Give yourself a break: Tips on hiring a maid service for your home

Jul 18, 2012, 8:16 a.m.

Does it seem that there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done that you have planned? Do you find that housework is taking a back seat to more enjoyable pursuits like spending time with your grandchildren, golfing or scouring the local antique markets? Perhaps it's time to hire a maid or a cleaning service so you can stop feeling guilty about your housework. Before you do, make sure the experience is a successful one by following these few tips:

  1. Be realistic. Save you and the person you hire to clean your home some heartache by setting realistic expectations and goals. If you are paying someone to clean for four hours, don't expect them to be able to clean your entire 2,500-square foot home. Also, if you've never been able to get your coffee table to sparkle, don't think that the maid you hire will miraculously be able to do so.
  2. Be specific. Tell the person you hire what you want cleaned. Vague instructions, such as "clean the bath" leave a lot of room for interpretation. If you want your floors cleaned with vinegar and water and never chemical solvents, don't automatically expect the new cleaning person to realize this.
  3. Set boundaries. Are there rooms or cabinets that you don't want the cleaning crew to touch? What about your computer and your files? Make sure that you both understand what's off limits.
  4. Get it in writing. Whether you decide to go with a cleaning service or an individual cleaning person, it's important to discuss payment and what's included for that payment ahead of time. Like any business contract, put this agreement in writing and have both parties sign it.

Hiring a cleaning service or a maid can free up time for you to enjoy your retirement. Make sure that it's a positive experience by doing a little advance planning.

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