The holiday cleaning quandary

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Sarah Tooley
DOG'S LIFE: Easier to train than children?

WE have been holidaying in London and having a great time catching up with friends and family. There is just one problem – we have been in our AirBnB flat for more than a week now and it needs cleaning.

I live with three messy males and I don’t like tidying up after them. I too am messy and I don’t like tidying up after myself either.

We have waved a cloth about half heartedly but currently there are bits of broccoli under the dining table and the bathroom is sprinkled liberally with grass from the local park; the floors need cleaning at the very least. We have to wash up so we can eat and we are using the washing machine so we have clean clothes to wear, surely that is enough for holiday chores? 

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When the boys were aged one and two, I was so bored with hoovering up stray food from the floor after every meal (well I’d be lying if I said after every meal…  everyday… well a lot… an awful lot) we got two dogs.

There were quite a few people that thought we were a bit mad and making more work for ourselves. Oh no it was a game changer. Dogs are infinitely easier to train than children (although “sit” “stay” and “no” are employed frequently for both the dogs and the boys) and they are excellent at cleaning up.

When the boys were toddlers we couldn’t afford a cleaner and the dogs were essential. We can afford a cleaner now, thank the lord, and we love the dogs obviously. A dog is for life not just for cleaning.

We love Carmen too, our cleaner, she comes every Friday and sorts us out!

If she cancels (very rare) we vaguely panic and if we had planned on having any guests over to the house we immediately change plans and go to a beach bar or somewhere… anywhere but our house because we know we won’t clean up, we just wait until Carmen can fit us in.

Every room in the house has a “corner of crap” and this does exactly what it says on the tin. It is piled up crap (board games, books, bags, bits of paper, broken stuff) that sits in a half ordered fashion in the corner. If this detritus starts encroaching into the room too much, we tidy it up and by that I mean we chuck loads of it away. 

The rule is if we haven’t seen it, let alone used it in months it goes to the charity shop/ bin or is relegated to the garage. Our garage is full of junk. Thus making room for our new, contemporary crap to be piled up and ignored. We have even started a “corner” in the holiday flat, how this has occurred, I don’t know, we really didn’t bring much with us.

The question is, do I call an agency? I don’t want the holiday ruined by living in squalor.

• Sarah, the writer of this blog on family life, moved to the Costa del Sol with her husband and two small boys 18 months ago. She explains her relocation on “a need for sun and to exercise my sons  which is easier with less rain,” adding “they are pretty normal, a shock as I am from a family of girls!”

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