Why Is It So Hard For Me To Relinquish Control?
Here’s something you’ve probably guessed about me if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time. I’m a control freak. 😀 I’m not a team player. It’s not easy for me to trust people to do things for me. I’ve been this way all my life. My mom tells me that one of the first complete sentences I ever learned to say as a very small child was, “Me do it me-self!” So I’ve always been fiercely independent.
As I’ve worked on this house over the last almost-ten years, there have been things that I’ve obviously had to hire out because there was no way I could do them myself. I hired out the structural work when we converted the garage into my studio. I mean, there’s no way that I could have turned this…
…into this all by myself.
But I’m sure that those guys would tell you that I was always around, always hovering, always making sure that things were going according to plan. And things certainly didn’t go off without a hitch. There were some pretty significant frustrations with that contractor — miscommunications that could have easily been avoided and never should have happened — that just added to my determination to never hire out work unless I absolutely have to because I can’t trust people to do things correctly. (I shared more details about that here.)
And then there was the carport. No way could I have ever built that myself. It required pouring concrete, adding huge and very heavy structural beams, etc. That was a job best handled by several men. (I really need to get current pictures of the carport!)
And I hired out all of the foundational work (subfloor, drywall, electrical, rough-in plumbing, framing) in the guest bedroom, home gym, hallway, and master bathroom.
I also hired out the installation of the new HardiPlank siding, painting the exterior of the house, pouring the new front sidewalk, and I’m sure there are a few smaller things I’m forgetting.
So if it’s something that I know I’m just not physically capable of doing, or something that requires several people, or something that I’ve vowed never to do again in my life (like installing, taping, and mudding drywall), I’ll hire it out. I’ll do so begrudgingly, and then I’ll hover and ask tons of questions as the work is being done, but I will hire it out.
But I’ve always had such a hard time allowing myself to hire out work that I know I can do myself. And it’s not really a matter of not wanting to spend the money. It’s just a matter of me being fiercely independent and not trusting other people to do the work up to my standards. I’ve never let anyone do any of the finishing work on the interior of our house, because I don’t trust anyone to do that.
The problem is that my fierce independence and control freak tendencies aren’t just directed towards my DIY projects and work on the house. But I also find it very difficult to relinquish control of things that other people can probably do much better than I can, like cleaning my house. And as y’all know, that got me into quite a bind last week.
While I was sick in bed all week, watching helplessly as my house became more and more of a complete disaster area with each passing day, it never even once occurred to me to hire someone to help me. That thought never even crossed my mind. That’s just not how my brain is wired.
There was actually a time back in 2016 and 2017 when I did hire someone to clean our house, but that kind of fizzled, and I never thought to hire anyone else. For at least six months now, Matt has been urging me to hire someone to come at least once every two weeks, if not every week, to clean the house so that I can focus on other things, but I’ve just been dragging my feet on that. It’s just so hard for me to relinquish control over things that I know I can do myself. Whyyyyyyy am I like that?!?!
Right now, there are three things that we hire out on a regular basis. The first is the lawn mowing, and I’ve never thought twice about handing that over to someone else. We have an acre of land, and I have absolutely no desire to mow it myself. We also hire out our pest control and HVAC maintenance, both of which happen on a quarterly basis. Those are the only things we hire out right now.
I look around my house, and I see so many little projects that I could and should hire out. The faux stone on the porch skirt. Why am I determined to do that myself? A handyman could get that done in an afternoon. Re-installing the shutter that fell during high winds during a thunderstorm. It’s been sitting there for about a year while I tell myself that I’ll get to it as soon as I can. Why am I so determined to do that myself? I could give you a whole long list of projects like that that I could easily hire out, and yet, I have such a hard time handing those over. Whyyyy???
Anyway, all of that to say…
Hi. My name is Kristi, and I’m a control freak.
But I really do want to get better and learn to trust other people to do things for me. I’m going to force myself by making some phone calls today.
What house-related things do you have outside help with? Do you have a handyman on speed dial? Do you hire out your lawn maintenance? Do you have someone clean your home? I’m just curious. Any other control freaks like myself out there?
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
Hi! Welcome to the club! It is hard to tell other people your vision. It never comes out just as you imagined it. We love you for exactly who you are!
Hi Kristi, I’m Kate. And I was a control freak until God gave me 8 kids, five in-law kids and 14 grandkids. I just couldn’t control all of them!! Believe me, I tried!!! A friend is a songwriter in Nashville, one of her lyrics I just love… “it’s out of control…. Just let it go!” And another is this: “You got Your Reasons, for makin’ the seasons, and everything changes!” So, this control freak is learning…. One day at a time 😊
I hired out my lawn maintenance and at times have had someone clean my house. I do have a maintenance guy that I used when I remodeled my masterbath and I used him for small things. Recently I bought a shed but it got to much for me to do on my own (I’m 5 3 ) so I hired someone on next door and I paid him an hourly rate and it was completed in 1 day.
