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Time for a Spring Clean? What if you need a bit of help?

Jeffery_GeorgeJeffery_George Posts: 4Member Listener
edited July 2017 in Guest blogs

It’s that time of year again when the weather is changing for the better, the days are getting longer, we’re feeling more positive and it’s time to get your house in order. Thoughts normally turn to having a Spring Clean, but many articles about spring cleaning tips are aimed at non-disabled people, and so Jeff from Becky's Cleaning Services shares his top tips of questions to ask before arranging a company to help you with a spring clean this year.

Spring cleaning is usually carried out once a year and involves a more in depth clean or part cleaning of your home. The areas that don’t normally get touched or the priority areas are often the focus. It’s quite a major commitment but we’re all increasingly time poor. This is why trusted, house cleaning professionals are providing us with the solutions.

The benefits of a spring clean are:

  • A cleaner house
  • A healthier house, particularly beneficial if you have asthma or allergies
  • Massive Feel Good Factor – you’re upbeat, optimistic & feel more motivated to deal with life’s challenges
Head of a hoover moving across a blue floor

If you choose to work with a cleaning company, there are a few questions you should ask before you start.  Here are my top 7.

What types of spring cleaning are available?

This depends on you and what you require.

  • You may want to clean the whole house
  • Only the Priority Areas like the kitchen, bathroom & ensuites
  • One room

Can you create a personalised spring cleaning plan?

A useful question to ask as some companies may not offer this service and it’s incredibly useful to know, especially if you fall into the following categories:

  • Disabled
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • An older person

How can I keep the costs down?

One of the reasons why most people bring in professional cleaners to do a Spring Clean is because they don’t have time to do it themselves. You can reduce costs by doing certain jobs yourself like:

  • Cleaning the inside of the fridge
  • Cleaning inside cupboards
  • Internal windows
  • Whatever else you could manage

Do you have experience of dealing with disabled clients?

A critically important question if you’re disabled as there are very few companies who genuinely cater for these needs specifically. It’s essential that your potential service provider listens carefully to your particular needs, formulates a plan, is patient & treats you with respect. Other questions you should ask, include:

  • Can you give me a free consultation so I can discuss my specific needs?
  • Can you arrange to carry out cleaning when it best suits my circumstances?
  • Will you do the cleaning jobs that I struggle to do?
  • Will you liaise with family, support workers or social services?

Are my possessions and money safe when the cleaner comes in?

It’s a very big deal for a lot of us to allow people into our homes because you hear so many unfortunate stories about the disabled, older and other vulnerable groups being taken advantage of.

  • Do your own research on potential companies
  • Is the cleaning company a member of a trusted 3rd party organisation?
  • Is there customer feedback you can look at, other than what’s on their website?
  • Are they fully insured?
  • Are the cleaners DBS checked?

Should I get a written quote?

Don't rely on a verbal quote, always get it in writing, it's a promise that the company or individual will carry out the work at a fixed cost, bear in mind some companies will charge for this service

If a company, contractor or individual are reluctant to give you a written quote, the alarm bells should be ringing because without such protection you don't really know what you're getting or you can't compare like for like

What equipment is normally used during a spring clean?

  • A good quality vacuum cleaner
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Extendable dusters
  • Steam mops
  • Window vacs
  • Multi-purpose cleaning solutions


Tell us your thoughts, did you find this information useful, do you have any useful cleaning tips or do you have any questions? Have you had any difficulties trying to get cleaning services to match your needs?

Replies

  • foxukfoxuk Posts: 80Member Talkative
    I actually thought that this would be a helpful post. I'm a disabled person on benefits - yeah sure paying a spring cleaning company is an option - in my dreams.

    What next the Scope guide to de-cluttering services?
  • Jeffery_GeorgeJeffery_George Posts: 4Member Listener
    edited April 2017

    Thanks for

    your feedback and I’m sorry to hear about your particular circumstances.

    I certainly take your comments on board but also welcome other opinions on what people found useful and if they have their own hints & tips that have

    worked for them or cleaning related questions.

    The aim of this post was to look at Spring Cleaning from the view point of a potential service user (1) Providing useful advice to anyone considering the use of spring cleaning services (2) Help to avoid some of the pitfalls when engaging a cleaner because problems can occur and have been discussed in a previous post “Problem with my cleaning lady” (3) Engage with disabled people. I think this is important because not many companies are genuinely willing to do this.

    Is there any information that could have been added to make this more helpful or relevant for you?

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 5,400Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @foxuk thanks for your comment, I understand where you are coming from and know that a cleaning service is not financially available to lots of people, but there are also others who have no support from family and friends who may be able to budget for a cleaner and I thought this post could be helpful in knowing the best way to choose someone.

