Friday, July 18, 2008

Return of the Cleaning Lady

Yesterday, after a one-year absence, our cleaning lady returned.

Last year, as a cost cutting measure, we decided I would clean the house. It’s a good-sized three-bedroom house with a loft at the top of the stairs and huge walk-in closets.

At first, I was okay. The cleaning lady only came in every two weeks but I liked to clean the house once a week. The more my freelance writing business picked up and Dad’s needs increased, the less time I could devote to taking care of the house. Because I appreciate a clean and orderly home, I was not okay with letting anything go.

Therefore, she’s back!

I recently read an article by copywriting guru Bob Bly. He discussed outsourcing as much as possible to increase production. I would add outsource to increase quality of life for those who are in need of assistance or would like to add more hours to their day.

As this relates to elder care, my dad used to mow his own lawn in the summer and clear snow from the driveway and sidewalks during the winter months. After several accidents with his riding lawn mower and as his health declined, we knew we needed to make a few changes.

A local man and his son have a yard care business. Once a week our lawn receives a trim with riding mower and hedge trimmer. In the winter, when the snowfall reaches at least three inches, we hear the magical sound of their pickup with attached snowplow. What a relief when these men show up, do their thing, and leave.

The cost? Between thirty and forty dollars for each occurrence. Obviously, the snow and lawn mowing are at different times of the year and the cleaning lady shows up every other week. As these tasks are routine, we can usually enter them as a budget line item. Some years we have a heavier snowfall than others, so it’s a little difficult to plan. However, most of the time we can anticipate how much we need for these services on a monthly basis.

The assistance we receive from these wonderful people makes a huge difference in our quality of life. Caregivers, or even those who aren’t, should consider outsourcing. Remove another task from your daily or weekly to-do list.

What are you able to outsource? Where can you reduce the workload in your life? Make a list of jobs that cause you anxiety and see where you can ease the burden and increase your quality of life.

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