The Money Mustache Community

Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: nawhite on December 20, 2013, 01:00:06 PM

Title: House Cleaning
Post by: nawhite on December 20, 2013, 01:00:06 PM
There was a lot of discussion on the Overheard at work thread about whether paying a person to clean your house is a good idea or worthwhile. Please move that conversation to this thread. Thanks!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Frugal Friar on December 20, 2013, 01:16:57 PM
I posted the comment on the other thread, and decided to copy it here when I saw the thread was moved.

You guys complaining that you *need* a cleaning service do realize this is MMM, right?

I am new here, but it seems horribly against the idea of self-sufficiency and frugality to pay someone else to clean my house.  It also seems a little strange to try to justify it on a site dedicated to monetary badassity.  Just saying...

I am no where near a 50% savings rate yet, but even I don't have the luxury of being able to cut a cleaning service.  this seems like an amazing opportunity for you guys.  Cut the service, and simultaneously increase your savings and cut your expenses.  Your future, retired self will probably thank you.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: the fixer on December 20, 2013, 01:17:42 PM
Makes perfect sense to me. I go to that thread to read funny stories about silly clown coworkers, especially since I no longer get to amuse myself with those experiences personally.

Mom to 5, no personal offense meant by my comment. I merely turned around your statement about society, because all of those problems are 100% under your control. If you're exercising that control that's great, but my point stands that those things aren't good excuses.

I can believe that a small handful of people out there are truly benefited from having a cleaning service, especially on a temporary basis, but not as many as the number who are posting to justify this. Based on the math, even if you aren't going to continue this after FI one would have to work an extra year or more to pay for this during the accumulation phase.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: msilenus on December 21, 2013, 02:44:10 PM
We also have cleaning.  The calculus there is sound, but weird: my wife is a neat freak, makes excellent money at work, and is a mom.  Those are a lot of demands on her time, and it sometimes gets overwhelming for her.  There's only so much I can do on cleaning because I'm completely oblivious to levels of disorder that intensely bother her.  Since we started getting a good cleaning once a month, those times where she feels completely swamped have become much fewer, and she's been noticeably happier and less stressed.

If she ever stops being happy because the demands on her time become complete intractable, work is what goes.  There's no question about that for either of us.  I ran the numbers.  Compensation from her job subtracts at least four years from our FIRE date.  The cleaners add about a month.  They're also cheaper than therapy to help her learn to cope with clutter.  (I kid. (Though they are.))

We should be skeptical of claims of time-arbitrage.  Usually it's just self-delusion.  Sometimes it really does make sense.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Zaga on December 21, 2013, 02:51:28 PM
We did have a once a month cleaning service, just 3 hours for $60, while I was working full time and in grad school.  It was a true sanity saver, but we cancelled after I graduated.  Cost was no longer worth the benefit.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Empire Business on December 21, 2013, 03:13:53 PM
My friend has a house cleaning hustle, so it's pretty sound from her point of view.

I have tried to hire her a few times for "special projects," but somehow she always ends up negotiating it down to something like I provide coffee and snacks, in return for her sitting and giving moral support while I clean out my own closet or whatever. 

She is a good friend.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: annaraven on December 21, 2013, 03:39:40 PM
I highly recommend Flylady (Flylady.net) for folks getting overwhelmed by cleaning. Breaks everything down into small, doable steps (building habits, breaking the house into zones), that don't take a lot of time ("you can do anything for 15 minutes") and improves the home over time. And, it's free.

Kept me from having to hire a cleaning service or get overwhelmed by trying to keep up.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: avonlea on December 21, 2013, 05:33:14 PM
I posted the comment on the other thread, and decided to copy it here when I saw the thread was moved.

You guys complaining that you *need* a cleaning service do realize this is MMM, right?

I am new here, but it seems horribly against the idea of self-sufficiency and frugality to pay someone else to clean my house.  It also seems a little strange to try to justify it on a site dedicated to monetary badassity.  Just saying...

I am no where near a 50% savings rate yet, but even I don't have the luxury of being able to cut a cleaning service.  this seems like an amazing opportunity for you guys.  Cut the service, and simultaneously increase your savings and cut your expenses.  Your future, retired self will probably thank you.

I don't think that anyone on the previous thread said they needed the cleaning service.  I was under the impression that they saw it as a valuable purchase, either during a certain phase of life or for the long haul.  They were willing to be financially smart in other ways and still meet their desired savings goals.  Sure, they could have saved more money and hit FIRE earlier by cutting this expense, but they didn't think it was worth it.  I see a difference between this scenario and one where a person is complaining that there is no way they can possibly save for retirement while they're also paying for a cleaning service.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: mm1970 on December 22, 2013, 06:56:09 PM
I posted the comment on the other thread, and decided to copy it here when I saw the thread was moved.

You guys complaining that you *need* a cleaning service do realize this is MMM, right?

I am new here, but it seems horribly against the idea of self-sufficiency and frugality to pay someone else to clean my house.  It also seems a little strange to try to justify it on a site dedicated to monetary badassity.  Just saying...

I am no where near a 50% savings rate yet, but even I don't have the luxury of being able to cut a cleaning service.  this seems like an amazing opportunity for you guys.  Cut the service, and simultaneously increase your savings and cut your expenses.  Your future, retired self will probably thank you.

I don't think that anyone on the previous thread said they needed the cleaning service.  I was under the impression that they saw it as a valuable purchase, either during a certain phase of life or for the long haul.  They were willing to be financially smart in other ways and still meet their desired savings goals.  Sure, they could have saved more money and hit FIRE earlier by cutting this expense, but they didn't think it was worth it.  I see a difference between this scenario and one where a person is complaining that there is no way they can possibly save for retirement while they're also paying for a cleaning service.
Yes, and this is basically what I said on the other thread.  I can see a point in time, in a few  years, when we could easily quit (when our children are older).  But our toddler can literally messy things up faster than we can clean them up.  In fact, I think I hear him right now pulling all the books off one of our shelves...
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: mm1970 on December 22, 2013, 08:10:38 PM
Quote
I can believe that a small handful of people out there are truly benefited from having a cleaning service, especially on a temporary basis, but not as many as the number who are posting to justify this.

Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by small number.  I can see, easily, that anyone with infants and young toddlers (say, aged 0-4) can benefit from a cleaning service.  For those years, so are so "hands on" with your children, that cleaning generally falls by the wayside.  Especially if both parents are working because there's just not time the rest of the day.  As it is, the only time one of us is NOT interacting with the toddler is when he's asleep.   He did not nap today.  We also have an older child.  Their sleep schedules are aligned such that if I only sleep when both are asleep I will be lucky to get 8 hours of sleep.

After the age of four it gets better.  The kids are certainly able to help and can play independently enough that you can actually clean.

However, that's not the only reason - there are legitimately people who are paid by the hour.  My husband works from home a lot.  If he works for two hours after the kids are in bed, that pays for one cleaning session (after taxes). 

Plus, there's the general stress level that someone else mentioned.  I've found that as I've gotten older, my tolerance for mess and dirt has gone way down.  There are days when I am picking stuff up and putting it away and doing dishes and folding laundry and cooking and feeding nonstop...only to look around at 8 pm and realize that suddenly there is STILL crap all over the floor and the baby's asleep so it's too late to vacuum anyway.

But really, what it comes down to is - I can afford it.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Insanity on December 22, 2013, 09:03:54 PM
Before I saw this thread, I put this in the other thread:

Just wondering -- how many kids do you have?
What an interesting and relevant point you make. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem)

Only if the assumption was I was going to argue the underlying point instead of criticize the delivery.  Given the tone of the response, I thought it actually was relevant.  One thing that has irked me a bit about MMM community is the harshness that is given to some.  We are talking about a woman who home school two kids, and has three other younger kids spending a little bit of money on a cleaning service.  With the amount of sleep she probably does get, or the free time -- oh wait, she probably doesn't have anyway.   

Quote
And that "bedpan" meme is horribly overplayed.
So is the "no you don't need a new car" meme and the "you can afford to put more of your paycheck away each month to save for retirement" meme. This is a frugality site, not a don't-change-anything-and-bitch-that-life-is-really-hard site (http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/forums/list.page).

I agree with what someone else said before -- its about making your life efficient with what you can afford.  If you can afford the cleaning service and it isn't hindering your FIRE, then who is anyone on here to judge whether it is good or not?  For me, I've cut back significantly in multiple areas (cable, cell phone, car payments, etc) that continuing the cleaning service wasn't needed to cut.

So yes, just blindly throwing out any one of those phrases without understanding context is what I would call overused.

---------
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MrsPete on December 22, 2013, 10:04:39 PM
Plus, there's the general stress level that someone else mentioned.  I've found that as I've gotten older, my tolerance for mess and dirt has gone way down.  There are days when I am picking stuff up and putting it away and doing dishes and folding laundry and cooking and feeding nonstop...only to look around at 8 pm and realize that suddenly there is STILL crap all over the floor and the baby's asleep so it's too late to vacuum anyway.
We've never had a cleaning service, but keeping the house clean has been the #1 stressor in our marriage and our family -- and after 23 years, my husband still hasn't figured this out.  Now that our kids are older, the problem has resolved itself.

In retrospect, I think we'd have been happier in our earlier years if we'd splurged on a cleaning service.  Our focus at that point was maxing out our savings and paying off the house early -- both good goals, and we exceeded our goals wildly.  But looking back, I think we'd have been better off to have spent something on house cleaning, even if it meant we had a little less now. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: nottoolatetostart on December 23, 2013, 04:44:30 AM
We both work and have a 16 month old with another on the way. We don't have a cleaning service, although I do fantasize about it, but I could never justify the cost since our house would feel dirty again once the baby got into things again.

Our solution has been to simply own less stuff and very soon move to a smaller place. We have 2800 sq ft.

Less space = less to clean. Perfect! 

To keep clutter under control, I **try** (doesn't always happen) to do a little bit each day and only focus on the key areas where we actually spend our time (living/family room, kitchen, dining, bedrooms, bath).

Luckily, my husband does most of our wash and the dishes after dinner each night. If I had to do those as well, then I would go crazy.

I prefer to spend my time with my toddler instead of worrying about cleaning. But it has taken me time to get there.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: golden1 on December 23, 2013, 06:40:29 AM
I do.  I have someone come in twice a month to clean my house and I love it.  I really value the work that my cleaners do.  I used to clean hotel rooms in summer breaks from college, and I have always cleaned my own apartments and homes until the last few years. 

I pay for cleaning because both me and my husband work a full time job, have two children, and he is in school part time getting his MBA.  It is worth it because something has to give or else I would not spend the time with my kids that I want to.  My mother worked a full time job growing up and then spent all day Saturday cleaning.  I saw how that drained her and I don't want that for myself.

When I was a SAHM I did the cleaning, and if I am able to cut back on my hours I will let the cleaners go.  So I see it as a temporary necessity.  Also, as my kids get older they will take over some of the cleaners jobs as well.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: melalvai on December 23, 2013, 06:51:04 AM
One thing that has irked me a bit about MMM community is the harshness that is given to some.

Me too. Come over to the Journals, we're much nicer there.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: melalvai on December 23, 2013, 06:59:19 AM
But our toddler can literally messy things up faster than we can clean them up.  In fact, I think I hear him right now pulling all the books off one of our shelves...

That was our daughter's favorite game! We packed all the books in the bottom 2 shelves so tight that we almost couldn't get them out. That didn't help. She dragged a box over, climbed on top of it, and started in on shelves 3 & 4. One of our most treasured photos is that little bald baby pulling books off the shelves.

I often dreamed of paying for a house cleaner, especially when she was small, but we never could afford it. My alternative solution was to lower my standard of cleanliness. That worked so well that when she went off to college, I was uncomfortable with the unaccustomed lack of mess & filth. Only for a little while. Sadly, I got used to it and I waste her precious visits home feeling annoyed that she leaves dirty dishes and socks lying around.

Once I had an estimate on cleaning when we were about to move. The cleaning company talked me out of it. They didn't want me to waste my money on a landlord I didn't like. They said to call them when they could do it to make ME happy, not my despised landlord.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 23, 2013, 07:03:05 AM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't, even in similar circumstances of being out of debt, building a stash. Why do people think that this is so heinous?  I include MMM in the question as well, because I think he has a bit of an attitude on "right" and "wrong" spending too.  Even though he admits to luxury spending, it seems as only certain luxury spending is ok.

In regards to the grandparents time debate, to me that's totally irrelevant. My grandmother didn't hold a full-time job. I do.  End stop. (I don't currently have a cleaner, but it is the number one source of chronic fights in our household, because I get frustrated at doing it all. Last night, DH even said he was afraid I'd leave him over it one day.  Divorce, let me tell you, is way more expensive than a cleaner.  I envy you folks that have partners that share equally in the work.)
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MrsPete on December 23, 2013, 07:15:07 AM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't, even in similar circumstances of being out of debt, building a stash. Why do people think that this is so heinous?  I include MMM in the question as well, because I think he has a bit of an attitude on "right" and "wrong" spending too.  Even though he admits to luxury spending, it seems as only certain luxury spending is ok.

In regards to the grandparents time debate, to me that's totally irrelevant. My grandmother didn't hold a full-time job. I do.  End stop. (I don't currently have a cleaner, but it is the number one source of chronic fights in our household, because I get frustrated at doing it all. Last night, DH even said he was afraid I'd leave him over it one day.  Divorce, let me tell you, is way more expensive than a cleaner.  I envy you folks that have partners that share equally in the work.)
I completely understand your point of view -- it sounds like where we were when our kids were small. 

My husband is absolutely wonderful in so many ways, but he is worse than useless on this one subject.  Not only does he not help, he doesn't even see that there's a problem.  He will gladly step over piles of dirty clothes and is fine with dishes sitting by the sink. 
Title: Cleaning baseboards
Post by: annann on December 23, 2013, 07:42:02 AM
Quote from: ace1224 on December 20, 2013, 06:33:38 am

    i pay someone to come deep clean once a quarter or so.  i super hate cleaning baseboards and will gladly outsource them.  even if i'm not doing anything productive with the time i save not doing them lol


I don't hate cleaning anything but I was always disappointed that no matter what I did the baseboards never looked really good.  Then by accident I sprayed wood floor cleaner on a bit of baseboard and it cleaned it really well with no extra effort.  Spray and wipe and it looked wonderful.  I have since found the wood floor cleaner superior for washable painted walls.  Sometimes it is just finding the right product to do the job.  HTH.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: melalvai on December 23, 2013, 07:46:01 AM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't,

Because you haven't started the thread on other things like travel! You start that thread, and there will be a lot of face punches, plus a lot of people just as defensive about their travel as you are about house cleaning.