I wanted to say to you last week, find someone to clean your house. I have my house deep cleaned quarterly or more as needed. It is such a blessing to walk in from work to a clean home. It may be a struggle to find the right person or company but it is worth every penny!
You already stated in this post why you don’t trust other to do the work for you: because you’ve tried and been disappointed. I’m in the same boat. But I’m getting older & just can’t do all the things I prefer to do myself, so I just have to do a LOT of research and find people I trust to do the work for me (I’m a hoverer too). It’s difficult, but they’re out there.
Yep, this is me. I’ve accepted (on some things) that done and not exactly what I want is sometimes preferable to undone forever and ever amen. I keep it to things I can go back and fix if the time to do so actually comes along.
As to hire out, I have someone for pool (love him!), pest control (no issues), cleaning every couple of weeks (worth her weight in gold!), and lawn care (could really use improvement on this one as we are on our 4th or 5th, I’ve never been pleased and feel we pay way too much for what we get). Haven’t done major remodeling, but have yet to find even a handyman (been through at least 3 of those) that I have been pleased with on even the most simple issues. Need some more major remodeling projects done and can’t fathom passing that baton to anyone. The struggle is real!
I hear you and get it but hire the housekeeper! Even if it’s not up to your standards you will be thankful that the house is clean and you can either allow yourself to spend a few minutes following-up on things that didn’t get done exactly to your standards or you can learn to live with it over time. Either way, it will be better than what it is today and you will be able to appreciate that. Also, you might be surprised and end up with a housekeeper that learns and does things the way you want them done, just give it time and provide detailed expectations. You will be paying for this service and should be comfortable giving directions.
I now have a cleaner each fortnight. Its just so nice to have it all kind of up to date at one time … its a reset. But it takes time. I find someone with the right disposition will get what your needs are if you take your time and just go with the flow with the whole process. It’s just sooo nice to have that reset day … then I keep it nice in between. Gardener – yes!
I am more willing than you to farm stuff out, but the difficulty here is finding someone to do it. You can call 20 people, and if you’re lucky, get one call back.
THIS right here!
Kristi, you have trouble relinquishing any job to someone else for the same reason I do. We are both perfectionists. And no one (especially these days) can or will do the job up to our standards. When our house was being gutted and completely renovated, I was there literally every day checking out what was being done and how well it was being done… down to the tiniest details. I’m sure I drove them all completely crazy!
I even do my own gel nails and French manicures myself because the few times I had them done professionally, I watched and knew I could do a better job! And I do!
Don’t beat yourself up for being a perfectionist. Does it make life a little bit harder sometimes? Probably. But in the end you are so much happier with the finished job. Let someone else help you with the lesser important things that won’t make you miserable if they aren’t done perfect. But those other things that you know will eat you from the inside out if they aren’t done well… well, you will get to them eventually. And you will be happier for it! xo
This is also me.🙂👍🏻
If I absolutely know I can do a better job, then I’m going to be the one doing it.
My attention to details is what makes me this way, not a need to control. I just luv the details, and want them done without mistakes that will end up frustrating me that I didn’t do it myself in the first place.🤷♀️
I bought a very small house, it has only one, extremely
small, tiny, windowless bathroom. Shower only, shower
is so small and narrow that you cannot install a prefab
unit. Concrete slab foundation so cannot just change
Woman I bought it from hired the worst so called contractor
to give the bathroom a facelift. They had no concept of water
proofing, the walls of the shower are outside of the edge of
the shower floor. This means the walls ( just untreated tile
board and tile) sit in the exterior reservoir. By exterior
reservoir, I am referring to the rubber layer base that holds
the concrete and drain. So water wicked up the walls and
stagnant water sits in the reservoir surrounding the shower.
Whole thing has to be demolished and rebuilt. Fortunately,
there is a well respected shower expert on YouTube who
shows how to DIY this common issue.
The woman I bought the house from paid dearly to have
this awful shower built. I’m thinking it was around 25K.
I say that because he placed a lien on the house that she
had a tough time figuring out and delayed the closing
for some time. THAT is why I am a control freak with
trust issues. There is no way on earth I am going to let
someone take advantage of me like that. Awful.