    We can also use this post to share our own hints and tips - I have a chronic illness and terrible fatigue and so my tips would be to try and plan ahead and prioritise which areas are most important to you.  I'd also try to ask for help where possible.  After surgeries when I simply don't have the physical ability to do some tasks, I spoke to a friend and she came and changed all my bedding for me.  I felt a bit embarrassed to ask, but I am so glad I asked as she was pleased to help.

    What would your tips be?
  • foxukfoxuk Posts: 80Member Talkative
    My most helpful tip would be - stuff what the neighbours think or say.

    There's no point paying to have the windows cleaned or the grass cut if you have to 'economise' on food to afford it.

    Economies can be very non-ecofriendly. e.g. I have been able to buy and have delivered T-shirts cheaper than I can get them washed and dried locally. Ok so I buy 'clearance' but effort spent sitting down in front of a screen doesn't need morphine for 'breakthrough pain'

    Coming to terms with the fact that my health and pain levels matter more than 'just putting over the hoover' (particularly as a man) is the biggest barrier. As a Disabled Person AND a Carer pride has to sometimes take second place to reality.

    Just like to mention Jezza's promise on Carer's benefit today - of no help whatsoever to Carer's on Income Support as the increase will be deducted £ for £ from IS benefits - IF anyone had 'educated' JC I am sure he would have made the increase on Carer's Premium.

    I suppose that is an example of the biggest thing we can all do. Forget our false Pride, be proud of what we achieve and tell the realities loud and true.

    On the other hand I may just be getting old and tired and grumpy...... :0P

    Jon

     
  • DEMANDcharityDEMANDcharity Posts: 7Member Whisperer
    We'd love to contribute our handy tip for anyone that struggles with those spray bottles of window cleaner, kitchen cleaner etc! https://cracked-it.org/diy-assistive-spray-bottle/
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,124Member Chatterbox
    Hi Everyone, I was really struggling to do any cleaning except light stuff that doesn't require any bending, reaching up or any pressure of any kind. How is it that in this day and age none of the cleaning products that claim to remove baked on grease from hobs and oven trays actually work? Apart from harsh chemicals more trouble than they're worth. I have had 5 road accidents including 2 bad whiplash injuries which cause terrible pain in my neck and shoulders when I need to exert even the slightest pressure.
               Anyhow I had my 1st cleaner in last week, a friend from Church so someone I know and trust. I spent the week before tidying things away into cupboards and drawers to make it easier for her. I can only afford 2 hrs. every fortnight but what a difference it makes. I am more relaxed as I don't spend half the day feeling that I should be doing housework and regretting I no longer can. I agree @foxuk about being practical and making life as easy as you can. I am still fighting DWP who have only so far accepted my assessor's findings of "she has no problems with upper body strength". Permission to scream....... 
  • Jeffery_GeorgeJeffery_George Posts: 4Member Listener
    edited April 2017
    Hi @wildlife thank you for sharing your experiences, I think you’ve made good points about some of the cleaning products available and the use of harsh chemicals. There are often alternatives that are much more user friendly, use natural ingredients or are natural products. I’m glad that you’ve been able to make life easier by finding the right cleaner for you and despite your various challenges have done what you can to make it easier for her.

    Are there any particular types of cleaning products that have
    worked for you?


  • NeetsNeets Posts: 8Member Listener
    Hi all
    so this is my first time on here. When I first saw the post I was hoping there might be links for trusted cleaning companies. This is the hard bit for me as when you google there are so many. I hired a carpet cleaner last week and what a  disaster it was. He firstly spoke no English and was rude. I used to work in the building/ cleaning trade. So I knew how to handle him when I told him to leave. 

    Its just shocking how people behave and it's made me less confident about booking. I can see some bit about the above information. But I guess I'm not really seeing the point of it unless there are links. 

    hey foxuk, you mentioned above about Carer allowance and a care provider. I ended up getting direct payments for my care support. As I think it's disgusting that they pay you in one hand and take it back in the other. This has been going on for years and they use the same method for when you get a mobility car. 

    Wish you well 
    Neets 
  • foxukfoxuk Posts: 80Member Talkative
    Hi Neets,

    I tried to get Direct payments a few years ago. 

    I had everything sorted, a timetable showing all hours worked etc.

    I came across the worst sexist 'person' who I have ever had the misfortune to meet. She didn't believe that men should be Carers and demanded that I do extra work to sort out the house for the Carers to come in. I was doing over 120hrs documented at the time.

    At that time I was caring for my father (Freidreich's Attaxia DLA Higher both), Mother (Attendance Allowance) and wife (DLA Higher both). All this with being Disabled myself (DLA Higher Mobility and Lower Care).

    Unfortunately the attitude of 'All you have to do' as a preface to any sentence is prevalent amongst the majority of Social Service employees locally. They are used to dealing with problem families and use the same bullying tactics with those of us whose only problem is an inability to physically cope.

    The final straw came when I was told that I would have to get rid of the majority of my father's possessions (a lifetime's memories), my books and my tools. This was before the 'person' would consider direct payments. 

