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Old 05-18-2020, 10:56 AM
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Has anyone permitted their (regular) house cleaner to come back to work yet?


I said "regular," because I'm not asking specifically about a cleaning service where different people come every time. Although I'd be interested in comments on that situation, too.

I asked my house cleaner Mary Lou to stay away starting in mid-March. I'm thinking of asking her to come back in June. I've been paying her all along, and I could continue to do that, but I'm not sure I need her to keep away. I believe we're going to be in CV Mode for a long time, maybe at some level for a couple of years. So while I don't believe that we will ever return to what life was before three months ago, now that I've gone (masked) to get my hair done and to get a pedicure, I feel okay having Mary Lou come back with precautions.

It was always our practice in the 9-ish years that she's been coming every other week to greet each other (no hugs anymore ) and then I'd leave so I didn't get in her way and so she could play her preferred radio station as loud as she wanted to. Back before I retired, if I had a project, I'd hole up in my office with the doors shut and leave her alone. Later, I'd go do my Mall walk or (while she lived) go visit my mother in the nursing home.

Like me, Mary Lou lives alone. I know she has other clients, but I don't know how many of them she's still working with, whether they've let her go permanently, temporarily, or whatever. She's an avid churchgoer, but her church went online back when most churches did. If they're going to start meeting in person again (even with masks/distancing), that might make me uneasy--one more place for her to pick up the virus. (Full disclosure: back before her church went online she said, "We're not worried--God will protect us," which totally freaked me out! Fortunately the pastor used his God-given brains and common sense and shut them down.)

How are others handling this situation or planning to handle it in the near or distant future?
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:00 AM
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We were talking about this just this morning. I told my wife to bring our house cleaner back. If this thing is as contagious as they say, we're all going to get exposed sooner or later. If it's not, then a house cleaner isn't going to infect us by cleaning for a few hours.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:17 AM
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Aside from ourselves, we don't have a "regular house cleaner", and it shows.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:17 AM
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I never stopped having Mary come in. She cleans the house, dishes, does laundry and folds and puts it away. She also runs errands for me and does some light gardening. Couldn't imagine functioning without her help.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:31 AM
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My gf is still working from home, and I've been helping a little with vacuuming and the like, so we have not brought back our weekly house cleaner. My gf does not want someone (other than me) in the house while she is working.

My gf may be working from home for the rest of her career though, so we eventually have to deal with this.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:22 PM
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I have. I skipped for six weeks but relented. I suspect I've already had C-19 and mine is one of the only houses she cleans so I want her to have the business. I did pay her to not come for those six weeks. We distance and mask when she's here and she uses a boatload of disinfectant and bleach everywhere (it's almost intolerable after; I open all my windows).
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:26 PM
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I have mine back. I really think it's more about total risk profile than any one thing: I am letting my cleaners be one of the things I am doing, but I try to keep a list of all my potential contacts so that I don't keep adding things.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:38 PM
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... I did pay her to not come for those six weeks. ...
Terminology nitpick: I don't see that as paying someone not to come. I see that as paid leave, which many people who are not self-employed/freelancers have as a benefit of their job.

These are helpful answers. Thanks.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:02 PM
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I haven't had him back. In fact, I just paid him for another month. He never comes when I am there (still have to actually go to work) but he does sometimes bring his wife. I will reassess in June. I want to see infections decreasing in this state first. Unfortunately, the house is a mess since I don't do nearly as good a job of cleaning.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:48 PM
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We generally have a service clean our apartment every Tuesday. Sarah ("The Consummate Professional") and Kristen came over March 24, then the company shut down until two weeks ago. Rose and Laura showed up May 5, then Abby and Kristen last week. We've had "regulars" in the past, but lost them for various reasons. I would have been open to paying a "retainer" for Alaina had she stayed with the service, as I considered her a friend by the time she quit, but I don't know if her employer would have allowed that.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:13 PM
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I never stopped having my person come. I did give her a raise; I started thinking of it as "combat pay," sort of. Then I realized she had been cleaning for me for four years without a raise (and she was working for a great deal less than the previous cleaners I had) so I am now thinking of it as a badly overdue raise. She cleans for me and for my next-door neighbor, and we offered that she could stay home and we'd pay her, and she said she'd rather work. We decided we would rather have clean houses, so...we usually leave when she is here anyway so hopefully she doesn't feel at risk being here. I certainly don't feel at risk having her here. I agree with Manda Jo about total risk.

