Thursday, August 7, 2008

How do you do it?


Can we talk about cleaning?

Do you have a routine or schedule? Do you pay someone? How often does he/she come to clean? And what do you have them do exactly?

If you're a do-it-yourselfer (and I am sure most of us are), what's your program?

Currently my program is to find out that someone is coming over and then to get really pissed with my slovenly self and then I scramble to clean. This is not working, as you can imagine.


Photo from HERE.

56 comments:

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

This is TOTALLY going to expose my neurotic side but...

I have a cleaning schedule. Today is Thursday so I clean the master bedroom and my studio. Subsets of this task include washing bedding, cleaning the dog bed, washing off my painting tables and replacing fresh flowers in all the vases in these two rooms.

Right now I'm working so much that if I don't stick to the schedule the house will pile up and fall apart in just a few days. My schedule usually focuses on two areas a day and includes top to bottom cleaning. Our house is pretty modern without a lot of "stuff" so it takes me about an hour a day on average. On the upside, a photographer could walk in any day of the week and go to town!

Christine in DC said...

I'm a DIY cleaner. Generally, on either a late in the week evening if I can muster up the energy or a weekend morning, I first clean the glass (2 shelves) and mirrors (2) with spray cleaner and a rag. Then, I dust with a duster and use the aforementioned rag to clean bathroom surfaces. Then, I vacuum and/or sweep. Then, I either mop or swiffer wet the floors. Some days, I'll just clean a little more energetically than than others. In total, I typically take under an hour. If I'm really efficient a half hour or less (I have a small 1 br).

Tess said...

It's pretty much "a lick and a promise" until I guilt my adult daughters into helping out. Considering my Catholic upbringing, I'm pretty good at the whole "After everything I have done for you, you would think doing a little dusting for your poor tired mother wouldn't kill you..." routine. I've tried hiring this out, but they all really suck.

katek said...

We have a cleaning lady every two weeks. $75, she mops, vacuums, dusts, washes the bathroom and does laundry. Aside from my office, our apartment is always very, very neat, so there's no picking up to do, really--the floors and surfaces are already cleared.

...love Maegan said...

I've found the best way to get your house looking catalog-ready is to invite people over. As you know, that seems to be the best motivation to get it done.

However, my husband came with a cleaning lady that my father-in-law pays for. While you may think this is nice (and in some ways it is) I end up paying less attention to detail because I think it's being cleaned (once a freakin' week). BUT, it's those times when you relied on the cleaning lady that you don't notice, until it's too late, the massive amounts of dirt and hairs that have accumulated along the baseboards of your bathroom. gross.

bottom line: i think cleaning ladies only make it LOOK clean rather than really getting it actually clean.

Jennifer said...

I have a cleaning lady come to The Manor once every three weeks to do the heavy lifting -- vacuuming, bathroom and kitchen deep clean, mopping hardwood floors -- the shit I hate to do. And yes, we clean before she comes. We put everything away, straighten up, and make sure she has access to every nook and cranny. I find that we get a much cleaner house that way.

In between cleanings, I straighten up as often as I can, and as often as needed, including putting papers away, doing the dishes, emptying the trash, doing the laundry, changing the sheets, and everyday household chores.

If I could afford to have someone clean my house once a week, I would totally do it.

Jenny said...

I have a cleaning lady come every 3 weeks at $80 each time. She is amazing! She makes everything spotless. I work an average of 50-60 hours per week so it's totally worth it for someone to come while I'm away at work to clean the house. I used to be a DIY cleaner but to be honest, I'd rather be doing something else with my free time. :)

judy said...

I wait until a few hours before my guests are due—bonus if they're staying for a few days—and then fly into a cleaning frenzy. I also yell at my boyfriend for doing a half-assed job.

Liz said...

Yup, your method sounds about on par with what goes on at my house these days. We used to have a cleaning lady that came every other week. I let her go when I started noticing cobwebs in the corners and all the dust on the baseboards and wondered why I was spenidng $140 a month when I could get that for free. I keep meaning to line someone else up, but I'm afraid that what ...love Maegan says is true.

