One year without a maid

2:39 PM

A little teamwork, good cleaning tools and a good solid routine is all you need to keep your home clean without a maid in India
April is a month of special anniversaries for us. It's extra special because I am celebrating not one but THREE special milestones this year:

1) We are celebrating one year of living in this flat
2) I am celebrating one year of selling my artwork on Society6
3) We have been without a maid for a year

And this is that las achievement I want to blog about today as my post "How we manage without a maid" is gaining popularity.

As you may or may not know, hubby and I decided to spare ourselves the drama, never ending excuses and constant arguing maids bring with them these days. We got fed up in our last flat, and decided to give this whole no maid gig a try.
A year later the experiment is still holding and we don't even want to go back to that. We stuck to just having a cook, and we do the housework ourselves.

When we started it, we split the chores between ourselves and everybody, including Ishita was doing their bit.
I tackled the floor on a daily basis, hubby would do the big batch of dishes, and Ishita was responsible for keeping her room clean, and make sure her toys and stuff stayed out of the living room.
We would all tackle the heavy cleaning all together, giving the balcony and bathroom a deeper cleaning on weekends, and pulled the furnitures away from the walls in one room every month or so.

We made only one change

If you recall my blog post from back in the days I was mentioning it would not hurt to get a dishwasher because that was the most time consuming chore. 

And this is exactly what we did last month. 

After 11 months of washing piles and piles of dishes and hating it, we struck on an amazing bargain getting a second hand dishwasher. 
Before you judge, know that we were hand washing the dishes the RIGHT way before that. This meant filling a plastic tub with hot water (that we would boil on the stove) and that it ended consuming about 45 minutes per load (and we did two of them a day).

Hubby also got a change of timings and schedule at work over the months and it became harder and harder for him to keep up and do his share of the house chores, which meant the responsibility and whole load often fell on me, getting me stuck in domestic affairs and away from my creative work for hours. 
A few months ago we KNEW that a dishwasher would be the big expense of the year, but thanks to fate and probably my knack at working the Law of Attraction, we got to take a perfectly working dishwasher of the hand of a lady that was leaving the country for 5k (instead of 35k retail).

The dishwasher saves us time, water, and seriously keep the kitchen decluttered, cleaner and more pleasurable to cook in. 

In this past year that probably is the biggest game changer. 

What we still do

We still mop, sweep and dust on a daily basis, and have no problem doing it. Ishita is still in charge of her room, and I'm not going to lie, there are days when it is a hot mess in there, but I trained myself as not to see it as MY problem. 
Once it gets too dirty, I remind her it's her job, but more often than not, she gets to it before I reach the blow up point. 

We still pick our battles, and this means we still have a cook, and have no plans of changing that at all. 

Our experience and what it means for our home

Believe it or not, our home has never been cleaner. Last week hubby and I puller the TV cabinet away from the wall after 6 months, and we were pleased to only see a little dust and some pets hair. 
Ditto wth the fridge, we found some of the cat's spilled food, and a reasonable amount of dust. 
When we had a maid in our previous home, we were pulling those every 3 months and it was GROSS. Why? Because the maid shoved a lot of crap under the TV stand and behind the fridge to be done with the work faster, and no amount of scolding her helped. 
No joke one year her crap even caused the fridge to overheat and us to call a repair guy who told us the vents in the back were clogged with dust. 

The kitchen is still used as much as it ever was in the old flat, but like the rest of the home it is cleaner, and less greasy after a year. 
We are now contemplating hiring a cleaning team to do a yearly deep cleaning, but even then it is really just the top of the modular overhead cabinets that would require the most work. 
Why? Because we make it a point to clean the kitchen counter with a clean cloth and cleaner once a day, including the backsplash tiles behind the stove.
Plus, our whole clean as you spill strategy means greasy food spills are never a problem that could get out of hand. 

We also love the freedom, flexibility and extra time not having a maid brings us. And yes, I am aware I said EXTRA TIME. 
This may sound crazy, but not having to wait for the maid to show up (or not) has freed a lot of time we can use to plan our day better. And because our way of cleaning the flat is more efficient, there are days I can actually get away with not mopping, which could mean that on certain days all I do is giving a good sweep and I am done. 
We no longer really get black feet at the end of the day from simply walking barefoot indoors, something that was near impossible to avoid with our former maid. 

The things we plan on changing

As Ishita gets older, I am pushing her to take more and more of the load in order to reduce mine, and there have been weekends I asked her to either sweep or mop under my supervision. I plan to make dusting the home her chore very soon, along with unloading the dishwasher. 

Hubby and I realised we could do away with some of the deep cleaning at least once a year, if not every 6 months. There are companies you can hire for that, and considering that the last deep cleaning of the bathroom took me 4 hours last month, this doesn't seem totally crazy to outsource once in a while. 