Last edited by kayT; 05-18-2020 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:22 PM
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...but I don't know if her employer would have allowed that.
Unsolicited opinion (but I just watched three episodes of Perry Mason in a row ): it seems to me that's for her to duke out with her employer not for you to pre-emptively decide on her behalf. Your witness, counselor. (I'm up to episodes from 1960 now. Gotta love the cars!)
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:38 PM
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No opinion on the house cleaner discussion as the only house cleaner in my world is typing this. But I did have to giggle when I saw you're watching old Perry Mason episodes. We are on the same kick. They're so wonderfully awful!

BTW, when you get to Episode 27 of Season 7, "The Case of the Careless Kidnapper", (1963-64), I think the definitive answer is there as to whether there is a smouldering romance between Perry Mason and Della Street.

Last edited by Aspenglow; 05-18-2020 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:38 PM
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We're thinking about it; so far, we've kept the place clean, and it's been an opportunity to teach our children how to actually do all that stuff (for some reason, they LOVE scrubbing toilet bowls). But personally, I'm sick of sweeping and mopping and wrangling the children while they clean the toilets and sinks.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:49 PM
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Yes, but with precautions: said cleaner is also a friend of many years, long before she started working for us, so we would normally spend a few minutes chatting and give her lifts to and from the rail station. No more: we lock ourselves down in rooms she doesn't go into, and let her do her thing. The cats already know to hide from her in the Safe Room, since they associate her with vacuums and sprays and other kinds of terror.

We did offer to keep paying her without having her come in, but she refused, multiple times, and we know for a fact that a lot of her clients have ceased having her come for a variety of reasons. We each thought the risks were slight. Also, her husband was super paranoid about this well ahead of the curve, back in February, so I have confidence that they're being careful.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:30 PM
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No opinion on the house cleaner discussion as the only house cleaner in my world is typing this. But I did have to giggle when I saw you're watching old Perry Mason episodes. We are on the same kick. They're so wonderfully awful!

BTW, when you get to Episode 27 of Season 7, "The Case of the Careless Kidnapper", (1963-64), I think the definitive answer is there as to whether there is a smouldering romance between Perry Mason and Della Street.
I'm obsessed with Della Street and her gloves! Today that glove fixation would come in handy (see what I did there?).

I'm watching him on Amazon Prime and it only goes up through season 5. Where are you watching the later seasons?
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:39 PM
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The last time we had ours was March 7. It is a married couple and I think they do it more for us than for the money. They are an absolutely delightful couple who are regularly employed during weekdays (they come on Saturdays) and turned down my offer to pay them. They don't just clean; they do minor repairs as well and were really helpful when we moved last summer. They have suggested coming to clean while we go for a walk. I am ready to take them up on it, but my wife is reluctant so far.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:04 PM
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I'm obsessed with Della Street and her gloves! Today that glove fixation would come in handy (see what I did there?).

I'm watching him on Amazon Prime and it only goes up through season 5. Where are you watching the later seasons?
Solved. The straight CBS all access channel has all the seasons. The one that's part of Amazon Prime doesn't. I just switched.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:37 PM
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I'm obsessed with Della Street and her gloves! Today that glove fixation would come in handy (see what I did there?).

I'm watching him on Amazon Prime and it only goes up through season 5. Where are you watching the later seasons?
Heeeeeeeeeee!!! Della and her handy gloves.

