Take the "Work" Out of Housework

Pro tips to help you keep your home sparkling

By Sharon Johnson

In an ideal world, our homes would clean themselves, leaving us with more free time to enjoy life. While manufacturers are making great progress creating products that bring us closer to that reality, there is still a considerable amount of hands-on cleaning necessary to make our homes sparkle.

Here are some great cleaning tips from the pros, as well as a look at innovative new and upcoming products that take the "work" out of housework.

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Garrison Hullinger

Cleaning Tips from the Pros

While we look forward to the days when our homes will be maintenance-free, we still have to contend with the dust and debris of everyday living. It's not that we don't want our homes to sparkle, but who has time to get the work done? Happily, all it takes is a bit of planning, organization, and strategic know-how to get your home clean in just a few hours per week.

The professionals at Merry Maids, a national home cleaning company, offer these tips for handling housework efficiently and keeping your home better organized year-round.

Declutter. If you're unsure whether you're dealing with treasures or trash, Merry Maids offers a simple test: "If you can't put it away, it's clutter." Throw away or donate the clutter. If you're sincerely unsure what to do with certain items, box them up, write a date on the outside of the box, and set it aside for a while. If you haven't accessed anything in the box for a year, get rid of the contents.

Remove clutter catchers. If the table by the front door is constantly piled with papers, remove the table. This may sound radical, but removing such clutter catchers will force you to put items in their proper places.

Trap the dirt. Use entry mats on both the outside and inside of the main entrance door to collect dirt and stop it from entering your home.

Designate a command center. Choose one spot in the house for the mail, keys, lists, school papers, etc. Typically this is a desk or shelf in the kitchen.

Consolidate your cleaning supplies. Place all cleaning supplies in a handled bucket that you can carry from room to room. Let the products work for you. Spritz bath and kitchen surfaces with cleaning products, then move to another short task while giving the cleansers time to work. Then you need only wipe clean rather than scrub.

Keep dust at bay. Change furnace and air conditioning filters monthly. Dust vents as part of your weekly chores.

Dust first, vacuum last.

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