    When I asked how I was expected to do this she said 'Get a skip'. I trained in furniture production and my tools and books would have raised five figures easily IF I had the time and energy to eBay them. A skip alone would have cost £120 at the time.

    The stress was making both my parents and my wife ill so I had to stop contact.

    One of their operatives still rings every year or two. Each time they try to sell me shopping and each time I ask for help with laundry - they have never rung back.

    If I was employing the locals I would sack all of them and re-employ 50% on temporary contracts filling all the rest of the positions with Disabled People. At least then there would be some knowledge of what we go through every day 24hrs 7days a week 365 days a year. 

    Sorry to 'explode' but the aptly initialled local SS have never even completed a Carer's Assessment although I have requested one formally on three previous occasions and do so every time they make contact.

    That's life for a male carer.

    Jon


  • NeetsNeets Posts: 8Member Listener
    Oh Jon
    I'm so sorry, I have had many battles that has left me with  anxiety. They did try taking back my direct payments. But due to my meds they have stopped harassing me fingers crossed. Are you still looking after everyone, with no support. Have you spoken with your doctors ( I know don't hold your breath right
  • foxukfoxuk Posts: 80Member Talkative
    My parents have died. I kept them both in their home.

    My wife is now bed bound and the doctor keeps upping my morphine so we can retain our independence. At least there is some understanding there.

    The 'joined up' system in Wales is a load of propaganda. Doctors actually communicating with Social Workers, gawds they don't get even messages from District Nurses (who have been re-organised twice recently).

    The objective on the first two major occasions was for the SS to sell what they assumed was my parent's property (it was jointly owned with me which they didn't know) to fund their (the SS) care system with the proceeds - just look at the sold prices and you'll spot the sold to finance care properties - about half the market value as they are sold quickly at auction.
    On the Last occasion the emphasis had changed to funding my wife's care needs. Unless we accept their judgement that my wife should go into full time care and I will..... actually there has never been any projection of what will happen to me probably some B&B somewhere.

    I am not unusual. My father's cousin had her husband of 60 years home to die and social services 'helped' by putting their double bed in the garden in the rain and making her sleep on the settee so they had room for a 'proper' hospital bed so the nurses wouldn't have to bend. She was over 80 and riddled with arthritis.

    The whole system stinks and even since the TV program on forced house sales they still happen.

    This is Britain in 2017. A lot of people in our position don't speak out as we are afraid of what the next thing is that they could try. I had to keep quiet whilst my parents were alive for fear of what could be done to them.





  • NeetsNeets Posts: 8Member Listener
    It is very sad  and yes the fear stops people fighting for there rights . One of these days we will all  unite in getting them to do right by disabled people. 
  • foxukfoxuk Posts: 80Member Talkative
  • Kathy_BramleyKathy_Bramley Posts: 130Member Talkative
    Then categories listed in the OP are useful even if we never used the company. But that seemed like a really proactive approach for a paid for company. The people have been lovely, but deciding between declutters or cleaners or personal support assistant and everybody having their own way of doing things, having my communication and social anxiety issues, it's often felt frustrating and difficult to get a whole job done. And nobody's wanted to do a particular room while leaving a messy kitchen say, except the declutterer, and she doesn't clean and is more expensive. But if you're a cleaner or personal assistant under social care there's a reputational issue around sorting priorities and a lack of funds to get to the optimum and keep things clearer running. 

    I've been on quite a massive journey learning the skills to think through cleaning despite supposedly high IQ, reasonable amount of physical ability. And cleaning supposedly being "easy", which I think is a combined kind if engrained and unthinking prejudice when I am being kind to myself. Though either way, and despite changes, I still have plenty of time where I just feel overwhelmed and like I can't do anything. Leaves me looking like Lady Muck and dishonouring more disabled people. I wonder to myself if I'm playing a game. But I am losing it whatever. Sometimes when I start I find my way. But my memory and focus and reflexive thinking is terrible. Keeping myself on track, dealing w with problems and uncertainties, recognisingba good track, not getting overwhelmed by a feeling of blizzard or emotional flashbacks to every time I've ever struggled with cleaning or housework or practical things or selective essenses of it all, come to me and me feel unable again. Like it's not doable. But then I can push myself. Ad get further. It's being able to automatically hold the frsmescof what I am doing in my head, and dealing with uncertainty and the social aspects of teamwork and negotiating in a relationship. And not getting depressed and stamina. Mentally and physically. I can hyperfous but then takes all day and I have still missed parts or can see imperfections and it pains me to feel like I'm wasting my life, and I go off and have a sad and political conversation in my head about whether we're fighting anti woman prejudices or internalising them, and/or simply running from them, and asking whstbthe nuanced answer of answers might be. Or askimg what some resolved pictures for my life might be. 
    Lucky unlucky
    Guess my diagnosis,
    It may help, but
    Don't guess my kids's
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