Working Moms

Anyone else who can't bring themselves to hire a housekeeper?

Everyone on this board and friends RAVE about a housekeeper.  Am I the only cheap-o that can't get comfortable with shelling out hard earned money for household help?????

My backstory: we are getting ready to put our house on the market (which we bought to remodel and flip).  I feel like we've been bleeding money for months.  I know that there is not enough time in the day, and the house is way huge.  But around here cleaners are at the very least $15/hour and for the size of our house I am getting quotes of $300 or so just for the initial clean.  When we moved in I paid about $600 but that seemed ok b/c is was construction clean-up and the previous owners never cleaned when they left, so nasty would be putting it mildly. 

I have other reasons, such as they never do as good a job as I do, they don't want to use my green, non-toxic cleaners, I am paranoid about stealing stuff.....

I make a decent living, but I calculate my take-home hourly rate (yes I know that is after taxes, 401k, benefits, daycare, parking etc) and, um, how do I put day of cleaning is almost equal to one day of my thanks!

What say you?

Re: Anyone else who can't bring themselves to hire a housekeeper?

  • Just 2 things to think about - A lot of companies charge more than just an independent person and #2 alot of places will charge more for the initial cleaning, but then maintenance cleaning is cheaper b/c they put you on a schedule.
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  • Agree with PP.  If it isn't the right choice for you, then it isn't the right choice for you.  For our family, it is money well spent.
  • I also don't want/can't afford a house keeper and plus, I'm too picky about who touches and cleans my house and things. I couldn't do it...
  • I really, really want one but it's DH who is dragging his feet.  It does kill me to think about the $$ aspect of it since we're not exactly rolling in dough right now.  But, I have a feeling that if we eventually hire one, we'll never go back :) 

    My reason for wanting one is that with two kids under age 3, and DH and I both working FT, we don't have time to clean our house like we need to.  Chores are left undone for weeks at a time (i.e. I only get around to washing floors 1x/month.  Gross, i know!) 

  • I really want to but we can't afford it. But once DH gets a real job and not a PhD grad student stipend it's one of the first things I want to do.

    Here it's pretty $$ for the initial cleaning but the ongoing ones aren't bad. And there are a ton of 'natural' companies...maybe it's just my area but they will use non-toxic stuff, etc.

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  • Lately I keep thinking I should hire someone so I don't constantly feel stressed about my house being a mess, but I feel like its a frivolous waste of money.  However if my house was on the market I would do it.  It's an investment in getting the house sold quickly.
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  • image snansley:
    Agree with PP.  If it isn't the right choice for you, then it isn't the right choice for you.  For our family, it is money well spent.

    This exactly.  I've had a housekeeper for the last 4 years (even befor kids) and it's the best thing I've ever done.  I would rather eat pb&j for a month before I cut my housekeeper out of the budget.

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  • I might get flamed but my cleaning lady is "under the table"...she does an AMAZING job and only uses what I ask her to clean with (which are all earth/green friendly due to pets/babies).  She goes above and beyond and is worth every penny. She comes twice a month and it is the best thing I've done for myself and family in a long time!  I haven't cleaned a tub in weeks....if she came once a week, I don't think I could afford it, but twice a month is doable (for us).  It's about $80 a time she is here.  We have given up going out as much and I haven't had my hair done lately but it's house is clean and I feel like a new woman after she has come/gone. Just a personal preference but for me, it's worht it b/c she DOES do a better job than me (especially on floors, baseboards, tubs and showers!)
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  • I am having a hard time pulling the trigger on this too.  DH said it's okay but it kills me to think of that much money going out each month that we could put towards college for DS.  Plus, when we did have one, I totally stressed out the night before they came, trying to run around and pick everything up so that they could clean.  I absolutely loved it after they came of course, but I haven't had them back in over a year.  I may have to once there are 2 kids though.
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  • I can see why people enjoy it...but it is not for me.

