Housekeeper with vacuum

Ready, set, clean!

You know you want -- or need -- help around the house, but wonder where to find a reputable, dependable and trustworthy housekeeper. Wonder no more! We've got all you need to know to find the help for keeping your house clean that you're looking for.

Not everyone was born with the neatnik gene

A lot of people feel the need to justify the decision not to clean their own homes. Licensed family and marriage therapist Jody Gilmore, LCSW, says, "Women are especially susceptible to feeling guilty for wanting or needing help. Often they see wanting to hire a housekeeper as a weakness, when in fact, it should be looked at as being very practical and even beneficial."

Diana Crabb, a mother of four who works full time outside the home, says, "I could hardly function without my housekeeper. She is a tremendous help, and keeps our house running smoothly." She adds that she's even more grateful for the help now, as her husband frequently works out of the country. "It's well worth the money."

According to Gilmore, Crabb has the right attitude. She says, "There are many very good reasons to hire help, and regardless of your personal reason, if hiring a housekeeper is good for you and your family, there's no reason to feel guilty."

It's true: acknowledging that you want -- and deserve -- help around the house can be liberating.

Point and click your way to help

Following the example of websites designed to bring two hearts together, several sites match prospective household employees with those looking to hire help. Although there are several localized options, these sites typically offer placement services throughout the U.S.

Angie's List

Angie's List, an online peer-referral service for household help, is helping to level the playing field for many small businesses. Big companies and small companies compete side by side because it's based on caliber of work, not on an ad budget. On Angie's List, a company's flashy marketing campaign can't overshadow a smaller business that provides higher-quality service.

For a small fee, gives you full access to thousands of U.S. candidates' contact information (a 30-day free trial is available). You can also post a job listing for a housekeeper, as well as other types of domestic positions like child-care workers or personal assistants. Members can also run background checks, verify employment or review driving records for additional fees detailed on the site. allows to to run a free search for domestics and other in-home workers. Though some services require that you upgrade to a paid membership, in general, you have access to the worker's contact information, a short bio., hourly rates and availability. You can also access background checks and references.

Up next: Five local options to find a housekeeper >>

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Comments on "How to find a housekeeper"

Katie September 04, 2012 | 4:29 PM

Angies List is great. I wouldn't have thought to use it for a house keeper, but why not? We use it for contractors, painters, dentists, doctors, and more, so why not a house keeper? Thanks for this!

Lisa August 27, 2012 | 12:49 PM

Being a single working mother is a constant juggling act and I am not ashamed to tell people that I can’t do everything. This is why I employ the help of a housekeeper. I agree with everything mentioned in this article. Having a housekeeper is a special kind of relationship, but like all relationships it takes time to establish a trust and a bond. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly at first. Your housekeeper should be allowed time to learn how to clean your home according to your standards. You also need to be patient with your cleaning person as she learns your system. This grace period of patience and forgiveness will transform into mutual respect later on down the road.

Morgan August 27, 2012 | 12:20 PM

These are all such good inside tips to finding and keeping a good housekeeper. I have grown up with one, and it seemed to help my mother and father very much. Even though they would only come every other week, our house seemed to be cleaner throughout time, and I would be conscious of when I needed to pick up things in my room. Overall, I think that if a family can afford one, they are worth the money and your time is freed to do other things.

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