There are so many ways in which we find ourselves needing help with mundane life tasks – take shopping, laundering and cleaning as three tedious but absolutely essential parts of our weeky programme. The first one, shopping, can of course be dealt with online with the goods being shipped directly to our door and that has been so successful that many High Streets are now redundant – but that’s another matter. The laundry is another item that needs care and time spent organising. When an older person, or someone who has had illness can’t manage these every day jobs, it becomes necessary to hire a carer or someone who can live in to help or stop by regularly. They usualy do the personal care but not always the domestic household jobs. Arranging for a cleaning company to quote is daunting for many older people and that stubborn ‘I can manage!’ is often yelled at the person trying to help. Some really modern and progressive cleaning agencies now undertake assisting with washing – perhaps loading the machine before they start their cleaning routine and hanging up the clean stuff to dry before leaving.
Dealing with seriously old folk can be difficult at the best of times but when they lose some of their faculties it becomes a nightmare. I’m thinking here of the problems arising when they can’t do the cleaning properly. My friend tested her old dad by purposely putting a blob of toothpasteon his brush and a steradent tablet in the empty denture cleaning glass. A couple of days later both were still in position. So the most difficult of conversations had to begin. After tears, tantrums and shouting from both sides, another approach was needed. Dad wasn’t having any care teams coming in etc. Rather brutally but effectively, my pal arranged for a cleaning contractor to quote for reguar visits. Dad was sent away for a couple of days to the other daughter and in came a hit squad to blitz the house, concentrating on kitchen, bathrooms and main bedroom. They were asked to try and replace as much as possible in same positions after cleaning so it didn’t hurt Dad’s feelings . He did notice but after many sulks, realised how lovely it is to have a professional cleaner do the grotty monotenous task. So now has a weekly cleaner and more visits from his daughters – he’s talking of having carers in after Christmas, like the nice neighbour he met whilst staying at his daughter!
We all like to feel that our offices are presentable to the everyday visitor. In the old days we used to have a cleaning company come out to our offices and we’d have to make sure our workstation was accessible to the battle axe of a Mrs Mop. Not for us the bright, cheery, chatterbox often portrayed in the old Ealing comedies at the pictures. Oh no, our one was purposeful. One area that the poor old office cleaner can never get right is desk dusting . . . . . when you see the mess and they have to work around, I’m amazed any of them stay in the job. I worked for ages with a chap who was the world’s worst nightmare from an organisation point of view. His desk was piled high with working files – lever arch were everywhere, on the spare chairs, all over any work tation and his ashtrays were littered all over the shop. as were the plastic half drunk cups of coffee out of the super whiz coffee machine. If any of us tried to give a hand we got shouted out – incredibly he knew where asolutely everything was, even 7 layers deep. . . . . . . Our Mrs Mop gave that empire a steadily widening berth at every opportunity!
When you look around a room, you tend to just see what you like to see. The grotty grubby corners don’t stand out; the dust collecting over the stand under the tv; the tide marks around the edge of pale coloured furniture and furnishings where the vacuuming has been effected very quick but selectively. That’s just the lounge and bedrooms. When you get to the bathrooms and kitchen, and really look over the cabinets and fixtures. . . The state of them becomes obvious when a big family event is sheduled or someone is coming to stay. The need to get the house really clean and tidy then becomes a much bigger task than we first think. If this all makes you feel daunted and unable to cope, do not panic. There are now fantastic companies who will come in and do a total clean through – they arrange for the curtains and window blinds to be thoroughly cleaned too, or even skip hire. Not just carpets, which will be beautifully refreshed and as near new as possible. It’s so worthwhile paying for this level of cleanliness.
