Who hates cleaning?

I hate cleaning. There. I said it. I know I’m not alone, but for some reason it feels like I’m some kind of failure to admit it out loud. I hated cleaning my room as a kid (it’s just going to get messy again); I find making the bed entirely pointless, although a quick flick of the doona is hardly going to eat into my “me-time”; and anything that requires a spray or a mop or a scrub or a vacuum…. bitch, please!

I remember a good friend once giving me a “how to clean efficiently” book written by some cleaning aficionado or another – I think the gift was meant ironically – but it proved to be quite inspiring and so I thought I would condense what I learned into some handy hints:

1. The first thing you need to do is organise your space into zones. This might be kitchen and bathroom(s), bedrooms, living spaces.

2. The next step is to hire a cleaner – and it must be someone who knows the relevance of those bottles under the sink.

Sometimes we’re faced with particularly challenging cleaning jobs, and here too I have some fast solutions:

  • For red wine stains on the carpet, place post-it notes on the offending spots so they’re easily identified by the cleaner.
  • To remove dust, dirt and grit from the screen door tracks, let the cleaner know they are filthy (the tracks, not the cleaner!).
  • For a gleaming oven, leave a note for the cleaner, specifying the requisite level of gleam.
  • To ensure your bathroom sparkles, buy your cleaner the appropriate sparkle-making substances.
  • For everything else, vinegar and bicarb soda or maybe it’s cream of tartar. I don’t know …. your cleaner will find them in the cupboard (just don’t let them near the caramelised balsamic).

You get the drift.

cleaning meme

But seriously, I used to feel guilty hiring a cleaner, particularly when I was suddenly single (shout out to Brooke Shields!). It seemed like the ultimate indulgence and a fundamental character flaw that I couldn’t manage to keep an apartment tidy when there was only me creating the mess.

I didn’t, however, feel like I could ask my cleaner to stop coming because she was a single mum with a couple of kids, and a few informal jobs like this a week might have meant the difference between paying her bills and not. So she stayed for the next ten years, and when I moved to Ireland, I wondered whether it would be cost effective to bring her with me. ‘Twas not.

Just recently I’ve gone through the trauma of having a fabulous cleaner abandon me. I’ll never understand the youth of today when a 20-something woman prefers to chuck in the insecurity of casual work that requires her to traipse all over Dublin in favour of a full-time medical receptionist position. I mean, seriously, Gen Y, do you think of no-one but yourselves?

So, I considered taking on the responsibility. I mean, I like a challenge. I’m actually quite organised … okay, so even I couldn’t keep up the pretence for more than about 16 seconds. The challenge of moving on without domestic support, nevertheless, led me to reflect on why I’ve been reliant on a cleaner for most of my adult life. It essentially boils down to the fact that I would prefer to spend evenings and weekends with my family (or writing blogs for the Cartel), and not have to lose precious time to cleaning, nagging others to clean or, more likely, being nagged to clean myself!

My biggest fear is something like this happening to me:

For that, I am prepared to forgo the odd luxury or meal out in order to outsource my chores. Indeed, there is no greater luxury than coming home to a perfectly clean and tidy house on a Friday afternoon – just in time for the child to destroy it ten minutes later.

What chores or responsibilities would you like to outsource? If you could hire one person to help around the home, what jobs would you gladly hand over?

P.S. I found a new cleaner within the week. Phew!

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • I actually have a cleaner who comes once a fortnight but thinking I might have to let them go because of cost, it’s only $75 for three hours but things are getting tight. And I clean up so much anyhow with children who basically throws crumbs at the ground during every meal and then stomp on them. But I do enjoy not having to mop floor, bathrooms, dusting etc. I’M TORN. The only thing I could give up is plonk and really that isn’t a point worth discussing!

    • Ooh, that’s a tough one, Emily. Plonk, cleaner, cleaner, plonk. Hard to weigh up the pros and cons that that dilemma. Good luck with that one!

    • Darling Tara, it’s a no brainer. With enough plonk you neither notice nor care about the cleanliness of the house. Or the kids. We have kids?

      But Emily, times are a bit tough here too so I have pared my cleaner back to once a month until Champagne Cartel takes off and makes me millions (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!). I do the day to day sweeping of the incessant crumbs (oh yes, here too) and when the cleaners come they do those hideous things like mop, clean the splashback behind the stove, de-kid the bath, etc.

      Also a bright moment on the weekend: Miss 9 realised she loves cleaning the bathroom and the mirrors and has begged to be allowed to do it every weekend. Okay, kid. Master 3 loves vacuuming but his technique leaves a great deal to be desired (I have loads of perfectly round ‘love bites’ on my pasty thighs, and the cats don’t return until evening).

