April 11, 2024

Money spent is time saved? Or Money Spent is Sanity earned? Bathrooms, Beds, Floors and the Dishwasher.

We have recently invested money into the pain points of our lives.  While it's one thing for time management experts to say "Outsource!" It's far easier for me to read about what exactly other people outsource to make more time.  Here are some recent wins for us:

The Doors

The doors to our garage broke.  We bought them when we moved in (2017) and they cost £100.  Andy carefully painted and mounted them.  It took a long time.  

The doors stopped closing after getting water damaged.  We had to use a box of rocks to keep it shut.  This wasn't good for the door, for my back, or for the insurance.

Andy called our favourite carpenter and he fit new doors. They cost more than £100 but they shouldn't break in the next 5 years.  

Andy despaired at the thought of painting them.  "Why don't you hire a painter?" I asked.  And so we had a quote from our favourite painter.

The key to life is having favourite trades people.

The Bathroom

While the painter was coming to look at the doors I thought about anything else that might need painting.  The new bathroom is painted poorly (by us, quickly after the loft conversion) but it will do.

The downstairs bathroom, which was a 2023 goal, is still just as mouldy and unpleasant as it was then.  In fact, it's worse, because it's winter.  Renovation was too expensive and we couldn't find a tiler, so we left it.

While the painter was looking at the doors I asked him how much it would cost to pain the bathroom with mould resistant paint.  It was £90.

Why have I ever painted any room when I could have paid someone £90 to do it for me???!!

He painted it in a day.  It took me zero effort.  I am happier having a less gross bathroom.  In no world did I want to spend my limited time painting right now.

The Beds and the Floors

With four kids, we have a lot of beds.  We have a lot of mess.  We have a heavily used house with heavily used floors.

We have a cleaner every two weeks for two hours.  She is amazing.  We origionally hired her to clean the bathrooms because Andy and I both hate cleaning bathrooms. Now she does the whole house.

Recently, she has started coming ever week and alternating between 2 hours and 1 hour.  On the 1 hour days she changes all the bedsheets and does a quick hoover. On the 2 hour days she does bathrooms and bedrooms but not sheets.

I love knowing the sheets will be changed.  I love knowing one day a week the whole house will be hoovered. I still sweep and hoover often... but no matter how bad it gets there will be a day it is clean.  I don't know why I spent so long without hiring a cleaner.  This is one of my favourite £15 ever.

The Dishes

I've often wondered how much different my life would be if I had a dishwasher for the first 5 years we lived in this house.  How much fitter would I have been if I used that 30 minutes a day for exercise? Or I could be so well read? How many hours of my life did I spend washing dishes to avoid the £1,000 outlay for the minor kitchen refurb?  Why did I wait so long?

I like my job.  I like earning money.  I also like using that money to make my life better.  Right now, we don't go on holidays.  We spend a lot of time at home.  Using money to make our home better aligns with our values.  If we valued other things, it might make less sense. 


  1. This is Daria. Commenting on mobile and can’t enter my info.
    I think improving your home while you spend a lot of time at home is a wonderful goal. We have an attic that we want to turn into a playroom but that is expensiiiiiive! I think next year I will only go on one trip, not two and we can put some money toward the attic…

    1. Oh man I would *LOVE* a play room! We turned our attic into two offices and my office is my favourite room in the house now.

  2. I'm pretty sure paying for biweekly housecleaners saved my marriage.
    I love sliding into bed with clean sheets and a tightly made bed on the days that our cleaners come. Amazing.
    I actually like painting and I always say I will paint things myself. But I never move as fast as my Husband would like. One year, while I was away working for the summer, the Husband hired a painter to finish all the painting projects that I hadn't quite gotten to. True, one of the projects would have involved getting on a ladder on the stairs, so it was unlikely that I would have done that anyway.
    I was listening to a podcast once, a parenting podcast where the hosts were men. They talked about having kids do chores and how it wouldn't take too much time. The one host claimed, "It just takes ten minutes to do the dishes." I stopped listening to that podcast after that.

    1. I have heard of people liking painting but it's soooo not my thing! However that's awesome that you do. I'm indifferent on the actual painting, but I hate the prep. And yes I so agree on the clean sheets - it's the best! I joked one time that cleaners were cheaper than marriage counceling but my husband didn't find that as funny as I did.

      Kids doing dishes in 10 minutes? It takes me more than 10 minutes to do all the dishes!! Also, Kids helping with dishes is great in theory but so stressful in practice (although he's 5... but it's still not a super easy one).

  3. I think money spent getting your home how you want it is money well spent. We are not very handy people, so hiring someone is usually how we manage. I love that you were able to get the bathroom painted while getting the garage doors taken care of! And a cleaning person, what a great idea. You are a family of 6, and in such a busy period of your life. I agree that this is also money well spent. I haven't lived without a dishwasher since 1994, and I hope never to have to again!

    1. Thank you! I know there is a huge balance between spending on "things" and spending on "experience" and that we fall pretty far to the "things" side right now, but I also think people don't talk a lot about how they spend their money on their house. When we stopped thinking of every house job as our own it became soooo much easier to not add house stress. There's a reason we have plumbers and painters and handy-people for hire in the world and it's to make our lives and our houses easier :-)

  4. I think it's absolutely worth it to pay someone else to do things for you so you can free up some time (or mental energy!). Yes, it's a very conscious decision to allocate money to that but can also be a wise one.