Part-time Help to the rescue

My part-time cleaner's pretty shoes :)
I have been meaning to write this post for the longest time, given the number of occasions I've described both verbally and via email how I cope with housework. If you are considering hiring a part-time cleaner as we have, as opposed to having live-in help, hopefully some of what I share will be useful!

This is going to be quite a detailed, even boring, post about how I manage domestic chores in my home. Don't read it unless you need to! You've been warned.

First up, the facts:
My part-time cleaner comes in twice a week. I pay her on a weekly basis and she stays between 3.5-4 hours each time. I can honestly do with fewer hours I think, but as we really like her, I'm happy to keep to this arrangement.

Here's how I manage key aspects of housework:

1. Laundry - we have too much of it!
I always make sure that I've laundry hung up to dry the day before my cleaner arrives. On the day she comes, I throw in a load of clothes and turn on the machine. She will then take down the dry clothes to fold/iron and help to hang up the wet ones. She has since learnt to use our machine and is able to help wash a 2nd or even 3rd load of laundry if needed. If I happen to have too much clean laundry on the days she is not around, I'll just chuck them in a chest of drawers she has access to when she arrives. This way, I don't have to fold or iron any of our clothes! As we now trust her, she also puts folded/ironed clothes back into our wardrobe for us too. If you are not comfortable with that, you can simply dedicate a small table and hanging rack to have your clothes placed.

2. Kitchen - the bulk of our grease!
On the day my cleaner arrives (and, dare I say this, sometimes even the night before!), I leave everything in the sink for her to wash. I find it incredibly helpful that she washes up whatever I've used for the day's cooking as well. I will cook when the Bub naps, so my cleaner knows to clean-up only when I am done with the kitchen. Being one of those experienced cooks in her family, she sometimes gives me tips on (and possibly gets appalled by) my cooking! Once, when Bubbles woke up early from her nap and I wasn't done with dinner, she helped me cook my chicken curry! While I still need to do the dishes on the other days, having the help when she comes makes a difference to me!

3. Bathroom - why can't these things self-clean?
My cleaner cleans our bathroom after I'm done bathing the Bubs. I really appreciate this as she will help clean up any artwork mess, and rinse the the bathtub. It literally takes a load off my back for her to do this!

4. Bedding - easiest of the lot
This one is easy. I used to just place a stack of clean sheets on the bed if I want her to help change the sheets. These days, she knows when they are due for changing and would confirm I want a change before helping herself to our clean sheets to do the changing. This is great for me, as remembering when sheets need to be changed is not one of my priorities in the larger scheme of things!

5. The rest of the housework
The rest of the cleaning would be the usual - packing, wiping, vacuuming and mopping. Here, I must state that I am not fussy about how things must be done, and leave it pretty much to her. In fact, she bought some of her own cleaning equipment (we paid her of course) as she said she was more comfortable using those. I'm perfectly fine with whatever helps her do the work better! There are just a few things where I specifically asked to be done with certain regularity. As examples, Bubbles playmat needs to be wiped and flipped over once a week, and my plants watered with each visit. You can decide what you want scheduled and make it known!

There, this is what I recall from the many times I've shared this with fellow mothers :) I'll be happy to hear any other tips anyone else might have too! Let this be a sharing of best practices! =D


Kelvin Ang said...

We are also using part time help and it is great! The only problem we have with her is that she will sometimes disappear with reasons and then appear again.

Do you mind sharing your contact of your helper with me?

I am in need of a more consistent helper around.

Anonymous said...

This arrangement is exactly like mine!
- Michelle

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

Kelvin Ang:
Oh, the disappearing act can be unsettling! My helper only does work for areas in her home. I'll email you!

Cool! Glad it works out well for you too :) I feel blessed to have this option!

Pebbles said...

Me! Am looking for 1 too! Wonder if you can share the contact? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

i need help for my hsehold chores too. pls email your p/t maid contact to me. thanks lots

Anonymous said...

oops, my email thank u

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

Pebbles & Anon:
Oops, I'm sorry I gave the impression that I'm recommending my cleaner! Meant to share how I handle household chores with part-time help instead. Mine actually has a pretty full schedule (including part-time work at a foodcourt and daily cleaning at her main customer's house) and is unlikely able to take in more work! However if you live in the West of Singapore where she stays I can help ask her. Email me at! :)

Kelvin Ang said...

Sorry! I probably started the whole ball rolling.


lynklee said...

I really love having PT help too. J and I still do most of our laundry on weekends but it's so nice having some help with none of the hassle!

lilsnooze said...

LOL at "sharing of best practices"! ;)

June said...

My part-time cleaner wears crocs too! :D haha LOL sorry this is totally random but anyway...

We just started to hire one, as our previous helper was seconded somewhere else...I must say it's such a blessing to have someone that you can trust and who bothers to remember all the little details. :)

Emily said...

Hi Corsage,
You have a fantastic schedule! I'm glad that you've found a reliable helper, it's not easy really..

Can I ask if she is from PT maid agency?? If yes, can you recommend the agency to me? There are so many out there, not sure which is really good. Thanks!

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

No worries about it! I might have done the same during those days when I was looking for help :)

The help does make a difference indeed! For me, a big one!

Haha, a lot of household management and parenting stuff are best learnt through that sort of sharing ;)

LOL! I really like her Crocs! Too bad their shoes don't fit me. I might try their sandals one of these days. And yes, it is a real blessing to have help you can trust!

Unfortunately no :( She was recommended to me by a neighbour. Sadly she has stopped working for my neighbour too as she has taken on a part-time job at a food court to help out a brother. I had quite a hard time sourcing for one as PT helpers are really in demand these days. Ask around for contacts but if you can't just try out an agency! At the end of the day it is the person, if you can get along then that's good! In the past, before baby, I had one of those cleaning agencies clean our house once a week. 3 people came in for just 1 hour each time. That was pretty good too but I prefer the flexibility of working directly with a cleaner.

mc said...

that's a great routine. i can definitely get some tips with managing my house cleaning. thanks :)