Jessie said...

Right now our method sounds just like Decorno's.

I love having people over, though, so it works out pretty well most of the time.

I have to admit, though, since I work full time and my husband is a student, he ends up doing pretty much all of the dirty work: vacuuming the rugs, cleaning the toilet, windexing the mirrors, swiffering the wood floor, loading/drying the dishes.

I am in charge of all of the organization and uncluttering. We have such a tiny space, that this is a good system for now, but I would love to have someone to come and help someday!

*Also, we moved into our home exactly a year ago (as newly weds right out of school), and I STILL for the life of me cannot figure out a good way to get the dusting done. Do I use an old t-shirt? A feather duster? Do I need that spray stuff? Can I just use water? Any suggestions greatly appreciated.*

JJ said...

You know me, I am a fucking pig. I am messy. I am a stacker. I hate using sponges.

I recently hired a team to come firebomb my house every 2 weeks. Have I not told you this?
It's the A+ #1 best decision I have ever made.
I will give you her number.

CashmereLibrarian said...

I have a college student come once a week and as you might imagine it's not what I consider clean, so I end up running around with a duster and a mop anyway.
Once she graduates next spring, I will try to find a cleaning service that actually vacuums under the bed once in a while. And I'll probably go to every two weeks since my husband and I will be empty-nesters soon.

Julia said...

Pay someone!! Our cleaning lady comes every two weeks and cleans the hardwood floors, vacuums, wipes down the stovetop and counters, cleans the tub/toilet/sink, dusts everything, and even cleans out the FISHBOWL with new water (which I hate doing).

She also makes the bed so tight you could bounce a quarter off of it and folds the toilet paper end in the bathroom into a point. AND if you leave laundry in the washer or dryer she dries it or FOLDS IT. And if there are clean dishes in the dishwasher, she'll put them away.

Best $150/month I ever spent...

Anonymous said...

Mine is about like yours. I TRY to get upstairs or downstairs clean about once a week. But that competes with so many other things that the reality is more panic than clean. My first luxury when I win a lottery will be a cleaning person, second a lawnservice.

Jamie said...

I can't afford a cleaning lady, I DIY clean. Sundays. Sundays are the best day to clean. Turn on your favorite music and just go to town.

Michelle said...

Jessie, regarding dusting, microfiber cloths or disposable dusting cloths. Method makes corn-based dusting cloths for their o-mop that I cut in half and use for 2-3 dusting sessions before composting. Either way, the cloths trap dust without the need for smelly, slimy dusting spray.

I live in a 1 BR apartment, and my husband and I tend to clean on an as needed basis. Saturday is laundry day, and we usually vacuum and dust if there's time. Bathroom and kitchen deep cleaning happen when we have time.

We don't have a dishwasher, and if I could afford to hire someone to come in every day and do dishes, I absolutely would.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a SLOB. In fact, I broke up with him while we were dating because I didn't think I could live with anyone that slobby. He refused to break up with me until we tried living together with a cleaning lady (such a sensible guy).

She comes every other week at $70 a pop and is worth every last penny. In fact, we gave her a raise last month without her asking because we love her that much. I thought I was pretty anal about cleaning, but after watching her, it's clear I am an amateur.

I guess it all depends on who you get--we found her by asking around for recommendations. And we do the dishes and put our stuff where it belongs before she comes. I wouldn't recommend a service, though (have you read Nickel and Dimed?).

Anonymous said...

I used to have someone like Julia's person...I miss her SOOOO much. Right now, I have someone who does a mediocre job and I'm going to get rid of her and try to tackle it on my own. Would love to come up with a system like Rachel's.

Decorina said...

This book changed my life:

Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell

Time and motion studies applied to housecleaning. Amazing product - RED JUICE. Cleans everything, non toxic, and it is cheap. I've been using it for 20 years.

