Currently, we are living in a 3000 square foot rental home. To some that may be average, but to us this house is quite large. In fact, it’s the biggest house my husband and I have ever lived in. I was nervous moving in thinking about what it would be like to clean the house. Since we’ve lived here almost two months now, I thought it would be interesting to share my cleaning schedule. It actually hasn’t been as daunting as I thought, thank goodness.
I will preface this post by saying that I’m naturally a pretty clean person. My kitchen is always clean, laundry is never piled up and we don’t have random toys strewn throughout the house. The girls know that their toys stay in the play room or in their rooms. They bring toys downstairs, naturally, but know that they belong upstairs and they put them away when they are done. I do dishes throughout the day as needed, I wipe down the counters multiple times per day and I rotate laundry as I go. It’s really not that hard to bring the dirty clothes with me on my way downstairs and throw them in the washer. This method has prevented me from doing multiple loads at once on any given day.
My biggest tip for keeping a big house clean
My biggest pet peeve is clutter. One super, super easy way to eliminate clutter is to simply not have a lot of stuff!! Our house is big, yes, but it is NOT full of furniture, toys, decor and other knick-knacks. Do we have wasted space? Yes…but if I’m being honest, I really like living in a big house and having space, even if we never fill up every single room. It’s nice to spread out and have room for the girls to play, I like being able to cook and watch television downstairs after the girls go to sleep without waking them and I like that we can comfortably host guests in our home without feeling overcrowded.
My house almost always appears clean because we don’t have a lot of stuff. The more “stuff” you have, the messier your house can get and the more time you have to spend cleaning it!
My cleaning schedule
I wish I had specific days where I did specific chores, but that’s just not me. Instead, I hit specific areas once a week (that’s the goal, anyways). Here’s how I break it down:
Our house has three bathrooms. To clean all three takes about 45 minutes. This includes the shower in the master, the toilets, the tub in the master and girl’s bathroom, the countertops in all the bathrooms and the mirrors in all the bathrooms. If I’m pinched for time, I clean just the master and skip the other two bathrooms since they are not used as often.
The floors take up the most time at roughly 1 1/2 hours. I clean all the hardwoods downstairs and vacuum all the carpets. It doesn’t seem like it would take that long, but for some reason this is how long it takes me. Clean floors make the whole house appear freshly cleaned in my opinion, so it’s a chore that’s well worth the time. Usually, I end up cleaning the hardwoods twice a week and vacuum once every two weeks.
The play room
Ahhh the messiest room of the house! One thing I LOVE about having a play room is the mess in there never bothers me. It’s an area dedicated to toys (and a foosball table, haha!) and the girls get so much use out of it. If someone stops by on short-notice, our house is never full of toys because we try to keep them in the play room as much as possible. But, nonetheless, I do clean it at least once a week. When it’s clean, the girls especially love playing in there because they can mess it up again, haha. This room takes me about 20 minutes to clean, which is strictly picking up and organizing all of their toys.
As I said above, I clean the kitchen as I go. If I cook, I do the dishes immediately. After we eat, I do the dishes. If we have a snack, the dishes are done right as we’re finished. There is nothing worse than having dishes pile up in the sink (to me, anyways), especially if food is stuck on them. In fact, I have never once let this happen in my own home. I would much rather spend 30 seconds here and there loading the dishwasher a few times a day rather than an hour soaking and scrubbing each dish every two days. To me, there is nothing better than a clean kitchen!!
Closets and drawers
Closets and drawers can get messy very quickly. One nice thing about having a large house is we have plenty of room for storage. Each kitchen drawer has an item dedicated to it – such as bills, John’s work papers, coupons (yes, I have a whole drawer for these!), tax information and more. I’m good about tossing out expired coupons and bills that have been paid. I never used to keep my papers organized but I’m working hard at that now and so far it’s paying off! We recently cleaned out our closets and got rid of ALL our junk when we moved from AZ to NC, so so far the closets have been super easy to maintain. I do plan on going through all our items once the seasons change and clearing out even more stuff.
All in all, I spend roughly 30 minutes – one hour each day cleaning. If I tackle a big project, such as the floors or baseboards, I spend more time. Cleaning is definitely something that can seem overwhelming, but if you break it down and tackle one “main” chore every few days plus stay on top of dishes and laundry, it’s actually not that bad. Another tip is to be willing to ask your spouse and kids to help out! My kids are 2 and 1, but they both help me unload the dishwasher, they put their toys away and my oldest puts her dishes in the sink when she’s done eating. John always takes out the trash, helps rotate the laundry, maintains the outside of the home and does additional household work anytime I ask (he’s a keeper!!).
