After cleaning my record breaking 9th toilet in 5 days, I realized I made more money cleaning houses than I did at my desk job this week! It's twice the amount of money per hour, but boy is it exhausting. I've kind of always loved cleaning. That probably puts me in the minority, but it's true! It's something about the satisfaction afterwards. In fact, I have a really funny memory of going over to a friend's house when I was younger and instead of playing, I wanted to help her clean her room!
I've picked up a cleaning job here or there in the last few years, but this is the most jobs I've had at once, ever. Some jobs are just once a month, while others are weekly. Some are just your average house cleaning, other people ask me to rearrange their furniture!
I thought it would be fun to share a few 'confessions' of a housekeeper!
one// It's okay that you don't know what to call me.
Obviously, I'm on first name basis with homeowners. It cracks me up a little bit, though, when they answer the telephone and say "Can I call you back....my maid?? is here right now." Maid conjures up some funny mental pictures. Mostly I think people feel uncomfortable saying it, like it's demeaning or makes them sound stuck up. It's okay! Maid is fine, but housekeeper seems to roll of the tongue a little easier.
two// I don't really like it when you're home.
My preference is that I have a key to your house. When I get to your house I like to get in 'the zone' and get busy. It's challenging for me to turn off my extroverted personality and not chitchat with the homeowner. One woman I clean for works from home, so it's also a challenge staying quiet and not vacuuming at an inopportune time. Since I charge by the hour, I am very conscious of the time I spend cleaning and it's a noticeable difference when the person is home versus not home.
three// I don't really notice your stuff.
I had a client tell me her husband was super embarrassed that he left out his hair growth cream on the bathroom counter. I hadn't even noticed, and would have never had known if she hadn't told me. I just pick up the bottles, wipe the counter and try to put things back were I found them. You have to be observant to clean, but I'm definitely not reading all the labels on your prescriptions.
four// I know I'm an extra in your budget.
It is a bit disconcerting to know your job would be the first to go in a budget emergency. A cleaning lady is usually an extra on the spreadsheet. It's nice that, personally, I don't rely heavily on the money I get from cleaning jobs. But, I do get butterflies when I see a new car in their driveway, or hear that the couple is getting a divorce. I had a client tell me recently about her budget woes, but then tell me that I was a nonnegotiable. That was really nice and made me feel like I was an important fixture in her well being.
five// I love it when you have me do extra stuff!
Since I'm paid by the hour, I have my clients dictate what they want out of their budget. If you can only pay me for one hour, then I'm doing the minimum. My favorite thing is when homeowners ask me to stay an extra hour and tackle a linen closet they need help organizing or give extra attention to the baseboards. Basically, I'm thrilled to slow it down and give more attention to detail. Ideally, you hire me to be a live-in housekeeper and I will keep every surface spotless....but usually I'm working really hard to get basics done within your budgeted time. It's really nice to mix it up once in awhile and do something different.
six// I appreciate your feedback!
After sweating it out for 2 hours, I love hearing how thrilled you are with the floors or how shiny your stainless steel is. Feedback is great, whether is good or constructive. Because I don't sit on your couch and watch tv, I don't know that you can see the dust bunnies from that vantage point. Because I don't sleep in your bed, I don't know that there is a cobweb that hangs from the ceiling that you can only see after the lamp is turned on. Tell me that stuff!
I appreciate your feedback here too! Leave a comment below if you have a cleaning lady, or if you are one! I'd love to hear your confessions from either side.
Have you read: My 2 rules for staying organized?