  • i hate cleaning – well i don’t mind vacuuming for some reason but i hate what em mentioned – mopping, dusting and bathrooms (well my shower to be specific – oh and the floors lol) so basically i am your go to girl for toilets, vacuuming and throwing laundry in the machine lol

  • I am so with you on no cleaning – I would rather eat my own arm than clean !!!! Having grown up with a maid once a week, we were never really expected to clean when I was growing up. Then I got married and I had a maid once a week until K was born and we got a full time maid/nany who looked after her.
    Moving to Australia meant that we no longer had a maid – full time or once a week even !!! We had to do the cleaning ourselves – our most hated time of the week was Saturday morning before we did anything else.
    The three of us pitched in and it normally got done in a few hours.
    When we have been financially OK, I have had a cleaner for 3 hrs a fort-night – and having no little children around the house meant that this was normally sufficient to keep our house reasonably clean.
    But we too have the problem of cleaners finding other jobs or one of us being made redundant so cleaning once again goes onto our list of chores to do !!!
    Our latest cleaner was fantastic but she recently bought a half share in a cafe so is now working there !!! She passed our details onto a couple who have started a cleaning business – they come on Friday for the first time so I am hoping they are good enough to stay !!!
    Have the best day and take care !

  • I don’t like cleaning, unfortunately I decided to be with a man who hates it more than me. Throw in 2 cats that moult all day, birds that flick feathers and seed everywhere and a baby and I’m kind of screwed. I still refuse to make my bed though because seriously what is the point. I wouldn’t be able to have a cleaner though. I’d be too embarrassed I would want to clean before they came.

  • I actually don’t mind cleaning its the putting away clothes and toys etc that I don’t do!! I was thinking of treating myself to a cleaner once a month!!

  • I despise cleaning. There is no question.

    I would hand it all over to someone else if I could. But alas I can’t afford a cleaner, so I have to do it myself.

    Although, I think I would have to put the washing away after someone folded it… because there is a certain way I like my linen cupboard. I fold it a specific way so they fit neat and tidy… and in order lol

    MC #teamIBOT

  • I’ve warmed up to this idea on and off over the last decade but not taken the critical step of engaging a cleaner because I can’t help but feel like I’d spend as much or more time cleaning in preparation for the cleaner to come, than if I just bloody did it myself. Maybe this screams more of how much of a clutterer I am, but I’d have to spend hours picking up things from surfaces to enable easy cleaning. Or do cleaners stack and sort too? 🙂

  • A couple of comments have noted the quandary of needing to clean before the cleaner comes. I too suffer from this BUT I have reached an enlightened state that recognises that “tidying” and “cleaning” are two materially different enterprises. I hate tidying too, as it happens, but I would also hate for a relative stranger to think I live in one a place worthy of a TV show where obsessive clean freaks denude me of my worldly clutter, so I drag my sorry arse around the house picking up toys, clothes and other bits so that the cleaner only has to clean. It takes but a modicum of effort so that I can enjoy the smug feeling I am contributing to my own household. I don’t have the cleaner fold clothes – the husband has to do SOMETHING, for goodness sakes – and the child has learned that any toys left on the ground are liable to disappear into the vacuum. Cost is certainly an issue, but you might be pleasantly surprised if you go with someone local and independent, rather than a contractor.

    Since writing the blog I’ve thought of other aspects of my life I’d like to outsource, and I think after a cleaner popping in for an hour each morning after we leave, I’d love either a cook to prepare the evening meal or a hairdresser to make me look fab each morning.

  • I agree that cleaning and tidying are completely different things, and Iactually like the fact that the cleaner (who comes once a month) FORCES us to tidy up – I don’t want to waste cleaning time / money on him tidying, and it is a great motivation for my husband, the kids and I to make sure thing are put away (and for them, so they can find them!) I do like coming home to a well cleaned house – makes the in between cleaning efforts more manageable

  • I have had cleaners off & on over the last few years. Currently in “on” mode. None of us will actually do housework, so if we don’t have one the house quickly degenerates. A friend once told me that she was “overqualified” to do housework. I thought that was genius & have been using that line ever since.

  • Tara, you have inspired me to look into this. I’m sure I would be less of a cranky bitch if my house was cleaned by someone other than me at least once a fortnight. I did have a cleaner once, a friend who was a single mum, and loved that because I knew I could trust her and even if she poked around in my things there was nothing she could find that she didn’t already know.
    The other thing I would love is a gardener. We have been renovating forever, so the garden has been something of an afterthought. Currently looking a bit like a jungle, got knows what is breeding in the undergrowth of our backyard.

  • My mum used to clean for the cleaner, I tell my hubby I never learnt how to clean properly because my Virgo mum liked it a certain way and I was more then happy to leave it to her – sorry Mum! Mind you, he is welcome to clean also – the assumption that just because I have tits I’m a cleaning machine drives me insane! I’m a wife and a mum not a SLAVE! argh..rant over, can you tell this is a touchy subject?

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