Not to hijack the house cleaner thread, but we just moved from an isolated, rural town. It's categorized as 'micropolitan', if you're into traffic you know what that means. It means it's a small town but the next bigger town is 90 miles away in any direction. A friend of mine grew up in the area and she survives by going to Kansas City or Des Moines with her husband nearly every weekend to visit friends. They eat at restaurants and drink beer and wine. They shop. They go to games or shows. I think they each have a salary around $30K. They want to have kids some day. They have student debt. They totally can't afford these frequent trips!

In regards to the grandparents time debate...

I read somewhere that the time-saving gadgets like dishwashers and washing machines and vacuum cleaners just resulted in a higher standard of cleanliness. They didn't free up women (in the 1950's) for living a life of luxury.

My husband is absolutely wonderful in so many ways, but he is worse than useless on this one subject.  Not only does he not help, he doesn't even see that there's a problem.  He will gladly step over piles of dirty clothes and is fine with dishes sitting by the sink.

I know, doesn't that make you jealous? How much easier my life would be if I simply didn't see the dirty clothes & if the dirty dishes didn't bother me! lol

I was laughing the other day because my extravert nature means I have all these filters, which get in the way because I'm so unobservant. He's an introvert and has no filters, so noise bothers him & he's easily distracted. Yet apparently he has plenty of filters in place when it comes to noticing that the toilet needs cleaned. And I have no filters on that score.

Lowering your standards of cleanliness can save money AND decrease marital strife. :)
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Le0 on December 23, 2013, 07:46:26 AM
Someone mentioned in another thread recently that its a little discouraging reading through the MMM Forums. As it seems a lot of people make more than $50,000 a year. When it comes to hiring a cleaner, I make less than $50,000 and cannot maintain the savings rate I want and pay a cleaner (Or something similar) that is why I see it as a face punch. However from this conversation I am realizing that there are a lot of people making much more they must be living within their 25% and therefore saving more than 50% a year.

IF you are living within 25% of your yearly income and saving 75% then hiring a cleaner is not a face punch. However if that is not the case then I would say stop paying some one to clean your house, do it yourself.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 23, 2013, 08:12:54 AM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't,

Because you haven't started the thread on other things like travel! You start that thread, and there will be a lot of face punches, plus a lot of people just as defensive about their travel as you are about house cleaning.

eh, I've read and participated on many (hence why I'm flagging it) and it doesn't have the same tone.  And I'm genuinely curious as to why.  I think it's because most mustachian share it as a "valued spending item" and they don't share hiring out cleaning, and thus don't understand why it might be a valued spending item.  I also think it might be a sense of superiority, that it's the "type" of thing that shouldn't be outsourced, because one ought to pick up after themselves.

Lowering your standards of cleanliness can save money AND decrease marital strife. :)

See, I think this is a case of ignorance of bliss.  Perhaps you don't realize when I say that my husband does NO CLEANING, I really mean NO CLEANING.  Example: I met my husband 5.5 years ago, when he had been in his current condo 5 years.  He had NEVER ONCE cleaned his shower in those five years.  There is lowering standards, and then there is living in filth.  I hope we all agree that while standards may vary, NO CLEANING is not appropriate either.  It has some pretty significant negative health repercussions, which is very un-mustachian with long-term consequences.

Someone mentioned in another thread recently that its a little discouraging reading through the MMM Forums. As it seems a lot of people make more than $50,000 a year. When it comes to hiring a cleaner, I make less than $50,000 and cannot maintain the savings rate I want and pay a cleaner (Or something similar) that is why I see it as a face punch. However from this conversation I am realizing that there are a lot of people making much more they must be living within their 25% and therefore saving more than 50% a year.

IF you are living within 25% of your yearly income and saving 75% then hiring a cleaner is not a face punch. However if that is not the case then I would say stop paying some one to clean your house, do it yourself.

Yes, I would never support cleaning where the person wasn't on track financially and out of consumer debt, absent severe circumstances.  I think that's part of the problem for me, that people facepunch without carefully describing where it's inappropriate and where could be just fine.

For example, in our case, our annual household income is $200k.  Our saving rates is a little unknown (just bought a house and don't know how much bills like heat/water will be for sure), but prior to Friday it was at least 65% (higher if you also count the 401k match for my husband and my govt pension, which I get back as a lump sum if I leave before I vest).
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cinder on December 23, 2013, 08:30:19 AM
I highly recommend Flylady (Flylady.net) for folks getting overwhelmed by cleaning. Breaks everything down into small, doable steps (building habits, breaking the house into zones), that don't take a lot of time ("you can do anything for 15 minutes") and improves the home over time. And, it's free.

Kept me from having to hire a cleaning service or get overwhelmed by trying to keep up.

I was going to use flylady, but the 10+ emails a day overwhelmed me more then the cleaning did/would!  My brain immediately treated them as spam and I stopped looking at them as they flooded my inbox, I unsubscribed from the mailing list directly thereafter. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: GuitarStv on December 23, 2013, 09:13:13 AM
See, I think this is a case of ignorance of bliss.  Perhaps you don't realize when I say that my husband does NO CLEANING, I really mean NO CLEANING.  Example: I met my husband 5.5 years ago, when he had been in his current condo 5 years.  He had NEVER ONCE cleaned his shower in those five years.  There is lowering standards, and then there is living in filth.  I hope we all agree that while standards may vary, NO CLEANING is not appropriate either.  It has some pretty significant negative health repercussions, which is very un-mustachian with long-term consequences.

It kinda sounds like someone needs to pull your husband's head out of his ass and get him to help out, rather than hiring someone.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 23, 2013, 09:24:00 AM
See, I think this is a case of ignorance of bliss.  Perhaps you don't realize when I say that my husband does NO CLEANING, I really mean NO CLEANING.  Example: I met my husband 5.5 years ago, when he had been in his current condo 5 years.  He had NEVER ONCE cleaned his shower in those five years.  There is lowering standards, and then there is living in filth.  I hope we all agree that while standards may vary, NO CLEANING is not appropriate either.  It has some pretty significant negative health repercussions, which is very un-mustachian with long-term consequences.

It kinda sounds like someone needs to pull your husband's head out of his ass and get him to help out, rather than hiring someone.

That would be awesome, but I personally haven't had much success making someone (adult) do what they don't want to do.  (You can only change yourself, you can't change other people...)

In any event, read above, I don't actually have a cleaning person.  I just do think there are circumstances where it is warranted and I'm befuddled how mustachian principles are that you should evaluate your expenses and only spend on those things truly worth it to you - except cleaning, that is.  It seems it is the one thing you should never ever pay someone else to do.  The hostility towards it is amazing.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: The Money Monk on December 23, 2013, 09:29:56 AM
spending money on cleaning may seem like a waste to some people ( i don't do it), while spending money on pets may seem crazy to others, etc.

The good news is, when it comes to FIRE, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY ON!

I already explained it on my blog, so check it out if you are interested:  http://themoney-monk.blogspot.com/2013/12/it-doesnt-matter-what-you-spend-your.html
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: melalvai on December 23, 2013, 09:31:51 AM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't,

Because you haven't started the thread on other things like travel! You start that thread, and there will be a lot of face punches, plus a lot of people just as defensive about their travel as you are about house cleaning.

eh, I've read and participated on many (hence why I'm flagging it) and it doesn't have the same tone.  And I'm genuinely curious as to why.  I think it's because most mustachian share it as a "valued spending item" and they don't share hiring out cleaning, and thus don't understand why it might be a valued spending item.  I also think it might be a sense of superiority, that it's the "type" of thing that shouldn't be outsourced, because one ought to pick up after themselves.

That is an interesting question. I wonder if it has something to do with the difference between doing for yourself and doing without. It's fun to save money by doing for yourself, it's a hardship to save money by doing without. But I don't know if that really gets at the judgmental attitudes toward hiring a house cleaner that aren't present toward traveling. And I have a hard time calling cleaning "fun".

Grandma bitterly complained about having someone clean her house. She hated the invasion of privacy. Mom & I just looked at each other and said, "I'd take it any day!" It's something we both sort of aspire to, that one day we'll get to have a weekly house cleaner.

See, I think this is a case of ignorance of bliss.  Perhaps you don't realize when I say that my husband does NO CLEANING, I really mean NO CLEANING.  Example: I met my husband 5.5 years ago, when he had been in his current condo 5 years.  He had NEVER ONCE cleaned his shower in those five years.  There is lowering standards, and then there is living in filth.  I hope we all agree that while standards may vary, NO CLEANING is not appropriate either.  It has some pretty significant negative health repercussions, which is very un-mustachian with long-term consequences.

Ew-- but, that's my cultural background speaking. Modern sewer systems have a much bigger health impact than anything else we've discovered or invented in our entire history. Until very recently, daily showering was just not done. I've encountered a few bathrooms that likely hadn't been cleaned in a long time, and the people who live in them are not suffering any adverse health effects. Their health problems related to sedentary living and a high-sugar/ HFCS diet, not a dirty shower. Not even dirty dishes.

I don't know if my husband has ever cleaned a shower in his life. We were young when we met, and I didn't try even asking him to help clean the bathroom more than once or twice. I assume your husband, like mine, has many other admirable qualities. One time, I caught him cleaning the toilet. He just wanted to do something nice for me. I took a picture.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: annann on December 23, 2013, 10:01:28 AM
I highly recommend Flylady (Flylady.net) for folks getting overwhelmed by cleaning. Breaks everything down into small, doable steps (building habits, breaking the house into zones), that don't take a lot of time ("you can do anything for 15 minutes") and improves the home over time. And, it's free.

Kept me from having to hire a cleaning service or get overwhelmed by trying to keep up.

I was going to use flylady, but the 10+ emails a day overwhelmed me more then the cleaning did/would!  My brain immediately treated them as spam and I stopped looking at them as they flooded my inbox, I unsubscribed from the mailing list directly thereafter.

Flylady is full of useful information.  When I went there I did not sign up for anything.  I just went through the information in the order they suggested.  I believe the first cleaning task is really cleaning your kitchen sink.  I never had to deal with e-mails.  Just her idea of doing 15-60 minutes a day in decluttering and/or cleaning is so helpful.  Anyone really can do any cleaning or organizing task for 15 minutes.  Over time it adds up and get the job done relatively painlessly.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 23, 2013, 10:12:05 AM
Grandma bitterly complained about having someone clean her house. She hated the invasion of privacy.

Ahh, Grandmas.  My grandma would clean before the cleaning person came (when she got to ill to take care of things herself a year before she died) because she didn't want to be "embarrassed" by her dirty home.  In fact, the person she ended up keeping on was the only person that cleaned well enough that she stopped this, and wouldn't also clean afterwards.

I loved her, but she never understood why I'd prefer to read a book than to help out cooking like my sister.  My grandfather did though.  No surprise that I became a lawyer like my grandfather.  :)

See, I think this is a case of ignorance of bliss.  Perhaps you don't realize when I say that my husband does NO CLEANING, I really mean NO CLEANING.  Example: I met my husband 5.5 years ago, when he had been in his current condo 5 years.  He had NEVER ONCE cleaned his shower in those five years.  There is lowering standards, and then there is living in filth.  I hope we all agree that while standards may vary, NO CLEANING is not appropriate either.  It has some pretty significant negative health repercussions, which is very un-mustachian with long-term consequences.

Ew-- but, that's my cultural background speaking. Modern sewer systems have a much bigger health impact than anything else we've discovered or invented in our entire history. Until very recently, daily showering was just not done. I've encountered a few bathrooms that likely hadn't been cleaned in a long time, and the people who live in them are not suffering any adverse health effects. Their health problems related to sedentary living and a high-sugar/ HFCS diet, not a dirty shower. Not even dirty dishes.

I read an article about tubs being worse than toilets, because people will clean toilets (thinking of them as "dirty" due to their function, but won't clean tubs as much and therefore, tubs are actually more a breeding ground for bad bacteria.  In any event, that was one example, I can spout off more - like how he used to leave the faucet running slightly for the cat and the sink was filled with cat hair.  Or that he ate takeout (very healthy habits!) every day rather than have to shop, cook or clean up.

I don't know if my husband has ever cleaned a shower in his life. We were young when we met, and I didn't try even asking him to help clean the bathroom more than once or twice. I assume your husband, like mine, has many other admirable qualities. One time, I caught him cleaning the toilet. He just wanted to do something nice for me. I took a picture.

He cleaned the tub once for me when I was having a very bad day, about a year or two ago.  I still remember it fondly.  :)

I met mine at age 33, a bit old for teaching new habits apparently.  His mom gets mad at him a little bit for this, because she was a single mom and she swears she didn't raise him this way.

He does indeed have many other great qualities, which is why I am with him.  But it does remain the main source of strife in our household.  And I remain puzzled why if I said I was going to therapy to resolve our marital issues, that would be accepted way faster on here than a cleaning service.  Apparently I should just let the problem fester and get worse, reaching emergency crisis point.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: NeverWasACornflakeGirl on December 23, 2013, 11:51:03 AM
After 22 years cleaning is the one thing that my spouse and I still fight about.  We downsized to a tiny house, so it seems like a silly waste of money to pay someone else to clean it, but sometimes I fantasize that we could buy a side-by-side duplex and we could each live on different sides so I wouldn't have to clean up after her!  When she is gone for a week for a conference our 8-year-old and I manage to keep the house clean, but the minute she's back, her stuff just takes over.  Maybe it would be worth it to pay someone to clean just for the sake of domestic harmony.  Hmmmm . . . .
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: msilenus on December 23, 2013, 12:35:31 PM
After 22 years cleaning is the one thing that my spouse and I still fight about.  We downsized to a tiny house, so it seems like a silly waste of money to pay someone else to clean it, but sometimes I fantasize that we could buy a side-by-side duplex and we could each live on different sides so I wouldn't have to clean up after her!  When she is gone for a week for a conference our 8-year-old and I manage to keep the house clean, but the minute she's back, her stuff just takes over.  Maybe it would be worth it to pay someone to clean just for the sake of domestic harmony.  Hmmmm . . . .

