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Old 11-04-2015, 08:13 AM   #21
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We ended up finding enough friends in the neighborhood to provide her full time work and helped all of them set up the proper SS payments. DW and I also set up and funded ($100/mth) a Vanguard lifecycle account for her. Over the years, she developed pretty bad arthritis and is retiring at the end of this month. She is 62 so will go on early SS while she pursues disability.
You guys are rare. One of the reasons I hesitate to hire private parties (as opposed to workers from a cleaning franchise) is that so many want to work "off the books". Your cleaning lady would be up a creek if she'd done it that way.

To answer the OP: I had one when I was right out of college. I was studying for actuarial exams and a friend down the hall in my apartment building cleaned mine. It was great. I also had one when I was married to my Ex- he was a neat freak and I was working for a living, so I just figured it was worth it to keep the peace. Off the books, I'm sorry to say. They all started out OK but ended up getting less thorough- as DH put it, they vacuumed the center of the room.

I haven't had one since- our last house was huge and DH was supposed to be in charge of cleaning (I was working FT, he was retired) but he didn't do a great job. I was too cheap to hire it out. We hired professional cleaners when we put the house on the market and I swear they spent most of their time vacuuming the carpets even though some of the carpet was brand new and the rest had just been professionally cleaned. They missed spots on the walls and they skipped the (dark, dusty, spider-webbed) basement storage area completely. That was $450.

Our new house is a more manageable size. It takes me about 4 hours a week to keep it clean. I start at the top and brush away cobwebs and dust in the vents, work my way down to the surfaces, clean the baseboards with Fantastik, and then vacuum. One room at a time. I move furniture. I finally live in a clean house.

My 85-year old mother finally got a cleaning lady. Maybe I'll do that when I'm her age.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:25 AM   #22
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We used a cleaning service every other week for several years after I retired at a cost of $100 per visit. After awhile it seemed as if the quality of the service declined, and didn't improve even after I mentioned my concerns. So we stopped the service and I have been cleaning the house every week.

I am much happier....with the environment, with the money saved, and with the exercise.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:36 AM   #23
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As a cost cutting measure we dismissed our cleaning person in January. I'm thinking about having our house done once a month, if only to force us to declutter better. Unfortunately, the woman we loved and trusted left the company, so we will have to start all over.

With a SWR of under 3%, it is looking more and more like something worth doing.


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Old 11-04-2015, 08:49 AM   #24
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I haven't used a cleaning service, but I see no problem at all in justifying the cost. Would I clean houses for somebody else for not much more than minimum wage? No. With my four advanced degrees I could hopefully make more money doing other things if I want to work, and frankly my skills are not in housecleaning. So why should I clean my own house to save the same low wage? I can afford a housecleaner if I wanted one. Case closed, cleaning service justified, IMO.

The reason I haven't used a cleaning service is not the cost, at all; it's that I don't feel comfortable having my space invaded by house cleaners. Hard to explain, and totally irrational I'm sure, but the idea just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Get a house cleaner! You can always change your mind later on.
I wouldnt say that fear is irrational at all. When I was working undercover I came across an identity theft ring and got close to one of the women in the ring. She worked for a maid service and several of the maids were stealing customers identities by going thru their personal papers, stealing mail from inside the house, writing down credit card info, etc...while cleaning.

They could've easily also been casing houses to burglarize them later or worse, rob the residents later. Luckily these people weren't violent.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:55 AM   #25
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We did it for years when we had kids at home. Even with me as SAHD, we had too much going on and it forced kids to get their spaces ready each week for the cleaners.... :-) As empty nesters, even though it was only $125 every other week for a service to do most of a fairly big house, we have gone back to doing it ourselves. Figured that we'd rather spend that money on a nice meal out. More a matter of stubborn principle than a reasoned outcome though. :-)

In your situation, I'd go for it as a very affordable luxury. Particularly given the point made by HaHa.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:02 AM   #26
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I have had the same person clean our house the last 7 years. Best money spent. DH & I both work full time +, so it is well worth the $80 bi-weekly for our 2400 sq ft home. Never had any issues with theft. Love coming home to a clean house! And it also motivates us to keep it kept up before and after she leaves.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:04 AM   #27
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I wouldnt say that fear is irrational at all. When I was working undercover I came across an identity theft ring and got close to one of the women in the ring. She worked for a maid service and several of the maids were stealing customers identities by going thru their personal papers, stealing mail from inside the house, writing down credit card info, etc...while cleaning.

They could've easily also been casing houses to burglarize them later or worse, rob the residents later. Luckily these people weren't violent.
Good point! I wouldn't want to invite identity theft, burglary, or robbery.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:11 AM   #28
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Put me down in the the "waste of money" camp.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:26 AM   #29
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I thought I might get a face punch if I admitted we have a cleaning lady every two weeks.

I also do not particularly enjoy someone else in my house but for me I find it's four hours of stress every two weeks in exchange for living in peaceful order the rest of the two weeks. Cleaning was something I made into "my" job vs DH's (as he would always have chosen to pay someone else to do it), and he pretty much fired me. It is her job now and she does it well, is very pleasant, and actually just arrived! We don't spend time chatting as she wants to get right to work. We always have everything organized and stowed/decluttered before she comes--I have seen my friend's cleaning service start by washing dirty dishes in the sink, folding laundry, etc., and these are not the things I want help with.