Kristi, many families where everyone goes to work, have help to keep their houses cleaner at least every two weeks. YOU have a full time job, or actually two. You help your husband with all that he needs…and you have all the duties of the house, and huge projects within your home, and a blog that we all look forward to, and adding in projects that you are hoping to share with us…that’s TWO full time jobs. Do you think you could train a new cleaning person to do things your way, and let them be at it…YES! It is a learning curve in the beginning, but they will eventually know what you want or expect. After I retired, I wanted a PT job, so I went to work for a lady that was younger than me, but confined to a wheelchair. She was very busy…out doing things with her special van, and had 4 pets, (3 furry) so I worked twice a week to clean and keep her house organized. (Very specific needs because of the wheelchair.) She had some terrible cleaning ladies sometimes that made life harder…putting things in her way, up too high for her to reach, etc. In a short time I learned exactly what she needed and how she wanted it. You will find someone like that too…will know your and Matt’s exact needs, and the house will be cleaned more often…WITHOUT your spending time there when there are more important things for you to do. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted you to really try…you might not like the first one you hire, but then you will find someone you trust, who really will do the job you need. AND sweet Matt supports you in this. He want’s his wife to have some help, to be able to do the things she wants, without so much stress…he is a GEM! (and maybe he sees this would make more time for the two of you to go out!) 💙
I think Danielle is right. It’s very difficult to explain “my” vision of what I want and have the results be that. I think most contractors, from the guy/gal next door to the professional, look at jobs from a completely different, 180 degree, direction than we do. Bottom line, they are focused on money. And that’s not meant to be derogatory. But for them time is money, so they are looking for what/how much can I do in X amount of time and get on to the next job. To them that’s efficiency and brings in the income they need/want for their business and lifestyle. Meantime, we are plugging away, wanting to do the super best, to get it exactly right for the vision we have, so we spend extra time getting the color just right, cleaning the little corners and blobs, making sure things are exactly plumb, etc., etc. I say this because my sister and her husband had a cleaning business and also do other odd job work. I have to depend on them at times because I simply can’t do some things; don’t have the knowledge and more often than not, I simply can’t afford to have things done for me. But the goal attitudes are most often exactly opposite of mine. I’d rather spend the extra time to “get it right” while they are looking at the end–the less time spent the more jobs I can do and the more income I’ll have. And, like I said, this isn’t meant to be derogatory; from my observation it’s just a different way of thinking about outcomes. So I guess we have to try to balance between our “vison” and do the best we can to assess the contractor’s view of the end outcome. Sometimes, we win. Other times, we lose. But I think we get better at choosing as we gain experience. Good luck as you challenge yourself to let others help and do the things you don’t really want to do yourself.
I love the name of your blog, but if you ever decide to switch it, you should 100% go with “Me do it me-self!”
I live in a 1 bedroom/1 bath, 800 sf condo. Hiring monthly cleaners was the best decision I ever made. The same two women come every time and clean it top to bottom: inside the microwave, cleaning fans, dusting every. single. knickknack. It takes the two of them about an hour and a half. There is no way that I could clean my entire condo in three hours anywhere close to the level that they do.
Like you I’m a control freak (I insist on putting my window AC units in by myself, because why not, I’m perfectly capable), but some things are better relinquishing to the experts.
I 100% understand! I don’t have a ton of money, so it always felt like such a waste to pay someone to do something that I am perfectly capable of doing myself. We have a dog and live in Arizona, so the house gets dusty and hairy pretty fast. Hiring a cleaning crew to come twice a month was the best decision I ever made. I don’t live in filth (a bit dramatic) until I can find time to clean, and I’m not wasting days of my life doing something that I don’t enjoy at all. Plus, they are way faster and take maybe a couple of hours to do what would take at least a full day for me. Is every room perfect every time? No, but I communicate with the ladies who come to my house and ask that they do it differently, and it’s getting better. Think of all the projects you want to do that you’d have time for if you didn’t have to do all the chores? I have time to read for pleasure and take on freelance work. Hiring out on this has been such a gift and is the best money I spend every month. As God as my witness, I will never clean my toilets again!🤣
Oh my goodness, I could’ve written this same post word for word. I am constantly disappointed with hires and will only call someone if I absolutely cannot or will not do it (like you – mowing and maintaining our 3 acres or something structural or unsafe for me to do myself). But it is a double-edged sword in that there’s only one of me and though I’m determined, detail-oriented, fearless, and hardworking, I’m also I’m sloooow. Sometimes my projects and collateral messes are super overwhelming but in the end, I’m fiercely independent and not likely to change my ways. =)
I was the same way most of my life. When we built a house I worked on the crew from the footings to the roofing and all parts in between. Now I hire out yard work, snow removal (Montana), and have a lady come clean once every two weeks. Best decision EVER! I went through a few housekeepers before I found the right one but now Life is good! Do it; you won’t regret it!
I think the tradespeople who pursue excellence in their work appreciate the hovering and are happy to explain their process to the homeowner. These days it’s hard to find workers like that. I think you are wise to hover over those big jobs. And since you are so knowledgeable and experienced, hovering and control has served you well. A skill/ trait like that doesn’t get put away in a closet quietly!