I can clean the entire 2000 sf house in 1 to 1 1/2 hour per WEEK!

Anonymous said...

"Red Juice"--oh, I am not liking the sound of that...

petina said...

I try to clean every weekend, but dang that's hard. Especially when I actually get around to having a life. So the Decorno method is my current MO.

Anonymous said...

I do cleanup in my kitchen daily, as I cook dinner each evening. I do the rest of the cleaning weekly. As I am fairly neat, and try not to have too much clutter, I can zip through my apartment pretty quickly.
That being said, I am also a cleaning lady.
To "love meagan": Please don't judge all cleaning ladies by the one you have. Many of us do an excellent job. Perhaps it's time you searched for a new cleaning lady. Tell your father-in-law that you are not getting his money's worth. Also, you don't mention whether or not you and your husband are neat or sloppy. Some people think a cleaning lady is supposed to take care of picking up after people. Uh-uh. We are supposed to CLEAN...period. Pick up your stuff and put it away so that your cleaning lady can do a good job. If she has to pick up after your sorry ass, then you don't need a cleaning lady, you need a bulldozer.....

Anonymous said...

I'm a teeny bit anal or compulsive. But, that is a good thing when it comes to keeping this place in line!

Anna, a 60 something Polish gal with limited command of English comes in and does it all from laundry to polishing silve! $100 a visit. She's a trooper. She's in the will.

Leslie Ann said...

PAY!!!!! Don't have time. But want an emaculate house.

David said...

We had an obsessive-compulsive cleaning lady recommended by the new neighbors when we moved. Fifty bucks for two hours every Thursday. If you happened to be home when she came she'd talk your ear off.

That said, when she left, this place was operating-room clean. She'd even go out on the terrace and mop the tile, vaccume the furniture cushions and water the plants. And then take our two schnauzers for a walk.

She ended up having carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists and had to stop. We got a Christmas card last year that said she was thinking about taking on a few clients again. I'm praying she does.

Until then we just go along until the dust makes us scream, then we spend Saturday morning scrubbing the place down ourselves.

maison21 said...

staff, sweetie.

seriously, it is SO worth it to pay someone- who has time to mop floors? i have my housekeeper in twice a month, and she vacuums and mops, leaves my bathrooms so clean you could do surgery in them and washes my linens. i do my own clothes laundry (i'm picky) and since i don't cook, there are basically no dishes.

best money i spend every month, hands down. seriously, i'd give up eating, before i'd give up my cleaning lady.

Robin said...

When I was going through my divorce I was working M-F in corporate america and weekends at a winery, so I had no time to clean. I read an article in Real Simple to do one or two things a day for 20 minutes and your house will always be clean. So Monday night is dusting, Tuesday vaccum, Wednesday laundry, Thursday bathrooms, Friday sheets, etc. It works, and because its only 20 minutes (except the laundry, but I find I can spread that out over two days), if you have something going on one night you just double up the day before or after. It takes discipline, but after two weeks you are so in love with your clean house tht it becomes second nature.

This is not to say that I wouldn't hire a cleaning person in 2 seconds flat if I had an extra $80 a week (the going rate in my area). But not a service - like Anon 3:54, I also read Nickel & Dimed....

Anonymous said...

I clean every Friday or Sunday and deep clean once a month or when people visit. It has been a family tradition. "Just cause your poor doesn't mean you have to be dirty." I always thought this was normal until my husband told me otherwise. I am a DIY cleaner and I find it relaxing to start my week off clutter free. I listen to old music (louie armstrong, ella, and such and such) it makes cleaning go by faster.

Jennifer said...

i've just discovered www.flylady.com - it's a little silly but she has some really great ideas on how to build simple routines into your lifestyle so you don't find yourself facing the 'big clean'

one of her recommendations is to clean the sink before bedtime. that inevitably leads to emptying the dishwasher to be able to put new dishes in and wiping down counters. i also go ahead and prep my coffee for morning. it is nice to wake up to a sparkling kitchen and press a button to get my coffee brewing.

btw- i have four kids under two so i needed to get organized fast. fly lady has been a great resource.

decorno said...

