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Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Posted by lavender_lass (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 12, 13 at 20:46

I know a lot of people love big homes...and they can be quite lovely. But, every time I see one of these massive, custom homes I think...who cleans them? They must have a cleaning crew, since one person would have trouble keeping up with all the bathrooms, halls, multiple living areas and extra-large kitchen.

Of course, some people have large families and need larger homes. At least then you (hopefully) have help keeping it all clean. I like a little breathing room, say 10-12 people can be in the home together for holidays...but when I see some of these really big homes, I find myself thinking about Downton Abbey :)

From Victorian kitchen with steampunk style


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Ha ha funny. Cleaning and maintenance is the main reason we went small. I really wanted a bigger home, but I hate cleaning, but love things to be clean and tidy. Dh has an OCD level of tidiness. We have two sloppy children. The new house is roughly 1400sf, plus some basement space that may or may not be finished but will be heated and function as play space toy space. I also wonder about how expensive it met get to decorate those larger homes. Too rich for my blood!


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

they've gotta have help or be a cleaning crazy person.

some people looooooove to clean. I like it to BE clean, I just don't wanna be the one to keep it that way. It's way too much for me these days - even my1400 sf place. I see it now in advance.

no way will I be able to continually get down on the floors to clean baseboards, lower cabinets etc. I'll probably have to have someone come in a few times a yr (at least) to do a really good job of it. like the old time 'spring/fall' cleaning.



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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

DH's ex-wife married a man who had a 6,000 square-foot home, and she cleaned that joint top to bottom. There were no children, and very infrequent guests, but I'm sure it was a nightmare. She didn't work, but I don't think she got to enjoy not working when she had to keep that place clean and cook dinner every night. She's divorced now (for myriad reasons) and lives in a cute 2-bedroom townhouse ; ).

I think once houses get that large, the cleaning also becomes more complex. Ceilings are higher, trim is more complicated, furniture is larger, taller, has more surfaces, and lighting is less likely to be easy to reach.

Even if you step down to the contemporary 3,000+ square foot home, you're likely to be dealing with a dedicated bath for every bedroom. So instead of cleaning one kid's bath, there are two or three to clean. Mark me down as "not interested".


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Our house is 3600 sqft (not including basement and garage). Even though we have no kids, no pets, I find myself constantly cleaning, and yet the house is still not as clean as I'd like to see!

I tell my husband, I have a full-time desk job during the day, and a full-time cleaning job at night & during weekend. Was I born a maid?

I do like cleaning, but cleaning so much space so frequently is not fun at all! I think we have to either hire a cleaning lady or move to a much smaller house.

My husband wants privacy, so having a cleaning lady come every week or every other week is not a good option.

He does like the idea of living in a smaller, more space- and energy-efficient house, but the task of selling the current house, selling large pieces of furniture, moving, and possibly building, is quite daunting.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 17:47


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

I think the folks that have those really big houses just buy a new one when the old one gets dirty!


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

I cleaned, mopped and vacuumed 14 bedrooms,2 living areas, 2 dining areas, 2 kitchens,7 bathrooms, 4 offices, a giant glass enclosed foyer , 3 long hallways, plus med rooms and other small storage and utility areas daily, and still had time to do the laundry,( clothing bedding, etc) for 14 little girls. I worked at a residential treatment center for a living (retired now) Once you get it down to a routine, you can buzz right through it.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

I have a dear friend that has a 6500 sf home, and I asked her about that very thing when she sent me pics of their newly built home. It is a "French chateau" design, and it looks like a castle. Seriously.

She said she doesn't do the whole thing at once, she does sections at a time, so it doesn't seem so daunting. She is a very tidy person, so I imagine that she does keep up with the cleaning. It is a beautiful home.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

This is always my 1st question. I think it's like egbar said, it's all about developing a "routine". As for me, that routine was never developed and at this age (50+) it doesn't look good for developing. Approximately 1500 is a chore, I cannot imagine 5,000+ to clean. How about a life?