Accept that it’s a great characteristic to possess and count yourself Blessed to be that way!
And then instruct yourself that it doesn’t serve you well in EVERY situation (like having a house cleaner) and that’s okay!
Even though you’re a great batter, you don’t need to bring a baseball bat to ballet class. ( If you get my meaning)
You’ll have more batting lineups to use the bat and show them how it’s done, and you can also leave the bat in the closet while you learn to enjoy the ballet class!
I’m married to the brilliant and clever control freak who had to stay in the basement when I had a cleaning person. 😁
Same!🙋🏼♀️ I’ve been disappointed in some way by almost every contractor we’ve hired.
Mine isn’t a control thing, it’s a money thing. I hate to spend money on things I can DIY. I admit it…I am overly frugal. OK…I’m cheap. I would LOVE to have someone clean my house or paint my bathroom cabinet door or wash my windows and screens. But…no. If I want to have money for crafting or to maintain my hair, I can’t hire out. Dang it!
Hi, I’m Crystal and I’m a control freak. Probably going to have to get some cleaning help since I’m getting unsteady on my feet and a wet floor is an invitation for a head injury.
We need to have a Control Freak Anonymous chapter! Yes, I am a control freak too. Last year I was going to have surgery so I hired a cleaning lady to come every other week. I thought I would hate it, but it has been great and it helps keep me from having too many messes around the house. Last summer we started hiring out our mowing because my husband has health issues and I can’t mow five acres plus do everything else. Also wonderful! Good luck to you!
Definitely relate to this. For us, it’s mostly a matter of money. My husband and I are both extremely frugal and don’t like paying for anything we can/could do ourselves, even if we could technically afford it. We occasionally have to hire professionals for pest control, HVAC maintenance, etc., but that’s about it.
No one can do it all…not even the Great Kristi…or the rest of us who think we wear superhero capes…or aprons in my case. I marvel at your energy and enthusiasm, never lose that. But learning to let go and get help can sometimes be an even better adventure. Whenever I get discouraged, I think Kristi did that and she’s 5 foot tall…I am 6 feet tall, and the hubby is 6’8″…which means he puts things up even higher than I can reach…I digress. The thing that drives me with our remodel of our old farmhouse and farm, is that someday, when I leave this place for the next, the ones I leave behind will be able to walk through the house and the farm, and anywhere they place their hands, I will have been there before…and they will know that “Work is Love made visible.” It’s that learning to let go thingy that we all have problems with. Don’t let “perfection” become the impediment to “Good Enough”.
I SO get this! I have a hard time relinquishing control because: 1. No one will do it to my standards and 2. I end up doing a lot myself because even when I ask for help, I am always disappointed and let down.
It all started when I hired someone to wallpaper the entry way and the hall bath. He did okay on the entryway, but the hall bath was a nightmare. He gave me excuses as to why it was not perfect, but I swore I would learn to do it myself and not be taken advantage of again.
I do contract out electrical, because I found an electrician I trust. I have contracted out plumbing, but want to learn some DIY in that area as well.
I am a widow, so I have learned to depend on myself. Siblings don’t live in the same city as me, so even doing stuff like taking old, heavy TV’s to the electronics recycling is a huge deal.
I did find one guy with a truck who will move stuff and he does exactly what I want, but I can’t rationalize spending A LOT of money taking things to be thrown out.
10 minutes and another set of hands is all I need.
I do everything around my house, including yardwork and feel great I can still do it. I often figure out ways to get things done in a safe and efficient manner, but I have not figured out the bulky items problem yet.
And I will continue to do things myself and not hire anybody if I know I can do it myself.
You’re funny. My husband and I own four properties. We don’t hire out any routine services. For a couple years when we were both working full time and our kids were teenagers, we had a housekeeper come in every other week, but she retired and we never replaced her. We do occasionally hire out specialty construction work. That said, we are both civil engineers (worked in water resources, not construction) and do most things ourselves. These are our properties and the work we’ve had done.
We hired a contractor to build our main house in 1985. To save money, we did all the landscaping, though we had a landscape architect draw up plans. Since then, we’ve hired a contractor to put in a pool and the associated decking. We’ve had the front entry way rebuilt (the original contractor put brick over plywood, and the steps were collapsing). We had a new roof put on. We had the tile in our entryhall replaced. We had the carpets in our family room and the vinyle flooring in our attached kitchen replaced. Things we did ourselved beyond regular maintenance: we finished a bedroom that was part of the crawlspace in our walkout basement and we turned the half bath that was in the finished part of the walkout basement into a 3/4 bath (adding a shower) to make a small inlaws unit for my mom. We also installed the laminate flooring down there ourselves. I made the draperies.
