Choosing a Housekeeper
August 4, 2004 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm a lazy bum who makes enough money to buy his way out of his problems. My problem: My girlfriend says our house is too messy, and she's sick of cleaning it. My solution: we'll hire a maid to come twice a month or so to do most of the routine chores.

My question: How do I go about finding a trustworthy, high quality housekeeper?
posted by davebug to Home & Garden (22 answers total)
I would recommend that you don't use a cleaning service. Out of the $30 or so an hour that you might be charged, the person who does the actual cleaning might get only minimum wage. And it will be different people every time. It would be much better for all concerned to hire one person you trust and pay them $15/hour in cash.
posted by orange swan at 12:29 PM on August 4, 2004

Recommendations. The odds are that you are working with other lazy bums who have hired maids. Ask them if they can recommend who they use. If this turns up no leads, look in local community newspapers for ads.

Interview all prospects, and be upfront about what you do want done (windows once a month, vacuuming, etc) and what you don't (laundry is always a sticking point).

I also recommend avoiding maid services. They are overpriced, often give you different people each week, sometimes have sketch labor relations/practices, and have really inconsistent quality.
posted by profwhat at 12:30 PM on August 4, 2004

Easy solution: pay your girlfriend to do it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:37 PM on August 4, 2004

Sounds like a job for Craig', if you're in an area they support.
posted by xammerboy at 12:46 PM on August 4, 2004

C_D has a great idea. That would work on me if I had a messy yet monied partner.
posted by orange swan at 12:47 PM on August 4, 2004

Yes yes yes avoid maid services. Yes. Look for individuals or small businesses where the owner is the one who does the cleaning. Ask for recomendations. If you go to church or are involved in any neighborhood organizations, as around those places.

Also tell a new person that the first cleaning is a test run, and that you will re-hire him or her based on performance. That way you aren't entering into a long-term agreement until you can see what the person has to offer.

Other tips: Put in writing what you want done; respect the boundaries of the person you hire; work out in advance what the charges for any extra services might be (cleaning out the fridge, for example); don't make him or her scrub the floors on hands and knees; and if he or she does a good job, it's nice to tip.
posted by jennyb at 12:57 PM on August 4, 2004

earlier thread for same question which is pretty much echoing what's been written above (except for the pay your girlfriend to do it which i would personally strongly recommend against).
posted by crush-onastick at 1:25 PM on August 4, 2004

Go to your local 7/11, and look for something called yellow jackets. Now, the active ingredient has been changed (ephedrine) but the psuedoephedrine still works.

It is in a small plastic package with an angry looking yellow jacket on it.

Purchase. Pick up an energy drink such as red bull.

If you weigh 180 or over, consume two. If not, take one. If you have a history of speed addiction, take three.

Consume energy drink.

Enter primary room and imagine where stuff should go. If you can't think of a place it should go, make a place for specific items. *such as computer crap in one place, toys/clothing/etc in their own place.

In about 15 minutes you will begin to feel a slight rush, possibly a tingle. This is proof it is working. You will not notice the amount of energy you are getting. If you get heart palpitations drink a large glass of water and sit down for 5 minutes.

You will begin to think methodically. Actions will seem more robotic and transfixed. You are in the zone. Continue through the zone.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:43 PM on August 4, 2004

If you trust in Seinfeld as the fount of all life knowledge, you will not choose to pay your girlfriend to clean.
posted by Galvatron at 1:48 PM on August 4, 2004

After reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Domed: On (Not Getting By in America), I don't think that I could ever bring myself to hire a maid.

Hell of a book. Well worth the read.
posted by waldo at 1:56 PM on August 4, 2004

Keyser: Ritalin works even better. It DEFINES the zone.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:57 PM on August 4, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everyone. I'm going to ask my lazy neighbors, I guess, as I've got no craigslist. It seems my lazy co-workers have just convinced their loved ones that it's ok to live in a messy house.

Maybe I could just pay my girlfriend to not mind the mess as much. Or use the money to buy drugs so that neither of us care about anything anymore.

And thanks for the other thread, c-o. It'll be nice when we've got a search engine to find such things.
posted by davebug at 2:01 PM on August 4, 2004

We get recommendations for all sorts of contractors from Angie's List. They have a good website and excellent telephone service and I see that they have your area covered. You have to become a paid member.
posted by stuart_s at 2:08 PM on August 4, 2004

Keyser: After all the crap you have taken here about drinking (and as you may remember I was one of your defenders) you have some balls to suggest drugs as the solution to someone's problem.
posted by caddis at 2:25 PM on August 4, 2004

nickel & dimed is a great read. in my case, though, it made me *more* able to be comfortable hiring someone directly and paying them a decent wage for something i really can't manage on my own.
posted by judith at 2:49 PM on August 4, 2004

Keyser, leotrotsky: I know people who swear by Adderall over Ritalin. And some who swear by speed over either.

Anything with amphetamines (or stimulants with a similar effect) will put you in a mood to clean. You'll be alert and organized.
posted by nath at 4:01 PM on August 4, 2004

well.... As someone who takes ritalin as it is actually perscribed I can tell you this: if you plan on using any stimulatant on a regular basis expect steadily decreasing effects. The effect is, at this point, so subtle that I have trouble believing it exists until I go off it for a couple days and notice how different it is to concentrate. Now, if you have a normal brain I don't know what will happen, but save the stimulants for all-nighters, deadlines, etc. don't waste it on cleaning.
posted by Grod at 9:12 PM on August 4, 2004

The housekeepers I know don't do 'tidying up'; they do things like vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, dusting, cleaning windows and bathrooms, etc. If keeping things in their place is the problem I don't know that a housekeeper could help even if you do find one who's willing to try; how is someone else going to know where your things belong?
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:54 PM on August 4, 2004

Heh. My mom had a prescription for "diet pills" (amphetamines, in other words) when I was little, and she told me "the house has NEVER been as clean as it was then!" So I guess they work, but I wouldn't recommend them. ;)
posted by litlnemo at 12:18 AM on August 5, 2004

Calm down, it was more of a joke. Its just a few pills.... cmon. Don't you want people to accept you? Don't you want to make some friends? :)
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:17 AM on August 5, 2004

Same here, judith. My sister as well.

And for fuck's sake, don't pay your girlfriend.
posted by mkultra at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2004

Paying my girlfriend didn't improve the cleanliness of my place, but it sure improved my sex life.
posted by hootch at 8:20 AM on August 5, 2004

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