Trash or Not Trash

We had our house cleaned a few weeks ago by some professional cleaners.

It looked super fab and beautiful and shiny. I could see my reflection in the floors. I could drink out of the toilets (ew, just kidding, ain’t nothing that clean). They worked their fingers to the bone, sweeping the bunnies out of every nook and cranny in our house.

They had their work cut out for them, too. It had been approximately 13 weeks since the hum of a vacuum cleaner was heard at the Casa de Austin; approximately 4 months since any toilet or shower was cleaned; approximately the whole amount of time we’ve lived in our home since someone pulled out the fridge and cleaned behind it. Holy disgusting, batman.

Ten bleach filled hours later, the Pledge and Windex haze started to settle and we discovered some things were missing.

Nothing important like jewelry, cash or game systems — although we do have so many game systems, we probably wouldn’t realize if they WERE gone — but little things we take for granted as not trash.

Let’s play a little game, shall we? It’s called Trash or Not Trash. I’ll give you a picture and two line breaks to guess, and you tell me if it’s Trash or Not Trash. (and by “tell me”, I mean, “guess silently to yourself”). I’ll also tell you how the cleaning guys categorized these items.

2010 Page-a-Day Civil War Calendar

What’s your guess?

The answer is:

The cleaning people said: NOT TRASH! That’s right, they kept that page-a-day calendar, as well as two more from 2010 that we’d neglected to throw away.

Next up:

Slightly dirty but not torn up at all yellow flip flops.

Your guess?

Actual answer:

Their answer? TRASH! What person in their right mind throws away a perfectly good pair of Old Navy flip flops, circa 2005? Really now. What if those are my bathroom cleaning flip flops? (Hint: they are.)

Let’s move on to the next item!

Vogue magazine from September 2010 

What’s your guess?

Answer is:

The cleaning people? Put this in a safe place in our linen closet, where all outdated magazines with torn, crinkled pages, covered in bath powder should go. OR NOT!

This last one basically stabbed me in the heart, then twisted the knife, then blood spewed out of my heard and all my blood drained out and I died. And I’m writing this blog from the great beyond.

My favorite stuffed penguin I slept with for probably 18 years of my life and that’s not an exaggeration.

What’s your answer?

What’s the REAL answer?

OF COURSE it’s not trash. What about a cute stuffed penguin, almost in mint condition, might I add, would make a person say, “Welp, to the trash can you go! Clearly nobody wants you, even though you’re on the floor of a bedroom right beside a closet!”

Apparently, everything about that cute stuffed penguin says “I’m trash!” because that’s where we found it, folks, along with the other “not trash” items.

Picture it: hubby and I digging through upwards of 8 black trash bags, pulling out things that were tossed but not trash. Dog toys. Belts. Dress socks. Baby socks. A bag containing craft scissors and thread. My Venus razor, perched in the shower right next to a bar of soap and my shampoo. Don’t worry, cleaning people, I don’t like shaving my legs anyway and wasn’t using that brand new razor.


Anyway, this experience leads me to two conclusions:

  1. We all have different ideas about what should be trashed.
  2.  I’m glad I’m not independently wealthy enough to have housekeepers. With the energy I expended digging through trash bags, I could have cleaned my own house.

Have you had your house cleaned before? Do you hate searching through garbage bags?

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16 comments to Trash or Not Trash

  • Audreya

    Every now and then, I will hire someone to come in and clean. The last time, my normal lady was unavailable. She's really good to set all the "questionable" items in one place for me to sort through. I wasn't sure how the new lady would do, so I set a basket out and put a note on it that said "Please put any random crap you find in here". My husband thought it was equal parts hilarious and disturbing. But it worked out well. :-)

  • KLZ

    Ah, but if you were independently wealthy you'd be excited that their throwing stuff out meant a shopping opportunity for you

  • JMJE

    OOoh I remember hearing about this sitch on Twitter. I have had people clean my house a few times but they don't clean it hard core and therefore have never thrown away anything (well except the trash in the trash cans). I can't believe they would throw away the stuffed animal and i have some pink flip flops that look very similar to those.