We bought a two story duplex townhouse with another couple in 1989. It was built in 1985. Our friends are also both civil engineers, and the husband did work as a construction inspector. We have long-term tenants (one since we bought the place and another for a little over ten years). We’ve done all the painting ourselves, replaced appliances and the water heaters ourselves, and retiled the bathrooms. We’ve hired out painting the outside, cleaning the gutters, reroofing, and HVAC work. We also had new fences built.
The second rental property, which we co-own with the same friends, was built in the 1950s. We bought it in 1992. Until recently, we did almost all the work there ourselves, including remodeling the bathrooms on both sides and gutting and remodeling the kitchens. Laura (co-owner) and I put in sheet vinyl flooring and laminate flooring in both sides. We also assembled the cabinets and our husbands installed them. We bought granite slab remnants and installed the kitchen counters ourselves using them ($125 for new counters in the one side). We installed butcher block counters in the kitchen in the other side. We originally refinished the hardwood floors ourselves on one side. We recently covered them up with LVP laminate due to issues with maintaining the hardwood floors with tenants. We painted the exterior ourselves. Historically, the only work we had done was to replace all the windows with double pane, and replace wall heaters with central heat and air. Both sides of the duplex became vacant in 2002 when our tenants bought houses. For the first time, we hired help for routine maintenance. Laura and I are now in our 60s and our husbands are both in their early 70s. When the last tenants moved out, we hired a painter to do the interiors and to replace a 10′ sliding door in an enclosed patio on one side with a standard 5′ slider and a window. We also just had the place reroofed.
Our fourth property is the house my husband grew up in. It was built in 1937 and my father in law (FIL) bought it in 1945. He died in 2015. We bought out my sister in law and started renovating in 2017. We basically gutted the entire interior, moving walls and plumbing and replacing the electrical system. Here is what we had help with: new water and sewer laterals to the house; replaced wall heaters with new central HVAC system; texturing the new walls; installing new gas lines to the furnace, stove, water heater, and the new gas fireplace we had installed; refinishing the original hardwood floors including patching the holes left by wall removal and floor furnace removal; installing new linoleum (not vinyl) in the laundry room, kitchen, and mud room; installing new solid countertops in the kitchen, laundry, and mud rooms; replaced the roof; new pavers (there is a detached 2-car garage with an attached workshop behind the house and we have the driveway installed with pavers). We did the rest ourselves, including demolishing the lath and plaster walls; electrical; plumbing; subflooring; installing new French doors in two bedrooms where there were none before, replacing and installing new windows, replacing and enlarging the backdoor, and moving, replacing and enlarging the front door); widening all interior doors and doorways and installing pocket doors on the bathrooms; redoing both bathrooms (took out a tub in the master and installed a curbless shower); I designed our new kitchen and assembled the RTA cabinets and hubby installed them; we installed the new kitchen appliances (wall ovens, dishwasher, and vent hood over the 1950s Wedgewood stove) and the new kitchen apron sink. We rebuilt and expanded both the front and back porches including the new foundations. We turned a storage shed into a “she shed,” and I installed the new flooring in it. I rewired some of the old light fixtures for the house and did all the lighting and electrical outlet installation. We had painted about 60-70 percent of the exterior of the three buildings. A couple months ago, I said I was tired of stripping off old paint, and it was obvious some of the new painting my husband did four years ago needed redoing. I suggested we hire a painter, and to my surprise, he agreed (it may have had something to do with having had to rip out some walls and the floor in our walkout basement due to a leak developing through an outside wall in our main house and digging and installing french drains as a result at the same time that our tenant in the 1955 duplex informed us that the roof there was leaking–we had a LOT of rain this winter in northern California). It was a moment of weakness on his part due to bad weather and aging (us and the buildings)! So the last thing to do at the 1937 house is landscaping, which I’ve started working on. We designed that house for aging in place (thus the curbless shower, the hard surface flooring, and the widened doorways).
Next project: cleaning out the 1985 house to get it ready to sell (or maybe we will wait until we die and let our kids deal with it, haha).
I do most everything myself, but it is more because money prevents hiring it out. If I had funds, I would make a list and hire a handyman to knock it all out – and probably in a day. It would SO be worth it. Maybe just this once you give it a try? You truly do a ton. Give yourself grace.
I’m kinda like you. I will think about how I can do it myself and only decide to hire it out if I fail miserably ( clogged dishwasher d drain) or if I deem it suicidal ( hanging concrete plaques outside on the 7th floor.
But even I have a cleaner that comes twice a month. When she came on Tuesday I told her: “between the two of us we can get the place clean.” I had washed all curtains in the bedroom, dusted the walls. With her help I rehung the last curtain. She changed the bedding and cleaned the room.
I SO understand your mindset. Trying to change as I get older.