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Think of a motel chambermaid. They clean many rooms, make beds, clean toilets,etc. They each have a "cart" and wheel their supplies along with them. They use spray cleaners and cleaning rags. Make your own "cart"out of a bucket. Load it with cleaners you use and like. Paper towels are super, but some old rags work just as well and can be laundered and re-used.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Ilovecookie,

At least he's willing to consider moving to a smaller house. Sounds as if you are a slave to you home and you're rightly thinking of rebelling. Once you start thinking about what you really want to take care of that may help you winnow your possessions. Good luck! I'm still working on my lifetime collection of stuff!

oh, to answer the OP I think majority of my friends, coworker and neighbors have cleaning ladies. I had one while my back was injured but after surgery and recovery we stopped.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

I have a dream that someday everything in my home will have its own place, that that place will be known to both my husband and me and that we will regularly recognize that something is not in its place and we will return it to that place. Meanwhile, we live in too much clutter, which makes it hard to clean. We are almost caught up with the laundry pile, which means that I will be able to clean the bedroom soon. Later this week, I hope to be rid of all of the dish gardens I made last fall, freeing up the desk surface in the kitchen and giving us back a third of our counter space. THAT will really help it feel less cluttered and will allow me to really give that kitchen a good shine.

I keep trying to organize my family room so that all of the things I want to keep within reach of my chair are both accessible and out of sight. Well, THAT's impossible! LOL! But sorting out what needs to be there and what I really should be able to get up and go get from somewhere else needs to be done again.

If I could get all of those things done, I could dust or wipe everywhere, vacuum the family room rug and the lino floors everywhere, then MOP. I have been meaning to mop for the past nine months! The foyer, halls, kitchen, and family room are all Forbo Linoleum and I really need to give it a good cleaning.

I have no idea how people who live in those big houses do it all. We have 1675 sq ft. I hate even having to wash two toilets!

I still have that one kitchen cabinet door and some baseboard moldings to sand and stain and poly and install from the kitchen remodel of three summers past, and then I can call that project done. I still need to hang a few pictures in the Library and the foyer. The Library's french doors need to be sanded and stained. They were bought used off of Craigslist and I tried doing a "facelift" on their muddy-looking finish and found that removing the stain and starting over was a better choice. Then there is the new baseboard moldings for the foyer, two halls, kitchen, and family room to paint, and walls in the halls to paint and ceilings in the family room and halls to paint. Ceilings definitely have to be farmed out to someone without degenerative joints in the neck. A paid painter.

To give myself credit, I have managed to recaulk the bathtub, change the bed and bath doorknobs, get a used kitchen counter off of Craigslist and fit it to cover the washer and dryer so that things no longer fall behind them, researched my next remodel project - the bathroom - and purchased the vanity from Craigslist, got the garage half straightened, got my garden trug put together and filled with dirt (will plant veggies tonight when it is cooler), planted porch planters and backyard planters, started on the trimming of the backyard overgrowth, and organizing of the patio!

I just wish I could move like I used to move. I was up half the night with leg pain because I dared to go to both Lowes and the hardware store yesterday, then work on the patio! This getting old stuff is no fun. Back when I was working and before all the remodeling started, I had a nice older lady who came to wipe everything down, vacuum, mop, and clean the bathrooms every other week. She was worth every penny. She retired because her own aches and pains were getting to her. Hey Steph, Chris, and others with similar problems, what are we going to do? DH is already doing more than his share and bringing home all the bacon these days, too.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Thank you, wordie.

Husband and I talked to a realtor today. We will meet him soon to figure out if it makes financial sense to sell the house now. We want to downsize to 1800-2000 sqft. I surely hope we can work it out!


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Well I have always said it is easier to keep a smaller house clean. We have had from 1850 to 800 SQFT. Both have been a challenge. I have been able to pare things down to fit Nancy s dream of a place for everything. Even so I would like to have less of every thing in those spaces. It is so much easier to have a little flexibility.

The other day I re-arranged our pantry. the items we keep stocked up on evolve. Now Joe is sick :^( we eat totally different than we used to. I had such a horrible mess going on in the pantry I hated to even open the door. Pulling many things out and half way starting over made it so much nicer to be able to put things away again and I organized any canned goods to be earliest expire date to the front. I always tried to do that but could not when things got into such a mess.

Now all the house and yard is on me, not complaining just fact, the house does not stay as spotless as it used to. On the other hand the kitchen and bathrooms are cleaner than they ever were because of Joe being on chemo he has to be protected from nasty germs. Every day I do some thing extra as far as cleaning. I can whip through this house and clean it in an hour. No extra cleaning but a daily cleaning. I am never backed up on the laundry. I got rid of all my extra clothes so I wash once a week a couple clothes loads and a load of sheets and towels and any animal bedding. I can do all the laundry in one day. Unless i am doing curtains and I only do them a couple times a year.
Top it off we =I am removing the carpet left in two bedrooms and hall and two closets. Soon the whole house will be vinyl. Will be so much easier to clean. And so good to have a smaller house because the cost of the new flooring and to install it is so high. BUT I should not have to worry about doing it again in my lifetime.

