This is great advice. We keep a modern style home, and that aesthetic “forces” us to have no clutter and very few decor items. Most of them are structural/art installations and one or two vase pieces. When you walk in and see an already tidy home, we walk out feeling like the place has been lived in. And, since we know our home well, if we see items that haven’t been moved, it feels like they have been cleaned “around.”
The scent of cleaning products and small shifts in the location of items really helps things seem “cleaned” and in place. We also notice things that might seem petty and fussy to you, OP, (“please steam the curtains”), but since there aren’t a lot of things to be cleaned in the home, they are “big deal” visual/tidiness needs to us.
Some weird ones are:
Vases/vessel style decor: wipe down the inside without cleaning products using microfiber cloth
Steam clean curtains, remove wrinkles
No “water spots” on stainless steel surfaces (dry these surfaces with clean cloth after cleaning)
Refresh bathrooms (master bathroom especially, with focus on areas I see when I’m taking a bath — staring a LONG time in the room, so low areas like under cabinets and the dust that collects at the corners of the room and steam/wipe down the glass in the shower, metal “no water droplets” rule applies)
Clean the baseboards and floor edges (dark wood floors/lighter walls leads to visual evidence of dirt and a lot of sweeping/mopping tools tend to miss those spots or push more debris into those edges)
Dust canvas edges on hanging wall art (approved list), don’t attempt to re-level the work if it has gone off center or accidentally came loose — just let us know.
This sounds really fussy, and it took a lot of communication back and forth about needs on both sides (how much time/salary adjustment she would need, and what our specific requirements are). She’s paid quite a bit more than a standard housekeeping salary, works a longer shift in our home, and there was a growing period for us as a team just like there would be with any job. We really love that she understands us and took the time to “see” the house how we see it, and we respected her when she discussed her feelings and point of view.
Have you asked them to write a detailed checklist of items to focus on? With our staff (staff = designated laundry-only housekeeper, and one x2 a week housekeeper for the rest of the home — excluding windows, mirrors, ovens, dishes), we have a list of exact “fussy” items to check. Open dialogue from US to her was important so that she understood our needs, but it was equally as important for her to step forward and set her expectations and limitations.
If they won’t allow you to discuss your point of view, speak to you negatively, don’t outline their expectations, or you feel that you cannot openly communicate with them and be heard and respected, then you aren’t a good match. It takes a great deal of trust and mutual respect to find a good match to allow someone into your most personal space and then give them the reins to take control of that space. There’s a big difference to me between finding someone to clean your home, and finding a housekeeper — someone who helps run your home. And so much of that lies in the relationship you build with them, and they with you. So while they may be replaceable easily to you as clients, you might not be as easy to replace to them as a trusted worker.
It sounds like you are trustworthy and hard working. I doubt that you will have difficulty finding someone else to fill that timeframe in your schedule. I agree with PP that some things are not worth the emotional cost. We absolutely adore our housekeeper. She is like the super hero that fixes our home chaos and creates the space for us to emotionally relax at the end of the day. But we have also had “trial periods” with other staff that didn’t work out with us because we weren’t a good match. At the end of the day, they are your clients — you have power — and if you cannot find a situation with them that is mutually benefitial, you have every right to sever that relationship.
How do you feel about these people? If it feels like too much hassle, or you feel they aren’t treating you well, remove them from your schedule.