    Even though our house is not immaculate, I derive pleasure from taking care of my liabilities to the best of my abilities (house, lawn, fix things that I can handle etc...)

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  • This is the first year we have had a cleaner and it has been totally worth it.  She is from a "green" company - so all the products and nontoxic and we only have her do the basics - floors and bathrooms and kitchen counters twice a month for under a hundred. 
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  • Well, my cleaning lady is only $55 every two weeks.  It's totally doable for us and the best spent money all month.  She works hard!  Plus I know I can trust her because she worked for the family that I nannied for and I saw her working for years.  She is the best and I'm terrified of losing her one day.

    I have dogs and I wouldn't trust them here with just anyone but she doesn't bother them and they don't mind her either.  She uses whatever products I have for her.  I don't use the green stuff but if I did she would use it.  Sometimes I ask her what she wants me to buy because she's tried everything and I trust her judgement.

    There is nothing better than coming home from work and having a spotless house!

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  • At my job teachers are required to cover lunch duties - it's terrible and frankly I think unprofessional so I pay someone else to cover my duties. If I didn't pay out this money I'd probably hire someone to clean my house.
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  • I don't know if you are a Realtor yourself since you bought this house to fix and flip it, but if you are working with an agent you could ask him/her if they have someone they could recommend? To me it would be totally worth it if your house shows better and therefore commands a higher price. (Yes, we do have a housekeeper but even if we didn't it seems to me that you could justify the expense just for this purpose). Obviously the most important thing you need to do before putting it on the market is decluttering, which a cleaner won't really do for you...
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  • I would love to come home to a clean house every day.  However, a housekeeper/cleaning service is not in our budget, we prefer to spend our money on other things after the essentials.  I do see how it can be a priority/one less thing to worry about.  In our area/neighborhood/circle of friends and family I can't think of anyone who has someone clean their house.

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  • We have someone (she only uses earth friendly products) come every week. Best money we spend all month.


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  • McRibMcRib
    2500 Comments 250 Love Its Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    I am just way too cheap. I get cheap thrills from trying to get it all done myself. Who knows how I will feel at 9 months pregnant or with 2u2 but for now I don't see it happening.
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  • I have had a cleaning since I got married and I adore her. She has saved my marriage and my home!

    That estimate you are getting seems really high. I am not sure where you are located but I have found that the cleaning services that advertise are WAY overpriced. (think merry maids etc.) Ask your neighbors who they use, that is how I fpund my cleaning lady.

    They are not going to clean as well as if you did it yourself if you are the type that cleans the baseboards every week, but if you find someone good, they will do a good job and make your job that much easier.

     I am a neat freak and I have three dogs, so I have to vacuum/mop every day But every other friday, i am blissed out b/c my house is clean and it smells so good. She uses Murphy's oil soap which I love.... I can never get my house to smell as good when I do it myself.

    For me, a cleaning lady is a marriage saver b/c my husband just does not understand the fact that you have to pick up every day and his idea of clean and mine differ dramatically. We were fighting every weekend over cleaning and it was just too much.


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  • We finally got one last year and it was the best decision for us. That said I went through a few services before finally talking to my neighbor who was looking to do one or two houses for some extra money.

    It's been a great arrangement for us as we know her, she already had a key to our house and the schedule is super flexible for both of us. DH and I struggled at first to spend the $ but honestly it's been worth it. She's on vacation right now and after I busted butt this weekend to get the house semi-clean while hauling around my pg belly and battling DS I realized how much I have come to depend on her.

    I will say the one service I had come in for an 'initial clean' to get us started and paid $$$ for I was not happy with. She was more thorough than what my neighbor is but not enough for the extra $$. Plus she would have had her workers in my house and I'm not comfortable with that.  Other than that I did have someone come in to do a one-time clean of my kitchen/baths before DS's baptism. I was home, it only took an hour and man, did they sparkle! Maybe you could do a trial run and see how you feel about that?


