So… During my 4 months in England, while working at The Merry Harriers part of my job role has been to clean out, service and turn over the 3 bed and breakfast rooms which are out the back of the property.
I’ve never worked as a “housekeeper” before.. And I have a few observations to share..
Warning! this post could get graphic..
Firstly – housekeeping is hard work. It takes a lot longer than you initially expect it to. It involves a lot of running about between storage facilities and the rooms themselves, AND it is quite physically demanding..
For example, working as a housekeeper involves having to regularly lift heavy bedding. And, OK I know that you don’t really think of soft, fluffy bedding as particularly heavy stuff… but it damn well can be! – I have to deal with a lot of it! And it accumulates in mass pretty quickly when sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers, wet towels, face cloths, hand towels, dressing gowns etc etc etc have to be collected from multiple guests… I’ve got to bundle it all up almost every morning and half-carry half-drag it down to the laundry shed so that it can be cleaned..
I also spend a lot of time just… getting up and down. Like, from a low squat to a tall reach position… I’ll get down to clean the floors, then reach up to obscured corners at the back of the shower, then get back down again for a spot that I can now see I missed on a low wall, oh! But I missed a spot up there too… It can be endless if you actually have standards to maintain..
And of course just in general, when spending a lot of time moving and twisting about with cleaning equipment in small spaces.. It gets hot. And, well, it can all get rather tedious and exhausting in very little time.
Secondly – Housekeeping has an extremely personal nature to it… Like, far more so than I had initially expected… And this is the graphic part of the post.. so skip down to my next point if you are weak.
When I go in to clean out a guests room I have to change their sheets, I have to clean their toilet, I have to wash out their shower and I have to empty their trash cans (among other tasks). And I have found out over the last 3 months that the sum of all these tasks.. results in my ability to deduct a LOT of personal information about the people who have stayed with us.
I know who left in a hurry. Who got drunk in their room. Who .. shaved. Who is taking medication. Who is on their period… Who pooped… Who had sex. Who used condoms.. And who didn’t.. I have found rooms covered in broken glass and wine.. I have found rooms with money scattered over the floor.. I have found multiple lost pairs of underwear amongst bedsheets.
And I have realised.. nothing that you do in a hotel room is very private at all..
The stories of my bosses who themselves have had to spend a significant amount of time cleaning out these rooms can be even worse.. But I won’t go into any second hand stories.. my point has been made. It’s personal.
Thirdly – Housekeeping takes a LONG time! It can take me anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to finish 1 room – depending on the state it’s been left in… so how housekeepers in huge hotel chains manage to turn over 100s of rooms in a day… is a complete mystery to me… and those workers are owed A LOT more respect than they are given.
And finally… housekeeping makes you (the housekeeper) just a little bit grosser too… I have accidently wiped too many cleaning chemicals on my face. I have brushed back my hair with dirty gloves. I have handled gross things. I have folded so many sheets and dry laundry items that my hands have actually been wiped of all their oils to the point that they now crack at random moments and bleed… housekeeping has just had the best of me… and I really do hope that I won’t have to deal with much more of it in my future…