Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workamping job: Housekeeping

George and I have made it to Albuquerque, NM and we enjoy the desert surroundings.  At the RV park we are staying, George is doing maintenance/site cleaning, and I am doing housekeeping.  I thought I would write a post on the housekeeping job out of respect of all of those people who clean public places, but also to ask the question of "why"?

I am going to briefly describe the three different types of housekeeping I have done for comparison:  working for private families, doing industrial cleanup of newer buildings, not yet occupied by the tenants, and cleaning public spaces as well as vacated apartments. This last category is the worse one of the three - let me give you a glimpse into what I am suggesting.

Private Homes
Whenever I have had anyone come help me with cleaning my home, or when I have gone out and cleaned other people's homes, I have found myself confronted with only slightly dirty spaces.  I find that many people, including myself, will do a general cleaning before having a service come over.  If you are like me at all, then you do not want someone to have to come in and clean "disgusting" in your home.  It's embarrassing, and I generally go out of my way to make sure I do not look like a disgusting slob before asking someone to clean my house.  I have also found this mostly true when I have gone to clean the homes of others as well.  Except for the elderly, who cannot always clean up after themselves, the places I have cleaned were dirty but not disgustingly so.

This does not hold for when I was an apartment manager, and I had to clean apartments after people moved out.  Yes, some clean the space so they can get their deposit back.  But I found that most assume they will not get their deposit back, and so they say "screw it," and they normally say screw it in a big way.  I have confronted the most unfortunate messes in apartments - so they are a lot like having to clean public spaces.

Industrial Buildings
I have only done this type of cleaning once, with my sister and a friend of hers that own a cleaning company.  This type is cleaning is for getting up the dust left from building the structure, and cleaning up bathrooms after the workers.  Not a bad gig, but the chemicals were harsh.  In the end, the dirt was not the kind of dirt that really makes you feel puzzled for human nature. It is building residue and that was fine.  Not much else to say here.

Public Places
leaving stuff in inappropriate places!
I have done public cleaning a few times in my life, and each time I am amazed at how thoughtless, and unemphatic humans are to others that use the the public space, and to those who must clean those spaces.  In the two weeks I have cleaned at my new job, I have found human waste smeared on the floor, once on the wall, on toilet seats, and on toilet paper left (hidden???) behind the toilet.  I have found a used tampon and pad left open, face up, and shoved inside a plastic plant (see photo -  I closed the pad for this picture to save us all the visual I was confronted with).  This is in two weeks and gloves are my best friend.  Women's bathrooms tend to be worse then the men's bathrooms, but men forget to flush the toilet - regularly.

As I said, this is the not first time I have seen such a lack of consideration for those who may use a public facility, or may have to clean a public facility.  I am baffled ... why?  Laziness?  Fetish?  Do people think it is ok to leave public places in such a mess, but that it is not ok to do so in their private homes?  I welcome you thoughts on the subject.  I also promise to write a more uplifting post next time!



  1. Oh! I know exactly what you mean, when I was catering private parties people would leave dirty dishes in the strangest places. Like there was some need to hide the evidence of their eating. I don't know if it was laziness, because some of the places were odd... I would find things in rooms that were away from the party, on a fireplace mantle. You have to go out of your way to find these places. But yeah, the tampon and pad, EEEW... You had to carry it from the bathroom stall in your hand to put it into the plant.

  2. Well the upside of this post is that it encouraged conversation at other parks - I am apparently not alone in my dilemma of understanding motivation here! LOL


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