What not having a maid saved us

On the emotional front it has spared us a lot of nerves, we no longer have to constantly nag, and beg the maid to do the job she was paid to do properly. We no longer have to endure frequent no-show because "Sister number 24 has gotten married" or an aunt died for the 5th time in two years. 

On the financial front, the saving is actually more interesting. Our previous maid set us 6k rupees a month, for both cooking and cleaning. Since our new cook cost us 3k a month, this means cleaning everything ourselves saves us 3k a month. 
This means that this past year alone we saved 36k of maid salary, and if you think that is one hell of a steep salary for a maid, you could be right, but this is the more or less standard rate going in our neighbourhood, and keep in mind our maid did claim seniority as she worked for us 5.5 years before we fired her, this means her salary went up with the years. 

Planning to take the plunge and give it a try yourself? 

If you are toying with doing away with hired help in your home, here are the things you need to know, I mentioned them in my blog post last year, but I will sum it up again : 

- Get the right cleaning tools. It's a must have, and spare no money there. I put a list of all the cleaning tools I use on a daily, and while you may not need them all, a good broom and mop is your bare minimum. 

- Get everybody to pitch in. Housework is teamwork, and if one do the mess, one must clean up. In our home this means the only ones exempted from cleaning are the cat and the dog because they can't hold a broom. All two-legged beings are physically able to mop a spill so there is no excuse other than laziness for not doing it. 

- Pick your battles. In our case it's keeping a cook and accepting that there are going to be days we won't be able to keep everything super squeaky clean and that is ok. 

All in all, this has been a super positive experience, and we really never contemplate dealing with a maid again. 
Many of our friends are quite shocked and amazed by our decision, but we made it work. 

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  1. Bravo!
    Our maid just declared she was going to be sick for the next 2 days- of course this comes just when we are having houseguests!

    1. Yeah mine used to do that too, and even when we used to ask her to send a replacement, she wouldn't.

  2. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Kudos to you for achieving this milestone. We had a bad experience of maids of slightly different variety. When both of us were working, we had a series of maids nannies for our child. Needless to say, their tantrums and ability to create discord in the family left us bruised. Not to mention adding another member to the family cost a bomb. If you have an elderly person in your house, the maid would harass them. They also had the uncanny habit of leaving job anytime leaving us in the cold. Their families were added menance.

    I can write a book on them. Once our child was old enough we thought it better to keep away from this menance once for all. Now we have only a cleaning maid. Not satisfactory but a saving grace.

    For sometime we toyed with the idea of a cook but memories of the constant supervision and indiscriminate use of ingredients came back to haunt us. Not to mention the strain on the household budget.

    When you hire somebody, supervising them becomes an added chore.


    1. This is this whole "baby sitting" duty and constant supervision that annoys me the most. The cook we have right now is good, but she still tends to change the timings at will.

      I just could no longer deal with the constant whining from my maid, not to mention her not showing up on time, changing the schedule, informing us she had pushed us to a later slot because she got a new client, then again not showing up on time. Then when seeing I would not buy her "woe to me" stories she would try to play my husband knowing he is the type to not shout and set ultimatums.

      Another big thing that changed not having a maid is that things like floor cleaner, dish soap last longer, and we no longer have to deal with dirty sponge, waste of water, and wet bathrooms.
      Since our previous maid was also cooking, I also noticed that my spices and staples last longer too as my new cook use them more reasonably.

      I reached a point with our maid that had me wonder why I had to pay 6k a month to pretty much nag and babysit her the whole time only to have her whine that I was asking too much. Because yeah for 6k a month asking that she use a reasonable quantity of oil in the food, and that she mops the floor properly is indeed utterly unreasonable from my part! Good grief!

  3. Anonymous7:40 AM

    Did your kitchen have a built in dishwasher set up (taps, hot water etc) or did you have to install additional plumbing for the dishwasher? I'm thinking this is very useful for my parents too, as they are at the mercy of their maid.

    1. The dishwasher is a free standing unit, so we installed it on the balcony. You do not need a hot water outlet for dishwashers, they have a built in heater.
      What we had to do was ask the plumber to build and extension pipe to connect the dishwasher to the water outlet since we placed it at the other end of the utility balcony, opposite the washing machine. The whole process wasn't very complicated and any plumber can set it up. We also extended the draining hose so it could reach the already existing drain hole, both the dishwasher and the washing machine share that drain hole.

      If you get a dishwasher and do not have the space for a built in, make sure you purchase a free standing one as they can be installed anywhere in the home where you can connect them to a water tap and a drain, just like you would for a washing machine.

    2. Anonymous8:15 AM

      Thanks for the tips, I will look into it.


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