This whole argument is steeped in feminism and the broader "gender wars" which might not be of use to you, but there's a core which might serve as thought food.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/03/really-easy-answer-to-the-housework-problem.html
The sequel: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/stephen-marche-is-making-my-argument-look-bad.html

(Moreover, I've been wanting to post it on this thread for a while.)
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: melalvai on December 23, 2013, 01:34:05 PM
After 22 years cleaning is the one thing that my spouse and I still fight about.  We downsized to a tiny house, so it seems like a silly waste of money to pay someone else to clean it, but sometimes I fantasize that we could buy a side-by-side duplex and we could each live on different sides so I wouldn't have to clean up after her!  When she is gone for a week for a conference our 8-year-old and I manage to keep the house clean, but the minute she's back, her stuff just takes over.  Maybe it would be worth it to pay someone to clean just for the sake of domestic harmony.  Hmmmm . . . .

This whole argument is steeped in feminism and the broader "gender wars" which might not be of use to you, but there's a core which might serve as thought food.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/03/really-easy-answer-to-the-housework-problem.html
The sequel: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/stephen-marche-is-making-my-argument-look-bad.html

(Moreover, I've been wanting to post it on this thread for a while.)

Danger, Will Robinson!
You used that f-word. Let the flames begin!
I enjoyed the article. However, my daughter's dorm room-- the bathroom contains a set of cleaning tools & chemicals. A handy little disposable toilet brush thing (you snap a soap-filled pad onto the handle, then press a button when you're done and it pops off into the trash). A swiffer mop. Wipes with the soap already on them. And paper towels, though I don't know what those are for. It's all provided for her. She doesn't even have to buy it. (Considering what we pay for the dorm, it's a small thing.)

She has one roommate and one suitemate. None of them have cleaned the bathroom ever. I cleaned it once. After that, I used the bathroom downstairs in the lobby when we visit.

I mentioned this to some friends. One of them had some experience with a cleaning service. In her experience, college women clean less and are messier than college men! So, maybe times they are a'changin'?

And I remain puzzled why if I said I was going to therapy to resolve our marital issues, that would be accepted way faster on here than a cleaning service.  Apparently I should just let the problem fester and get worse, reaching emergency crisis point.

Well, there are some vocal stupid people on the internet, including this forum. I accept that there do seem to be a disproportionate number of people deluded about the evils of hiring a cleaning service, who are otherwise somewhat sensible. Here, this is MY stamp of approval for you spending money on a cleaning service when you can afford it.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: oldtoyota on December 23, 2013, 01:44:15 PM
My spouse's idea of clean is not clean. He dusted, but I can see large areas he didn't touch with a dust cloth. I don't say anything, because something is better than nothing. He rarely cleans if I don't suggest it...

For better or worse, that is how it is. So, I do fantasize about a magical cleaning person who would come once per month to deep clean the bathrooms and fridge and also sweep/vacuum.

A lot of my friends have hired cleaning people just so they don't have to argue about the cleaning anymore.

That all said, I found UFYH (unfuck your habitat) via this board and have taken to their idea of 20-10s and 45-15s during which you clean for 20 or 45 min and then take a break for 10 or 15. You can get a lot done in these short bursts, and it beats doing nothing and then having hours of cleaning to do.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: oldtoyota on December 23, 2013, 01:46:13 PM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't, even in similar circumstances of being out of debt, building a stash. Why do people think that this is so heinous?  I include MMM in the question as well, because I think he has a bit of an attitude on "right" and "wrong" spending too.  Even though he admits to luxury spending, it seems as only certain luxury spending is ok.

In regards to the grandparents time debate, to me that's totally irrelevant. My grandmother didn't hold a full-time job. I do.  End stop. (I don't currently have a cleaner, but it is the number one source of chronic fights in our household, because I get frustrated at doing it all. Last night, DH even said he was afraid I'd leave him over it one day.  Divorce, let me tell you, is way more expensive than a cleaner.  I envy you folks that have partners that share equally in the work.)

I am 100% with you on this. Get a cleaner if you want one. I mentioned in an earlier post that my friends got cleaners because they said it was cheaper than divorce. =-)

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CNM on December 23, 2013, 01:51:05 PM
Plus, there's the general stress level that someone else mentioned.  I've found that as I've gotten older, my tolerance for mess and dirt has gone way down.  There are days when I am picking stuff up and putting it away and doing dishes and folding laundry and cooking and feeding nonstop...only to look around at 8 pm and realize that suddenly there is STILL crap all over the floor and the baby's asleep so it's too late to vacuum anyway.
We've never had a cleaning service, but keeping the house clean has been the #1 stressor in our marriage and our family -- and after 23 years, my husband still hasn't figured this out.  Now that our kids are older, the problem has resolved itself.

In retrospect, I think we'd have been happier in our earlier years if we'd splurged on a cleaning service.  Our focus at that point was maxing out our savings and paying off the house early -- both good goals, and we exceeded our goals wildly.  But looking back, I think we'd have been better off to have spent something on house cleaning, even if it meant we had a little less now.

This pretty much sums up why we have a house cleaner.  It is within our budget and, for us, worthwhile.  In the years before we had a housekeeper, keeping the house clean was the main source of marital strife.  My spouse is messy and doesn't care whether the house is clean; I am tidy and while my house doesn't need to be spotless at all times, a clean house is important to me.  So, housekeeper it is!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Bruised_Pepper on December 23, 2013, 01:52:38 PM
What I don't understand is why this is put in this category (anti-mustachian) and seen as worthy of massive face punches, but other things (like say, travel) aren't, even in similar circumstances of being out of debt, building a stash. Why do people think that this is so heinous?  I include MMM in the question as well, because I think he has a bit of an attitude on "right" and "wrong" spending too.  Even though he admits to luxury spending, it seems as only certain luxury spending is ok.

Because it's very easy to hear "pays a housecleaner" and think "lazy SOB".  Not that this is accurate or my personal belief, but it's an easy assumption to make. 

Meanwhile, "jets off across the world" is seen as "enlighted and multicultural".  Again, not that this is necessarily accurate.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 23, 2013, 02:04:12 PM
After 22 years cleaning is the one thing that my spouse and I still fight about.  We downsized to a tiny house, so it seems like a silly waste of money to pay someone else to clean it, but sometimes I fantasize that we could buy a side-by-side duplex and we could each live on different sides so I wouldn't have to clean up after her!  When she is gone for a week for a conference our 8-year-old and I manage to keep the house clean, but the minute she's back, her stuff just takes over.  Maybe it would be worth it to pay someone to clean just for the sake of domestic harmony.  Hmmmm . . . .

This whole argument is steeped in feminism and the broader "gender wars" which might not be of use to you, but there's a core which might serve as thought food.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/03/really-easy-answer-to-the-housework-problem.html
The sequel: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/stephen-marche-is-making-my-argument-look-bad.html

(Moreover, I've been wanting to post it on this thread for a while.)

I fully agree with the sentiment in the second article: "The basic principle of an egalitarian marriage, I think, ought to be that both partners try to accommodate one anothersí needs as fairly as possible."

And Trina, my husband and I have joked about duplexes too.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: msilenus on December 23, 2013, 02:11:57 PM
Danger, Will Robinson!
You used that f-word. Let the flames begin!
I enjoyed the article. However, my daughter's dorm room-- the bathroom contains a set of cleaning tools & chemicals. A handy little disposable toilet brush thing (you snap a soap-filled pad onto the handle, then press a button when you're done and it pops off into the trash). A swiffer mop. Wipes with the soap already on them. And paper towels, though I don't know what those are for. It's all provided for her. She doesn't even have to buy it. (Considering what we pay for the dorm, it's a small thing.)

She has one roommate and one suitemate. None of them have cleaned the bathroom ever. I cleaned it once. After that, I used the bathroom downstairs in the lobby when we visit.

I mentioned this to some friends. One of them had some experience with a cleaning service. In her experience, college women clean less and are messier than college men! So, maybe times they are a'changin'?


My daughter is one year old.  The moment we put her slippers on, she snatches her shoes from us, toddles over to the hall tree, and puts them away.  So... maybe not.

Actually, I agree with you.  But I also think we're in an era of great cultural upheaval and transition.  Chait's experience --and mine-- are as valid as your daughter's.  Furthermore, I suspect your daughter's cohort are a diverse bunch in this way.  I'd even venture to guess that there are more regular dusters amongst the womenfolk of her agegroup than amongst the men, even if the typical level of cleanliness is as you say.  There's a tendency to become our co-gendered parents, so these wheels turn slowly.  There might be something like a half-life for these habits, measured in generations.

I believe it would please Chait that he and your daughter and much of her generation of women would look at a featherduster with the same sort of smirk.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Albert on December 23, 2013, 03:52:11 PM
My husband is absolutely wonderful in so many ways, but he is worse than useless on this one subject.  Not only does he not help, he doesn't even see that there's a problem.  He will gladly step over piles of dirty clothes and is fine with dishes sitting by the sink.

You see there is male level of cleanliness and female level of cleanliness. :)
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Nudelkopf on December 23, 2013, 05:11:39 PM
In my last share house, I shared with 3 other girls (all strangers to me when I moved in)(And I only ended up being friends with 1 of them). We had a cleaner to do the floors and the bathrooms each week. And thank goodness - we would have ended up fighting and bitching even more because the other 2 girls.. well.. they never washed their bedsheets in the 18months we lived together, let alone would know how to clean a bathroom.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: bacchi on December 23, 2013, 05:38:43 PM
Because it's very easy to hear "pays a housecleaner" and think "lazy SOB".  Not that this is accurate or my personal belief, but it's an easy assumption to make. 

Meanwhile, "jets off across the world" is seen as "enlighted and multicultural".  Again, not that this is necessarily accurate.

It's also very easy to clean. Let's face it - if you're able-bodied, 95% of us have the time to clean. It's not rocket surgery to vacuum or do dishes but it is pretty difficult to visit the Pyramid of Giza in an afternoon on a whim. In other words, this isn't really a good comparison. Maybe compare house cleaning to...car detailing? Getting a car detailed doesn't have the same negative connotations as getting a house cleaned.

My completely made-up theory is that, besides the obvious gender issues, there are some latent class issues involved with "servant" house-cleaning.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: limeandpepper on December 23, 2013, 06:15:12 PM
I think I have a more relaxed attitude in regards to saving/spending. I don't tend to judge someone for what they spend their money on. As long as they own their spending (i.e. don't whinge about not being able to save, when it's perfectly possible), spend within their means and save enough for their circumstances and don't adopt the attitude of relying on others (family, taxpayers or whoever) to bail them out, I'm cool with it. I've never hired a cleaner before, but I'm not against the idea of doing it someday, depending on the situation. I've been tossing up the idea of getting someone to do a big clean of my apartment before a major move interstate, for example. It would be lovely to not have to worry about cleaning when I'm preparing for everything else and all the stress that comes with it.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Spork on December 23, 2013, 06:43:37 PM
I think I have a more relaxed attitude in regards to saving/spending. I don't tend to judge someone for what they spend their money on. As long as they own their spending (i.e. don't whinge about not being able to save, when it's perfectly possible), spend within their means and save enough for their circumstances and don't adopt the attitude of relying on others (family, taxpayers or whoever) to bail them out, I'm cool with it.

Exactly!

I've never paid someone to clean (though... wifey might want to sometimes...)

I have an extremely relaxed MMM attitude.  If you're not in trouble and you know the consequences of how you spend your money I DO NOT CARE what you spend it on.  You can put a Ferrari engine in your Hummer and drive your casserole out to the outbuilding to put it in the extra Subzero refrigerator if you want to.  I will make fun of you, but I do not care.

Now... if you've dug yourself a hole and have a maid, a lawnboy and pay some guy $300 to put up your Christmas lights while worrying how you're going to pay for the credit cards this Christmas:  then I think you need a face punch.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: jenstill on December 23, 2013, 09:23:09 PM
It's also very easy to clean. Let's face it - if you're able-bodied, 95% of us have the time to clean. It's not rocket surgery to vacuum or do dishes

It is easy, but it's a terribly time- and energy-consuming part of my life. I want to hire a cleaner for my own sanity and some peace between me & my kids, but haven't yet found one I trust/like who will do what I want done on the schedule I want.

Also, I want to learn rocket surgery.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CanuckExpat on December 24, 2013, 12:04:42 AM
This thread makes me want to go hire a cleaner just to piss off the really sanctimonious people.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm probably too cheap and lazy to go through with it.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Bruised_Pepper on December 24, 2013, 12:10:14 AM
This thread makes me want to go hire a cleaner just to piss off the really sanctimonious people.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm probably too cheap and lazy to go through with it.

"And why did you choose AAA Maid Service?"
"Spite."
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 24, 2013, 06:59:39 AM
This thread makes me want to go hire a cleaner just to piss off the really sanctimonious people.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm probably too cheap and lazy to go through with it.

"And why did you choose AAA Maid Service?"
"Spite."

lol
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: melalvai on December 24, 2013, 07:12:12 AM
I noticed the anti-cleaners haven't chimed in here. But haven't hesitated to bash paid house cleaning on other threads.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Insanity on December 24, 2013, 07:57:38 AM
It's also very easy to clean. Let's face it - if you're able-bodied, 95% of us have the time to clean. It's not rocket surgery to vacuum or do dishes

It is easy, but it's a terribly time- and energy-consuming part of my life. I want to hire a cleaner for my own sanity and some peace between me & my kids, but haven't yet found one I trust/like who will do what I want done on the schedule I want.

Also, I want to learn rocket surgery.

I wonder if the risk of mistakes is higher in rocket surgery than in the real medical professionÖ

Or if learning rocket surgery is harder than learning to be a rocket scientist??

on topic..

