How To: Keep Your Home Clean Without a Maid

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Yesterday we asked the question, do you clean before the cleaning lady comes? We have to confess that we no longer have a cleaning lady. We gave her up when we realized that our apartment wasn't clean, it was just temporarily tidy. We had to find a way to do the real work ourselves and not in a crazy "I'm going to alphabetize all my spices" way but in a way that meant we could keep it clean ourselves and pocket the increasingly large chunk of change the cleaning lady was charging us. Now our apartment really is clean. The spices are not yet alphabetized...but almost (okay, they're arranged by cuisine). If we can do it, you can too. Our four part method after the jump...
  • Excercise your body by beating the clock: Once a week we set aside an hour to do basic chores: swiffer the floors, dust, vacuum or dustbust, change our sheets, toss magazines, newspapers, windex our mirror and glass coffee table and straighten up. We try to combine it with doing laundry. When the laundry's done, so are we. It's a very basic, very fast surface clean that keeps our apartment looking neat.
  • Excercise your brain by multi-tasking: Each week we concentrate on one room and spend a few minutes each day doing a more thorough cleaning. We try to combine this with doing other things to make it less painful. So, we'll clean out a cabinet while we're on the phone, rearrange our shoes while we're waiting for the bath to fill, file our weekly receipts while the dryer cycles.
  • Excercise your spirit by cultivating daily rituals: We have morning rituals, an outbox to filter out the outside world when we get home and things we do before we go to bed. Like brushing our teeth, they have become routine and help prevent larger problems.
  • Exercise your sense of accomplishment: We finish tasks that we start. We wash the dishes after a meal, we make our bed when we get up, we put our clothes away when we take them off.

[Image via MarineGirl]

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