My husband and I have lived without a maid often, mostly because I would rather that, than have a maid who works badly. And because when I have a good maid, I happily give her long leave whenever she needs it. I’d rather have one person work for me permanently, than keep switching maids each year.
The times without a maid have always been a struggle for me, until recently. We made a lot of changes at home, and I re-organised my workflow, trying different ways, until I found something that works.
So, here’s 8 tips to help you live comfortably without a maid
Tip 1 : Clean As You Use
This means that each member of the family cleans as they work, rather than leaving it for later. Indian families used to having a maid around constantly often neglect to do this.
- Bathrooms. The last to use is the last to clean. Clean the commode, wipe down wash basins, doors or partitions and the outside of the commode. And keep the bathroom floor dry with a squidgy. Less moisture in the bathroom means less grime and less scrubbing.
- Pick up what you drop instantly. Don’t leave it to be done later, as this creates a pile to to-dos that will never get done.
- Wipe up spills instantly. This leaves the home cleaner and is especially important in the kitchen. It certainly makes for happier cooking.
- Put things away as they arrive. Shopping, bills, papers and anything else that enters the home.
- Deal with hair fall instantly. Hair on the floor clogs up robot vacuum cleaners, and makes mopping time consuming. The solution is brush, don’t comb as a brush holds on to falling hair and can be cleaned immediately after use, so that hair stays in the dust-bin and not on the floor.
Tip 2 : Tidy Together After Dinner
After dinner is a nice time to put things away. Have every member of the family take care of different tasks, so that all are busy with tidying and organising for the next day, at the same time.
- Clear the dining table.
- Wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen.
- Put away things that are left lying around.
- Get kids organising their books, clothes and hobby stuff left lying around.
Doing this all together helps create a routine. With those who are happy to tidy helping those who aren’t by doing tasks jointly, until it becomes a comfortable routine that everyone falls into with habit.
Tip 3 : Clean Outside Means Less Dust In
Dusty balconies, grills and netting bring more dust into the home. Cleaning them daily makes cleaning easy and is less time in total, than a once a week cleaning. It means less dust within the home. And a clean open space to sit in on days you can’t go out.
- Daily Cleaning : Mop the balcony floor and any places that get pigeon dirt on them, as this is really bad for allergies and health in general.
- Cleaning in rotation : Divide all the other balcony cleaning including mosquito/pigoen netting cleaning you need to do so that every area gets done once over the course of one week.
- Clean on weekdays only : Give yourself a weekend break from cleaning.
Tip 4 : Set Aside A Time-Slot To Minimise & Organise – Daily
Our lives change over time, and things we once needed often lie around unused. It’s amazing how much we have that we don’t need. Living minimal creates space and light in a home, and helps us find the things we actually need for our daily living.
Do this daily. I promise you, it will reduce your cleaning, and change your life.
Tip 5 : Shop For Clothing Wisely And Iron Less
- Natural fibre is surprisingly easy to iron and quick to dry even during the monsoon. Go for mul, linen and loosely woven khadi. If you’re not sure, ask a friend who is good at judging fabrics.
- Buy less, and go for better quality fabrics that are easier to maintain.
- Avoid sequins and things that will rip in a machine wash.
- Read washing instructions carefully before you buy.
- Anything that needs dry cleaning adds one more thing to do.
Ironing : Keep your ironing board ready for use always if you have the space. Or, set a routine for ironing – either daly or weekly, when everyone does their own ironing. Let the last one to iron put it away.
Tip 6 : Form Good Habits When You Have A Maid
Use the time when you have a maid well.
This is the time for the one who cooks and cleans to get a little rest, and time to plan and organise. This is the time to plan for times when the maid on leave.
- Spend time on minimising stuff at home.
- And on learning what you need to do to make sure ALL members of your family do their bit.
Let everyone learn habits that will help YOU when your maid is on leave. Remember that your family is YOUR support system for when you need rest. Look at this like a routine fire drill, so that everyone know what to do and what their role is, when you are in need.
Tip 7 : Cook Simple And Cook Big Quantities For A Break
Remember that simple cooking is good for everyone’s health.
- Cook the same for everyone, and giving a different family member a day in rotation, when you cook their favourite dish. It’s good for family to learn to eat everything, and not be too fussy.
- If you have to cook separate for food allergies or health, consider a basic menu that suits all, with one extra dish for those who can eat everything.
- Cook with less salt, spice and oil for those who need it, with salt, ghee and a spicy pickle on the side, for those who need more.
- Cook bigger quantities once a week, so that it lasts for a couple of days, and you get a break from daily cooking.
Remember, the world will not end if food is not freshly cooked. Food from the fridge is certainly healthier than food ordered from a restaurant.
Tip 8 : Create Routines
Running a home for happiness means setting discipline and routines so that there’s togetherness, and at the same time everyone gets space to just BE, on their own.
For example, set a routine for meals and chai.
- Have a place to eat – whether it’s at a dining table or at an area on the floor which is the designated dining area. Eating in one place makes cleaning a lot easier.
- Set fixed meal and chai times when you all sit down together. This gives the family a time for togetherness – eating together, and tidying up together.
Fixed routines don’t always work for all, and that’s ok as long as they fulfil their purpose, which is, to create a structure that works for most and minimizes work. Expect some resistance if you try creating a routine where there’s none, and don’t give up.
I invite you to The Relaxed Housekeeping Challenge – a step-wise guide to organizing housework and cooking. It is a set of ideas that you can use as a base, to create your own relaxed housekeeping routines.
Related post: How to be a relaxed housekeeper
Happy housekeeping, blessings and happiness while you live Covid19 safe without help at home. Let’s support our maids by paying them their full salary during this time, so they too can afford to stay home safe.