My wife and I are very similar.  We are not neat freaks, but when it gets excessively bad, we want to clean it.  The problem is, we have our own priorities with what needs to be clean and our own definition of what is bad.  I hate leaving dirty dishes in the sink, so I tend to do more in the kitchen with clean up than she does.  I also hate clutter, but my office is a disaster right now.. Yet she'll be the one who will clean the office (we told the cleaning service not to touch the office that's how bad it is - and the fact she comes during the working day and I work from home).  My wife does spot cleaning of the bathrooms more than I would, but I tend to clean up the clutter in the basement and kids play areas more frequently.

I do think that clean and well organized does lend itself to less stress.  I'm just trying to get there and with two kids (one toddler, one baby) and a dog, it isn't easy to do time wise.  It gets later and the energy to make the "right decision" as opposed to the "escape decision" is harder.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: the fixer on December 24, 2013, 09:50:28 AM
As an anti-cleaner I will represent.

I totally agree, though, on the use of a cleaning service due to interpersonal conflicts. If a spouse refuses to do any cleaning, that's an easy case: you have an unmustachian spouse and of course you can't expect to fix that, so the cleaning service just becomes a fixed cost of being married. You could mess with the variables a bit and still reach the same conclusion, like "spouse who tries to clean but really sucks at it, previous serious attempts to learn failed AND it's causing significant strife for some logical reason." I can also accept that for certain short-term periods in life it may be needed due to extreme busy-ness (two FT parents one of whom is a part-time student is pretty illustrative of that).

My only point has been that long-term reliance on a cleaning service is really expensive at the numbers given, and not everyone is presenting this decision in terms of long-term financial planning: mainly, have you computed how much longer will you have to work before you can retire? Do you plan to continue having this service after retiring, or are you willing to go without it? How much stress would it cause you in the short term if you had to suddenly cancel the service (which would suggest that you would have a harder time making a rational decision about it if circumstances change)?

As for how this compares to travel, I think it's analogous at some basic financial level. I also do a fair amount of travel for outdoor hobbies, but I can answer all of the above questions about it. I'm semi-retired and do more part-time work specifically so I can afford exceptional destinations, so each work-vs-play tradeoff is implicitly considered by whether or not I take the work. I have been throttling back my outdoor stuff lately for various reasons and don't see it impacting my happiness, so I know that I can easily go without in the short term if I needed to.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: mm1970 on December 24, 2013, 10:18:45 AM
Quote
My only point has been that long-term reliance on a cleaning service is really expensive at the numbers given, and not everyone is presenting this decision in terms of long-term financial planning: mainly, have you computed how much longer will you have to work before you can retire? Do you plan to continue having this service after retiring, or are you willing to go without it? How much stress would it cause you in the short term if you had to suddenly cancel the service (which would suggest that you would have a harder time making a rational decision about it if circumstances change)?
I can understand your point here. As long as I'm working and have two children, I will have the service.  If circumstances change - that would only mean that one of us is unemployed.  In that case, well, we'd cancel.  Because one of us would be at home.

It is not interfering with my ability to "retire", because I could do so right now.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Eric on December 24, 2013, 10:43:22 AM
It's kind of amazing to me how many people prioritize cleanliness so much that they're willing to delay their retirement by potentially years.  That shit is expensive, so it must be really really important.  I'm not saying it's wrong or making a value judgment, it's just amazing to me. 

I think I never inherited the cleanliness gene, and I'm so happy that my wife shares my views.  In fact, I would say that one of the reasons we get along so well is that we both have the same tolerance for mess/dirt.  I would probably be miserable married to a clean freak.  Or broke.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Insanity on December 24, 2013, 11:10:53 AM
It's kind of amazing to me how many people prioritize cleanliness so much that they're willing to delay their retirement by potentially years.  That shit is expensive, so it must be really really important.  I'm not saying it's wrong or making a value judgment, it's just amazing to me. 

I think I never inherited the cleanliness gene, and I'm so happy that my wife shares my views.  In fact, I would say that one of the reasons we get along so well is that we both have the same tolerance for mess/dirt.  I would probably be miserable married to a clean freak.  Or broke.

I grew up with a grandmother who would wear a white glove in my dorm room at school..  (okay that is a bit of exaggeration -- she didn't really expect it to be that clean, but she would spend at least 30 min every night cleaning up something and then spend a few hours on the weekend cleaning -- but she would also spend hours cooking).   My mom was the same way.   DW's family.. not so much.  They cook a ton, but they don't do as much cleaning and also have more clutter (old magazines, books, toys from when my wife and her brother were kids and now they use that for the grand kids).  She has the mentality of better to save it than to buy it again.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cinder on December 24, 2013, 03:12:56 PM
It's kind of amazing to me how many people prioritize cleanliness so much that they're willing to delay their retirement by potentially years.  That shit is expensive, so it must be really really important.  I'm not saying it's wrong or making a value judgment, it's just amazing to me. 

I think I never inherited the cleanliness gene, and I'm so happy that my wife shares my views.  In fact, I would say that one of the reasons we get along so well is that we both have the same tolerance for mess/dirt.  I would probably be miserable married to a clean freak.  Or broke.

I grew up with a grandmother who would wear a white glove in my dorm room at school..  (okay that is a bit of exaggeration -- she didn't really expect it to be that clean, but she would spend at least 30 min every night cleaning up something and then spend a few hours on the weekend cleaning -- but she would also spend hours cooking).   My mom was the same way.   DW's family.. not so much.  They cook a ton, but they don't do as much cleaning and also have more clutter (old magazines, books, toys from when my wife and her brother were kids and now they use that for the grand kids).  She has the mentality of better to save it than to buy it again.
+1
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: mm1970 on December 24, 2013, 10:03:31 PM
It's kind of amazing to me how many people prioritize cleanliness so much that they're willing to delay their retirement by potentially years.  That shit is expensive, so it must be really really important.  I'm not saying it's wrong or making a value judgment, it's just amazing to me. 

I think I never inherited the cleanliness gene, and I'm so happy that my wife shares my views.  In fact, I would say that one of the reasons we get along so well is that we both have the same tolerance for mess/dirt.  I would probably be miserable married to a clean freak.  Or broke.
No one has ever accused me of being a clean freak.  One year of cleaning is equivalent to one month of child care, so in the grand scheme of things, it's not that much money (for me).
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Abe on December 24, 2013, 10:58:14 PM
I've calculated that I would have to work an extra 3 months to pay for 25 years of cleaning service every other week. Totally worth it!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: nikki on December 24, 2013, 11:14:50 PM
I think I have a very different perspective on this issue for a few reasons. 1) I live in a one-room apartment. 2) My only roommate is a cat--no messy husband or kids. 3) I am very much a clean freak.

Cleaning is one of my favorite things to do to unwind. My routines are pretty set, so it doesn't take much thought on my part to maintain near perfection. And it really does have to be near perfection for me or I start to feel anxious!

I posted somewhere else on the forums, but cleaning my entire apartment thoroughly and then just sitting back and looking around at the orderliness is hands down one of the most relaxing things I do. I get a huge surge of pride and sense that I have control of my happiness.

I couldn't even imagine outsourcing this work!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: the fixer on December 25, 2013, 03:37:12 PM
We pay approximately $300/month for a helper who comes in for 3 hours/day M-F and 1) Cleans the house and 2) Makes dinner.
That's interesting enough to make me break out the calculator!

Suppose you value the cleaning at zero. You could then compare the cost of this to the cost of eating out every night. This is more of a damning of people who eat out a ton than anything else, because of course nobody should actually be doing this...

Assume that, if you ate out every weeknight, you'd save $50/person/month on the groceries that go toward making everyone dinner (ballpark estimate). Now suppose that average cost per person per day of a dinner out is only $10, the equivalent of getting Chinese or most similar takeout. $10 x 5 days/wk x ~4.2 weeks/mo = $210. Net increased cost is $160/person/month.

...so your situation is barely cheaper than a couple that never makes dinner for themselves during the week! A family like yours with multiple kids would be spending even more, and of course you get a lot more than just dinner for that money. It's amazing how you can hire a private cook for less than it costs to eat out at restaurants.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: NeverWasACornflakeGirl on December 26, 2013, 06:49:03 AM
After 22 years cleaning is the one thing that my spouse and I still fight about.  We downsized to a tiny house, so it seems like a silly waste of money to pay someone else to clean it, but sometimes I fantasize that we could buy a side-by-side duplex and we could each live on different sides so I wouldn't have to clean up after her!  When she is gone for a week for a conference our 8-year-old and I manage to keep the house clean, but the minute she's back, her stuff just takes over.  Maybe it would be worth it to pay someone to clean just for the sake of domestic harmony.  Hmmmm . . . .

This whole argument is steeped in feminism and the broader "gender wars" which might not be of use to you, but there's a core which might serve as thought food.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/03/really-easy-answer-to-the-housework-problem.html
The sequel: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/stephen-marche-is-making-my-argument-look-bad.html

(Moreover, I've been wanting to post it on this thread for a while.)

I fully agree with the sentiment in the second article: "The basic principle of an egalitarian marriage, I think, ought to be that both partners try to accommodate one anothersí needs as fairly as possible."

And Trina, my husband and I have joked about duplexes too.

Thanks for the links, msilenus!

I've adopted a few successful coping strategies:

1.  I do find Flylady helpful, but I don't sign up for the emails (waaay too many).  I just check out the website once a week to get the daily assignments, and I like the "no martyr" philosophy.  I figure if I like it cleaner, then cleaning is a gift I'm giving myself.  Also, I'm giving my daughter the gift of learning to pick up after herself, and the gift of cleaning without perfectionism.

2.  A Roomba.  We have a dog and a cat, so lots of fur and dirt.  So last year I bought myself a $300 Roomba for my birthday.  It comes on automatically and vacuums for you.  Cheaper than a cleaning service or a divorce.  If you're going to schedule it to come on during the day while you're gone, just make sure your dog or cat is not prone to "accidents," because the Roomba will spread it everywhere and you will have to rent a carpet cleaner and spend hours cleaning it up.  Don't ask me how I know!!

3.  Hoarders.  Watch an episode of Hoarders on Netflix and my house is magically cleaner!!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: mustachejd on December 26, 2013, 08:16:42 AM
3.  Hoarders.  Watch an episode of Hoarders on Netflix and my house is magically cleaner!!

This.

I showed an episode to my cleanliness obsessed fiance and HE FREAKED.  He made us deep clean our home for the rest of the evening.

I am actually not averse to hiring people to do various odd jobs for me - as long as I think they can perform better than I can, or at least, at the same level.  That's actually the main reason why my partner and I do not hire cleaning services.  We do a way more thorough job than any relatively affordable cleaning service I've seen. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: the fixer on December 26, 2013, 09:06:51 AM
We pay approximately $300/month for a helper who comes in for 3 hours/day M-F and 1) Cleans the house and 2) Makes dinner.
Hey lhamo, I did another quick calculation: $300 / (3 hours/day x 5 days/wk x 4.3 weeks/mo) = $4.65/hour. If the numbers you provided are accurate, you're paying substantially less than minimum wage. If you were paying the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, this service would be costing you about $470/month. You might be required to pay more depending on what state you're in.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MrsPete on December 26, 2013, 03:15:09 PM
Less space = less to clean. Perfect! 
I halfway agree. 

Too little space = boxes stacked in corners, no space to do anything, always having to move something to get to what you want, no space to store bulk-purchased items, constant aggravation. 
Too much space = a "need" to fill the space with stuff, which must then be cleaned and maintained. 

We're designing a house for our retirement years, which we plan to build once our youngest (a high school junior) is out of school and we can leave this area.  We're aiming for "right sized" and loads of out-of-the-way storage. 

I read somewhere that the time-saving gadgets like dishwashers and washing machines and vacuum cleaners just resulted in a higher standard of cleanliness. They didn't free up women (in the 1950's) for living a life of luxury . . .

I know, doesn't that make you jealous? How much easier my life would be if I simply didn't see the dirty clothes & if the dirty dishes didn't bother me! lol
Yes, you're totally right about the advent of household appliances.  Similarly, most of us don't put in hours each week baking bread, cheese and butter, preserving and canning foods for the winter, and tending livestock.  Instead we spend our time working in a job so we can purchase these things.  Have we advanced?  Depends upon how you look at it. 

Jealous?  No, that's not quite the right word, but I've given up being angry with him (most of the time anyway) about his total and complete lack of help around the house.  As I said, he is beyond wonderful in so many ways, and I love being married to him.  Somewhere around 10 years of marriage I realized that I am utterly powerless to make him recognize that he doesn't just have low standards when it comes to cleanliness, he has NO standards.  I realized I could either accept him as he is and do it all myself . . . or I could continue to fight about it, live with the conflict, and STILL end up doing it all myself.  I can't change him, but I can change my own attitude.  The key is acknowledging all the things he does so very, very well and letting this one go.  Ideal?  Fair?  No, but better than living without him. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: totoro on December 26, 2013, 06:54:17 PM
I just spent part of the day doing up a revised task chart. 

Everyone in the house has an am and pm schedule to follow.  It is not difficult or really time-consuming (30 min a day each not including cooking time for meals), but it does spread out the work and make it so that we have a reasonably clean place.  Having it written down takes the conflict out of it too. When we don't do this I end up doing way more than anyone else.

I have had cleaners in the past and loved it.  It was worth the price when life was busier and the kids were younger. Our place is small and the kids are older.  We haven't had any help with cleaning for three years now.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: oldtoyota on December 26, 2013, 07:17:05 PM
This is going to be very case specific.

I have a relative that was amazed that I would expect my then seven year old to unload the dishes. She said that she would much rather her kids develop their skills on more productive things (such as doing more math pages in a day). I felt that I was helping my future daughter in law to not resent me. ;)

In Montessori, that is called Practical Life and shows care for the environment. You are doing the right thing, IMO.

http://www.ourmontessorihome.com/2010/12/practical-life-care-of-the-environment/



Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: thepokercab on December 26, 2013, 08:11:40 PM
Quote
In Montessori, that is called Practical Life and shows care for the environment. You are doing the right thing, IMO.

+1 

My wife is Montessori trained and we've been doing similar activities with our 4 yr old.  We've stressed from the beginning, for instance, that she always needs to clean up after her self once she's done with the toys, books, etc. that she is using.  Its all about teaching her those life skills that are important.