JJ - WTF?? I can't believe you were hiding this good news from me. You must be preoccupied with other news lately. Hmm.

I am firing the yard guys and getting a cleaner. And that's final.

I can't believe so many of you have one. You've convinced me. Although, I might read Speed Cleaning. It sounds like est or the Scientology of cleaning!

Judy - I like your "yell at boyfriend" approach. I think I have done that to my better half, too.

Cashmere - - why are you waiting to fire the college student? Tell her to get the job done. You need to toughen him/her up for those future bosses waiting to kick her ass out there in the real world. :)

Anonymous said...

um, i feel dirty--i wait till the carpet is a different color because there is so much do hair on it(a 140lb.dog, so let's say every 6 days) before vacuming and then i see the dust and figure i might as well get that too. we live in an apt. so we have to schlep the laundry to a laundomat. let's just say i have enuf undies/bras for 5 weeks--six in the winter cause i'm not as sweaty! my man is awesome @ doing the dishes and garbage and i have the bathroom every few days--plus we compost our food scraps...i didn't realize having someone else doing it would affordable--i'm going to look into it! otherwise, i'm in this limbo of half clean till someone comes over.(then i bust out the toothbrush!)

Anonymous said...

dog, not do hair, dog

~M said...

We have a wonderful, wonderful woman come clean our house every week. We've tried every two weeks and it isn't enough.
My husband is NOT neat or clean. I finally broke him of putting his shoes on the furniture--even the BED(!), but I can't seem to get him to simply throw out wrappers or empty his pockets into the same place every night.
Anyway, with a full time job, a toddler and a baby on the way...well, the $90 a week (she does 4 hours one week, 5 the next, and we pay her $20/hour) is totally worth it...especially now that we share a home with my mother, aka the world's most perfectly neat and organized homemaker (even though she has a full time job).
Mom and I take turns cooking, doing the dishes, grocery shopping and doing the laundry. My husband empties the garbage, cleans the cat boxes, empties the diaper pail, takes the cars to the car wash, does the heavy lifting and manages the computers and small household repairs. He gets off a bit easy, but he will do an occasional dinner (if you can call mac & cheese dinner!) and his work is quite a bit more demanding than mine or mom's in that he's frequently on-call.
I've got "teach my son how to clean" on my list of things to that I must be sure to do, but I figure, we're teaching him how to pick up after himself (he puts away his toys every night) and I figure...he can learn how to clean the toilet after he's potty trained!

kat said...

I might be the laziest of all of you.. we have a cleaning lady twice a week. She's fantastic and I seriously don't think we could do without her. It's only my husband and I but our demanding jobs and lifestyle don't leave time for ironing! Bear in mind I'm not living in the US so it's more affordable...

s. said...

twice/ month cleaning lady. highly recommend it.

Nina79 said...

Kitchen - tops, cooker ect. every day
Bath, toilet, sink- once a week
Ironing (just shirts for my husband) - once a week
Wash - mondays
Floors - about every 2 weeks

I try to do a deep cleaning of every room with windows ect. about every 6 months.
I wish I had a cleaning lady, mainly to do the hovering and clean floors, because I hate to hover. But can't really afford it yet, plus I am still a student so I have the time to do it myself.

Anonymous said...

2BR/1BA place; someone comes every week for $50

alis said...

Cleaning lady, once every two weeks, $46 per visit. Does everything but the dishes(she would do it but she can't do it as good as I want) and laundry, although she does the ironing. I would have her every week(like most ppl in my country do) but her schedule is full. I try to tidy up before she comes, I don't want her putting my things in all the wrong places, also I always make my bed myself, that's my pet peeve. She does a good job but I have seen better(like, excellent) cleaning ladies but I wouldn't give her up because I can trust her with my keys, and I live alone. Also she doesn't bore me with her troubles as a lot of the cleaning ladies here tend to do (they talk and talk and talk about their troubles until you feel depressed). Having her is so worth it, I leave a dirty house in the morning and come back to a clean and tidy one, like magic.
I also do the sink and the toilet when they seem dirty to me.

ps: My boyfriend's family used to have a cleaner who stole summer apparel during the winter, and winter apparel during the summer. After 1 year they noticed and fired her, so beware.

alis said...

