So you’ve made the call and hired a reputable cleaning service. They’ve given you an estimate and you’ve picked a date. Now you can sit back and relax, right? Not so fast. There are certain things you need to do in your home to prepare for your housekeeping to ensure you get the best quality cleaning for your money. I’m not saying you need to go all Marge Simpson, but certain basics due apply.

Marge simpson cleaning before cleaning lady comes
“The cleaning lady is coming!”

Pick up clutter

Most maid services have a policy that they will not pick up clutter from the floors or surfaces like countertops. They will just clean around it. This is mostly for insurance reasons and time constraints. They do not have time to arrange your 15 bottles of perfume strewn across the bathroom vanity and they’re going to steer clear of all those electronics plugged in on the kitchen counter.

They are also not going to pick up all your kids’ toys and clothes to vacuum the room. Be sure to get everything off the floors. Just throw them in the closet or bed for now if they are not making it (side note: if they are making the beds, but out clean sheets for each bed. They will not have time to riffle through your linen closet to find the right sheets).

Also, doing the dishes is sometimes an extra fee for cleaning people. If this is not in their listed duties for your house, you’re going to have to do them yourself. Surely you don’t have to do them before they arrive, but get them off the counters and out of the way. If the sink is clear, they will wipe it out.

Secure your pets

There’s nothing like finishing mopping all the floors and then your muddy dog runs in from the yard. It’s like a right of passage for animal owners. Your housekeeper may see it a little differently. Re-sweeping and mopping will require extra time, and perhaps money on your part.

And some people are afraid or allergic to animals. Be sure to let your cleaning service know what animals you have in the house, and put them in the yard or a room not being cleaned so your cleaning person, and your pets will be safe. My Crazy Cat Lady client would always fail to do this and her terrorist cats would lie in wait on the stairs to trip me up every time.

Get out of the way

I can’t stress this one enough. Your cleaning lady is there to clean, not socialize or get help from you. You’ll just end up slowing her down. My clients like to try and help me all the time and it usually ends in disaster. The best thing you can do is leave the house so they can do their work. I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with this, but cleaning services are used to cleaning when no one is home and usually let themselves in with a spare key or code.

If you can’t or don’t want to leave, hide yourself away in a room they are not going to clean. Don’t be a helicopter homeowner. Hovering over them and giving them instructions can make for a terrible experience for the cleaning person, and they may think twice about coming back. If you have hired a reputable person or company, trust they know what they are doing.

For more on what to expect before and after your cleaning visit this great guide from Molly Maid.