We don't have a housekeeper, but from a Mustachian perspective, if folks want to hire a housekeeper and pursue FI, more power to them. I've only been married 7 years but cleaning can sometimes can be a tense subject in our marriage- so if certain people are REALLY adverse to it, or if certain people are REALLY obsessed with the cleanliness of their personal space, than I can see how this can become an issue large enough where you need to hire some help.   

I think most folks would agree that these types of expenditures though should be put on the backburner if you are in a debt emergency.  But if there is no debt emergency, then whatever.  Personally, folks seem to spend money on all kinds of things that I don't really understand.  I don't understand having pets and the money that people spend on them.  I don't understand spending money on things like Wine or Alcohol, but I know people like them.  Me?  I love baseball, so I shell out my 70 bucks a year to watch as many games as I want.  But if I was in a debt emergency, it would be the first thing to go. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 26, 2013, 08:55:34 PM
I felt that I was helping my future daughter in law to not resent me. ;)

As a current daughter-in-law, I thank you on behalf of your future daughter-in-law.  My MIL insists that she taught my DH to clean, it just didn't stick (but she also would do things like make 3 different meals for the 3 kids...)
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cinder on December 26, 2013, 10:03:35 PM
Somewhere around 10 years of marriage I realized that I am utterly powerless to make him recognize that he doesn't just have low standards when it comes to cleanliness, he has NO standards. I realized I could either accept him as he is and do it all myself . . . or I could continue to fight about it, live with the conflict, and STILL end up doing it all myself.  I can't change him, but I can change my own attitude.  The key is acknowledging all the things he does so very, very well and letting this one go.  Ideal?  Fair?  No, but better than living without him.

Very good use of Stoicism there, MrsPete!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: ichangedmyname on December 26, 2013, 10:40:53 PM

Jealous?  No, that's not quite the right word, but I've given up being angry with him (most of the time anyway) about his total and complete lack of help around the house.  As I said, he is beyond wonderful in so many ways, and I love being married to him.  Somewhere around 10 years of marriage I realized that I am utterly powerless to make him recognize that he doesn't just have low standards when it comes to cleanliness, he has NO standards.  I realized I could either accept him as he is and do it all myself . . . or I could continue to fight about it, live with the conflict, and STILL end up doing it all myself.  I can't change him, but I can change my own attitude.  The key is acknowledging all the things he does so very, very well and letting this one go.  Ideal?  Fair?  No, but better than living without him.

I should read this every day. Thanks MrsPete!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: NeverWasACornflakeGirl on December 27, 2013, 06:12:04 AM
I enjoyed the book Spousonomics.  It looks at all sorts of relationship issues from an economics angle.  In the housework chapter, IIRC, it uses the concept of comparative advantage.  Here's the wikipedia definition, since I can't explain it  :-)

In economics, comparative advantage refers to the ability of a party to produce a particular good or service at a lower marginal and opportunity cost over another. Even if one country is more efficient in the production of all goods (absolute advantage in all goods) than the other, both countries will still gain by trading with each other, as long as they have different relative efficiencies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: amused_bouche on December 27, 2013, 10:12:39 AM
Shopping for food, cooking, doing dishes (I only recently moved into a place with a dishwasher), and cleaning all qualify as "things I should do to be self-sufficient in life." And being self-sufficient makes me happy, so I have no problem taking time out of my week/month to clean up after myself.

However, I completely understand that paying for house cleaning is a valuable outsourcing strategy for some. TETO.

And for full disclosure, fiance and I currently live in a moderate-sized apartment with no pets or kids. I'll report back in ten years and maybe my mindset will be different!

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 27, 2013, 10:22:46 AM
I enjoyed the book Spousonomics.  It looks at all sorts of relationship issues from an economics angle.  In the housework chapter, IIRC, it uses the concept of comparative advantage.  Here's the wikipedia definition, since I can't explain it  :-)

In economics, comparative advantage refers to the ability of a party to produce a particular good or service at a lower marginal and opportunity cost over another. Even if one country is more efficient in the production of all goods (absolute advantage in all goods) than the other, both countries will still gain by trading with each other, as long as they have different relative efficiencies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage

Interesting.

The part where if one country (person) is more efficient in production of all goods being still able to trade doesn't make sense to me.  If I am more efficient at all household chores, including but not limited to cooking, cleaning and shopping (and we live in a condo with no snow shoveling or lawn mowing required), what is there to trade then?  Perhaps I am missing something.

It also - perhaps deliberately - leaves a lot of emotions at the door.  Perhaps I am better at ironing, but absolutely and positively loath doing it.  That negative mental energy isn't included in the summary calculus.  (That is how my dad ended up ironing all of his uniforms rather than my SAHM.)

It also leaves out learning curves - the fact that one may be better NOW, but the other could learn to be better if given a good opportunity. 

I do like that it implicitly assumes the starting place is 50/50 and you "trade" to get more of what you do best though.  Ahh, to be in a wonderful mythical world only doing 50% of the admin and household chores...
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Insanity on December 27, 2013, 10:34:08 AM

Interesting.

The part where if one country (person) is more efficient in production of all goods being still able to trade doesn't make sense to me.  If I am more efficient at all household chores, including but not limited to cooking, cleaning and shopping (and we live in a condo with no snow shoveling or lawn mowing required), what is there to trade then?  Perhaps I am missing something.

It also - perhaps deliberately - leaves a lot of emotions at the door.  Perhaps I am better at ironing, but absolutely and positively loath doing it.  That negative mental energy isn't included in the summary calculus.  (That is how my dad ended up ironing all of his uniforms rather than my SAHM.)

It also leaves out learning curves - the fact that one may be better NOW, but the other could learn to be better if given a good opportunity. 

I do like that it implicitly assumes the starting place is 50/50 and you "trade" to get more of what you do best though.  Ahh, to be in a wonderful mythical world only doing 50% of the admin and household chores...

I was thinking similar thoughts.. But with regards to skill set -  the trade could be managing finances (including any negotiating rates or insurance policies or retirement funds), handling the kids (if there are) more, or doing more handyman work (this is basically how my parents worked - my dad managed the finances, lawn, cars, handyman stuff, my mom did the cooking, cleaning and dealing with us -- unless we needed to be disciplined further than she would than dad stepped in).  Obviously, if you live in a condo you have to figure out what that trade is (maybe the spouse gives more massages ;-) ) since some things are no longer the responsibility of the owner.




Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 27, 2013, 10:43:42 AM

Interesting.

The part where if one country (person) is more efficient in production of all goods being still able to trade doesn't make sense to me.  If I am more efficient at all household chores, including but not limited to cooking, cleaning and shopping (and we live in a condo with no snow shoveling or lawn mowing required), what is there to trade then?  Perhaps I am missing something.

It also - perhaps deliberately - leaves a lot of emotions at the door.  Perhaps I am better at ironing, but absolutely and positively loath doing it.  That negative mental energy isn't included in the summary calculus.  (That is how my dad ended up ironing all of his uniforms rather than my SAHM.)

It also leaves out learning curves - the fact that one may be better NOW, but the other could learn to be better if given a good opportunity. 

I do like that it implicitly assumes the starting place is 50/50 and you "trade" to get more of what you do best though.  Ahh, to be in a wonderful mythical world only doing 50% of the admin and household chores...

I was thinking similar thoughts.. But with regards to skill set -  the trade could be managing finances (including any negotiating rates or insurance policies or retirement funds), handling the kids (if there are) more, or doing more handyman work (this is basically how my parents worked - my dad managed the finances, lawn, cars, handyman stuff, my mom did the cooking, cleaning and dealing with us -- unless we needed to be disciplined further than she would than dad stepped in).  Obviously, if you live in a condo you have to figure out what that trade is (maybe the spouse gives more massages ;-) ) since some things are no longer the responsibility of the owner.

Well, I was more trying to understand and apply this line: "Even if one country is more efficient in the production of all goods (absolute advantage in all goods) than the other, both countries will still gain by trading with each other, as long as they have different relative efficiencies." Basically it seemed to me it was saying even if one person is better in ALL THINGS you can still trade for efficiencies, which made no sense.  Maybe it means that the person still has finite time and can trade the things they are only a smidge better at for the things they are much much better at.

(In my world, we have no kids and we keep somewhat separate finances.  I do rate negotation for cable, calling insurance company, finding vacation deals, taking the car in, etc.  Although DH does 80% of it, there is very little handyman work involved.  I also did things like 100% managing the kitchen reno, because our general contractor wasn't keeping on it.  The only thing he does most of is the driving - and that evolved so because he was the one with the car, which was stick and I couldn't drive for years, and he enjoys it.)
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: msilenus on December 27, 2013, 11:51:17 AM
If we're going to use employ comparative advantages, it should be noted that economics is all about maximizing and matching aggregate supply and demand.  Mustachian principles suggest that we should be extending them in a way that means doing more with less.  In the case of cleaning, I believe that would mean looking for tasks with a low comparative advantage, and doing them far less often, freeing up a lot of time for spending time with the family and pursing the goals that really make us happy.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CWAL on December 27, 2013, 12:21:14 PM
......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage

Interesting.

The part where if one country (person) is more efficient in production of all goods being still able to trade doesn't make sense to me.  If I am more efficient at all household chores, including but not limited to cooking, cleaning and shopping (and we live in a condo with no snow shoveling or lawn mowing required), what is there to trade then?  Perhaps I am missing something.

Imagine you can cook meals for the entire week in 3 hours, and clean a house in 2 hours.  Your neighbor take 4 hours to cook meals, and a ridiculously long 5 hours to clean the same space.

You are objectively more efficient at each task.

For sake of argument, you have both decided to cook a weeks worth of meals and clean your house each week.  Also, for sake of argument, you each have similar tastes in food and cleanliness levels (ie. your services are objectively nearly the same quality, the only difference is the time it takes for each of you to complete the tasks.

If you each do everything for yourself, you will spend 5 hours a week, and your neighbor will spend 9.

If you do all the cleaning and let your neighbor do all the cooking, you spend 4 hours a week and your neighbor spends 8.  Everyone just got an extra hour to do something else.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 27, 2013, 12:40:12 PM
Maybe it means that the person still has finite time and can trade the things they are only a smidge better at for the things they are much much better at.

CWAL, yep, that's the conclusion I came to (see above).  Thanks for the confirmation.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: the fixer on December 27, 2013, 01:25:08 PM
Don't forget that the economists are ignoring various things that complicate the benefits of trade. Taxes are the biggest one, and then there's transportation costs.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MicroRN on December 27, 2013, 01:31:26 PM
I can see why some people might choose to pay for housekeeping, and while I wouldn't, everyone has to pick the things that are worth it for them.  After my 2nd baby, my mom offered to pay for 2 months of weekly housekeeping for us, which was lovely.  I picked up, but she vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, wiped down the appliances, and steam-mopped the hard floors.  Nice as it was, I still didn't continue the cleanings because I felt there were too many other places I'd rather put that money.  If cleaning issues are causing marital problems, but everything otherwise is fantastic I'd consider it money well spent.  As it is, I do at least 90% of the cleaning.  DH would actually be fine with us hiring a cleaning service, but I just can't justify it.  He's gone for several months at a time, and when he's home he usually spends 50-60 hours a week at work.  I work 24 hours a week, so have plenty of time in the house.         

Something that dramatically decreases the need to clean is embracing minimalism.  Cut everything down (especially toys!), and suddenly there's far less mess.  It wasn't a problem for me until I suddenly had a toddler and an infant together, and I was cleaning constantly.  Now, I clean for about an hour a day.  Do the dishes, wipe down the kitchen counters, vacuum and mop the kitchen, put away all the toys, run a load of laundry, clean the litterbox, and clean one other area of the house.  All food is consumed sitting at the table, so we don't end up with crumbs everywhere.  At 2.5, my toddler will go get a cloth to wipe up liquid spills, and will put in a good attempt at sweeping up crumbs with a whiskbroom.  He'll also do a little bit with the vacuum and swiffer.  It seems counterintuitive, but fewer clothes and dishes help a lot.  We no longer have marathon clothes-washing sessions, where the clothes then end up sitting in baskets for weeks.  Neither of us has to maintain a professional-style wardrobe since he wears uniforms and I wear scrubs.  Similarly, with fewer pots and pans, I have to wash as I go.             

I'm also a big fan of Unfuck Your Habitat, and use it when I need some motivation.  I tried Flylady for a bit, but got sick of the cutesy poems and sayings. UfYH is similar - set up a plan, work in bursts.  I clean a little bit every day rather than try to do too much at once.       
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: rocksinmyhead on December 30, 2013, 07:27:24 AM
There's only so much I can do on cleaning because I'm completely oblivious to levels of disorder that intensely bother her.

Hahaha, you sound exactly like my boyfriend.


Imagine you can cook meals for the entire week in 3 hours, and clean a house in 2 hours.  Your neighbor take 4 hours to cook meals, and a ridiculously long 5 hours to clean the same space.

You are objectively more efficient at each task.

For sake of argument, you have both decided to cook a weeks worth of meals and clean your house each week.  Also, for sake of argument, you each have similar tastes in food and cleanliness levels (ie. your services are objectively nearly the same quality, the only difference is the time it takes for each of you to complete the tasks.

If you each do everything for yourself, you will spend 5 hours a week, and your neighbor will spend 9.

If you do all the cleaning and let your neighbor do all the cooking, you spend 4 hours a week and your neighbor spends 8.  Everyone just got an extra hour to do something else.

wow, that was like magic!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: garg33 on December 30, 2013, 07:07:30 PM
Don't forget that the economists are ignoring various things that complicate the benefits of trade. Taxes are the biggest one, and then there's transportation costs.
Lol, economists don't ignore taxes and transportation costs. Of course they don't address them in the "Econ 101" introductory explanation of why trade is good, though.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: msilenus on December 30, 2013, 11:50:06 PM
There's only so much I can do on cleaning because I'm completely oblivious to levels of disorder that intensely bother her.

Hahaha, you sound exactly like my boyfriend.

Your boyfriend sounds like a man of erudition, strength, character, and the very deepest humility.  Congratulations.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Le0 on December 31, 2013, 08:57:09 AM
I Hit the Random Button today on MMM Blog.

This is the post I found http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/09/you-cant-cure-obesity-with-bigger-pants/

Check out the first paragraph about house cleaning.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on December 31, 2013, 09:56:47 AM
I Hit the Random Button today on MMM Blog.