My dearest Christy, one of the most wonderful things that you can do for yourself is have someone come in and clean your house every two weeks. After the birth of our first son, my husband hired someone to help us, as I was just not getting around to doing it. I had a baby to feed and was never sleeping through the night
Fast forward 16 years later, and this same person is still coming to our house and it is wonderful. She has an objective look at our place, and can make the house look absolutely fantastic. She does things I just don’t want or cannot get to in a consistent timeframe . Once you find someone you like, stick with her, work with her, and let her help you keep your house up to snuff. You and Matt won’t regret it.
Both my husband and I are ferociously independent when it comes to hiring folks to do work around our house. We have made our own cabinets from Cabinet Joint and installed them, painted walls, installed lights, repaired drywall and installed a new bathroom, but I don’t blink when hiring someone to clean my house!
We’ve renovated our 1971 Ranch house mostly by ourselves. We’ve hired out a few things like moving plumbing, adding electrical, windows/doors ( I work for the company). And off all those times we’ve hired out work, not one single contractor left our house without damaging something.
One of the worst was when we had shower plumbing moved. We had just laid beautiful teak wood floors and covered them to protect them. Laid drop cloths on the whiteish carpet. We did everything we could to protect our flooring. The plumber walked around the path (drop cloths) we had laid out for him and trekked “muddy” boot prints on the white carpet we didn’t cover (there was no reason for him to be in that area). I called the owner when I got home and saw the damage. He was RUDE and condescending about it. Which did not help my mood. In the end, my husband cleaned the carpeting because we didn’t trust anyone else to do it.
We hate using contractors but have learned to oversee the projects closely. I’m in the same boat. We both work full time jobs and have side hustles. I don’t want to relinquish control but know at some point it’s more than I can do alone.
That is maddening that he walked around the pathway you had made for him to walk on!! But that’s the exact kind of thing that keeps me from trusting people to do work in my house.
Hi! My name is bobbie, and I am a recovering control-freak and perfectionist! So yes ~ I know exactly what you are going through. But you CAN “Let go, and let god.” I agree with all who have mentioned help with house work ~ we have someone who comes in every 2 weeks and she is worth every penny. It’s just a matter of finding someone who will listen to what you want. Good luck to you!!
Hi, my name is Len, and I am a control freak. Or should I say once was? Since my illness, I cannot do anything around the house, so I have a yard person, cleaners, and handyman. Not my ideal; I would instead do it myself, but I released the control or live in a mess and that I couldn’t take.
Go ahead and release, the body will thank you someday, and you can go more places with Matt if he is able
Kristi, I hear ya!
I have a cleaner, who I work WITH. Silly to some, but works for us. After a long time, I trust her. I’ll empty the dishwasher, she’ll clean counters and sweep. She’ll do the en suite while I vacuum my bedroom. It’s not thinking she can’t, it’s because I want to get as much cleaning done as possible. She’ll do the inside of the windows, I’ll do the screens. She comes 2 hours a time, 3 times a week. Sometimes I’ll have her come for an extra hour, to help chop vegetables for dinner, or clean out the fridge. I have a list and we both work off of that ; Motivated Moms Cleaning Calendar.
I also have the son of a friend who helps me outside, raking leaves, mowing etc.
I pay he minimum wage, and have never had any problem with that. They both have other work, helping me is their side gig.
You should hover, because this is your home.
You left out the people you hired to take away your giant tree. A project like that is definitely best left to pros.
I’ve owned over 15 properties in my life and have rented 3=4 times. I LOVE renting because the walks are shoveled, trash is picked up at the door and I’m one phone call away from having things fixed. I have NOOOO desire to own another house.
We are do it your -selfers too, but at 70 and 66 years old, we are getting to the point that we can’t do it all ourselves. My daughter used to come once in a while and clean stuff for me that I can’t, but she is so busy with work and kids that she has no time for us now. Her husband comes and cleans gutters and hangs/takes down Christmas lights on the house. I’m considering hiring a cleaning person twice a month, but have no idea how to go about that. I need help cleaning bathrooms, the oven, floor mopping and anything that requires a ladder to clean. I convinced hubs to install a sprinkler system last year so he doesn’t have to lug hoses around all day. But I would also like him to give mowing to the pros – – – maybe soon it will sink in!
I used to be but working, raising a child on my own and trying to do everything meant something was not going to be done the way I felt it should. It was only when my beloved Aunt who raised me died. She would scrub and then wax her floors on her hands and knees. Using an old style wringer washer twice a week. Ironing everything! Needless to say, I had a conversation with myself and decided the curtains did not need washing every week nor did the windows and the floors were fine with weekly maintenance. Lots of other things, too. I keep my home neat and visitor ready but don’t look too close. The bathroom and fridge are always spotless but the dusting and vacuuming gets done when it gets done. Stop stressing. If you can afford a house cleaner go for it. Life is too short to try to do it all. Take care of Matt, your pets and yourself. Hire out the rest. Trust me, you will get over your ocd soon.
