EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Housekeeping Secrets

The Pros Reveal Keys to Ultra-Clean Living

By Julie Bliss

Who doesn't love a clean house? The scent of lavender infused pine oil, the crispy-ironed linens, the white carpet nap alert and footprint free. It's not easy maintaining a spotless home these days what with all the island hopping, the black tie galas and the endless couture shows to attend.

Our panel of experts reveal their secrets to help you keep your home magazine-spread perfect at all times - it's more fun than you think!

The Miracle of Vinegar

Believe it or not, it's probably in your pantry right now. Here's a hint - your chef makes salad dressing with it. Yes! Vinegar is an environmentally friendly and highly effective cleaning agent. To clean windows or any glass surface, first gather round five or six non-English speaking workers. Supply them with lint free cloth rags, rubber squeegees, a three-gallon pail, vinegar, hot water and extra cloths for drying. Direct each worker to his/ her own area and gesture energetically with washing motions like big arm circles and vigorous scrubbing-type hand signals. Check on them every hour or so until everything sparkles! (Do not be surprised if you have to repeat instructions several times or even shout a bit to get everyone on board.)

Be Aware of Your Problem Areas

If you have areas of your home that tend to look frequently untidy, here is an easy way to eliminate all that clutter before it gets out of hand: reduce, reduce, reduce. Organization wizard Renee Ridofit explains, "Say you have three boys. Chances are they are pretty messy and leave their junk all over the place. They will be the first to go. Get brochures from prep-schools, military academies and summer camps with extra long sessions. By simply removing the root cause of your major mess makers, you will make your life so much less stressful."

Mealtime Magic

It's breakfast time. Your chef doesn't come in until lunch. The difficulty of getting the family fed quickly can leave your attention on the food and not on the accumulating dirty dishes. Twigs Brooke-Astor, from the hit TV show "Managing Multiple Homes", suggests you stay on top of kitchen clutter by "forgetting" to make meals. The family will quickly learn to fend for themselves with fistfuls of Lucky Charms and hearty school lunches. Treat yourself daily to a Starbuck's triple shot latte to ward off your own hunger pangs.

Lucky Laundry Day

It is so easy to forget to pick up clothes at the cleaners. How many times have you looked all over the house for your favorite darling tweed Chanel suit to no avail and had to go out and buy another, only to discover it was at the cleaners all along!? Bitsy Von Holstein, the author of "Settlement: How To Survive On $4,000 a Day" says designate one day a week Laundry Day and type it into your Blackberry or Palm Pilot along with a clever recurring reminder tune such as "How Dry I Am" or "Tiny Bubbles." Pick a day free of other complicated errands such as manicures, antiquing or Pilates.

Pet Hair Magnet

Are your precious squishums leaving a trail of delicate dog fur around your home? Clumps of pet hair in corners are unsightly and fur from the sofa can leave your black velvet D & G pants white with fuzz. Search around the house for a closet in one of the hallways. Open the door and you will discover a medium sized machine, probably gray, but maybe another color. It has wheels and several long tubey things. This is your vacuum. Your cleaning people use it to suck up all the debris from your floors. It is simple to use, just plug it in, turn the switch to "ON" and your vacuum will lift away all that pet hair in a jiffy. If you are feeling energetic, put the vacuum away when you are done, or just leave it out until the cleaning people return in the morning.

It is a never-ending chore, staying on top of household duties. But all our experts agree, cleaning is so much easier when someone else does it for you.

© 2004 Julie Bliss


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Julie Bliss is a freelance writer from Fairfield, CT with many credits, but no actual credit.