  • Stephanie in Suburbia

    Wait…they threw stuff out??!! The housekeepers I have had (for a day) usually tell me to put non-trash stuff away and they only threw out their rags, etc. CRAZY!

    The penguin makes me sad.

  • Mama Insomnia

    Everytime I dream of having a cleaning crew come clean my house I will think of this post.
    & I'm so with you on the flip flops. I wear Old Navy flip flops until they break.

  • Natalie

    Ooh! I like the basket for random crap idea.

    Unfortunately, I've never had my house professionally cleaned so I have no words of wisdom for you. Or anything witty to add either.
    I do think it's ridiculous she threw away a stuffed animal & razor, but kept the outdated magazine in a linen closet. WTH?

  • Julie

    I wouldn't have thrown any of those things away.

    Then again, I'm one step away from being the featured player on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive.

    Not really, though. I'm just kidding. I'm very clean. (no i'm not.)

    p.s. Welcome back, Mr. Penguin. On the floor by the closet sounds pretty good to you now, doesn't it?

  • Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic

    ACK!!! I'd be so angry and would feel so violated!!! We used to have a cleaning woman come through our home when I was younger. I hated it. My mom would be all – straighten your room the cleaning lady is coming and I'd be all "THE F? Why do I have to clean if you're paying her to do it?" I expected this lady to make my bed and all that… not happening. But I don't think the lady ever tossed anything that wasn't already in a trash can but DEEP clean prob wasn't in her job description.

    They should have left QUESTIONABLE stuff in a pile for you or better yet their "IS THIS TRASH?" pile. Don't assume cleaners, duh!

  • Sarah Mac

    This is why I don't think I'll ever have cleaning people come to my house. If they threw away Mickey bear, I'd be on the murdertrain!!

  • 400 Wakeups

    First of all, this game was excessively entertaining. In a "I'm really sorry you had to go through that but thank you for sharing your pain in a Red Rover sort of way." Secondly, I'm sort of surprised that housecleaners would through away anything that wasn't already in the trash. I mean, I guess if it were me, I would think "Maybe they're keeping the Civil War calendar because July's picture is particularly cool and they want to keep it." Because, y'know I've done that. And I can't even tell you how many old issues I have Travel magazines and Cosmo. Embarrassing, really. But then to have them toss stuff that is clearly NOT trash??? I'm so glad you kept Luke close or he could have been next!

  • Ms.Wasteland

    I've NEVER had a cleaning lady throw anything like that away. Then again, I always cleaned before they came over so all they had to do was mop, dust, sweep, etc.

    PS I miss my cleaning ladies more than I miss having perky boobs.

  • Liz

    I've never heard of cleaning people going through your stuff and throwing things out! I wouldn't like that one bit!

  • gopopgo

    I'm with Liz, I've never heard of that either. And those flip-flops look SUPER comfortable! Don't cleaning people know it takes no less than 3 years to properly age flip flops?

    And speaking of not cleaning in a long time, I fear how much dust/dirt our vacuum will pick up this weekend.

  • Jackie

    That is cah-razy! I can't believe they threw stuff out at all (aside from trash *already* in the trash can), but their sorting process is worse than a pre-schoolers ~ that blows my mind!

    I wish I had a cleaning person come a few times a year to do the really heavy lifting…you know, like mopping, and toilet cleaning….ha! just kidding! But seriously, to come and do a *really* good job and make it sparkle!

    My mom and dad used to have someone come in and clean once or twice a month, about 4-6 hours total, to do the heavy dusting and crap (Mom's got a lot of knick-knacks and stuff to dust!). She started out really good, but gradually lost her cleaning heart over time. The last straw for Mom was the time that she came home and the cleaning lady had re-arranged the furniture in the living room. Not just a table moved, but moved THE ENTIRE ROOM AROUND. It was alternately shocking and hilarious. Of course, it stayed that way for a few months since it was a lot of crap to move.

    Maybe I don't want a cleaning lady? :)

  • Wombat Central

    This is why I don't clean–uh, I mean don't hire cleaning people.

    Thank goodness you rescued the penguin!

  • Crazy Shenanigans-JMO

    That's crazy that they wouldn't even ask you!

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