Good, hard working, skilled people out there need jobs! Just be straight forward and respectful when things are not exactly as you expect. Ask for what you want. Don’t be surprised if what you want costs more. It’s just physical things in the material world and just money. In the end your family and friends get more time with a relaxed and rested Kristi, now that is priceless!
This. I don’t know if it is being a control freak, but I want things to be done right the first time, and not have to waste time, energy, and money redoing the project. I don’t have much patience for people who work to a “good enough” standard so if I have to do some of it myself, or watch over them, then so be it. Quality workers are hard to find.
For several years, I was the hired help! My clients had various reasons for needing a housekeeper. To be honest, the hardest jobs, and the reason I inevitably quit housekeeping, were the ones where I was micromanaged. Jobs would be added weekly as if my time was theirs. In general, I loved my jobs and was grateful my skills were appreciated. If you find a good cleaner or handyman, do not micromanage.
Hi Kristi, I believe that the best DIYers are control freaks! That’s because we like being in control and we work hard to stay that way. When we complete a project, it satisfies something inside us and give us that sense of accomplishment we crave with our control!
We had a cleaning service come for a while when I worked full time but I was cleaning before they came each week. LOL They did the floors and cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms. Since my husband and I are older now, 70 and older that might be something we should consider again. I have been putting off our serious need to have our shutters replaced. They have faded badly and the cost is so low for the shutters themselves. We had our house sided 20 years ago this year and the shutters were added then. Our siding contractor now lives across the street from us. I’m thinking I’m going to call his company and buy shutters through them again and gave them install them. There is no way my 73 yr old husband can get up there and take them down. And I can’t do it either. And I would like to get some landscaping done on one corner of our home. I have been procrastinating about it too. There were times in our younger years when we would do it ourselves but not anymore. We are facing reality. It’s best to have the younger, stronger people do it. It is hard to accept we are not as young anymore….I personally still feel/think young. I have always been ‘I can do this’ kind of person. But I also was willing to hire out certain work like siding, big plumbing and electrical work as well as drywall. I acted as the project manager on the finishing of our basement into a family room, bedroom, bathroom and walk in storage closet. I’d dreamed about it for 20 years and finally did it in 2011. It is the #1 best thing we did for our home. I understand how you feel but it is so worth hiring people to do some things for you.
I follow KC Davis (“How To Keep House While Drowning”) on TikTok (DomesticBlisters) and she just recently posted a couple of videos about a house management service that provides some form of monthly handyman and helps to schedule jobs that you might need done etc. I immediately went to see if the service was offered here, but it wasn’t. I *think* that she is close-ish to you, and it might be something you could do!
I one million % recommend having someone clean your house at least every other week. It helps me to stay on top of it in between, and even if the “clean” isn’t perfect or up to your standards, the little bit you have to do to supplement it is worth it. I finally came to a place where I realized that my own time was better spent doing other things that provided value in other ways. It literally changed my life.
Is it really about control?
Or about the obligation to be Super Woman?
You say it’s about control, because that seems like the easy assumption, but are you sure it is?
Actually listen to the voices in your head… are they actually going:
“I WANT to hang that gutter/fake stone/clean the house myself because I WANT it to be perfect, and I’m worried that someone else isn’t going to do a good enough job”. -> I WANT to do more than I have time for, because I VALUE excellent work, and I PREFER my own work over that of others.
Or are they going:
“I SHOULD hang that gutter/fake stone/clean the house myself, because it’s easy and won’t take long, and there isn’t any reason I can’t do it other than that I am failing to make time for it. Hiring it out will make me feel like I failed to do something so simple and easy that I SHOULD just be able to get over and quickly finish even though I’ve been avoiding it and dragging my feet. If I was just better at being on top of things then I would be able to do all these things that I keep putting off, and the fact that I keep not managing it means I’m failing just to be a mature responsible adult.” -> I feel like a failure if I engage others to do for me what I could do myself because I feel like I SHOULD be able to do it all.
One is about your values and the joy you find in doing things yourself.
Even if it’s that one, you have to step back and consider if you actually have time to do all those things yourself. Even if you WANT to do all of them… can you realistically do them all? And if you can’t do them all…
And would you rather clean the house yourself or hang the fake stone?
Rather hang the gutter or the stone?
Rather do any of those or work on the studio?
You only have 24 hours… if you imagine your perfect week, and how long it will take you each week to clean your house perfectly and do all those little side projects each week, do you have enough time left to work on your studio? And that’s a perfect week… how often do those happen? Are you WANTING to do too much?
And if it’s not wanting but instead feeling like you should because you easily could the same thing applies but triple: you shouldn’t feel obligated to do all these things just because you could… because realistically speaking you actually can’t do them all.