This is the post I found http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/09/you-cant-cure-obesity-with-bigger-pants/

Check out the first paragraph about house cleaning.

He makes some good points, such as that we often identify and solve the wrong problem, and keeping the problems visible means we'll focus on them.

But I do have a few problems with his post.
1.  He suggests the problem with needing a cleaner is overcommitment, which he implies we can choose to give up.  While it's true for some (although I could argue it can be ok - perhaps I prefer to donate my free time to my non-profit and pay for a cleaner, rather than donate the money instead), this is not the case for all families.  Just think about the family with a disabled child requiring a lot of time, or many children.  You don't really choose to give up your family so you can have more time to clean...  Sometimes, no matter what, you can't actually give up your other activities.
2. He lives in a world where all parties are bothered by the non-cleaning.  As discussed at length above, this is not my world. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Hunny156 on January 03, 2014, 12:42:41 PM
We currently utilize the services of both a housekeeper AND a lawn care service!  We've had the housekeeper for far longer, but we live in a 3,600 sq ft house w/5 kitties, and the housekeeper charges $55 every other week.

We hired the housekeeper literally weeks before hubby lost his very high-paying job, and I still kept her on.  Hubby consumed his days looking for work, and he's one of those men w/many wonderful qualities, but cleaning is just not on his radar.  When we dated, his Mom would leave his clean folded clothes on the bed for him to put away, and he'd knock them on the floor b/c he was too tired to put them away.  It would get to the point that you would not see carpet anymore, and then I'd waste a weekend w/him to clean it all up.  I got him some tools to keep him organized, which certainly helped, but overall, it's not his thing.  He would completely agree w/me when I would point out that spending 5 minutes here and there would be better than wasting an entire weekend, but I still can't get him to make that connection now, almost 20 years later!

Another great example of this is when we relocated and lived apart for 6 months during the transition.  I lived in our old house, which I converted into a model home.  I cleaned up after myself a few minutes here and there, and the place was in perfect condition the whole time.  I shipped him our vacuum cleaner to at least vacuum the carpet every now and again.  When I visited him three months later, it was still in it's unopened box.  When I completed the relocation three months after that, I ripped out all the carpet and went w/hard surface flooring.  The carpeting on the stairs was completed trashed, and I found kitty puke and even GUM in the carpet in some places!  Gross!

Financially speaking, we can easily afford both services.  He got the lawn care when he landed his most recent job, and he simply hates mowing the lawn in the 100+ Texas summer heat.  Fair enough.  He also refuses to sell his lawnmower, b/c he intends to do his own lawn care once we get to FIRE.  We'll see if that happens or not.

The majority of the remaining housework, like cooking and laundry, falls on me.  I have the lovely "we don't know what's wrong w/you" disease classified as fibromyalgia, and this is really limiting me physically.  So, having a housekeeper is super important to me for that reason alone.

We are taking steps to quicken our path to FIRE, and part of that is selling this ridiculously huge house, and downsizing into one that's half it's size and no mortgage payment.  My hope is that the smaller size and less stuff will mean I can do more, and if I can make do w/o a housekeeper after I retire, then that's just more $$ to save or spend on stuff we enjoy doing together.

Oh, and when we hit a rough patch in our marriage a few years back, our counselor strongly supported the continued use of a housekeeper, b/c it was a huge source of marital strife for us.  Definitely cheaper than a divorce!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: oldtoyota on January 09, 2014, 02:33:38 PM
I Hit the Random Button today on MMM Blog.

This is the post I found http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/09/you-cant-cure-obesity-with-bigger-pants/

Check out the first paragraph about house cleaning.

He makes some good points, such as that we often identify and solve the wrong problem, and keeping the problems visible means we'll focus on them.

But I do have a few problems with his post.
1.  He suggests the problem with needing a cleaner is overcommitment, which he implies we can choose to give up.  While it's true for some (although I could argue it can be ok - perhaps I prefer to donate my free time to my non-profit and pay for a cleaner, rather than donate the money instead), this is not the case for all families.  Just think about the family with a disabled child requiring a lot of time, or many children.  You don't really choose to give up your family so you can have more time to clean...  Sometimes, no matter what, you can't actually give up your other activities.
2. He lives in a world where all parties are bothered by the non-cleaning.  As discussed at length above, this is not my world.

I think the point of posting the blog post was b/c MMM was saying recently their house doesn't need to be cleaned that much. A few people in another thread said they figure he just doesn't realize how much work goes into cleaning or maybe Mrs MM does a lot of it. However, in this blog post, he's talking about how messy the house is...

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: dragoncar on January 09, 2014, 04:50:17 PM
I just learned to live in filth.  Really the cheapest way.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: HappierAtHome on January 09, 2014, 06:43:44 PM
Quote
I think the point of posting the blog post was b/c MMM was saying recently their house doesn't need to be cleaned that much. A few people in another thread said they figure he just doesn't realize how much work goes into cleaning or maybe Mrs MM does a lot of it. However, in this blog post, he's talking about how messy the house is...

Yeah, I think people are generalising that he doesn't see the mess because he's a man, and she does more housework because she's a woman. Personally my BF is much better at day to day tidying/chores than I am and probably does more housework than I do in an average week, so I didn't assume that at all.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cinder on January 10, 2014, 06:05:36 AM
Quote
I think the point of posting the blog post was b/c MMM was saying recently their house doesn't need to be cleaned that much. A few people in another thread said they figure he just doesn't realize how much work goes into cleaning or maybe Mrs MM does a lot of it. However, in this blog post, he's talking about how messy the house is...

Yeah, I think people are generalising that he doesn't see the mess because he's a man, and she does more housework because she's a woman. Personally my BF is much better at day to day tidying/chores than I am and probably does more housework than I do in an average week, so I didn't assume that at all.

Ditto in our household.  I do a large number of things around the house when it comes to cleaning, taking out the trash, doing the kitty litter, doing the things she can't physically do (heavy things, things up high, etc..) Vacuuming (that kindof falls under 'heavy things').  As well as 'disgusting things' and 'bug things' .  We both tidy up the kitchen (though usually I clean up after she makes the meals and I put the food away) and we both usually clean/store the dishes. 

She does the majority of the meal planning and shopping (and tad bit of couponing).   

While to most people, our house would be considered both 'dirty' and 'messy', It is actually my trigger that gets tripped before hers!  I don't really see it as a problem either way. 

Right now the house is a total mess from the earlier clog to our septic, we still haven't put the toilet on because we're going to check out the local habitat restore for a new one on Saturday.  Something is wrong with the drain for our kitchen sink.. I'm not sure if it froze or if it's a clog or what.  I have been manually draining the water from the trap and dumping it down the open flange from the kitchen sink.  mostly when I wash dishes or when running the dishwasher. 

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on January 10, 2014, 07:03:07 AM
There's a now-locked thread about "the help" when you make a high income.  I thought I'd just share my thoughts about it. 

Everyone has their own idea about "mustachianism".  For some, it is a philosophy based on a desire to retire early.  Others like working, but love the idea of being financially independent.  Some like the lowered impact on the environment.  Some are deep in debt and are looking for help.  Some follow MMM down the line- bike everywhere, do my home repairs, clean very little.  Some take the ideas that work for them and leave others.  That being said...

If you are happy working, saving plenty, reducing your carbon impact, etc.  I have no problem with hiring help for things you just don't value spending your time doing.  I am a SAHM with a part-time job.  We do our own cleaning, snow removal, lawn mowing, appliance repair, minor home repairs, etc.  Soon I will be starting a full-time graduate program and then entering my career (which I plan to keep doing beyond our FI date).  My time with my kids and husband will be limited and I won't want to be doing heavy cleaning.  Since my DH makes a great salary and we meet our saving and investing goals, I have no problem providing employment to others by hiring a cleaner.  We probably won't eat out much more than we do, because my husband is the main cook.  Am I not mustachian because of that?  Maybe.  But is it a cult or a philosophy?  If someone is becoming more mindful of their financial choices and priorities, but doesn't enjoy living on $15K, I don't think we should feed them to the wolves.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: NeverWasACornflakeGirl on January 10, 2014, 08:35:31 AM
A couple of comments:

I agree that discussions of housework tend to have an undercurrent of gender expectations.  Having said that, when I say that I think Mrs MM does more work around the house than MMM is aware of, it's not because of their genders.  My spouse and I are both female, and I can tell you that there is a HUGE difference between us in terms of housework.  The housework that goes on around my spouse is completely invisible to her, so it's not just a male thing.

On a completely different topic, in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, which are set in Botswana, the main character, Precious Ramotswe, thinks it is her duty to hire household help since she has the means to do so.  She's not rich, but she is middle class, and she believes that providing employment is her patriotic duty if she can afford it.  This really struck me when I was reading the book, since this seems so different from any kind of American attitude I've ever experienced (I'm from Ohio and live in Pittsburgh). 

When we owned a house that was about 3 times bigger than our current house, we hired someone to come in to clean twice a month because it was waaay too big for us and we couldn't keep it clean.  We did hire a local individual rather than a company like Merry Maids because we wanted our cleaner to get all of the money, so there was an ethical component for us, but we never felt that we were obligated to provide employment for someone.

Are there people from other cultures/countries or even other parts of the US where you feel it is your duty to help someone earn a living?
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on January 10, 2014, 09:35:09 AM

On a completely different topic, in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, which are set in Botswana, the main character, Precious Ramotswe, thinks it is her duty to hire household help since she has the means to do so.  She's not rich, but she is middle class, and she believes that providing employment is her patriotic duty if she can afford it.  This really struck me when I was reading the book, since this seems so different from any kind of American attitude I've ever experienced (I'm from Ohio and live in Pittsburgh). 

When we owned a house that was about 3 times bigger than our current house, we hired someone to come in to clean twice a month because it was waaay too big for us and we couldn't keep it clean.  We did hire a local individual rather than a company like Merry Maids because we wanted our cleaner to get all of the money, so there was an ethical component for us, but we never felt that we were obligated to provide employment for someone.

Are there people from other cultures/countries or even other parts of the US where you feel it is your duty to help someone earn a living?

I loved those books! I agree with her, if it's a task you get no joy from.  After all, what's the point of FIRE if you are stuck doing tasks you detest?
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Gray Matter on January 12, 2014, 07:02:28 AM
On a completely different topic, in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, which are set in Botswana, the main character, Precious Ramotswe, thinks it is her duty to hire household help since she has the means to do so.  She's not rich, but she is middle class, and she believes that providing employment is her patriotic duty if she can afford it.  This really struck me when I was reading the book, since this seems so different from any kind of American attitude I've ever experienced (I'm from Ohio and live in Pittsburgh). 

Are there people from other cultures/countries or even other parts of the US where you feel it is your duty to help someone earn a living?

When I was a teenager, my family lived in Africa and that absolutely was the mentality (and I agree with it).  It's a strange form of wealth redistribution (though I'm not suggesting it's completely or even remotely altruistic).  We had a full-time gardener and a full-time housekeeper and I can tell you, being very middle class American, it made us uncomfortable, but when unemployment is as high as 50% in some areas, and you have a job and can afford it, you really felt like you had to.

Also, after we moved in and until we had hired the gardener and housekeeper, there were many people knocking on our door asking for employment.

And in 2008 when the markets crashed and unemployment was high in the US, my husband and I were able to keep our high-paying jobs.  At that point, I hired a part-time cleaning person, a part-time gardener, and an after-school nanny (20 hours a week).  I joked that it was only to provide employment for these people, but there was an element of truth to it.  I was (mostly) trying to reduce my own workload/burden, but I did like the fact that I was providing employment (one was a student who couldn't find a job related to his studies, one was a semi-disabled man living on the fringes and barely scraping by, and one was a woman who was recently laid off).

Still, I always feel somewhat apologetic or embarrassed when people are doing things for me that I feel like I ought to be doing for myself.  I remind myself that they are small business owners, providing a service that I'm willing to pay for, and that helps.

And lest you jump on me for my anti-Mustachian ways, I am no longer spending all that money.  After two years, the nanny found a job in his field, the gardener moved away, and I've reduced the housecleaner's hours by half (and will cancel when my husband returns from Australia).  So there.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Meechy on January 12, 2014, 09:40:48 PM
I enjoyed this thread.  I was curious how the community would look upon the use of a contractor for home cleaning. I have 3 young children and currently work from home, 30-40 hours a week, often after the kids are in bed.  One child is in elementary school; the other 2 are home with me, except for a couple mornings a week when they attend preschool.

I would rather outsource cleaning my toilet than caring for my kids.  I am very fortunate to be able to keep them home with me and work from home on a very flexible schedule...but I have found that I cannot work fulltime, care for my kids at home fulltime, and keep the house as clean as we want it to be.  Something had to give!  Since I have chosen to not outsource the care of my kids, I outsourced the care of my toilets instead.  I still sometimes fall prey to the "supermom" mindset and feel that I should be able to handle it all.  I then remind myself that there is no prize for doing it all.  Happiness is our only prize, and I can honestly say that outsourcing my weekly housecleaning truly brings me happiness. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Le0 on January 13, 2014, 07:48:05 AM
I enjoyed this thread.  I was curious how the community would look upon the use of a contractor for home cleaning. I have 3 young children and currently work from home, 30-40 hours a week, often after the kids are in bed.  One child is in elementary school; the other 2 are home with me, except for a couple mornings a week when they attend preschool.

I would rather outsource cleaning my toilet than caring for my kids.  I am very fortunate to be able to keep them home with me and work from home on a very flexible schedule...but I have found that I cannot work fulltime, care for my kids at home fulltime, and keep the house as clean as we want it to be.  Something had to give!  Since I have chosen to not outsource the care of my kids, I outsourced the care of my toilets instead.  I still sometimes fall prey to the "supermom" mindset and feel that I should be able to handle it all.  I then remind myself that there is no prize for doing it all.  Happiness is our only prize, and I can honestly say that outsourcing my weekly housecleaning truly brings me happiness.

