Do You Enjoy Cleaning?

Author: Naomi Liddell

When I have long hours of uninterrupted time, free to potter around the house at my own pace (with a list of course). Tending to the cleaning tasks that have mounted up over the week, preferably with a podcast or two lined up to keep my ears company while my hands are busy… THAT is when I enjoy cleaning. Saturday morning used to be it for me. A couple of hours of cleaning, filling my vases with fresh flowers then pondering over what else to do with the expanse of weekend that lay ahead (all from a fresh house). 
 
But since having my two boys, the above scenario has literally never happened. Not once. 
 

Cleaning in my house currently looks like a mad dash to get 10 minutes of something half-finished before I’m beckoned onto something more pressing like a dirty nappy or a misplaced Tranformers figurine. Alternatively, it’s a whip around tidy late in the evening when all I want to do is fall onto the couch and watch Bake Off. I do not like cleaning when it looks like this. Rushed, unfocused and unfinished. 
 
For a while there, I was embracing The Organised Mum Method. For those who aren’t au fait with Gemma’s method, it’s 30 minutes a day, focused on specific rooms each day. I enjoyed the routine of the whole thing, but my problem was that I would spend that 30 minutes tidying before I even got anywhere near the cleaning part. I would say our house has a less than average amount of ‘stuff’ in it. But I feel like the piles of laundry, toys strewn everywhere and cupboards emptied by my toddler are just never-ending. Because, well, they are. 
 
Gavin and I have some life changes coming up, mainly with work and mainly involving some travel for us both. With no real Mon-Fri pattern as such. So our calendar is about to get even more sporadic, and in a way, hectic than it already is. It was at this point that I finally admitted that something would have to give. And that something is the cleaning of our house. 
 
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I cannot keep on top of it all. So, we’ve hired a cleaner. Agnes is due to come over once a fortnight for a couple of hours in the beginning. Although I have friends who tell me that I’ll soon be asking her over once a week when I realise the joy of coming home to a clean house. One of my pals actually joked that she would rather get rid of her husband than her cleaner! 
 
I live in a very average-sized house, in a very run of the mill housing estate, so I did feel slightly self-conscious at the idea of getting a cleaner in. It almost feels like a failure that I’m not able to manage everything. But the truth is that I can’t. And I’d rather not. So I’ve brushed aside those feelings and I’m looking forward to reaping the benefits of the extra help. And because I think it’s helpful to get to the nitty-gritty of these things, I’ll tell you that our cleaner charges £25 for two hours. Which is quite standard in Scotland, but I’m sure that varies across the UK. 
 
After telling a few pals, a couple of them have confessed that they love cleaning too much to hand it over to someone else. They find cleaning therapeutic. And with the Mrs Hinch fever that has swept the nation, I can completely see how that would be the case. 
 
I don’t know yet if my new relationship with Agnes is going to be life changing. But I do know that I’ll still need to set a 30 minute timer to get the tidying part done. My hope is that I can relax a bit more knowing that those unfinished jobs like cleaning the skirtings or the fridge are being handled for me. 
 
What are your feelings on cleaning? Do you love it or loathe it? 
 
Do you, or would you, hire a cleaner to help?

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Naomi can’t decide which she loves more: adventuring with her boys or being left alone in a luxurious bath with a great book.
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40 thoughts on “Do You Enjoy Cleaning?

  1. This has come at the most perfect time. I have three children 3 and under. I work part time with one day a week in London and I run my own busy business. After paying for IVF and being hellish in debt from it we just haven’t been able to justify anything above the basics. My new part time job mentioned they’d like me to do more hours a week ago and I’m just waiting to hear back in regards to how many. Like you this would mean I just don’t know how to fit in the cleaning. I do the OMM and still I’m doing it at bathtimes when my husband tag teams or in naptimes and then I’m struggling to fit in work. Like you I feel something has to give and if I get those extra hours I think it has to be the cleaning. I clean naturally with vinegar and water and essential oils. I love it and my concern is now finding a cleaner in line with this. Hope your cleaner is everything you hoped for.