For some people, having a specific, very detailed cleaning schedule is needed. For me, I more go with the flow and tackle projects that are necessary at the time. Every once in a while I’ll get in the zone and spend three hours cleaning, but more often than not I clean as I go.
Do you follow a cleaning schedule? How much time do you spend cleaning your house each day? Any tips on how to clean a big house?
photo credit: Flickr via Susy Morris
Ben Luthi saysat
We’re both really horrible at keeping things clean, but it always seems easier somehow when we have a schedule/plan.
Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It saysat
Great job on keeping that big house clean! Our house isn’t as big but I’ve got cleaning down to a science. It takes about two hours to do the general weekly cleaning. Sometimes I only clean once every two weeks;0) I clean when it’s dirty and I can see the results! I do have a schedule for deep cleaning that helps me remember everything that needs to be done and I can look back at my chart to see when I actually did it! I like to get it done and call it good!
Keeping up with the laundry and clutter are huge. I usually do at least a load a day and it feels like I’m constantly clearing off the kitchen island.
Mrs. Maroon saysat
Ugh. I wish I was as diligent about cleaning. And efficient. I’m just not that good at it. And I HATE the floors. Mr. Maroon often offers to do the floors because he knows how much I detest it. If I could figure out how to be more efficient, perhaps I would dread doing it so much…
diane @smartmoneysimplelife saysat
I can always think of at least eleventy billion other things to do than house work. Yes… ELEVENTY BILLION!
I really need to consider a schedule. I’m still not sure that would work though… I really hate house work. I guess the trick is to do a little bit each day so it never becomes overwhelming.
You’ve inspired me to give it a shot. 🙂
Christina @ Embracing Simple saysat
You are a better woman than I! I am TERRIBLE at doing the dishes right after I cook or bake. Washing dishes is my least favorite chore, I would rather scrub 10 toilets than 1 pot. That probably makes me a weirdo, but that’s just the way it is.
I am working really hard at trying to clean things as I go. I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping the rest of the house clean, but the kitchen is still a work in progress.
Nice job with keeping that big house clean!
Erin @ Journey to saving saysat
I wish I had your dish cleaning habits! You’re right that taking a few minutes to clean them immediately pays off – I’m just always running off to the next thing. I agree with you on the issue of clutter. Whenever we move next, I’ve already vowed to get rid of 50% of my stuff. I think it’s awesome you manage to keep everything in order!
This is an awesome schedule. I live in a studio apartment right now and have the opposite problem – it’s definitely not too much to clean, but even the tiniest mess or clutter makes the whole apartment feel dirty to me. It seems like no matter how little stuff we have, there’s always clutter somewhere! That said, it takes me an hour, tops, to clean the whole apartment. I can’t really imagine trying to manage a space as large as yours – kudos to you!
Marie Beausoleil saysat
My goodness. I’m searching for “large house cleaning schedul” because I’m moving into a 2100 square foot house and I’m suddenly realizing just how big that is. I’ve never lived in a house bigger than 1300 square feet before!
Sarah Brooks saysat
2100 square feet is definitely large!!! I think you’ll enjoy the space! I’m not going to lie, I was a tad nervous when we first moved in because of the cleaning involved, but it really hasn’t been that bad at all! We’ve lived here a year now and I clean in spurts. The key is not to have a ton of items to crowd out the space and keep track of. Our first apt was 700 sq ft and I swear that apt got SO MUCH MESSIER than our current house because of the lack of space!! Best of luck to you!!
Cheryl Lea saysat
I already do everything you suggested, and still can’t keep my house clean. The dust bunnies in my house look like Texas tumble weeds! Even after getting the ducts cleaned, dust is still everywhere! I’m thinking, maybe the REAL secret to keeping a large house clean is to just lower my standards!!!
Sarah Brooks saysat
Hahaha yes lowering your standards works too!! Do you live in a dusty place? We lived in AZ until two years ago. It’s CRAZY the difference in the amount of dust between there and NC (where we live now). In AZ, I cleaned our hardwoods every single day (we had a much smaller house and I didn’t work FT) and they truly needed it every single day. In NC, I clean them once every 1-2 weeks and other than crumbs hiding from the kids, there really isn’t much dust. So, maybe you just need to move haha!