I can't Prime/Netflix/Other Internet Service due to restricted internet access here in the sticks, so I have DirecTV. They offer a channel called Family Entertainment Television (FETV). Their deal is to rerun lots of old programs like Barney Miller, Lassie, Hart to Hart, etc. It's full of awful ads for Medicare supplement plans, Life Alert -- you know, ads targeted at the Geezer Brigade who might be sentimental about programs like Perry Mason. Like me. It's a pain in the ass, but I just DVR the programs and fast forward through the dumb ads.

What I've particularly enjoyed in watching the series as an adult is encountering young versions of popular actors. There are so many! Recently spotted: Leonard Nimoy, Ryan O'Neal, Jerry Van Dyke, Billy Mumy, Robert Redford, Bette Davis, James Coburn and Patricia Barry. It's a hoot.

ETA: Oh, goodie! You'll enjoy those later ones, too. Glad you found an option, and it is a better one than mine -- no ads!!

Last edited by Aspenglow; 05-18-2020 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:51 PM
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Terminology nitpick: I don't see that as paying someone not to come. I see that as paid leave, which many people who are not self-employed/freelancers have as a benefit of their job.
My term is "stimulus".

Last edited by squeegee; 05-18-2020 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:04 PM
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:28 PM
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Heeeeeeeeeee!!! Della and her handy gloves.

I can't Prime/Netflix/Other Internet Service due to restricted internet access here in the sticks, so I have DirecTV. They offer a channel called Family Entertainment Television (FETV). Their deal is to rerun lots of old programs like Barney Miller, Lassie, Hart to Hart, etc. It's full of awful ads for Medicare supplement plans, Life Alert -- you know, ads targeted at the Geezer Brigade who might be sentimental about programs like Perry Mason. Like me. It's a pain in the ass, but I just DVR the programs and fast forward through the dumb ads.

What I've particularly enjoyed in watching the series as an adult is encountering young versions of popular actors. There are so many! Recently spotted: Leonard Nimoy, Ryan O'Neal, Jerry Van Dyke, Billy Mumy, Robert Redford, Bette Davis, James Coburn and Patricia Barry. It's a hoot.

ETA: Oh, goodie! You'll enjoy those later ones, too. Glad you found an option, and it is a better one than mine -- no ads!!
I saw the one with Robert Redford! OMG, he was something like 23 years old.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:36 PM
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Our cleaning lady announced that she will restart service in June, following all recommended protocols.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:21 PM
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We gave our full-time housekeeper a choice. She could move in for the duration, or she could stay home with full pay. She chose to move in and is talking about moving out of state with us.

Because I am still working, I am the one going out and doing shopping and other chores. Karen keeps the house and scolds my BB into getting off his computer and taking the dogs for walks.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:28 AM
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Robert Redford was in an episode of Perry Mason? Wow. Yes, image found, here.

I have not asked my cleaner to return. Not yet. I will wait until California, and specifically the SFBA, gives it the OK, and even then I will ask her to come only if she is comfortable doing so. She has the key to my house. I don’t need to be at home. I’m usually not when she comes. I’ve been paying her too, and will continue doing so.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:21 AM
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My housekeeper resumed her business last week. Dressed head to toe in a white paper overalls with hood, a mask and goggles. Scared the heck out of my cat that normally adores her. She also asked my wife and I to mask up while she was there, not a problem. She thought we did an "acceptable" job of keeping up on the housework while she was out. I think she is just looking for another big Christmas bonus.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:07 AM
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Never stopped. She comes once every two weeks.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:49 PM
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Ours didn’t come a couple times but is now coming regularly. I think she would do the right thing and tell us if she was sick.
She does wear a face mask.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:20 PM
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Ours is coming back tomorrow. Both husband and I had presumptive positive cases of COVID in the beginning of March, we have thoroughly disinfected the house multiple times since then, I will go out for a walk and husband will stay in the office with the door shut while she's here, and we will encourage her to mask up. We're more worried about her health than the risk of her bringing anything to us, but she is feeling up to returning to work so we'll give it a shot.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:08 PM
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... I think she would do the right thing and tell us if she was sick.
....
If she knows...

