Moving to a Bigger House - Cleaning Question

Updated on November 21, 2018
A.S. asks from San Mateo, CA
8 answers

I’ve been posting about our move from CA to VA this coming June 2019. We are super excited and have been big plans to purchase a newer/bigger home when we get there. We currently live in in a 1300 sq. Ft. House in the Bay Area, 3 bdrms, 2 ba. So it’s small. We pay $170/mo. To have someone clean 2x a month. That’s a good deal around here as we’ve had the same cleaners for 10+ years and she has never increased our price as long as we refer her.

When we move, I may not have a job yet (my wife will). I was thinking that I would have the time to clean. However, when I try to clean like my cleaner, it nevers “feels” as clean. Also, I typically do a room or two and then another a day or two later, so it’s never all clean at once. We also both work very full-time, 40+ hours a week, so time is not our friend. Maybe when I have more time I will get better at this?

I’m looking for tips on how people clean their much larger houses (4/5 bdrms) 2500+ sq ft.? I’m starting to get a little overwhelmed at the notion. Maybe a small house is not so bad after all? Or maybe there are more places to shove everything and close the door? Our small house now does get easily cluttered and I’m sure not enough space and too much stuff is the culprit.

Any East Coasters willing to share what they pay/month for cleaning services? Would love feedback from those large house owners!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, my area has a really low cost of living, so this may be an under-estimation for you, but for my 2500 sq ft house, I'd paid between $100-$120 per cleaning, twice a month.

As for cleaning, I think that the key is to not get distracted by de-cluttering/rearranging or deep cleaning. This might sounds counter-intuitive, but the reason that a single cleaning person can clean my entire house in 4 hours is because she didn't look through the pile of mail on the counter to see what to keep and watch to pitch. She just moved it, cleaned the counter, then moved it back. She didn't look at whether all the books on the bookshelf were orderly. She just dusted it. She didn't stop in the middle to pull the grate off the fridge and vacuum out the coils, she just cleaned the floor.

That's not to say that there isn't a time and place for decluttering and deep cleaning. Of course there is. Decluttering is almost daily for me (the more you can keep surfaces uncluttered when you move into your new place, the easier it will be) and deep cleaning is on a schedule. But for routine, keep the house looking shiny and finish in one afternoon-type of cleaning, stay focused on the task at hand - wiped counters, dusted shelves, vacuumed/mopped floors, and clean bathrooms.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Lubbock on

You might be surprised how much workbit is to truly clean a home.

I found the closest I’ve come to a truly clean home is by using Flylady’s system. I started a long time ago and she recommended an index card for each task. That was a terrible waste of time. I have used a printed list in a cover sheet that I check off with dry erase marker.

She now has electronic checklists. It kept me on-task. She recommends things like doing a 5 minute cleanup for places that collect clutter a couple of times a day and cleaning your bathroom daily. It got where I could clean the whole bathroom in three minutes flat because it was already basically clean.

It started to look like the maid just left.

PS. You price for a cleaner seems really good in SF. It’s a really nice splurge if you are working long hours, but if you’re not working, you can make it look even better than your cleaning person.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think your method of doing a room or two per day is great. yeah, you don't get the whole-house-at-once effect, but you also don't get overwhelmed.

my house is about the size of your current one (with a full unfinished basement), and while i live broadly in the area to which you're moving, i'm way out in the sticks, in the skinny part of MD between PA and WV so we're not paying urban prices.

when i cut down to part time work i thought i'd be fine with keeping up with the cleaning, but i've discovered that even when i have time, i don't want to.

so basically i work to pay for my horses and the fabulous sherry who comes every other week to clean. we pay $80 for 3-4 hours work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have a 5 bed/3 bath house. I have 3K square feet. I pay $120 every week to have a team come in. So - basically $500 a month without tip. And I don't leave tip every week. I am in NOVA - you couldn't pay me enough to move to Richmond. Sorry - while the politics there are more Conservative? It's dirty and not a place I want to be.

If you have clutter in a small house? it will ONLY get worse in a bigger house because your mentality will change. It has NOTHING to do with space - it has EVERYTHING to do with amount and mentality. If you don't make a concentrated effort to put stuff away? You will NEVER be able to keep it clean or clutter free.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It can't be any higher than the bay area. Pay for it, it will be worth it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I can't tell you anything about cleaning prices.
What I can tell you is the size of the space to clean doesn't matter that much as long as you try really hard not to fill up that space.
The easiest time to clean a house is before you put furniture into it.
So really figure out what you need for furniture - keep it minimal.
If your storage spaces fill up - you have too much stuff.
Sort through it, donate most of it, keep keepsakes and dust catchers to a minimum.
It's easy to get to a point where you don't own the stuff so much - the stuff owns you.
You take control back by downsizing the stuff - it can be very freeing!

I once worked with someone who had an interesting house management philosophy.
Every room in his house would get emptied once per year.
One month it would be the kitchen, another month it would be a bedroom, another month it would be the living room, the garage, etc.
When the room was emptied it would be cleaned (or put new flooring/carpeting if needed), updated, repaired, painted, etc.
Anything stored in that room would be cleaned before being put back and of course nothing was there for more than a year so if he hadn't touched or used something - he would get rid of it.
Since there were more months than he had rooms, he had times when no room was being worked on - during holidays, etc.
This way he kept his clutter under control and his house was always in great shape.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We live in nyc and use handy. They charge $90 for our 950 square foot jr4 co op. We have them every three weeks of so. Also we use use a roomba. Clean floors help save keep the dust down.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I hate cleaning, so I get as many convenient tools and helpful devices as possible. Some truly remarkable cleaning aids are available out there. "Swifter" mops is one of them. (my husband found them at Walmart and bought them for me) I like to sweep ceramic floors with a good old broom, or dust mop and then pickup the dirt with a hand held "Dustbuster" For intermediate maintenance I have a portable little sweeper with a long handle kept on the charger all the time. It gets dirt under the couch and dust under the beds easily. There are also hand held acrylic fiber dusters which pick up dust between the times that I use furniture spray.The acrylic fibers magnetize the dust. Then you go shake them outside. ( Get them at a dollar store type place.) Or just use rags made from acrylic clothing.

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