What to Do When Your House is Too Big to Clean?

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Feeling slightly overwhelmed by work and chores lately, I started looking into ways to cope with cleaning more efficiently when living in a house that is too big.


Mopping the floor in a big kitchen

So, what to do when your house is too big to clean?

  • Keep everything tidy and organised
  • Reduce psychological barriers to cleaning
  • Perform one type of cleaning per day (i.e. rotate the tasks)
  • Clean one zone of the house per day (i.e. rotate the areas)
  • Clean one type of room per day (i.e. rotate per room type)
  • Block a big bulk of time just for cleaning the house (ex: 2 days to do a full cleaning session)
  • Get a cordless lightweight rechargeable vacuum cleaner 
  • Ask the rest of the family for help
  • Find ways to make tidying or cleaning fun
  • Clean in the morning
  • Review your cleaning standards 
  • Use a list of tasks
  • Use a timer
  • Consider seeking cleaning assistance
  • Consider moving into a smaller house (if all of the above didn’t work)

Let’s now dive into more details on how to clean your house when it is so big that you feel overwhelmed.

How to Clean Your House When it is Too Big

Keep Everything Very, Very Tidy and Organised

Getting a big house often triggers or enhances people’s desire to own more stuff. There is more room, therefore plenty of space to store more things.

I get that. But in order to keep the cleaning task manageable, you really have to make sure that your house is very tidy and organised. Everything that is lying around or put on shelves will catch dust quickly. Things that are lying on the floor will also make it more difficult to clean since you will have to move them around all the time.

This is why, in my opinion, if you have gotten to the point that your house is too big too clean, you should at least consider taking the following steps in the short to medium term. They will help you drastically decrease the time you spend cleaning on average in the long run.

Steps to take

  • Declutter. It may sound counterintuitive. Isn’t this the point of having a big house? Maybe. However, clutter can get in the way when cleaning and there are certain things that you can just give or through away.
  • Organise your belongings so that your house looks very tidy. 
  • Use boxes! This will help you organise things extremely neatly, gain space (not that you would need any) and also prevent stuff from catching dust. It will also make it easier to clean, as one box is easier to move around than millions of – say – kids’ toys.
  • Be selective about things that stay “out of the boxes”. Only put things you love for display on the floor, shelves, or any other surface. A piece of art, a few books that mean the world to you, a souvenir that makes your heartbeat every time you see it. If possible, make sure to put the other things in the boxes and take them out only when you need it…

Having clear and clean shelves in the bathroom

Reduce Psychological Barriers to Cleaning

When confronted with such a big task, sometimes one can feel overwhelmed. It is important that you identify the things that sometimes slow you down when you are about to start cleaning.

These obstacles probably make your task of keeping your big house clean much more difficult.

  • Store cleaning utensils somewhere centrally in the house, so that you can access them quickly when you feel like cleaning.
  • Make a manageable plan for cleaning. Planning in advance is very helpful for such big tasks. But also make sure that the timeframe you allocate for it is realistic. For instance, planning a full house cleaning session when coming home from a 9-5 job is probably not going to work.
  • Declutter. It is worth mentioning this step again here since there is also a heavy psychological aspect to clutter.
    • On the one hand, when cluttered, your house can look messy and your brain will feel appalled to the idea of starting cleaning. It just seems like too much work!
    • On the other hand, when all surfaces are clean and the rooms are tidy, it will feel almost awkwardly rewarding. It can happen that you even feel like doing some extra cleaning because your brain loves what it sees and wants to enhance this feeling even more.

Now, which plan can you make in order to tackle the big task ahead of you?

Rotating Tasks: One Type of Cleaning per Day

One way of cleaning a big home could be to switch types of cleaning every day. For example:

  • Monday: wiping dust – which hopefully will take you no time since you decluttered your house 😉
  • Tuesday: vacuum cleaning
  • Wednesday: mopping or sweeping the floors
  • Thursday: cleaning glass surfaces
  • Friday…

This technique has some advantages as you can just keep the same cleaning utensil and move around from one room to another...

Rotating Areas: One Zone per Day

Another way of cleaning a big home could be to clean one zone per day. For example:

  • Monday: Basement
  • Tuesday: Ground floor
  • Wednesday: First floor…

I believe this is a technique that works better for people who are well organised. Every time, you will have to do a full range of cleaning types for one area, so this requires some willpower and organisation. 

The advantage of this method is that it will feel very satisfying to have an entire area fully cleaned (and sparkling!) at the end of your effort.

Rotating Room Type: One Room Type per Day

Another way of cleaning a big home could be to clean one type of room per day. For example:

  • Monday: Bedrooms
  • Tuesday: Bathrooms
  • Wednesday: Kitchen(s)
  • Thursday: Living areas
  • Friday…

Keeping it to one “theme” can be a good combination of the two techniques described above. On the one hand, you do not need to switch between cleaning utensils too much. On the other hand, it will feel rewarding to have a full room (or rather, a few full rooms) clean at once.

Blocking Time: 2 Days to Do it All

Another way of cleaning a big home could be to block a big bulk of time dedicated to cleaning. This may be good depending on your personality and if you have enough free time that you can block as such.

You can still have a look at the above methods and see which one works best for you to proceed in the allocated time.

A Few Other Tips that Will Help You be More Efficient

  • Get a cordless lightweight rechargeable vacuum cleaner to clean “on-the-go”
  • When possible, ask the rest of the family for help
  • If you have kids that are old enough for this, find ways to make tidying or cleaning fun to them
  • Do a little bit of cleaning first thing in the morning if you can
  • Consider lowering your expectations and standards regarding having a clean house. Some of us really need our home to shine in order to feel good about it – or else something seems off, or we can even feel ashamed. Be honest and ask yourself whether your standards are a bit too high when it comes to having a clean house.
  • Use a list of tasks in order to know what you’ve done and what’s left
  • Use a timer. Set an alarm for a very small amount of time (it could be 5 or 10 minutes), and clean something in that time: 
    • It will feel less overwhelming to start cleaning (a little bit)
    • It will feel pretty rewarding to have checked your few minutes of cleaning off your list
    • Sometimes, you may even get the hang of it and do a much longer session.
  • If none of this helps, consider paying a cleaner to help you out – at least with part of the job

What to Do When You Still Feel Overwhelmed Because Your House Is Too Big to Clean

Here is another way to look at this cleaning problem. Maybe your house simply IS too big. Have you considered downsizing a little bit?

Smaller homes and even tiny houses are trending more and more, as we start recognising that bigger is not always better. Small really CAN be beautiful.

Most people who downsize report feeling freer and happier. Having fewer things and less cleaning to leaves you with more room and time for doing what you truly love.

I just wanted to leave you with this final thought!

Books That I Love… To Help You Out:

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