    1. I can totally sympathise with the cost side of it. We weighed it up with the extra hours I’d be doing for work and my general happiness! Also, we’re pretty much trialling it for now. We’ll just see if it feels worth it after a while. Also, our cleaner uses our products, which I think is a pretty standard request. I clean with 95% natural products too and she’s been more than happy to use them.

  2. I could have written this myself Naomi! Yesterday I took the leap and hired a cleaner as well. After years of thinking I’ve got this (I clearly haven’t) with two young children, two dogs and a busy job, I just decided to go for it. I love cleaning but never have time for it to the level it needs and after buying the new Organised Mum Method book (I’m new to her but spent my birthday voucher on her book a fortnight ago! 🙈) I can see the method is great but I’m going to need some help. My sister in law has just started using our cleaner so we signed up at the same time. She does a deep 4 hour clean then weekly or fortnightly cleans (and you can even opt to have her walk your dogs or leave a Horne cooked meal in your fridge 😍) Things aren’t at that point yet but I wouldn’t rule it out.

    I do feel insane telling people we have a cleaner because I just feel like a bit of a knob to be honest 😂🙈 but I don’t judge others for doing it so I need to stop being so hard on myself and thinking I can spin all of the plates – because they are rapidly breaking (and they’re dirty plates too 😂) Can’t believe you wrote about this today of all days, fab article Naomi! Really enjoyed reading! 🙌

    1. I’m with you Jess. Broken dirty plates everywhere! Haha. I think I’ll still use the Organised Mum Method, but only 20 mins a day to keep on top of things like hoovering and tidying. Your cleaner sounds ACE.
      Also, I weirdly have found that lots of people I know have cleaners, now that I’m bringing it up. It’s like it was a secret card up their sleeve that I didn’t know about! Definitely helped with the knobbish feeling! 😂

      1. I don’t have paid employment at the moment so I am at home with my 2 preschoolers and would still love a cleaner. I have to keep telling myself that being at home does not mean I have to be able to do all the jobs at home when “all” I seem to manage some days is childcare. When I worked no one expected me to all the jobs in that company! So if I could afford it I’d hire a cleaner in a heartbeat.

  3. We don’t have kids, but with 5 pets and both having busy jobs i was just getting to the point where every weekend i seem to be playing catch up with the cleaning, then before i know it, it’s monday morning again and i haven’t been able to do anything for ME. So with that in mind we booked in Elaine last week to come out and do a deep clean, followed by a weekly friday clean so that i can come home to a clean house for the weekend and i can’t wait! x

    1. Good job on acknowledging that you needed that time back. And how nice to just wake up on Saturday morning to a clean house?!

  4. I hate cleaning because I’m just really lazy 😂 I love having a clean home but can’t afford a cleaner. I always think that I would love to have one but then I’m not sure how I would really feel about a stranger touching my things. My brother and sister in law recently got a cleaner and she did feel quite strange and almost embarrassed about it because it was something she’d always considered for ‘posh’ people. I think it was absolutely the right choice for them. They have had difficulty finding a good one, though. I think they’ve tried around five. It’s sounded a bit awkward and uncomfortable to me – they’ve found quite odd things like a cleaner who cleaned by spraying all of the living room surfaces with antibacterial spray. I think I’d feel really uncomfortable with being the boss, if you like, and telling them I’m not happy.

    1. I TOTALLY thought having a cleaner was for ‘posh’ people up until recently Jade. Chatting to my pals about it has changed my mind though. It seems so many of us are drowning in the juggle.
      Personally, I’m not that bothered about having someone in the house touching my stuff. But I can totally understand how that would weird people out.
      Agnes so far has been a dream! I think I’d give up hope if I was on cleaner number 5!! 🙈

  5. So funny to read this today as it is my cleaner’s first day!

    I don’t know if I’m unique in this, but before having my daughter I was not that concerned about cleaning/tidying. It got done when it got done (I should confess that I’m not a naturally tidy person but I do love things being clean and tidy!).

    However, since having a baby I’ve found that I worry about cleaning SO much more than I used to. I think it is the fear of not knowing when I’m going to get things done.

    My husband is notoriously tight with the purse strings and took some convincing, but after we tried and failed at his suggestion of “finding two hours a week in the evenings to clean”, we (I) took the plunge and found our new cleaner who starts today!