We have about 1375 SQ FT and one bedroom is totally my studio. The living room dinning room and kitchen feel large because they are open to each other. And the vaulted ceilings. I am very happy with this size and really do not want any more to have to take care of.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

"I just wish I could move like I used to move. I was up half the night with leg pain because I dared to go to both Lowes and the hardware store yesterday, then work on the patio!"

I know what you mean! I had a bad night last night and didn't even go anywhere yesterday. I was going to take my car over to the mechanic's this morning but was in no condition to go anywhere - so I didn't. Maybe tomorrow morning if I have a decent night.

About a yr ago I was limiting myself to max 5 stops on a trip out. by the 4th I could tell I was at my end but would push it to that 5th stop if it was important enough. Last fall I started limiting me to 3-4 stops (those would include just getting gas or stopping at the bank).

In the past few months I've often kept it at 2 stops. It's more trips out so a bit more gas usage but it's easier on my body.

Then when I get home I'm done in for hours. Sometimes for the day other than something like getting something to eat and taking the dog out. And feeding her.

It's no wonder I still have boxes stacked all over the LR/DR! I do have a path weeded out from bdrm to kit, from kit to front door and from my bdrm door to the patio door. I wonder if I'll ever get thru all of those boxes... I think I have gone thru 6 or 7 of them since last fall.

I've been trying to work outside in the evenings (after the sun goes over the mtn west of me) for 20-30 min. That's about all my back will take of raking or moving a hose around type work.

I'm not 'seeing' a pretty picture of my future... I don't think I could 'whip' through anything anymore!

of course, right now the heat here has a lot to do with it. If I go out anywhere I try to do it early and be home by noon - hopefully before it hits 100 out there.

Sorry to hear about Joe. Hope it all goes well for him. Don't overdo yourself during this time - it won't help either of you. I figure now that my eye sight isn't good enough to see lots of the dirt I used to clean away... (out of sight, out of mind)


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

We all want to keep our home and things tidy and clean, but sometimes it can't be possible because of the big size of rooms. Big houses have their own advantages apart from cleanliness.
For me, small families need small houses to maintain and keep it dirt-free.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Nancy and Steph, I understand not having the ability to get around like we used to. i am there too. some times I just have to force myself to finish some goal I have set for myself. If I get behind it makes it worse for me.

I am trying to combine tasks every day. Today is laundry day so on my way to the kitchen this morning for my first cup of coffee I grabbed the laundry out of the hamper and put one load in the washer to run while I drink my coffee. Will have both loads ready for the line as soon as breakfast is done and I will take them out on my way to the back end of the house to do the morning chores back there.

I just have a very busy time first thing in the day. Feel like it is a mad dash to get the chores done so I can either rest or play in the heat of the day. I also need down time. And the day of shopping gets nothing extra done but just that and the animal care. I usually have to nap after I get the shopping items put away too. I have been known to decide I did not want some things on my list because they were not worth the added stop. Saves me $$$$ that way.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

"I have been known to decide I did not want some things on my list because they were not worth the added stop."

I do that too. There are times when I even split my shopping at W. Rather than walk the whole store I'll put off things needed on the dog food, hardware, car product etc side of the store until a different day.

My mornings are mostly useless. It takes a few hrs for my meds to get in me and my body to respond to them. If I have to go somewhere early then I'll be down for a day or 2 following. It really messes me up.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Can I weigh in? One of the benefits of downsizing to our 1200 sq ft house (soon, I hope!) is less to clean. Now, we have a 4 bd. 2 bathroom 2500 sq ft. and I don't keep up, don't want to keep up, no place for everything, always moving crap around, etc, etc. I keep telling DH we have to stack storage into this next house so everything has a place. I figure 'everythings' place can't always be the kitchen table! Like many of you, I'm totally sick of living in clutter and mess. I want a clean house.

Too bad I'm married to a messy, messy man with hoarder tendencies.


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RE: Cleaning the really big homes...how do they do it?

Deedles I have the same problem as you. My Dh is such a hoarder and I don't have any idea where to put all the new stuff he buys. He leaves things on the kitchen counter constantly and I keep shoving it in closets, drawers, any where I can find that isn't in plain view. Then he asks me where something is and I have no clue. It's a constant battle to keep up. I don't even want to get started on the garage. We have a two car attached and a 4 car detached which is one of the reasons we bought the house. The 4 car is literally filled. Motorcylcles, tools, atv's engines, motorcycle frames, more tools. I thought that this would be enough space for his hobby (he buys used motorcycles and fixes them) but he has almost outgrown it. I've finally got him to start selling stuff on ebay to get rid of things that we really aren't using.


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