (even though she actually enjoys cleaning).
I think that when you have two people that work full-time (or one person in one household that works full-time) it can be very difficult to find time to clean. After all, there are so many hours in the day, right?
Even Get Rich Slowly admitted that the decision to get a housekeeper was a tough one, it goes against many frugal people's values I suppose.
Things to Consider Before You Get a Housekeeper
If you are going to outsource your cleaning in your home, there are a few things you should consider before you take the plunge.
- Ask your friends. If you friends live in close proximity to you and they love their housekeeper ask how much they charge and how they like their services
- Think about if you are going to pay by the hour or by a flat fee. Most of my friends pay a flat fee of $X for two hours of time.
- Make sure you communicate clearly what you would like done- my friend was very impressed with her new housekeeper the first time but then the second time, she thought the job was not done as well and that there wasn't as much done. This is only going to set the groundwork for a lack of communication, just like a new budding relationship, the first “honeymoon period” of how you communicate is very important
- Use a trial period – About.com recommends using a trial period of 2-4 weeks to see if you like their services and if your sense of clean jives with their sense of clean
- Make sure they are bonded etc. the last thing you want is your place ransacked and rummaged through
After thinking about it for a long time, as tempting as it might be since all my friends are jumping on the bandwagon, I think I will hold off on the commitment of getting a regular housekeeper right now, but I may entertain the idea of a housecleaning blitz through a cleaning company.
As I write this on a Friday night after I have my usual 2 hour cleaning session of vacuuming, wiping, dusting, cleaning the toilet bowl, and doing laundry…I realize that I enjoy these things (for now anyway) and I find them therapeutic- it makes the beginning of my weekend (if I can get them done on Friday). There may come a time when I feel like I cannot continue to spend so much valuable time cleaning anymore and may decide to outsource the housekeeping. Hopefully not anytime soon though.
Readers, do you use a housekeeper? Did you find it good value for your money?
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