How clean should your house be in preparation for a paid cleaning service to attend?
Like many people, I "clean for the cleaner" by which I mean I do a general tidy-up so that they can access the areas that need cleaning. I was with my old cleaning service for nearly two years, but recently switched to a new provider, who did the first clean no issues and I was very happy. The second clean I had left her a key, she sent me a text message saying she couldn't clean my house "in this state". Now, I had on that day rushed out of the house on 10 seconds notice to get to an unscheduled antenatal appointment (I've had some issues with the hospital this pregnancy and a lot of drama and stress, when I got the call that I could come down I put my son straight in the car and went). So there were a couple of things I hadn't done that I would normally, and I did warn her of that when I called to let her know that I was leaving a key out. When I got her message I replied saying that obviously I didn't expect her to clean up our mess but couldn't she still do the bathroom and the basics? She refused saying that she just didn't feel they could do a good enough job.
At first I felt offended and embarassed, and admittedly cried a little, but when I got home and looked around I felt she was unreasonable. There was one small section that was dirty - the table where my 1 year old son had just finished eating his lunch right before I ran out the door - but the rest of the house was fine. There was "mess" yes - but not in ways that impacted the cleaner. For example, I'd just brought in 3 loads of freshly cleaned laundry from outside and put them on the couch to fold. But on the couch, so out of the way. There were a couple of other minor things like that which yes, at a glance were messy but shouldn't have impacted on her ability to do the work I was hiring her to do. While I would usually try to do those tasks beforehand, it didn't seem as though it should be necessary! Nor any of her business really. My son's toys were packed away, I hadn't left dirty laundry anywhere in the house, the bookcases, side tables, benches and floor were clear of clutter.
I don't need advice on this specific situation because it's resolved, I'm going to deep clean my own house for awhile as I'm about to drop my work hours to part-time. But it has got me thinking - what is the standard? It doesn't make sense to me that a house would be completely tidied right before a paid clean. But obviously they shouldn't be expected to work around mess or without access to the surfaces they need to clean. There is obviously a level of common sense and basic decency / consideration that applies.