Why Household and Estate Managers must know the lost art of fine housekeeping
In our continued commitment to excellence for our students and Graduates serving our clients, we’ve noted a shortcoming that we intend to fix.
Over the past 41 years, our Graduates have often entered households where veteran Housekeepers held the keys to the fine Housekeeping secrets in the home. They completed the cleaning with such excellence that Starkey Household Managers did not need to focus on it. They had other priorities.
Gradually, the tradition became that Housekeepers were the Housekeeping experts, and Household/Estate Managers took that knowledge for granted. Slowly, Housekeeping knowledge has dissipated to the point where the knowledge has all but disappeared, leaving Principals with seemingly high and unrealistic standards.
Well, it’s my belief that Principals’ standards are not too high.
It’s that Housekeeping as an expertise has all but disappeared. We recently taught a class of young men and women in their ‘20s and ‘30s serving multiple Principals. Their homes were disorganized and dirty. They were stuffing sheets and towels into closets and using products inappropriate for surfaces. They saw ironing as superfluous. The staff had no training and no understanding of what was possible in keeping a fine home.
When I look at Housekeepers today, I see a few serious issues. They are only concerned with surface cleaning and are unfamiliar with what deep cleaning really entails. They don’t see the detail behind, underneath or above; it’s harder for them to look at their work from different perspectives and angles, especially from the Principals’ perspective (do they lay on the bed to see what the ceiling looks like? The Principal will surely see any issues when they do). In addition, they don’t perform tasks systematically; they don’t have a written system for accomplishing zones and task sheets in the home.
I’m also seeing a lack of knowledge when it comes to cleaning products. Housekeepers today have a harder time understanding what or how to use cleaning products and tools, whether it’s polishing silver or cleaning wood floors or tile.
Why would they know these things? Parents who both work generally don’t have the time or energy to teach their children how to clean well. Likewise, they wouldn’t have learned it in their school curriculum or from supervisors who also have no knowledge of this obscure and seemingly unnecessary skill set themselves.
Fine Housekeeping has become a lost and forgotten art. Principals are desperate to find staff members who are capable of properly cleaning a home. In addition, the students we are training or trying to place all like to say they know about Fine Housekeeping, but when asked to show us, they don’t know as much as they think they know. Household and Estate Managers have no choice but to now make Housekeeping a priority.
You may have heard me say, “Addition and Subtraction is to Accounting as Housekeeping is to Household Management.”
If you really don’t know it, you’re not fully knowledgeable of upholding your Principal’s lifestyle.
My clients are consistently sharing, “Why is it that no one but me understands what real housekeeping looks like in a home?” They are correct. It’s a lost tradition that must re-emerge in 2020.
Starkey is offering Housekeeping courses both in clients’ homes and here at the Starkey Mansion.
Contact us for our 40-hour Housekeeping curriculum and upcoming course dates. Or ask about setting a date for Starkey to come to your Principal’s home to help educate staff about Fine Housekeeping.