    Was so therapeutic writing a list of tasks and knowing I’m not going to have to find time to do them!

    1. “the fear of not knowing when I’m going to get things done” is totally a thing post baby Laura!
      Likewise, I do take a bit of pleasure in tidying up before the cleaner comes, knowing that the bath scrubbing and floor mopping are no longer my responsibility!

  6. I am desperate for a cleaner but can’t find one! Have had 2 that have backed out for various reasons, and another couple who haven’t replied to me.
    I just don’t have the time or inclination to clean much, with work and 2 kids and trying to exercise, socialise, do life admin, chill the F out… The list goes on and I am overwhelmed at the moment so have decide to outsource anything I can, even if my husband hates the idea. But I’m finding the search and chasing so frustrating.

    1. Ah no! That does sound super frustrating. I asked around friends for recommendations and got a few. We’ve went with the one our neighbour uses. Mainly because she’s made such a difference to their house. So far so good, could you gather recommendations from anyone you know?

  7. Naomi thanks for another great article. Is it just me but by the time I’ve tidied up after my two toddlers each day I feel like I’ve done more than the OMM half an hour but haven’t actually cleaned any room yet 🙄

    I also feel like I should be able to do it all as our parents never had cleaners. But maybe life wasn’t so busy for them. I don’t have a cleaner but I must admit I’m tempted as so many friends do now

    1. Louise you are not alone my dear. I too am well timed out after the nightly tidy. It was this realisation (and the upcoming craziness) that prompted me to hire Agnes.
      I also feel like we have bigger homes with more ‘stuff’ than when our parents were younger. Also, every family video we have at home features my Mum cleaning. So maybe they managed but were completely frazzled?!

  8. We’ve had a cleaner since before having kids…mostly for our ironing but that quickly turned into 2 hours a week and haven’t looked back since. Apart from a brief period when I though I wouldn’t need one when I was on maternity leave – sounds absolutely ridiculous, right? What on earth made me think I would suddenly enjoy ironing and cleaning after a bit of sleep deprivation. Needles to say I didn’t make the same mistake with maternity leave number two.
    We were quite lucky and still have the same cleaner after nearly 8 years, I’m not great at giving feedback so I just overlook the fact that I need to polish all mirrors after she’s had a go but she’s great with everything else! I think you’ll enjoy not having the pressure of getting everything done and might find yourself upgrading to a weekly clean.

    1. Kat you are my inspiration!! Outsourcing the ironing AND a weekly clean?! My New Years resolution right there. Also laughing at your maternity leave expectations 😂

      1. Likewise. Life is too short for cleaning in my opinion. We just argued over the grotty jobs (cleaning the shower door and toilet). Even before we were married. We had two hours a week in a one bed flat – she cleaned skirting boards and grouting and Jesus it was wonderful. Now I have 3 hours for a 5 bed and she just about gets round. If she has time she’ll do one of the ‘would be nice’ jobs as well as the ‘essentials’ list.

        I honestly think a cleaner is the answer to every marriage otherwise there is just resentment someone is doing more than someone else.

        We’re debating getting a gardener for similar reasons. I want to spend my spare time with the kids and husband not keep the kids occupied whilst he mows the lawn for 4 hours

        1. I should also add we have a deep clean every so often for things like the oven and carpets too. It’s £10 an hour for 5 hours. She dusts behind the radiators FFS. What is not to LOVE?!

          1. Great article. We lived abroad for 10 years & had a cleaner but decided we didn’t need one when we came home but reconsidering that. I miss having a clean house but finding time and having a husband who’ll only clean floors (under duress!) means I’m heading in the direction of a cleaner sooner rather than later!!

        2. Do you have lists for your cleaner Rebecca? Agnes was asking me about the big tasks I wanted done or if I just wanted to leave it up to her to rotate through the things she knew needed done.

          Also, go for the gardener. One of my pals had a ton of garden and gets a gardener in for it. She raves about him all the time.

          1. Yeah we have discussed the regular things…bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms, dusting, cobwebbing. Then the ‘would be nice jobs’ like cleaning out a kitchen cupboard and wiping it down, skirting boards, cleaning the fridge, inside of windows. She rotates these depending on the other jobs.

