Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cleaning a Large House

Here are some things that *haven't* worked for me over the years, in chronological order (also happens to go from dirtiest to cleanest):

1. Never cleaning and waiting for the Composer to sweep when things got really bad.
2. Hiring someone to clean every two weeks, and doing nothing in between.
3. Trying to clean the whole house all in one day, once a week. In an hour.
4. Doing all the dusting one day, all the floors another day, all the bathrooms another day, etc.

Here's what does work for me:

1. Breaking the house into five sections.
2. Cleaning one section each day--tidying, dusting, wiping stickies, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms.
3. [GENIUS WARNING] Making the children "work for me" every weekday morning from 8:30 to 9:00, right before school starts. We get an amazing amount done in a quick half-hour, and there are no cleaning chores hanging over any of us the rest of the day.


1. The whole house is cleaned every week.
2. No cleaning on the weekends.
3. I may never have that all clean feeling for the whole house at once, but I can have it for a whole wing, the upstairs, the kitchen, etc.
4. My children have learned how and why to clean, and they are amazing contributors. And my house looks great all the time!


Mrs.B. said...

What a helpful post, thank you!

I have a hard time getting over feeling like my house isn't 'really clean' because I didn't do it all in one day. I think it was my upbringing because although we did minimal up-keep during the week our main cleaning day was Friday. With the size of our house now there is no way I can properly clean it all in one day, so I need to break it into zones too.

Thanks for the inspiration.


Mrs. C said...

I'm an all-or-nothing person when is comes to housekeeping, and breaking up the house into zones has been really helpful for me.

I usually focus on one area per week, but that tends to let the rest of the house get unkempt. I think I'll try designating one area per day instead, as you suggested.

Pam said...

We do the same thing here, and breaking the house down like this -plus utilizing kid power makes a big difference. My bathrooms get cleaned top to bottom twice a week, and the car even gets detailed thanks to the kids! Great post!

Emily said...

I was just thinking this morn (as I was sanitizing a commode) how I used to wait until the house needed cleaning before I'd clean. Those days are gone, and I prefer a schedule much like you mention. It's a joy to clean when one doesn't have to go bonkers getting the house clean in two days after letting it get to the point where it needed cleaning.

Unfortunately, I am in the process of playing "catch up" temporarily as I have been pregnant and unable to keep up for various reasons. So overwhelming!

Anonymous said...

This is my first time to comment here. I really enjoy your blog. You mentioned cleaning from 8:30 to 9:00. I'm wondering if your whole day is scheduled. I'd love to read more about it if you would like to share. : )


Cara said...

You've made me curious as to what specific jobs your children do, Anna, as well as what your homeschool day looks like. This post is of particular interest to me at the moment as I just happen to be visiting your blog as a brief break from re-working our own homeschool/cleaning schedule. :)
Thanks for sharing!

BrendaM said...

Breaking the house into sections works very well in a small house, too. It's the only thing I've tried that I've been able to have any success with. I also have my son help out with the work. When he was small, this sometimes made it more difficult and time consuming; but has really paid off now that he's older. What a blessing!

Anonymous said...

I like to break my house into sections too. That way my cleaner knows where to start. I have also asked the nanny to create sections relating to play, relaxation and time out. You've been ever so helpful.

Anonymous said...

I need to do that -- break the house into daily sections -- too. And maybe start the kids with housework for 30 minutes before school as well.

Unfortunately, one of my children uses time as her ally -- she can literally take 30 minutes to unload the dishwasher. Not sure how to cure that one.


Anonymous said...

I love this idea, but I don't see how several rooms can get done in 30 minutes. Please shed more light if I am missing something. My children will take all the time alotted to them to get a task done. We seem to work better when the task has to be completed as opposed to a time to complete it in.

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