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I must admit, lately I have been thinking about whether or not I should be "keeping up with the Jones". So... Housekeeper or No Housekeeper?

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.

The Reasons?

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

The Verdict?

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?

Article comments


Housekeeping company here (well not really, but we’re in the industry).

Most of our clients hire us because they simply can’t fit cleaning for two days while moving to a new flat. Our service targets tenants that are changing properties. Usually, when they leave there is quite a lot of cleaning to be done and landlords won’t return the deposit until it’s all good and clean.
So while they move their stuff, do the 9-5, tend to the kids and other things, they can never find enough time to clean it up properly.
Anyway, some of the housewives that contacted us felt really gutted about doing it and had to go through some drama on the phone. From our point of view, it’s really weird the guilt angle.. It’s just a service like any other – car maintenance or instance, or garbage collecting..

We own the house, we’re the housekeeper. 🙂

I guess it depends on what you consider value for money. The things you can do yourself and take little time, paying others, that is not value for money.

Just my $0.02!

Jim says:

I’m a definite no on getting a housekeeper. If I speed clean I get a 1.5 hour workout and save $90 a week. That’s over $4500 a year! Plus let’s face it you still have to tidy before the housekeeper comes over. Might as well just get ‘er done at the same time..

Plus my 6/year old is a fan of vacuuming the cat.

Leanne B says:

As a mom of two young kids, there are just not enough hours in the day. I found that it would get away from me and the stress of the mess around me wasn’t worth it. Now I can enjoy the few minutes of time to myself and not spend it cleaning! Also, it makes us keep up with the clutter, we have to make sure we don’t have papers and other junk piling up on the counters.

Karen says:

I know a few people who have housekeepers, but they still end up doing extra cleaning anyway for whatever reason. As much as I don’t like cleaning, I would actually prefer to clean than cook. I find cleaning somewhat therapeutic, but cooking quite stressful- with the meal planning, grocery shopping, prep work, actual cooking AND then cleaning up afterwards, that’s a lot of work. If anything, I would rather pay someone to cook for me, rather than clean.

Every single week when I do my chores I think I should hire a housekeeper, but I don’t really like people in my space so having a total stranger in my home is out of the question.

Young says:

@Tahnya- yeah you’re right. That’s a big con for me too.