That's one of the problems with CV. People often don't know they're sick until they've been contagious for a couple of weeks. A mask is definitely in order -- at least when you're in the room together.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:09 PM
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Mine never stopped. I can't see well enough to clean thoroughly, so I view her as essential. We wear masks and never get closer than 10 feet from each other.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:36 PM
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Not yet, though we're paying her (a retainer is how I think of it). She cleans for at least one medical professional and has a child whose likelihood of not interacting with other people is low, so we'll wait for now, at least until there's somewhere we can go while she's cleaning and for a good number of hours afterward.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:39 PM
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Once every two weeks. She never stopped. We leave the house for a drive and dinner, maybe a walk. The last thing she does before she leaves is disinfect high touch areas. Both my wife and I work and come in to contact with the public for different reasons so I think it's actually good for the kids and the house.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:57 PM
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My wife started back last week. I think she works for about 20 families and there were only a handful that didn't want her back. Honestly I think most wish she had never stopped but the state shut down nonessential work and not knowing how this was going to play out 8 weeks ago when that was handed down she backed off of her business. She had one family that actually moved away during all of this and she found out when contacting everyone to restart service. She had another that is waiting until there is a vaccine. Two wanted to wait until the beginning of June, and one I think may be holding off because they may not be working so it may be a financial thing. On the other hand, one family wanted to go from biweekly to weekly, another hired her to clean a second home that they have, and she went and bid a house that the mother of another client lives in and she's likely to start cleaning that one biweekly. All in all if the people that want to start around June come back she may end up with even more work than she had prior to COVID, which was already a very full schedule.

The worst part about going back is that these houses have been lived in 24/7 now by the entire families and they are much dirtier than they usually were between cleans. She told me that some areas are surprisingly clean, some surprisingly dirty, and in the end she's spending long days trying to catch houses back up.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:12 PM
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I can't believe so many people here have house cleaners.. I have a lot of health problems, but wouldn't even know how to go about finding someone, and don't think I could just sit around while someone cleans. My place is so unorganized, I'd have to monitor the entire process on where everything goes.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:46 PM
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I can't believe so many people here have house cleaners.. I have a lot of health problems, but wouldn't even know how to go about finding someone, and don't think I could just sit around while someone cleans. My place is so unorganized, I'd have to monitor the entire process on where everything goes.
I've always found a cleaner by asking someone in the neighborhood. My mother would have DIED before allowing anyone in to clean. I'm not her. I've had someone clean (different people) since I was in my late 20s. I've lived alone during most of that time and had whoever it was come every other week. When I was married (for 10 years until my husband's death) I had the cleaner come every week. I don't "just sit around" while she cleans. Usually I vacate, although when I was working there were times when I had a project and just closed myself off in my office. Other people I know who have regular cleaners actually work with the person and the two of them clean together. It's very common where I live and most of my friends have regular cleaners, even the people like me who live alone.

An experienced cleaner will have seen EVERY possible type of disorganization and mess and would not be daunted by yours-- I'm 100% positive about that. It's a nice thing to do for yourself, especially if you have health problems. It falls under the heading of "self-care." And usually whoever you hire needs the work. [/possibly interesting random background]

BTW, how are you doing, MortSahlFan?
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Last edited by ThelmaLou; 05-21-2020 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:55 PM
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I can't believe so many people here have house cleaners.. I have a lot of health problems, but wouldn't even know how to go about finding someone, and don't think I could just sit around while someone cleans. My place is so unorganized, I'd have to monitor the entire process on where everything goes.
Totally understand. They are tricky to find, and to trust. My wife didn't want to deal with it. I posted an ad in Craigslist and wanted replies by email (instead of phone call). From those replies I had a pretty standard form letter asking follow-up questions. I got fewer replies, which is what I wanted -- I wanted to screen people out before meeting them, by email replies, and by checking their references. Of course people are going to give references that are favorable, but I followed up on those references by telephone following a standardized list of questions to ask.