What about super dad?
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: ace1224 on January 13, 2014, 08:58:27 AM
i don't care about RE so factoring in how many months a cleaning service tacks on doesn't even make sense to me.  what i do hate is deep cleaning.  every 4 months or so i hire a lady for 60 bucks and she spends about 6ish hours cleaning the list of things i leave for her.  like baseboards.  i keep a relatively tidy house on the regular so she just does the stuff i don't want to do.  worth it! could i do it, sure.  i'm not even going to justify it by saying i'm soooooo super busy and my time is worth xyz dollars.  plus it keeps me from being pissed off on a saturday that i have to spend all day cleaning effing baseboards bc for some reason the sight of them has sent me into a senseless rage and i must "CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!!"
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: oldtoyota on January 13, 2014, 09:46:56 AM
Quote
I think the point of posting the blog post was b/c MMM was saying recently their house doesn't need to be cleaned that much. A few people in another thread said they figure he just doesn't realize how much work goes into cleaning or maybe Mrs MM does a lot of it. However, in this blog post, he's talking about how messy the house is...

Yeah, I think people are generalising that he doesn't see the mess because he's a man, and she does more housework because she's a woman. Personally my BF is much better at day to day tidying/chores than I am and probably does more housework than I do in an average week, so I didn't assume that at all.

I didn't think of it either.

What I notice is that DH is likely to clean big time once a week or a month--and only on weekends. I clean a little every day because I don't like to leave it until it's a huge mess to clean, and I do not want to do a big cleaning on the weekend. We work in different ways. Maybe MMM and Mrs MMM do too.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Taylorj on January 14, 2014, 08:42:01 AM
I have a thing about strangers touching my stuff - I would never want to get someone in to clean any of my things/rooms etc. I would rather do it all myself, how I like it. But I do understand people who maybe work full-time, have children, have other commitments and just do not have the time to clean their house.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: LibrarIan on January 14, 2014, 08:59:49 AM
I would never be able to have a house cleaning service because my wife is such a germaphobe. It has done to be cleaned just so, or else it's not *really* clean. A service would never measure up. Hell, my cleaning barely measures up to her standards.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cinder on January 18, 2014, 05:29:26 AM
Just stumbled on to this awesome tumblr post from ufyh

http://unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com/post/20534295854/how-do-i-keep-the-place-clean-when-no-one-will-help

I added underlines to point out two very critical portions.

Quote
"How do I keep the place clean when no one will help me?"
This is, by far (besides cat pee), the most frequent theme of my asks. The asker is the one whoís invested in the unfucking process, and the people who they share space with are not on board. It could be roommates/flatmates, spouses, children, parents, significant others, whoever. The point is that youíre cleaning up and they arenít. I love bullet points, so Iím going to bullet point the important stuff in this situation.
  • You cannot change anyoneís behavior but your own. You can ask for help, you can beg for buy-in, you can threaten, cajole, plead, or yell, but in the end, you can really only control what you do.
  • This is your priority, not theirs. This one might sting a bit, but itís true. Youíre on board, youíre energized, youíre motivated. Something spoke to you to get you going with this. They are not there. They have different priorities, other things occupying their time.
  • With very few exceptions, they are not actively sabotaging your efforts. Iím just going to come out with it, because this can be a hard one to hear, but: chances are, they either donít notice, or they donít care. Before you make any progress with how you look at this situation, itís really important to fully understand this. Youíre seeing ill intent where thereís likely just apathy and/or laziness.
  • Sometimes itís better to be happy than be right.This oneís going to ruffle some feathers. Iím not saying be a maid for the people who live with you. Iím not saying to clean up after them. I do advocate putting all their shit somewhere (after telling them youíre going to do it) so that itís not in your way, but if all youíre getting is upset and annoyed, you have to weigh whether itís more important for you to have buy-in or to have a clean space. Again, you donít have to be their maid, but cleaning your half of the stuff is still a 50% improvement from total disaster.
  • Passive-aggressive behavior never works. It doesnít. It backfires. Constantly. Post-it notes, snide comments, throwing stuff (well, thatís more aggressive-aggressive) does not accomplish anything besides allowing your resentment to breed and making the other person think youíre unreasonable and immature.
  • Use your words. Explain to the people you live with why youíre doing what youíre doing. ASK them to help you out. Ask for help with very specific things, with specific timeframes. Let them know youíre going to keep doing it, and you may need to move their stuff (hell, toss it in a big box, I donít care) in order to do so. Have the conversation as often as you feel is necessary, but have it without resentment, anger, or sarcasm.
  • Give them time. Like I said, right now, youíre gung-ho about this. They arenít. But the more your behavior is consistently being modeled for them, the more likely they are to adopt it.
  • Keep on keeping on. Donít let someone else deter you from doing something you want or need to do. It sucks if youíre doing it alone, but this is about you, not them.
ďBut, but, this is how my specific situation doesnít fit what youíve said.Ē I will get approximately ten billion asks and reblogs with some variation on that statement. And I will likely call 99.9% of them excuses. Life isnít fair, kiddos. Itís how you deal with that fact that makes you who you are.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Insanity on January 18, 2014, 06:20:25 PM
Just stumbled on to this awesome tumblr post from ufyh

http://unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com/post/20534295854/how-do-i-keep-the-place-clean-when-no-one-will-help

I added underlines to point out two very critical portions.

Quote
"How do I keep the place clean when no one will help me?"
This is, by far (besides cat pee), the most frequent theme of my asks. The asker is the one whoís invested in the unfucking process, and the people who they share space with are not on board. It could be roommates/flatmates, spouses, children, parents, significant others, whoever. The point is that youíre cleaning up and they arenít. I love bullet points, so Iím going to bullet point the important stuff in this situation.
  • You cannot change anyoneís behavior but your own. You can ask for help, you can beg for buy-in, you can threaten, cajole, plead, or yell, but in the end, you can really only control what you do.
  • This is your priority, not theirs. This one might sting a bit, but itís true. Youíre on board, youíre energized, youíre motivated. Something spoke to you to get you going with this. They are not there. They have different priorities, other things occupying their time.
  • With very few exceptions, they are not actively sabotaging your efforts. Iím just going to come out with it, because this can be a hard one to hear, but: chances are, they either donít notice, or they donít care. Before you make any progress with how you look at this situation, itís really important to fully understand this. Youíre seeing ill intent where thereís likely just apathy and/or laziness.
  • Sometimes itís better to be happy than be right.This oneís going to ruffle some feathers. Iím not saying be a maid for the people who live with you. Iím not saying to clean up after them. I do advocate putting all their shit somewhere (after telling them youíre going to do it) so that itís not in your way, but if all youíre getting is upset and annoyed, you have to weigh whether itís more important for you to have buy-in or to have a clean space. Again, you donít have to be their maid, but cleaning your half of the stuff is still a 50% improvement from total disaster.
  • Passive-aggressive behavior never works. It doesnít. It backfires. Constantly. Post-it notes, snide comments, throwing stuff (well, thatís more aggressive-aggressive) does not accomplish anything besides allowing your resentment to breed and making the other person think youíre unreasonable and immature.
  • Use your words. Explain to the people you live with why youíre doing what youíre doing. ASK them to help you out. Ask for help with very specific things, with specific timeframes. Let them know youíre going to keep doing it, and you may need to move their stuff (hell, toss it in a big box, I donít care) in order to do so. Have the conversation as often as you feel is necessary, but have it without resentment, anger, or sarcasm.
  • Give them time. Like I said, right now, youíre gung-ho about this. They arenít. But the more your behavior is consistently being modeled for them, the more likely they are to adopt it.
  • Keep on keeping on. Donít let someone else deter you from doing something you want or need to do. It sucks if youíre doing it alone, but this is about you, not them.
ďBut, but, this is how my specific situation doesnít fit what youíve said.Ē I will get approximately ten billion asks and reblogs with some variation on that statement. And I will likely call 99.9% of them excuses. Life isnít fair, kiddos. Itís how you deal with that fact that makes you who you are.

The sad thing is, I know some people who would think that being right is more important than being healthy and not listening/helping/ignoring is intentionally sabotaging efforts :(
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MarciaB on March 30, 2014, 09:20:25 AM
I'd like to add in another factor that was relevant for me. A few years ago I had someone doing some cleaning for me (lots of circumstances were in play), and she really needed the work. She had a disabled husband, three hungry kids, a busted up old car, and a lot of money problems. The $65 she got from me every few weeks helped keep her family going.

Paying her to do some work for me provided her some household income, and that, for me, was a social good I felt good about.

There are a lot of facets to spending, and it's usually not just about the dollars.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: BlueHouse on March 30, 2014, 08:17:47 PM
Ew-- I've encountered a few bathrooms that likely hadn't been cleaned in a long time, and the people who live in them are not suffering any adverse health effects.
When I was in college, I drove 7 hours to visit my brother at his college.  He and his roommates took great pride in how filthy their apartment was.  The bathroom shower had a small tree growing out from between tiles on the shower wall.  They had recently found a lizard living under all the filthy dishes in the kitchen sink.  I was repulsed and couldn't get close enough to the bathroom sink to brush my teeth, so I got back in the car and went home.  After 20 years, they still laugh at me for staying for 8 hours then leaving (I slept there, but refused to stay another day).  That was one of the most disgusting things I've ever encountered and I've been in my share of developing world latrines. 

As for housecleaning, I have a cleaner that comes every two weeks.   No pets, no kids, no difficult circumstances to "excuse" the behavior.  But I'd rather spend another 1/2 hour at the office to gain 4 hours to do whatever I want to do on Saturdays.  It's quality of life for me. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Fishingmn on March 30, 2014, 09:06:34 PM
We've had a housecleaner for many years. Then again we aren't nearly as mustachian as many here. To us saving 25% was always the plan and has us on track to retire in mid-50's. Cleaner saves a lot of stress on our relationship.

3 hours every other week - $75
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: ladywingnut on March 30, 2014, 11:22:26 PM
I pay a cleaner $25 an hour for one hour twice a week.  Which sounds extraordinary in the context of an MMM forum, I know, but I am ok with it.  I have chronic anxiety and depression and generally have way less energy available to do all the things I need to do in a day than your average non-depressive.  Plus, an untidy house lowers my mood considerably, and I am prone to acute suicidality, so I do as much as possible to create a world that supports positive mood.

To explain the energy point, I like to use "energy units".  So, like, I have 20 energy units to most people's 40 at any given time.  I spend 15 of those units on work, like everyone else, but when I get home, and I've only got 5 units left (to everyone else's 25), I cannot bear to waste them tidying and cleaning.  Those 5 units are precious to me as they're what I get to use for my creative work and time with friends.

All of that said, my health is improving (in part, no doubt, because as much of my energy as possible goes into getting better).  I find that these days I am able to do some chores and tidying etc without becoming overwhelmed.  It's likely that I'll be able to cut down her hours soon, and continue to do so until I am managing on my own.  That's certainly the goal.

I view the cleaner as a luxury, certainly, but one in the 'health' category.  Plus, I should say, I am saving 50% of my post-tax salary.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: greenmimama on April 01, 2014, 04:30:44 PM
I pay a cleaner $25 an hour for one hour twice a week.  Which sounds extraordinary in the context of an MMM forum, I know, but I am ok with it.  I have chronic anxiety and depression and generally have way less energy available to do all the things I need to do in a day than your average non-depressive.  Plus, an untidy house lowers my mood considerably, and I am prone to acute suicidality, so I do as much as possible to create a world that supports positive mood.

To explain the energy point, I like to use "energy units".  So, like, I have 20 energy units to most people's 40 at any given time.  I spend 15 of those units on work, like everyone else, but when I get home, and I've only got 5 units left (to everyone else's 25), I cannot bear to waste them tidying and cleaning.  Those 5 units are precious to me as they're what I get to use for my creative work and time with friends.

All of that said, my health is improving (in part, no doubt, because as much of my energy as possible goes into getting better).  I find that these days I am able to do some chores and tidying etc without becoming overwhelmed.  It's likely that I'll be able to cut down her hours soon, and continue to do so until I am managing on my own.  That's certainly the goal.

I view the cleaner as a luxury, certainly, but one in the 'health' category.  Plus, I should say, I am saving 50% of my post-tax salary.

I think it sounds like you are quite smart, knowing your limits is great! I'm glad you have something that works for you.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: nikki on April 01, 2014, 08:26:30 PM
Slightly off-topic question since the direction of this thread has largely been about paying someone else to clean your house:

How often does the average person sweep?

I'm not average by any means (a bit of a compulsive neat freak) and do it 2-4 times a day, so really just asking for some perspective. I don't feel comfortable asking people I know on Facebook because it would probably turn into a conversation about MY habits...
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Zaga on April 02, 2014, 04:45:35 AM
Slightly off-topic question since the direction of this thread has largely been about paying someone else to clean your house:

How often does the average person sweep?

I'm not average by any means (a bit of a compulsive neat freak) and do it 2-4 times a day, so really just asking for some perspective. I don't feel comfortable asking people I know on Facebook because it would probably turn into a conversation about MY habits...
We don't have kids, have a short haired dog, and are fairly neat in general.  So we sweep maybe once a month?  I could see even up to once a week if we were pickier, but more than that would be silly for us, our house just doesn't get that dirty.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: BlueHouse on April 02, 2014, 05:21:44 AM
How often does the average person sweep?
No kids, no pets, rarely cook and I don't wear shoes in the house  If crumbs or food fall on floor, I pick them up with a wet rag. I have a cleaning service every two weeks, so unless there is something visible on the floor, I don't sweep inside th house at all.
At my sisters house, they cook a lot and there are so many people in and out of the kitchen. We always sweep (swivel sweeper is magic)  at least every meal there. Sometimes more than every meal (clean up during prep time because there are too many kids dropping  things).
When I have a bunch of people over and we cook, I usually get the swivel sweeper out so people don't track food out of the kitchen.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Zamboni on April 02, 2014, 05:27:15 AM
I'm probably only about a monthly sweeper unless you count the area right around the litter box, which gets swept about weekly.

Also, after years of keeping my own habitat clean (well, sort of clean), I finally have just hired a service to do a one time "deep clean."  I was all revved up to do "spring cleaning" myself, but then realized I am working extra hard right now (for lots of extra pay which is all going into savings), so $135 one time was probably a good spending choice.  I'm hosting a party Sunday, so the cleaners are coming Saturday.  It will force me to get things mostly picked up by Saturday, and then I know I will be super happy when they leave and take the dust bunnies and bathroom mildew with them.  I will be able to enjoy the party a lot more if I don't kill myself scrubbing in the days leading up to it.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cinder on April 02, 2014, 06:35:20 AM
How often does the average person sweep?