  9. Really interesting post, Naomi 🙂
    We’ve had the same cleaner since I returned to work after having our eldest, about five years ago. I don’t have any qualms about it at all – we’re busy enough without trying to keep the house clean and the time it frees up is far more valuable than the money spent. Just keeping on top of the basic day-to-day stuff (dishes, laundry, general tidying up, etc.) takes up enough time, without trying to dust, clean floors, and all that jazz.
    One thing that struck me reading your post Naomi was that you seem to see the housework as entirely your responsibility. I’ve enjoyed previous posts of yours which have given me the impression that you’re very conscious about trying to create an equal home with a fair balance… I particularly liked the recent one about encouraging your son to help out around the house and not wanting him to have the idea that you would clean up after him all the time. So it stood out to me that you talk in this post about you (singular) not being able to keep on top of it all and it feeling like your (own) failure. Surely making sure the house is clean is the responsibility of both spouses, along with childcare and general family life admin…
    I’m not trying to be critical – like I said, I enjoy reading your posts, particularly for your conscious approach to family relationships and balance – I’m just interested to know more about your thinking on this.

    1. So interesting that you picked that up from this post Su. I maybe should have been a bit more clear in my language. At the moment, Gavin is working a LOT of hours (and learning a new aspect of his job) and I work part time, so for this season in our lives, we have consciously split the household jobs up in a way that means most of it does fall on my plate. That being said, Gavin rarely comes home from work and sits down, he’s always cleaning up/ironing etc and that’s after a 13 hour shift sometimes.

      So whilst the cleaner is definitely for the benefit of our whole family, it was something I organised to take the bulk of the essential cleaning tasks away from me. I’m all for Ethan chipping in, but I wouldn’t let him scrub the oven let’s say. Although he is still doing his chore sticks every day.

  10. Every now and again I think about getting a cleaner – because let’s be frank I am not a domestic goddess but I do enjoy a clean & tidy house – but everytime I think about it I then get so embarrassed because it is just me and 1 cat AND I work from home 4 days a week – surely the amount of mess/cleaning should be perfectly manageable right? Well in theory yes it absolutely should be – maybe I should try the OMM method or maybe I should just decide that life is too short and get a cleaner – answers on a postcard please 😀

    1. Life is too short, if you can afford one and you think it would bring you some joy – hire a cleaner 😉 You don’t need to be squeezed on time to justify it. There. I just gave you permission Janey. Haha!

  11. I recommend a cleaner all the time. I think they are a lot more common then they used to be.

    I’m very relaxed about the situation, I would rather pay someone to clean my house and my cleaner happily takes my money. They do the basic clean so I’m more likely to do things like the cooker hood and behind the sofa when I feel inspired.

    1. I’ve found that this week Jenny! I gutted our utility room and it’s working so much better for us now. I would never have had the time for that level of organising before.

  12. We got a cleaner last summer because I got really fed up of doing it all – my OH is great but he doesn’t have the same standards and it doesn’t get to him so it was always me nagging/suggesting. He also does it so slowly that it takes up loads of our previous time! We were both travelling a bit with work. I was trying to run 2-3 times a week and I couldn’t do it all. Sadly we just couldn’t hang onto a cleaner for more than a couple of months, we went through two and then I had to tell one not to come back after her first shift because she wasn’t good enough. That was mortifying. I only have a small two bed terrace but I have high Standards! I really miss coming home on Friday to a beautiful house ready for the weekend!

    1. Aw Bunny – keep the faith! Do you know anyone else in your area that has a cleaner they could recommend? I knew ours had been going to our neighbour for over a year so she was reliable.

  13. I had reservations about getting a cleaner, I also felt that getting one would mean admitting failure/defeat on my part that I wasn’t a good enough mother and wife. Now after having one, I don’t care about any of that! It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever spent money on. We have a lady come once a week for 3 hours. We both work on Saturdays and our daughter usually visits Nana during this time. When I come home the house is clean ( I do run around tidying before she comes) and the big jobs (Bathroom, toilets, floors, Kitchen, Windows etc) that I don’t mind doing actually are all done and I can relax. I struggle a lot with anxiety and these things would often go not done for weeks at a time because I couldn’t get my head around how to get it all done. It’s a weight off my shoulders and does a lot for my wellbeing, if it’s been a tough week it’s like a little lift! I’d recommend anyone to go for it, Mums especially. Just ask around for a recommendation and see how it goes x

    1. Kelly that’s such an important point! Tidy space, tidy mind and all that. And if it’s something that improves your mental health, then it’s worth every penny.

