Dear Lola,

I live in an apartment building and the neighbor directly above me has a habit of vacuuming in the middle of the night. Our apartments are very small so even when she isn’t in the room directly above my bed, I can still hear the whir of the machine. Not to mention the bumps and thumps of items being moved about! My neighbor seems like a nice lady when I say hello to her in the building, but she is being quite rude and should limit her cleaning activities to normal hours, out of consideration for her neighbors.

Should I confront her about this issue or stay quiet?


Sleeping Beauty

Dear Sleeping Beauty,

Based on your letter, I can tell that you have made some assumptions about your neighbor and her cleaning habits. However, I have found that assumptions are often incorrect, especially when made about a person of whom you have very little knowledge. In order to point out the obvious flaw in assuming your neighbor is cleaning in the middle of the night out of sheer rudeness, I’ve compiled a few scenarios for you to consider.

Your neighbor is a crime fighter.

Unfortunately for her, criminals rarely consider the schedules of other human beings before they decide to carry out their nefarious activities. Therefore, your neighbor is simply utilizing any free time she has between asylum breakouts and anarchist bank robberies to keep her home tidy. Have you considered approaching the evil villains in your neighborhood and asking them to limit their shenanigans to the hours which work best for you?! I’m sure your neighbor would be grateful.

Your neighbor is a serial killer.

Who cleans their house in the middle of the night?! In case you missed the obvious answer, serial killers clean in the middle of the night. While the rest of polite society dreams, serial killers scurry to clean up the scene of the crime before anyone notices. Those bumps and thumps are not just the sounds of vacuuming – they’re the sound of a body hitting the floor. You could walk upstairs and knock on your neighbor’s door to ask her to hush, but I should caution you that the next body to hit her floor could be yours.

Your neighbor has a pet owl.

Owls are nocturnal creatures. Being the responsible pet owner she is, your neighbor kindly allows her fowl friend to sleep undisturbed during the day. Then, as the owl wakes for a night of mouse hunting, your neighbor gets to work cleaning up the apartment. While I cannot conclusively state it as fact, I imagine owl feathers would get everywhere if you weren’t diligent about cleaning up each night. If you decide to wander up and ask for quiet, consider taking a mouse as a housewarming gift.

Your neighbor is a witch.

The noise of the vacuum isn’t an attempt to clean her home, it’s the sound of a practicing witch learning to ride a back-up vehicle. You never know when your broom will break down, rendering your chase of the local children virtually impossible! To prevent that catastrophe, your neighbor is learning to ride a variety of household objects. Broom broken down? Hop on the vacuum! Vacuum feeling sluggish? Break out a mop! No object is too silly when it comes to luring the village children to your cottage in order to suck the life out of them in order to extend your own. If your neighbor begins chanting after you request silence, it’s too late to run.

Your neighbor isn’t vacuuming.

The vacuum is actually a robot, capable of moving about the apartment at will. When your neighbor is home, the robot diligently cleans the areas she has selected, taking care to mimic the approved actions that humans have programmed into it. When your neighbor leaves the apartment, the scenario takes a sinister turn. The robot tests out a growing number of skills in order to advance the revolution against their human overlords. Those bumps and thumps you hear at night are the robot’s attempts to juggle knives and alter the programming of the other appliances in your neighbor’s home.

You may be doing humanity a favor by questioning your neighbor’s cleaning habits.

You may also be doing humanity a favor by leaving your neighbor alone. You are living in an apartment and that means you sometimes have to put up with noise at hours when you would rather have quiet. Your neighbor is vacuuming, not screaming drunkenly for hours at a time. Turn on a white noise machine and wear some earplugs. If the apartment is as small as you claim, the noise shouldn’t last for long.


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2 replies on “Dear Lola – Clean up interrupted…

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