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RISMEDIA, January 9, 2010—Cleaning your home is a never a fun task and one that homeowners don’t often look forward to. The following tips will help you make the most of your cleaning so that you aren’t spending all your free time trying to keep your house tidy.

1. Plan ahead and prioritize. Decide must-do, can-do and can-wait. The bathrooms, kitchens and wherever people will eat, for example, make the must-do list, while an upstairs bedroom that no one should see can wait.

2. Divide and conquer. Do something each day so that each task doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

3. Freshen up the front. First impressions are lasting impressions, so clean around the entranceways and sweep porches and walkways. Vacuum or wash that welcome mat.

4. Clean from top to bottom. Because dust settles, it’s best to dust furniture or wash walls before cleaning the floors.

5. Make house cleaning a family affair. Assign tasks to everyone who’s old enough to do something. “Doing it together gets the whole family involved in an activity that ultimately contributes to the well-being of all family members,” says Constance Costner, housing educator for Michigan State University Extension.

6. Group similar chores together. For example, vacuum all the rooms that need vacuuming so you’re not taking the vacuum cleaner out for one room, putting it back, then taking it out again for another room.

7. Make it as enjoyable as possible by playing whatever music that gets you and your family pumped up and moving.

8. Remove or organize clutter to make each room easier to clean.

9. Clean first thing in the morning, if possible. Dust and cobwebs are more visible in daylight. You can sometimes open windows to release the smell of cleaning products and let fresh air in. Also, a morning start—with time left over to do something you want to do—won’t leave you feeling like you’ve spent the entire day cleaning.

(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.