  • We had a cleaning lady like this for 5 years?. She use to call me if my cat did not follow her around because she thought he was sick LOL.  Well her husband feel ill and her attention to detail etc? went way down finally she said she could no longer clean houses that was in Nov.  It has been tough keeping up but I don?t know if I want to hire another person.  While I loved having my house cleaned I felt like towards the end that my house was not better for it.  She damaged my walls, broke our vacuum and some of our tiles.  I know it was because her mind was somewhere else and I could have let her go but how could I do that to someone going through what she was going through.  At this point I feel better off doing it myself than risk things in my house getting messed up.  If I got a really good referral I would consider it but now I am not so sure.  I will say, when done right, it is money well spent but you have to be easy going as accidents may happen.  Prior to her I had a service and I would never use a service again.  I felt they were overpriced and 9 times out of 10 they did not do half of what was supposed to be done and I was working from home at the time. The team would rush through my house because I was last on their list and they had to pick their kids up from school.   If I am paying a lot of money I am going to be picky and If someone is running behind that is not my problem, not to be harsh.

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  • My house is a constant mess.  After baby I went back only 75%, so with that pay cut, it seems frrivolous to hire a housekeeper. Plus, in theory, if I'm home on Wed and Fri, I should be able to clean, right?
  • If you prefer to clean your own house, or it isn't in the budget, there's nothing wrong with that.   Our cleaning woman was highly recommended by a friend, and now several friends use her.  She comes twice a month ($100 per visit) and does a WAY better job than I would do.   For me, it's about the value of TIME.  I work a lot and when I am home, especially on the weekends, I want to spend my free time with my baby and doing things I/we enjoy.  I don't want to clean my house.  She really is worth every penny.
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  • I don't have one.  Almost everyone I know has one, and almost everyone I know probably has a cleaner house.  I have 2 kids, a full time career, a dog, and my house is for sale.  I do the cleaning.  At times it is really really hard, but I feel like I am teaching my kids to clean up after themselves and that we are responsible for our actions.  We can afford one, but I don't want one.   The only times it gets really overwhelming is in the spring/fall when there are also a lot of outdoor responsibilities like windows and raking and/or mulching.

  • lbi21lbi21
    Ninth Anniversary

    Agreed!  I would love to have a cleaning lady, but I am too OCD and I know I would wind up cleaning after them because it wasn't the way I would do it or they missed somethingSmile

    I feel like if I do a little each day, sweep, dust or wipe down a bathroom I can stay on top of it!  I try to leave major cleaning for DD's naptime then I have a solid 2-3 hours to scub my heart out!

  • I just don't see me hiring someone to do something we can easily do. It isn't that hard to keep up with once you make your mind up to do it. We are on a budget and I just can't justify spending the money. I think some people just don't want to clean and that is ok for them.

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  • image WorkingMomofTwo:
    I also don't want/can't afford a house keeper and plus, I'm too picky about who touches and cleans my house and things. I couldn't do it...

    This, I even limit what our au pair does, I tell them to focus on the kids, making sure they are safe and happy.  All they do is help them clear the dishes to the sink after meals, and help keep the playroom neat, I do all the other "child related cleaning" myself.  I can't stand if something that has a stain on it gets washed and dried, that's money in the garbage to me!

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  • I have worked it into our budget twice, and both times, I chickened out....I don't know why....but I feel like since I am home Mon-Fri and only work weekends that I should be able to clean the house, cook the meals, do the shopping/errands, etc. DH is supportive of whatever *I* want, and would be fine with a housekeeper, but I feel extremely guilty....

    I don't know why. I do like cleaning my house and doing the organizing, but it would free up so much "chore war" fighting.....

  • image oscarandlucy:

    For me, a cleaning lady is a marriage saver ...

    This.  Our cleaning lady comes once a month.  It's a heckuva lot cheaper than a divorce! 

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