Oh I have to mention, my mom's cleaning lady gossips(which is fine) about our neighbour who she also cleans for. She said they leave dirty underwear on the floor (skidmarks!!) and a weeks load of pile of stinking dishes. She told them to pick up their panties before she comes but they didn't care.

Anonymous said...

Inefficent cleaning person? Here's an idea to steal from my obsessive-compulsive friend Mark. I dropped in on him when his new cleaning lady was starting. He'd put together an excel spread sheet listing all the tasks he expected her to do 1) weekly 2) monthly 3)every six months. With the understanding that the big jobs would require more time, therefore more money.

Michelle and Winston the Westie said...

Ironic you ask this- I just hired a new cleaning company that charged me $450 for a deep clean of our 4 bedroom/3.5 bath house. They had estimated it would be $200 but claimed the dust was too much. As a result, we paid double. My recommendation: do a walk through before you hire. Let them tell you the price upfront.

Alicia B Blogs said...

I love love cleaning. Last night I methodically took the fantastick, lysol and windex to every single surface in my room. It was extremely theraputic. What I do to help me not get cleaning ADD is turn on the pop music (yeah i like britney, what of it) All of my organization peices come from the Container Store now because of Hold Everything's sad demise. Anyway, music goes on and apartment smells like Fantastick and life is good again. Also LOVE the Swiffer Duster...changed my life

Anonymous said...

I've found the secret is to organize organize organize. Get rid of all the clutter. Find a way to be able to put everything away.

It's much easier and faster to dust when it's a 3 second swipe across a clutter free table. No need to move or clean those God Foresaken knickknacks.

I have paid a cleaning service before but found that I was doing most of the cleaning the day before she arrived. So what was the point?

Now I just pay for a deep clean twice a year (spring & fall). $1100 for my 2000 sqft house. They clean the dustboards, wash windows, clean behind the refrigerator, clean the stove vents, etc. A lot of $$ but not that much more than I was paying for the bi-monthly cleaning service and worth every dime as my house is deep down clean.

Lucinda said...

People have told me that I remind them of the mother from "Requiem for a Dream". Nuff said.

kaili said...

I'm a total DIY-er. We have a daily schedule, I totally admit it, with friday nights off. It's going to make me look like a control freak, but so be it!

Mondays - change bed, flip linens
Tuesdays - laundry
Wednesdays - kitchen, garbage and recycling, mop floors, litterbox
Thursdays - plan meals for week and make grocery list
Fridays - OFF
Saturdays - groceries and errands, dusting, all floors, bathrooms and general tidy
Sundays - yardwork and self-pampering, including prepping outfits for the week.

kathleen said...

I finally found a cleaning lady I like (craigslist!) who deep cleaned for $75 and will come back every other week for $45, and I am seriously in LOVE with her cleaning skills. I work full time, and I'm anal, so when I clean my small 1 bedroom, it can take me up to 4 hours. My new lady is French and also anal! She literally took the books off the shelf to clean under them. Now THAT is what I'm talkin' about. My tub has never sparkled so!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I used to have a housekeeper and a maid who came three times a week, but that was when I was living in a foreign country, and it was affordable to do so, about $250 total for the month. Today I have gone back to my normal routine (since I can't afford a maid anymore): we vacuum and dust once a week and try to pick up after ourselves on a daily basis, which is not particularly easy in the wake of a child and her assorted friends. They tend to destroy her room in minutes, so I have taken to keeping her door shut and pretending the mess doesn't exist (fyi it will take hours to clean up what they took about a half hour to accomplish).

i suwannee said...

we have a cleaning lady. she comes every tuesday. she's phenomenal. i have a stuffed camel i sleep with and she tucks him in the freaking bed and covers him up every time. she cleans the windows. puts our shoes up. cleans the cat box room up!
its worth every penny.