  14. I am ALL for a cleaner. Coming from a family where my mother never employed one and both my parents worked full time it didn’t feel right and I found it difficult to justify the cost, but it was absolutely the right thing to do and I would never go back. Life is too short to spend your “spare time” at the weekend cleaning your house instead of either playing with the children or having quality time with your husband. We have had our cleaner since our first was born, and it is so liberating not to feel like you HAVE to clean the bathroom or hoover the bedroom floor. Sure, she only covers the basics so I do of course clean the windows, do a fair bit of tidying, and do the deep clean jobs like the fridge, the ovens etc, but it is so nice only doing those things and feeling like it is your choice to squeeze them in, not a chore as such. Well done on making the decision, Agnes sounds great and I’m sure she will bring some space to your life! It is quite literally life changing getting a cleaner 🙂

  15. I LOVE our cleaner. Anna, if you are reading this, never leave us!

    But seriously, I know it’s not trendy at all, but I hate cleaning. There’s always something more fun to do. I feel like the love for cleaning trend is a bit ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ – no one dares say they hate cleaning in case people thing they’re a lazy slob! Don’t get me wrong, I love things to be clean and tidy, but I’d just rather someone else did it for me!

    We have had our lovely cleaner coming for 2 hours a week for years now and I’d give up most things before I lost her. There’s nothing better than walking into a clean, sparkly house. For reference we have a normal, 3 bedroom new build and pay £30 a week in Yorkshire.

    It totally eases the guilt too – I work almost full time and have a one year old, so I feel guilty for working, and I feel like every second off should be spent doing something lovely with my daughter, not saying ‘just wait whilst Mummy cleans the fridge again’. But then if things are a mess, I feel guilty that my child is being raised in a pig sty! Can’t win! The cleaner at least helps with that side of things!

  16. Can someone share their list of jobs a cleaner would do on a weekly clean and the sort of things they might do during a deep clean? And can deep cleans be done while you’re still living in the house – or does it have to be empty of furniture / clutter / possessions ect?!

    1. Ok so ours would
      (1) clean and wipe kitchen
      (2) clean the bathrooms
      (3) hoover the other rooms
      (4) cobweb
      (5) dust
      (6) make beds (I will strip them in the morning, throw the laundry in the machine and she arrives 2 hours later, hangs it up and makes the bed with the clean linen left out)

      Then, as I said above, if she has free time she might do additional jobs like
      (1) clean the fridge
      (2) clean inside windows
      (3) empty wipe down kitchen cupboards

      She isn’t the best cleaner I’ve had but she’s ok. I think the trick is if she is unreliable or not doing a good enough job, have a word and/or get rid. Easier with an agency cleaner (my friend went through 7 with one agency before finding THE ONE) but still, you’re paying.

  17. And a deep clean can be done when you are living there but it would obviously take longer….maybe an extra £10-20 as you have stuff to clean but we are talking carpets, upholstery cleaning, scrubbing skirting boards, oven clean, steam cleaning your sofa, wiping down the dust from the top of your door frames. It’s MAGIC.

    I’d actually advise a deep clean before you start a normal cleaner off and then she is starting with a clean slate

    1. Thanks I have booked a cleaner for a deep clean before our second baby arrives, I figured it could be a kind of test run to see what she’s like with a view to having her come once a week when we have a newborn, a 3 year old, a sleep deprived wife (me) and a husband who works 3 jobs. Wish us luck!

  18. Loved having a fortnightly cleaner and that lovely clean home feeling, but did get annoyed at the little corners that didn’t get done week in week out and hated the night before scramble to get the house tidy enough for cleaning. Maybe if our nightly tidy was effective enough it wouldn’t have been an issue, but I began to began to dread it so cancelled the cleaner in the end.

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