I do look at the annual cost but it doesn't have an impact on the rest of our spending. If it did DH would just have to unfire me.

Unlike DD's nanny, who works exclusively for her and for whom DD pays all taxes, I think cleaning ladies like ours who work for several employers are considered independent contractors and are responsible for their own self-employment taxes, etc., so I don't think that is an issue (at least when I was an independent contractor my clients didn't worry about my taxes).
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:28 AM   #30
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I've used services in the past without any problem. It's nice because it forces you to tidy everything away before they come, so the house looks cleaner. Currently we have a dog with "issues", so it's easier to do the cleaning myself. My house is clean, but without the extra push, it's still cluttered. I tend to slide everything to one side, clean under it, and then slide it back. Currently, I'm in the habit of doing a small amount of cleaning every day. Preventative maintenance works better for me than scheduling a big block of time.

What I don't understand is why, if I prefer reading electronically, a trail of papers and books seems to follow me everywhere?
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:28 AM   #31
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After awhile it seemed as if the quality of the service declined.
The same thing happened to me. I had two different people and happened to them both. I only tried the cleaning services for one year. (about 10 years ago every other week for $75). I concluded that it wasn't worth the money, although I do hate cleaning.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:58 AM   #32
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We have weekly service and pay $20. With the addition of our new baby we are going to get a live in at the beginning of the year and will be paying around $300 a month plus room and board.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:59 AM   #33
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Count me in the "relieved to find out we aren't the only ones here who have a cleaning service" camp. We started an every-other-week service when kiddo number 2 arrived and we were both working full-time. Have kept it up as I dislike cleaning (especially dusting floor mopping) and I already don't have time to do all the things I want to do. Over the years we tried individuals, local services, and franchises of national brand services and have stuck with the latter even though they are the priciest. We did have theft issues with local services and didn't want to get into the SS business for individuals.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:19 AM   #34
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Use cleaning service at two of our homes and private individuals at the other two. Well worth it as we hate cleaning house. Couldn't do it with so many places in any event. They do a great job, very reliable and trustworthy. Cost about $20 per hour. Cleaning services cost more as they are employed by our property managers who make most of their revenue this way.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:29 AM   #35
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We've been using the same cleaning woman's family for many years. When DW and I were both w*rking, I loved paying for a cleaning woman in lieu of several hours of my leisure time on Saturday (not to mention it was a chore I despised).
When I ER'd, no surprise I still love my free time. There are a gazillion other things I'd rather do than clean the house, including....doing nothing. I'm only too happy to keep paying for this.
It does help that I have full trust in my cleaning people's honesty.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:44 AM   #36
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I used to have a maid (Marie) once a week when I worked and was raising children. She was like a member of the family. She came at 7:30ish and left around 4:00, $60/day, did laundry, ironed my daughters stuff and my husbands shirts. Loved her!

About 10 years ago, Marie was diagnosed with cancer and did not make it. I have not been able to replace her. First, thinking there was no way I would find anyone like her and second, because I have a lot of sensitive information in my home and didn't trust others. I then stopped working and have since cleaned my house myself.

Although lately I have been wondering about getting someone twice a month. I still can not justify the costs (got a quote for over $150 , 3,400 SF home) since I have hours that I can do it. Also because with a dog and a cat, I have to vacuum every other day anyway. I just don't do the upstairs that often since the kids are gone now. The downstairs, which is where the master bedroom is located, is very manageable. .
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:59 AM   #37
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About 6 months after moving into a 2-story 2900 s.f home, DH and I hired a housecleaner for every other week cleanings. It made us declutter and organize our belongings regularly before her visits so that she could clean more easily. It also meant the upstairs was no longer neglected. The dust level was noticeably improved. It was worth it.

Now that we live in a one-story 2900 s.f. home, we have been doing the cleaning ourselves. It has been manageable, but the clutter starts to build up now.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:52 PM   #38
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Same cleaning lady for many years. Now every two weeks. When DW was going through cancer treatment we had the cleaning lady come weekly and paid SS tax for a couple years. Now every two weeks we work with cash. Justifing it is easy, keeps us out of divorce court
And it gets crazy the day before cleaning when DW and I running around getting things organized before the cleaning lady. Hey, aren't THEY supposed to clean? But it does keep the house nice for longet periods of time.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:09 PM   #39
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Some may not know that NYEXPAT lives in Lima, Peru. ;-)

DW has a cleaning lady in every 2 weeks at $60 a visit. An older divorced lady with this as her sole source of income. Found by personal reference. Consistent, reliable and honest.

We can afford it but I would just as soon do the job myself. Still, it keeps peace in the house.

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Old 11-04-2015, 01:36 PM   #40
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Some may not know that NYEXPAT lives in Lima, Peru. ;-)

DW has a cleaning lady in every 2 weeks at $60 a visit. An older divorced lady with this as her sole source of income. Found by personal reference. Consistent, reliable and honest.

We can afford it but I would just as soon do the job myself. Still, it keeps peace in the house.

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Not sure I would do the job myself but the peace part I understand. Two lady cleaning service every other week.

heh heh heh - Plus the house came with the new Wife. Since I was a cheap SOB all those decades leading to ER I figure it's Karma or something. And you can't take it with you or so I've been told.
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