I'll chime in.  We have one small area that is carpeted, the rest of the downstairs.. Entryway, Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Laundry Room.  They all get swept once a week.

Two cats, not a huge amount of fur, but since I change the little to go out with the weekly trash and usually get a little on the floor, while I have the broom and dustpan out I do the whole downstairs quickly and put it in with the rest of the trash.  There have been times where I've gone one ~ two months though. 

Only area that gets 'bad' is the corners in the stairs, cat hair seems to accumulate there!
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: greenmimama on April 02, 2014, 08:21:48 AM
Sweeping:

Kitchen, ding area, it totally depends, whenever it needs it, sometimes a few times a day, sometimes every few days, depends on what we ate and how clean the boys were.

Entryway at least once a week, we take off our shoes and have no indoor pets.

The bedrooms about once a week, I will run the roomba in there.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: CommonCents on April 02, 2014, 08:29:35 AM
1 cat, 2 people, shoes off inside:
Before we moved (small condo, all hardwood, a few rugs) I'd sweep once a week.  DH would do it about once a year.
After we moved (house, 2 floors hardwood, basement carpeted), we haven't done it very often - in part due to challenges of moving (from being crazy busy to still can't find the dust pan), and it's been about once a month.  It'll probably get up'd to once every two weeks.  But the way the floors are, more of the cat litter/food that escapes her tends to stay in the entrance than get tracked around as used to in the condo.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: boy_bye on April 02, 2014, 08:48:01 AM
vacuum the whole apartment about once a week, including the furniture as it seems to collect cat hair and litter dust.

dustbuster around the litter box at least once a day.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: LucyBIT on April 02, 2014, 04:46:37 PM
My only sweepable floors are kitchen and basement, and we sweep both when they need it. That turns out to be more in the basement, because the cats fling litter all over the place, but it's still not very often. If I had small humans crawling around putting things in their mouths, I might sweep and vaccuum more often, but I don't. Because I don't care.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cassie on April 02, 2014, 05:09:23 PM
i sweep the whole house weekly. WE have 3 small dogs and 2 adults.  I also have a cleaner that comes once per month for $55.00. It is worth every penny & is very reasonable. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: nikki on April 02, 2014, 06:31:12 PM
Thanks, guys! Very interesting responses.

I might just be excessively messy with I cook; I almost always have something to sweep up after each prep and meal :-p

Plus a cat who loves to fling litter! Those two combined gets me to 2-4 times a day, and since my whole space is ~275 sq ft, I just sweep it all each time. It's so small I don't even have a normal-sized broom! Just a small hand broom.

Cleaning is so much easier when there's less to clean :-D
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Cpa Cat on April 04, 2014, 02:46:29 PM
Are there people from other cultures/countries or even other parts of the US where you feel it is your duty to help someone earn a living?

My father made his living essentially going to third world countries and setting up mining operations. Every time he was assigned to a new project, he carted my stepmom and their kids to foreign lands. My stepmother was generally "debriefed" by the corporation that he worked for on what local expectations were for her.

It FREQUENTLY entailed hiring out almost every single chore. There was an expectation that she would have a cook, cleaner, gardener, nanny, etc. She complained that she actually enjoys doing some of these "chores" and hated always having people around working in and around her house. She never hired a nanny or a cook.

One one island, whenever her maid's family members had no job, they would just accompany her to the house and start working (with the expectation of being paid). She once overheard them gossiping that she obviously needed the extra help because she didn't have a nanny! She could never turn them away, because their pay expectation was something like $1.50 a day. She gave her kids more in allowance.

The income differential was extreme though - my father always lived in very nice homes by our standards, where "the locals" were often living in grass huts or corregated tin shacks.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MustardTiger on April 04, 2014, 06:00:47 PM
When I lived in Thailand we had a live in maid that cleaned the whole 4 bedroom house (3 roommates and significant others) as well as cooked for all of us separately.  We paid her 400$/month split 4 ways.  This turned out to actually save me money because it stopped my eating out habit.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: MayDay on April 04, 2014, 07:53:45 PM
Re. Sweeping.  I have kids so we tend to sweep after every meal.  It isn't just them, as I do make a mess cooking as well.  But if it was an adults only house I think once a day would be fine. 

When I was working full time, we had strife about cleaning.  Now that I stay home and have free time while the kids are either in school or playing independently,  I am naturally more in charge of the cleaning.  This is a good thing as I am the only one with standards.  We discuss me returning to work, and if that happens one of the requirements will definitely be a cleaning person.  I can't do parenting plus cooking plus working plus cleaning without losing my mind.  DH works a lot and need time to parent and exercise.  There just aren't enough hours in the day if we both work full time (which is why I am currently leaning towards not working). 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Capsu78 on April 12, 2014, 10:09:00 AM
We have had a cleaning service since 2008 when we finally completed renovations on our 30 yo home that we raised our kids and pets in.  We are empty nesters now and have lived through enough clutter and chaos during our parenting years, and now enjoy the "order" that a 2x a month service provides.
I also got to know some of the young adult girls who worked for the company and casually discussed their backgrounds- single moms, girls with no access to college funds without going into debt and some girls just struggling to get by.  While it is costly, part of the equation is the social good of providing them a job- and we tip, because the amount we give them is meaningful to them.
At Christmas we gave each of the girls a bigger amount that they opened up after they left- next time around, they hugged my wife and myself and said "You guys are our favorite customers"  nothing wrong with that exchange on either side of the equation.
That all being said, I got "surprised" this week with a letter from the owner cancelling our service due to the time and distance they were driving to get to us.  Since I was one of their first customers I called the owner to see if we could work something out.  She could not reverse her decision and said "we had to walk away from 3 entire towns so this is not a decision we made lightly". 
She did give me a nice parting gift however- advice on what questions to ask a potential new service which I will share with you:
Can you provide PROOF of a certificate of insurance? 
Do the people who service me all speak English?
While I understand that I may see new faces from time to time, will I have the SAME team leader?
Do you perform quarterly spot quality checks by someone other than the team?
How do you hire?  Do you take anyone who responds to your newspaper ad?
Finally, if a new person shows up at my house, have they been trained first or just thrown out there to learn on the job?
My big hot buttons are low turnover, trust that they are not taking anything and finally if something does get broken, are they going to tell me.
The owner of my lost service also suggested starting with the Chamber of Commerce, as the $3-400 fee usually wards off the fly by nights.   She said it is very difficult to fill these positions with quality people who pass a strong background check with no dings.  Her horror stories included a service that was caught using a toilet brush on the stovetop!  Ewwww.... She said my team members clean my house to my expectations before I let them loose in yours. 
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Zamboni on April 12, 2014, 10:39:38 AM
^I hope she pays the potential new hires for cleaning her house. 

Horror story:
Pre-MMM days we bought a lot in a subdivision where new houses were going up.  We were the third contract signed in the first phase of a planned large development, so they were hiring all new teams of sub-contractors.  The initial construction manager ended up being fired after a few months, and the scuttlebutt was that he was having the subs build his own new house (in another area) for free as part of the "screening" process.  I already thought he was a jerk, so I was glad to see him go, but it did cause some delay in getting our house built.

Maid service is a trade off.  I hate to say it, but in this country if you have service over many years, eventually you will have many little things pilfered.  Most maids are honest I am sure, but you only need one dishonest maid come through your house to lose something you value.  We've had three different services over 15 years and every single service eventually had someone steal from us.  The biggest challenge is that unless you inventory your belongings after every service, you usually don't realize it right away.  I used to just treat this as the cost of maid service, but some sentimental things have been gradually taken from my home and I've decided it is not worth it.  Jewelry is a big target, especially gold items, so be sure those are locked away, not just hidden.  Hidden things will be found and taken.  Money as well; even just the quarter jar in your dresser drawer will get lighter.  It's sad.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: RichardLearner on November 02, 2017, 06:03:04 AM
I found this website most interesting educating and informative. Thank you for your great forum. I also must say that your layout is a pleasure to view. Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: dragoncar on November 02, 2017, 02:52:06 PM
I found this website most interesting educating and informative. Thank you for your great forum. I also must say that your layout is a pleasure to view. Keep up the good work.

I also find the layout a pleasure to view.  Seriously, I find boglegeads and ere kinda a pain to navigate
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Imma on November 02, 2017, 03:16:42 PM
To revive this old thread: yes, I do sometimes hire someone to clean my house.

I suffer from chronic illness which means my energy is limited. My s/o travels a lot for work so he's often away from home. I'm sometimes expected to work overtime. When that happens, I hire someone to clean my home. She asks for Ä10/hour, I earn a lot more. So for me it's a logical choice: I can't work overtime if I also have to spend time cleaning. This is not about one day of overtime, but sometimes several weeks in a row. I could catch up during the weekends, but as I'm also recovering from the work week, the progress is slow and if I do too much, I go into the new week pretty tired. So yes, in this case, hiring a cleaner is useful. She can clean my entire house in 2 hours (I live small).

On the other hand, I don't get people in my situation (two people working, no kids) that need a cleaner twice a week. We're not home often enough to actually get the place dirty enough for two cleaning sessions. Add garden maintenance, dry cleaning, window cleaning and car cleaning to that, and there's a lot of unnecessary spending that could easily be cut.

Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: OurTown on November 03, 2017, 01:12:38 PM
$80, just once a month.  The rest of the time, the spouse who is offended by the uncleanliness, cleans it.  Sometimes that's me and sometimes that's her.  I also regularly sweep / clean for a little moderate exercise.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Hula Hoop on December 02, 2017, 10:21:47 AM
Slightly off-topic question since the direction of this thread has largely been about paying someone else to clean your house:

How often does the average person sweep?

I'm not average by any means (a bit of a compulsive neat freak) and do it 2-4 times a day, so really just asking for some perspective. I don't feel comfortable asking people I know on Facebook because it would probably turn into a conversation about MY habits...

We sweep the kitchen maybe twice a week and mop maybe once a month (being honest here).  Rest of the house - maybe once every two weeks.  We have 2 kids both work FT and no pets.  Not neat freaks at all. 

I think there's a MMM post where he talks about wanting to have a perfectly clean house/clothes as another expensive luxury.  He apparently only showers every couple of days and doesn't wash his jeans that often - same with his house.  I agree to a certain extent. I shower daily but try to only wash clothes when they are actually dirty.  They wear out much quicker if washed constantly and it's wasteful.  Also with 2 little kids we end up with mountains of laundry so we are always trying to keep it under control.  AT home, we try to keep things somewhat clean.  I clean the bathrooms every Sunday and my husband cleans the kitchen pretty often but we really only deep clean if company is coming.  We're all perfectly healthy - kids are hardly ever sick.

I'm kind of intrigued by the Roomba.  We don't have pets though.

ETA - I think the point with MMM is not to unthinkingly spend money on things just because "everyone does it" or out of laziness.  I've heard people say things like "with two FT working parents you absolutely have to have a cleaner once a week" and I think it's good to challenge that thinking as we on MMM do.  We've never had a cleaner, even when our kids were small, and, I admit, our house is not as spotless as most of my friend's houses.  But we're able to live with that and would rather use the money for other things like working less, travel etc.  Other people really care about their house being spotless or just really hate cleaning and don't mind working longer for that and that's fine so long as they realize it's a choice they are making.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: frozen on December 02, 2017, 01:50:35 PM
I call a maid service to clean my condo about every month or so. I pay $112.
I donít mind cleaning myself in between maid visits, but I find that using a cleaning service allows me extra time to focus on organization and clearing clutter.
This may not be mustachian, but it fits my budget and relieves stress.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: gaja on December 02, 2017, 03:06:19 PM
I pay my kids (9 and 11) to clean. Not their own rooms, and not the things that are part of the ordinary family life. But I have no problems using money to a) motivate them to learn new skills, b) get the stuff done that I hate doing, c) teach that work equals money. Most tasks are worth $5: cooking dinner, changing their sibling's and parents' beds, doing laundry, etc. Cleaning the bathrooms is the most hated task by all members of the household, so that is worth $10-12. Decluttering is $2 per full garbage bag.

We started the system at age 3-4, with stickers for payment and simpler tasks. Packing lunchboxes for the entire family was an early task. The contents of some of those early lunches had relatively low nutritional value, there were some raised eyebrows at work when I unwrapped the fourth Nutella sandwich in one week. But since they started school we haven't even had to remind them to pack their lunch.

If my spouse's or my standards had been higher, or if we needed things to be done a certain way, I don't think this system would have worked. But I doubt we spend more than a couple of fucks on this issue a year. If the kids want to cook eggs and bacon for dinner, or make my bed with "hello kitty" sheets: cool. That is good enough.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: Imma on December 03, 2017, 02:51:58 AM
If my spouse's or my standards had been higher, or if we needed things to be done a certain way, I don't think this system would have worked. But I doubt we spend more than a couple of fucks on this issue a year. If the kids want to cook eggs and bacon for dinner, or make my bed with "hello kitty" sheets: cool. That is good enough.

I like that approach. My parents felt the same. We kids were all expected to cook for the entire family one night of the week (not for my payment though) but they had this rule that the person who cooks gets to decide what we eat. We always ate very plain food at home so I was trying out "exotic" new dishes on my regular night. My brother and sister never liked cooking, so I always offered to take over their turn as well so I could make lasagne, chili con carne or indonesian food.
Title: Re: House Cleaning
Post by: littlelykke on December 03, 2017, 01:41:45 PM

I like that approach. My parents felt the same. We kids were all expected to cook for the entire family one night of the week (not for my payment though) but they had this rule that the person who cooks gets to decide what we eat. We always ate very plain food at home so I was trying out "exotic" new dishes on my regular night.

Haha, we had the exact same situation. We all had to cook once a week, and I liked to experiment. My brothers and sister however cooked much more plainer food. And especially my sister was complaining ALL. THE. TIME. about everything I made. Never liking it.
Until I left the house. Now she complains about the very simple and plain meals that everyone is still cooking. And she misses my experiments. I've never been so stunned before. She's a VERY picky eater. Hardly likes anything, so I always ignored her complaints. As long as I liked it, it was a success by my standards :P