We've all been there. Making the decision to hire household help isn't always easy. You agonize (hire by the hour, or choose a company that charges a flat fee?) You browse different sites (If I find someone from craigslist, will I end up in a bottom of a barrel in the nearby community lake?) and you debate (Can't I just do all this myself?) 


Once you finally choose someone great (Yay!) utilize these tips on how to get the most value from your spiffy maid.


1. CLEAN BEFORE THEY COME ----> What the what?! You read it right. And by clean, I don't mean "clean"...I mean tidy up so the cleaners can clean. A few examples:


A. Pick up the massive pile of stuffed animals and sneakers off your living room floor. That way, the surface is unfettered for your housecleaning professional. They can vacuum without having to pick up the clutter and then wonder where to put it after. (Back on the floor? Yikes.) 


B. Invest in a ridiculously large basket. The night before the service is due to arrive, put all your toiletries and countertop clutter from the master bath in it. The maids can get right to cleaning your vanities....and then simply put everything back on the countertop when they're done, effectively skipping a step. Stow the basket under the sink cabinet for later....and consider doing the same for the other major rooms in your home.


C. Don't leave dishes in the sink. It's tempting, but run the dishwasher and bribe your husbands/kids/sketchy broke neighbor to unload and put away the clean dishes afterwards. Sure, the maid service will do it....but you'll save them an average of 20 minutes and they can use that time elsewhere (deep cleaning the fridge, perhaps?)




Chances are, the kid's bedrooms will be right back to their cluttered state within half an hour of the cleaning lady leaving. And is your 7 year old going to appreciate the visual appeal of a hotel-style made bed? Naaah. Have the service skip over the children's rooms completely; saving them up to 20 minutes per room. If this idea bothers you, have them just pop in and vacuum, fluff the pillows, and dust the tops of the doorways. (It will keep the chaos under control.) 


Same for guest rooms- save the cleaning of those for when you know company is imminent, or for when guests have just departed. If a guest room (or formal living room) isn't being used, it may be able to be done on a rotational basis- say, once a month.




A lot of times, customers struggle with hiring a maid service because deep down, they feel inadequate for "not being able to do it all." Well, no one can do it all...but if you feel this way, consider this:


Have the service do only the things you truly loathe doing. For instance, I have a good friend who adores vacuuming. It calms her, she says. As a result, she doesn't have the cleaning service vacuum. HOWEVER, she absolutely will not scrub the showers out...she'd rather pluck off all her toenails individually. She feels no guilt about making bathrooms a primary focus for her household staff, because she wouldn't do them anyway. 


Consider asking your household service if they'll do some of the following (admittedly unconventional) tasks that are commonly loathed and put off by homeowners: (TIP: L4D will do ALL of these!)


A. Taking down or putting up the Christmas tree.

B. Scheduling doctor or personal service appointments, providing that you leave a list of numbers, dates needed, etc.

C. Steamcleaning the furniture (perhaps you bought the machine on a whim and it's sitting in your basement unused? TIP:  This would be ideal for an hourly maid service.)

D. Organizing your pantry. Or your fridge, or your closet.

E. Putting out what needs to thaw for dinner before they leave.


You get my drift. Although these are not "standard" tasks for a cleaning service by any means, a good service will be more than willing to accomodate you. (And who has a "standard" lifestyle these days?)


It's my hope that these tips have been of help to you (Or at least inspired you to take down your Christmas tree.) Your maid service wants you to feel a sense of value. The above tips will help you derive more of it from them (and add some much needed joy in the process.)


Best to you,


Ashley P. (Owner, Founder, and Chief Toilet Polisher of Lust for Dust- The Bay Area's Most Unique Cleaners!!!)


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