13 house cleaning "cheats"

Short of finding out you have a fairy godmother, these 13 easy tips maybe the best way to feel as if your house is cleaning itself.

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  • We all wish our houses would clean themselves. Short of finding out you have a fairy godmother, these 13 tips might be the best way to feel as if your house has dirt-repelling powers.

  • As you try these out, remember that you don't have to be perfect. We are all real people with real lives, and that includes real messes.

  • Pick one thing to improve and you'll be amazed at what a difference it makes!

  • Start with one thing that is bothering you most

  • This might be the room people see when they come to the door or maybe your bedroom so you have a peaceful retreat.

  • Rather than trying to tackle the whole house at once, just pick up one small area in the morning. Seeing improvement in one area might motivate you to do more, but even if you stop there, you've made progress!

  • Clean as you go

  • Wouldn't it be easier if your house never got messy in the first place? While that might not be totally realistic (especially if there are kids involved), you can give yourself a break by cleaning as you go.

  • Drop clothes in the hamper when you take them off, put cooking ingredients away, and drop dirty dishes right into the dishwasher as you cook. Wipe off counters when you spill, and grab things to take upstairs as you're running up.

  • Cleaning as you go makes your house feel like it's magically cleaning itself. This is possibly the next best thing to a fairy godmother!

  • Empty the dishwasher right away

  • This one simple change can transform the state of your kitchen. When you empty the dishwasher as soon as it's run, you and the fam can drop dirty dishes right into the now empty dishwasher meaning—no stacks of dirty dishes in the sink! Isn't that an awesome thought?

  • Make it a party!

  • Set a timer for 15 minutes, turn on some upbeat party music, and clean as much as you can until the timer rings! Get the whole family in on these quick cleaning parties.

  • Celebrate afterwards with a small special treat- like a few minutes with a good book, or throwing a ball around in the yard.

  • Get rid of stuff

  • The more "things" you have, the more time you need to put them away, and the less space you have for them.

  • Rooms feel cleaner when there are fewer things in them, and you can "clean" a room simply by getting rid of some of the stuff in it. Throw stuff out, donate to charity, or post items for sale online and earn a few extra bucks—all while making your cleaning job easier!

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  • Get storage containers

  • The one exception to getting rid of stuff is storage containers. Having a place to put things away means you can put things away.

  • Clear plastic bins, cardboard boxes covered in pretty paper, or shelves, all give you a place to put things away. Get a few simple, affordable places to put things and you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to clean!

  • Box up toys for later

  • Kids often have more toys than they can really use, and a lot of them end up just getting dumped out.

  • To save on clutter and clean up time, box up half of their toys and put them away. Then, in a few months, when they're tired of the ones they've been playing with, you can switch them out. Voila! "New" toys and less to clean up!

  • Use dirt-trapping doormats

  • Stopping dirt and mud before they get tracked into the house saves you from having to sweep, mop and vacuum later. Have everyone take off their shoes at the door to stop dirt in its tracks.

  • Buy the right cleaning supplies

  • If you are bent over the bathtub scrubbing and wondering why it's not looking any cleaner, you need new cleaning supplies.

  • Use vinegar to take off hard water stains, white "erasers" for cleaning marks from walls and doors, and mildly abrasive "soft" cleansers for sinks, stovetops and the bathtub.

  • Cooked on spots on smooth top stoves can be removed with the flat edge of a razor blade. (My appliance salesman told me he uses a paint scraper to clean his smooth top stove.)

  • Clean the shower while you shower

  • Keep a scrubber in the shower and every few days, take a minute while your conditioner soaks in to wash under the shampoo bottles and scrub down the walls.

  • If you have shower doors, keep a squeegee in the shower to get the water off them before you get out.

  • Do the same thing with the toilet. Once every couple of days, after you flush, grab the toilet brush and clean the bowl. Take a couple of pieces of toilet paper and wipe under the seat. Another piece will clean the back and those little places near the floor, and voila! You never have to set aside time to clean the bathroom!

  • Light a candle, diffuse an essential oil, or use lemon furniture polish

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  • When you need a quick sense of a clean house, a fresh clean scent can trick our brains into thinking the house has just been scrubbed!

  • Have the whole family help

  • We all make messes, and we all need to help clean up.

  • If your family is resistant to helping clean up, start with a talk about how much you love doing fun things as a family, and how much more time you'll have to spend with them if they help out.

  • Ask for and expect help getting the kitchen clean after breakfast and dinner, folding laundry, and doing other family chores.

  • Recently my daughter, who is now in college, posted a thank you note to me on Facebook for making her clean when she was young. Talk about a happy mom moment!

  • Smile!

  • It makes everything better- even when cleaning.

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Rebecca Watson is a student in Intelligence Studies, a Private Investigator, and the mother of six.

Website: http://www.1001ThingsToBeHappyAbout.com

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