Finally, based on those phases, I held a phone interview with the cleaner. The first time I talked to them. One thing important to us is that we talked to the cleaner, the person who would actually do the work. We didn't want a service or a team of cleaners rotating in and out of my house. Finally, after all that, I invited the top candidate to come and do a cleaning of the house. And of course I was there, working from home but paying attention to how they did things.

You'd be surprised at how many cleaners will attack venetian blinds like they're Willie Mays hitting a home run, and then leave the blinds disheveled and bent. While I Was Right There! Or the cleaners who would remove items from a bureau top, dust it, and then put the items back but in a totally different arrangement.

I had to try a few different cleaners, 3 or 4, before one "stuck". And for the first few months I was there while they cleaned. After some time, I gave her (the winner was female) the key and she was free to come and go on her own. That was one of my screening questions when calling references, if the cleaner was trustworthy enough to have their key.

It's an investment in time, but very much worth it. I feel that if I did not invest up front with a nicely-worded ad, standardized follow-up emails, a standard phone script for references, and for the cleaner, then I would not be able to trust the person who ended up being our cleaner.

And to me, that is valuable and that's part of why we paid her during this time.

Oh, one of the leading candidates was our cleaner for a few months, but about every 3rd or 4th time she was scheduled to come, she always had some "emergency" and could not make it. So I'm glad we kept the contacts of all leading candidates, and we rolled over to the next candidate.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:03 PM
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I can't believe so many people here have house cleaners.. I have a lot of health problems, but wouldn't even know how to go about finding someone, and don't think I could just sit around while someone cleans. My place is so unorganized, I'd have to monitor the entire process on where everything goes.
Well, my wife (often with my reluctant assistance) spends at least an hour or two "getting ready" for our house cleaner, so she can focus on scrubbing floors and countertops and not organizing and putting things away. As for "sitting around" while someone cleans, my wife will always be busy doing something while the house is being cleaned, and I will be out of the house if at all possible.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:27 PM
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Well, my wife (often with my reluctant assistance) spends at least an hour or two "getting ready" for our house cleaner, so she can focus on scrubbing floors and countertops and not organizing and putting things away. As for "sitting around" while someone cleans, my wife will always be busy doing something while the house is being cleaned, and I will be out of the house if at all possible.
I don't clean before the cleaner comes, but I will pick up stuff. I make the bed and clear stuff off the bedroom floor. I take the dog beds outside to air out in the sun all day. (1 dog... 6 beds... in case she has a nap attack. The cats use them, too.) I don't expect the cleaner to put things away.
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Last edited by ThelmaLou; 05-21-2020 at 04:28 PM.
  #40  
Old 05-21-2020, 04:45 PM
sitchensis is offline
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We're a big clean before the cleaner family. She's being paid to deep clean, scrub, do the toilets and bathtubs.... For the two nights before her scheduled day we, as a family, pick up, organize, do the dishes, put away laundry. It's nice to hit the reset button every two weeks and force yourself to make time for it.
  #41  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:09 PM
suranyi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MortSahlFan View Post
I can't believe so many people here have house cleaners.. I have a lot of health problems, but wouldn't even know how to go about finding someone, and don't think I could just sit around while someone cleans. My place is so unorganized, I'd have to monitor the entire process on where everything goes.
I hate cleaning the bathroom, so hiring a house cleaner was one of the first things I did when I started earning decent money.

There are lots of places where you can find reviews of cleaners, or you can get recommendations from people you know.
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  #42  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:55 PM
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Bullitt is offline
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I'm chuckling to myself as I read about the rest of us who clean before the cleaner comes. Well, we don't clean, but we do straighten up and square things away so that our cleaner can focus on the things we want her to do, like clean the toilets.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
It's nice to hit the reset button every two weeks and force yourself to make time for it.
I like the way you put that. "Reset". Yes.
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