Decorina said...

BTW, the whole "Swiffer" floor system is copied directly from Jeff Campbell's "Speed Cleaning". His system uses terry cloth covers that you throw in the washing machine after cleaning. I've cleaned walls, ceilings and floors with his "Sh-Mop" - it is a part of the whole thing that changed my life. But the Swiffer stuff just requires you to buy yet more "stuff" that is thrown away after you finish cleaning. Jeff's system is simple, much more affordable and doesn't generate more garbage for the landfill or endless trips and cost of buying "refills".

decorno said...

The stuffed camel story = most tender thing ever.

I am going to kidnap your cleaning lady.

paola said...

We have cleaners who come every two weeks - I tidy up the whole house before they come, so I pay them for actual cleaning not tidying. It's not actually enough, a few days before they're due we're chasing dustbunnies all round the house.

In between we follow the Decorno method, but I usually can't be arsed to clean, just do lots of tidying and occasionally introduce the vacuum cleaner to the rugs. We cook and bake and entertain a lot though, so I'm forever cleaning up the kitchen. The laundry is done as required and then gets thrown onto the 'ironing pile' in my closet never to be seen again. The iron comes out just when I'm already ten minutes late for an appointment

The rest of the time I am continually, and I mean continually, picking up the CRAP that my three year old manages to strew all round the house and in all the most unexpected places and cleaning the food she also smears in all sorts of unexpected places. She is like a cleaning-generating machine.

The best tip I read about tidying/cleaning was to the follow the 'kindergarten' method, of making sure you have a specific designated place to put everything.

It works, I've found that if I analyse my mess, the stuff that's lying around is stuff that I don't really have a home for.

Anonymous said...

I live in London, UK and have a cleaning lady come every week for two hours. She does everything except the windows. I pay her about $36/week. For windows we get a professional window cleaner about every 3 months. Works out to about $60.We have a lot of skylights so can't tackle it ourselves.
We do find ourselves cleaning occasionally before guests arrive despite the weekly clean and of course I always tidy up before my cleaning lady arrives. I wouldn't want her to think I was a slob!

knitwit said...

When I moved in with my husband he had a cleaning lady but when I noticed all the stuff that was never cleaned -- under the beds, baseboards, you name it -- we decided we would take care of it ourselves. To be fair she probably had to spend half her time picking up after my husband. I am still trying to get him to stop scattering his socks, shoes and receipts all over the house. www.flylady.com has been great for me too -- I just ignore all the hokiness and focus on the schedule.

L said...

Cleaning is my porn (well, next to decor, of course). I love to clean. I refer to myself as Monica Geller. I know I shouldn't be proud of that, but...

Anyway. Back to business. I clean on Fridays after work. When I get home, I turn on the oven to get ready for whatever fabulous frozen dinner I'm having, and I tidy as the oven heats up. Then I eat and get back to cleaning and tidying afterwards. I always have the TV on in the background, which makes it even more fun. And with my home clean on Friday, I have the weekend to not worry about it. It makes me feel less stressful too when I can go into the weekend with a home that's in order. And then, by the end of the week, it's ready for its Friday Cleaning again.

If I wasn't such a classist bitch, I'd consider being a cleaning lady for a living. I freakin' LOVE it.

with love from Pittsburgh...

zakary said...

This sounds awful, but we had a lady that we paid, but then my mother moved in with us when my father died and we fired the cleaning lady. My mother is no joke when it comes to cleaning.

And she babysits.

Delurking to also say this blog rocks.

paperjunk-lc said...

I'm a flylady gal. Her suggestions are very corny but they seem to keep me on track.
flylady.net