You probably can’t clean your house perfectly AND do the random side projects AND take care of Matt/pets/family AND relax AND work on the studio AND have time for creative projects AND blog AND do all the other things that just you do around that house.
So given that you can’t actually do all of those things…
You should stop telling yourself that you should do all the things you really don’t want to do, but feel like you should…. realize you don’t actually have to be the one to do them… stop telling yourself that you should do them because you can because you actually really can’t, and just hire them out.
One more clarification:
One is about perfectionism regarding the work, the other one is perfectionism regarding yourself.
They are very different beasts.
Wanting the work to be perfect and being unable to live with it when it’s not is different from wanting yourself to be perfect at managing your life in and your day to such an extent that you can manage to do all the things you think you ought to be doing on a consistent basis.
And that applies even if the work is done better if you do it yourself… just because you can do it better doesn’t mean you’re finding joy in doing so…. which is what perfectionism about the work would result in.
It might just mean that your perfectionism relates to yourself much more than the actual work itself.
When you do hire out the projects, and they’re not done as perfectly as you like… is the thing that bugs you actually the work itself, or the fact that you yourself failed to manage your time and life perfectly enough so that you didn’t get around to managing to do ALL THE THINGS?
When you hire a cleaner… is the thing that bugs you the fact that THEY don’t do a good enough job… or that YOU don’t do a good enough job managing yourself into doing all the things?
I definitely have some control issues but life is just so busy that I’ve learned to let go a little as well as lower my standards a little. The second part I still don’t really care for – I think it’s good to let go of perfection but not necessarily good to lower expectations. Does that make sense?
We had a housekeeper come every other week for years and she was a godsend when my four kids were little. We moved and I didn’t get a new one for years – I thought that with being a SAHM and having kids that could help it was enough. And it wasn’t horrible, but I probably could have better focused on my kids if I hadn’t kept that on my to-do list. A few years ago we decided to go back to having housekeeping help, and it’s truly helped so much. Although my kids are now teens, we are still very busy and I overvolunteer for all the things, we’ve purchased investment houses, helped with elderly mothers, etc.; so coming home to a fully clean house every two weeks is a godsend. Do they do it perfectly? Nope. Did I have my house perfect when I was the one doing it alone? Nope. I took forever because of my perfectionism. I’ve noticed that in general my house is cleaner and more picked up because I can do the little things since they’ve done the big chunks.
Meanwhile, my husband punted out things that largely fell on his plate years ago – lawn mowing, pest control, etc. and I’ve never once questioned it or thought he should be doing it – he does enough for our family. So that tells me that the issue really is just me.
You have done so many things yourself, you have a list a mile long, sounds like Matt is in a great place mentally, maybe……find someone twice a month to clean. Don’t Micro-manage because its very hard to find anyone to do anything, but tell them (with list in hand) what needs to be done each month. They can decide if this time I clean baseboards or next visit I will get them. NO ONE can work like you…no one can please you (because my husband & I are the same way); but we can’t hire out everything ($$); but we don’t take on the projects you physically do. By making sure you have clean bathrooms and kitchen; it’s a great weight off your shoulders. Maybe try out 2 of them (unless you have a great recommendation) giving them the list of things you need done (so each person does the same tasks) and then give job to person who seems like best fit. There is value in communicating exactly what you want and expect. Otherwise it’s not fair to you or the contractor. Best of luck and so excited for you …I live in KY and have been following you since you had the condo (?) and was so impressed by how beautiful you made your home.
My parents taught us to do as much as we could for ourselves, because anything else was “wasteful.” They leaned this from their Depression-Era parents. One grandfather was working on his roof in his eighties, the other grandfather was still changing his own oil in his cars in his seventies. It’s how we were raised. So of course I do as much as I can myself, and allow others to do the work as little as possible. Because if someone else does the job, I’ll see their flaws Every Time I Walk By The Project. Is it worth it? Sometimes. But sometimes it makes me want to re-do it. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Watching your process for filling/sanding/caulking/priming/painting trim work made me realize: Kristi Gets It!
I have no solution, but realize as the years are marching by that time is so precious. Do what you can to maximize your time on the things most important to you. And yes, I get it, when we’re like this, it all seems important.
You’re not alone!
Hey Kristi- There is only one commodity that is completely fixed – you NEVER get more, and that’s time. One thing that helped me outsource more routine work was sitting down and figuring out how much my time was worth. Then I made a list of things that I wanted to spend my time doing – family, hobbies, work, etc. Anything not on the priority list that costs less than my hourly worth is something to cosider outsourcing. You are valuable. Your time is precious. Plus, the way I look at it – hiring someone to clean my house means I’m supporting a small, local business (most likely woman owned).