I have a confession to make. I’m a homemaker that doesn’t enjoy housework. I love a clean and tidy house, but not the act of getting it. I’m really good at certain aspects of home management – purchasing for example! I’m great at the stocking up, being prepared for what activities and occurrences we need to source items for and the budgeting that goes along with that.
I’m also fab at getting ready for holidays! Applying for Visas in time, checking in online, pre-booking parking, hotels, changing currency and getting everyone ready for the vaycay of a lifetime – no problem whatsoever. Looking after the kids, the cats, the evening meal each night – yes, yes and yes! I run this home like a business (probably just as well as I also work from home and have to be diligent about my time) and my husband and kids come home each day to a welcoming, warm sanctuary. A place where they can rest and refuel, kick back and relax, and enjoy the pleasant surroundings. But whilst I do the housework to make it nice, I have a secret – I don’t do it all!
I realised ages ago that cleaning doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’. I’ve seen those TV shows with compulsive cleaners who have the vacuum out every day, constantly mopping, polishing, disinfecting and turning around a sparkling home. Wonderful for them but who has the time? So my strategy has been to do the bits I don’t mind doing and get help for the rest!
Let’s take general daily tidying and surface wiping. I’m on top of that. The kitchen is always smart, we have a little clutter in the living areas (to be expected if you have kids I think) but generally things are tidy. I have the dustpan and brush out once or twice a day to swipe up cat hairballs or crumbs, but it takes little time. I do it as I go. The laundry is also a daily occurrence. I would never want to be without my washer and dryer – I remember the days when I had trips to the laundrette to do a weekly load (pre-kids) and couldn’t imagine that now. I’d drown in laundry – so I have a washer on every morning and use the dryer at night when the electricity is cheaper!
However recently I had a massive washing session, the usual weekly clothing washing but also everyone’s bedding – this created a mountain of ironing that is not fun to look at. I didn’t want the pile of washing to be glaring at me like another item on my to do list, so I used the services of a new Wakefield based ironing business, Steam On, to help me clear the pile and enable me to have the house looking tidy again in no time!
Steam On is a new business run by Laura Watson, and she aims to turn around your big ironing pile within 3 days to customers within the Wakefield area. After a quick email chat with her to learn whereabouts she was located and a good time to drop off, I made the trip to her home with a big bag of ironing. It instantly made me feel better to get the visual clutter into a holdall and put it in the car boot! At least I didn’t have to look at that job for the next few days!
Fortunately for me Laura lives near my gym, so I was able to drop off the clothes and bedding on my way to a class and collect them a few days later en route to yoga. Laura will also offer a door to door collection and drop off service to her customers – free if you are based within her immediate area but call her for details of price per mile if you are further afield. This makes it a very handy service for people who are working during the day and cannot drop off to her – she can come to your office or workplace and take the job away, only to return it a few days later – pressed and folded. She will also put delicate items or collared shirts onto a hanger – if you don’t provide your own hangers these can be bought from Laura for 30p each.
Using Laura’s ironing service was a big help to me – it took her 4 hours to work through my load, that is 4 hours that I didn’t have to do it. My ironing pile was particularly heavy on this occasion because it also contained all the bedding – I usually rotate the bedding washing for this very reason – so it doesn’t take ages to iron afterwards, but on this occasion everything needed doing at once and being able to outsource to Laura helped me stay on top of my housework demand – the ironing is just one of many jobs that needs doing in a family home so having this particular task off my plate meant that I could focus on the other to-dos.
Laura’s ironing rate is £15 per hour for her standard service but she also offers a 24 hour turnaround for those urgent jobs at £20 per hour. A new and enthusiastic business, she also has plans to launch a wedding dress steaming service this year, and with her clientele steadily growing, she is a great example of a woman using her skills to create an entrepreneurial business. You can contact Laura using the details at the end of this post.
Another local business woman who is using her talents to make her customers’ lives easier is Nikki Barnes, a ‘Girl Friday’ from Castleford. I call her a ‘Girl Friday’ as she is multi talented. She is an ex fashion designer in her corporate life who, after children, turned her skills into a sewing and alterations business. Nikki is also a cleaner for homes in the area and for one hour a week, she gets me out of the housework jobs I really hate like mopping the floor!
Most of the house cleaning jobs I can take on myself, but mopping the floor is one I can’t stand – closely followed by cleaning the toilet. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about this because Nikki comes to the rescue and does a marvellous job! I have also used her sewing and alteration skills on several occasions. She adjusted the leg length on a new suit for my husband, and made me a net petticoat to go with a puffy skirt (disclaimer – this was many years ago and it was in fashion!!) These days she does a lot of prom dress alterations and a look at her Facebook page will show you her creativity and the quality of her work.
So if you are struggling to keep on top of work, the housework, looking after kids and everything else – you don’t have to. Rather than see housework as ‘all or nothing’, just cherry pick the bits you don’t mind doing and consider outsourcing the rest!
Nikki Barnes from Alter Design can be reached at
Thank you to Steam On for the complimentary ironing service for the production of this review.