End of tenancy agreements mean that tenants who are moving out of a property have to agree to get the place truly clean and sparkling for the next tenant to be able to move into without delay. The only way to ensure that the deposit is paid back and any security bond is to engage the services of a professional cleanig company that are truly exerienced in the whys and wherefors of doing a complete clean This will include absolutely everything from taking down curtains and blinds to clean around the window frames; cleaning the carpets and flooring. A critical point often overlooked is the oven cleaning – an agency will do deep cleaning including the exractor fan, fridge, freezer and the dishwasher. Any tenant trying to cut costs by attempting all these themselves is sure to be disappointed with they don’t get their deposit back – lettings agents are notoriously fussy and hard to please so get the professionals in from the word go!
When you’ve lived in a house for many years, and alone for much of those, it can be easy to assume the house is clean and problem free. How wrong this can be . . . it’s eactly because you use the same rooms day in, day out and only do a weekly vacuum around that grubbiness can build up and just become an unseen matter. This kind of thing is often noticed when families are rushing about trying to get ready for a family gathering or maybe a special pal is coming to stay for a while. That’s when you suddenly notice the dirt collected up along the skirting boards and around the front door. Then you start looking more closely and see mucky stuff behing all the furniture and along the edge of the carpets and window frames. The way forward is to engage a professional cleaning company to come in and really give it all a good going over.
Just looking at the wonderfully happy crowds at the Embankment in London on tv just now reminded me of a special event earlier this year, when I had the largest crowd in this house that it’s ever held. It out did the daughter’s 18th birthday party, and that was lively! We did the clearn up for that ourselves. Both before – with thorough vacuuming of all the carpeted areas and then much kneeling down with small washing up bowl with carpet cleaning suds and a scrubbing brush. Wow that was tiring. It was also fairly successful. Enough for no one to think they couldn’t sit on the floor anyway. But after the party – my word did we learn the lesson for life. We engaged a professional carpet and house cleaning agency – they were absolutely wonderful. My house looked incredible and smelt so fresh and inviting – I very nearly had another party. But stopped in time!
When you live on your own, or with someone staying over only on a rare occasion, it can be very easy to slip into the same old habits. If the carpet or floors don’t feel sticky, then they’re clean. I tend to leave things now until I’m pretty sure a visitation is imminent. That is not the way a clean house should be cared for and I jolly well know it. When I do need to have the place sparkling and welcoming, I do then make a real effort. I do some heavy duty vacuuming – not only the carpet areas, but around the skirting boards and behind the suite and cabinets. This autumn though I needed more than my efforts could achieve. I’d had some dogs staying for a summer break, and the regular vac hadn’t removed enough of the muddy remnants. I got in a brilliant cleaning company who very quickly and obligingly refreshed my carpets and saw to the skirting too. It looked fantastic and smelt even better.
I know someone who has the most immaculate house. It’s not large, that helps of course, but she and her partner have kept their pocessions to a minimum. It’s not stark and bare, but it is tidy and the only things around are quality. Not for her the cheap and cheerful cushions or the ornaments littering the mantle. They have very nice tastes and won’t buy or display anything that doesn’t exactly suit the place. They are also very clean and tidy cooks. They work well together, preparing the meal they share the cleaning up and putting away of every item used. They constantly wash down the surfaces, sweep the floor, empty the rubbish out. Their guest suite is small but so perfectly formed – it is a delight to use the bathroom – divinely clean and sweet smelling. Since my last visit there, I have started being cleaner and tidier. Hurrah we all say!
Some of the things we do in our day to day lives are ones that we just happen to learn needed doing when we were knee high to local grasshoppers. We should all have learnt to shake the cover and make the bed neatly beore stomping downstais for breakfast. We should also be aware when stuff gets spilt on the floor and hasn’t yet been mopped up, a tiny spot of something greasy on a stone floor can be absolutely disasterous. When our parents get too old to effectively clean up their bathrooms and kitchens, it can be hard talking to them about these jobs. They’re always proudly convinced they don’t need any help or advice. A local cleaning agency can provide the answer – they not only send regular staff, they bring their own mateirals and equipment as part of the price and there’s added peace of mind that the house is back to more sanitary considition!