No matter how much two people love each other, sharing a household involves chores that have very little to do with romance. Daily responsibilities like cooking, vacuuming and cleaning dishes can not only eat into precious spare time and energy but when living with a partner, the additional burden can try even the strongest relationships. A far better option is to outsource household chores which leave both individual homeowners as well as couples sharing a house free of unpalatable responsibilities. So whether you are living alone, with a flat-mate or partner, here are then a few tips in how to outsource household chores so that peace reigns all round.
One of the greatest pleasures in life is to come home after a hard day’s of work and find everything sparkling clean. And one of the ways to make this dream come alive is to try to hire a cleaner. Cleaners advertise in the paper, online and on community noticeboards, or you might be recommended one. Usually checking out cleaning companies online is most convenient. Visit online portals which will give you housecleaning estimates, according to the work load and number of hours – you just have to type in your zip code and you can book your housecleaning service online. Generally, cleaners employed through companies or franchises provide their own cleaning equipment, have their own insurance and have had police clearance checks. Cleaning costs usually vary according to the area you live and the reputation of the cleaners.
While not required to be done every day, outdoor jobs like lawn-mowing and shopping for groceries can be equally time-consuming not to mention uncomfortable in bad weather. In this you can look for online portals which will readily do the job for you in return of a fee. For instance lawnmowingonline.com will connect you with local contractors who will be ready to work on your yard the next day. For grocery shopping especially there are options galore – some like freshdirect.com and peapod.com will take your order for fresh supplies like milk, fruits, veggies and have them delivered at home. You can place your order from your computer, phone or tablet and in some cases your mandatory grocery lists are saved and are automatically added to your cart. However go through all the rules of the portal carefully before signing in since shipping charges may differ – some charge a flat rate for shipping while other portals have a wider range of charges.
If you cannot bear the thought of cooking dinner and doing dirty dishes at the end of a back-breaking day at work, then you can outsource food preparation too. There are websites like seamless.com which allow you to order food online and save you the time and trouble or those like grubhub.com where you can order online for free from the best restaurants in your location. However if you wish to eat healthy, then you can hire the job of cooking fresh hot meals for you to a professional chef through portals like kitchit.com. Such sites are also helpful when you have a party to host since the chef will prepare the menu, do the shopping, prep and cook for you. However these services come for a good price and a casual meal for one person can set you back by $40 to $125.
Finding a caregiver makes one of most difficult aspects of outsourcing domestic responsibilities. You may need a babysitter to watch the kids sporadically – say when you have a night out and you don't have any family or friends up to the task. Again if for some reason you can’t or don’t want use to a childcare centre or family day care, you may need a nanny on a regular basis for a longer period to look after your kids while you are at work. In the former case, babysitters should enjoy working with children, be capable and responsible and they should have basic first aid training. In case of a nanny, a hiring decision would involve other factors too like whether you want a full-time or part-time nanny, for only child-care or to do other jobs too like cooking and cleaning and whether she is to use your car and such things.
Word-of-mouth recommendation from families and friends are usually enough to hire a good babysitter but for a nanny you may want to look further into nanny agencies. The latter may in fact even help you with giving information on babysitters. While an agency will charge you a fee, the plus side is that they’ll also have done reference and background checks on potential babysitters. However be sure check how long the agency has been around and find out what their screening process is. Ideally the agency belongs to a professional organization and if you are particular on upbringing values, make sure your family’s lifestyle, religious or personal beliefs and styles of parenting, fits in with those of the caregiver. Contact a number of agencies, and ask them whether you can have a trial period, to make sure the nanny and your children get along.
Again if you’re a dog owner who’s working long hours, your beloved pooch may start feeling lonely and neglected. Hiring a dog walker to take your canine buddy out can help ensure dog gets the required level of exercise and just some time in the outdoors. You can Google “dog walkers” for a list of people who are ready and able to walk your dog or ask other pet-owners who might have hired help walking dogs.
Sometimes small, petty jobs like de-cluttering the garage or doing research on a bail vacation can pile up and then take hours to get through. In order to get these minor occasional jobs done quickly, you may consider posting your job on online service portals that works like a virtual community notice board, one being airtasker.com. It connects you with people living near you who can help with any number of tasks from housework and it assistance to being a rent-a-crowd for up-and-coming musicians. To do this you sign up and post your task on the website, stating what you need doing, when you need it done, and how much you’ll pay. Taskers near you will send you an offer to do your chores. You check their online profiles before choosing the person you think is best for the job. Once they’ve completed a job you can also leave an online recommendation for them – much like eBay. Though many of these companies claim to have installed safety, it is always best to exercise caution when you’re meeting people online. Ask for identification and check their online reviews.
However if you have the resources to spare, you can use a concierge service - or "lifestyle managers" as they’re sometimes known - who can do all of the above and more such as booking appointments, doing the shopping and organising your five-year-old’s birthday party or even a wedding for a fee.
One of the biggest barriers to outsourcing chores is unaffordability. Cleaning, grocery shopping and delivery services all come with a cost and if you plan to outsource everything, you may be facing a big total. Instead you can just pick two or three much-hated jobs to outsource and do the rest yourself. For instance if you hate grocery shopping because of the crowds, mile-long queues and parking nightmare, use online grocery services and use the spare time to do your laundry or vacuum in the comfort of your home. Again if you thinking mowing the lawn is a perfect example of wasting a fine day, then hire somebody to do it while you rustle up an Italian dish in your designer kitchen or go out grocery shopping with friends.