There are two things about cleaning that most guys hate:

  1. Actual cleaning when there is something else to do.

  2. Sorting through stuff.

Cleaning, however, is a responsibility for all those who breathe air of the same earth. There are ways to make cleaning seem far less torturous. Here are a few ideas, written directly for your guy (none of them referencing Mary Poppins), to get him to clean until it's "spit spot." (OK, that's the only reference) or at least until the game starts.

 For many, beginning a new task is the hardest thing to do. Once you get going, life doesn't seem so terrible. Yet, taking that first step of walking into the room you need to clean with a trash bag, a can of Lysol and, possibly, a leaf blower is harder than it may seem. Take a breath and do it.

 Set a time and try to beat the clock. Don't discuss it for a half an hour, and don't do a shoddy job just because you set five minutes on the clock. Make the decision and move in for the kill.

  Put on some good music. You get to decide what that is. Disco is great. Credence Clearwater Revival or the Doobies are also good. But, don't just stand there and scoff at my picks. Get out the CD player and groove.

  Don't worry about all the supplies and cleaning stuff that you must have based on commercials. You don't have to have a dusting spray or Smell-eze. You need the vacuum, a screwdriver to clean out the vacuum hose when you suck up something that should not have been on the floor, Windex, water and several rags.

  Open the window, change the light bulbs, gather all the cords together and zip tie them. Keep everything you need in a tote or a tool belt.

  If you have to get stuff, get a name brand. They're a name brand for a reason.

  Keep those cleaners where you use them or, rather, where they should be used. Toilet bowl cleaner goes in the bathroom, not in the garage next to the kayaks. Bleach is good for the kitchen, bathroom, laundry or by the kayaks.

  Clean one room at a time. Divide and conquer. Don't try to do the whole house. Unless what is needed is a simple once over, like vacuuming and dusting. Do one room, and then the next.

  Break chores down into smaller, more manageable jobs. Take it one job at a time. Sorting through stuff is a different task. Have a few bins available to toss in like items. Sort it out later.

  Start with the biggest thing. Usually that is clutter or trash. Pick up all the toys and then the blankets. If cardboard is a problem, start by gathering all the pizza boxes and trashing them. Have a pile or box for trash and make good use of it. Many of the other items you are picking up go there: fast food containers, half-read romance novels (I won't ask), junk mail, newspapers. Toss that stuff and your job is half done.

  Make a pile of things that belong in other rooms and set them right in the doorway. When you leave the room for any reason, take something(s) from the pile and put it away.

  For most things, spraying cleaner onto the rag, itself, will keep you from staining a suede couch or asphyxiating the hamster. Don't spray the world, just the window.

The knick knack dilemma

Stuff is hard to clean around, so put collectables on a shelf or in a cabinet. Better yet, pick out the important collectables and box the rest up for the garage. After it's been there two years without anyone noticing or missing said stuff, you can donate it to the local thrift shop without guilt (except for your sports memorabilia or anything that is hers).

Do you like the stuffed armadillo from your best friend's wedding? Put it on a shelf. High.

  Start high and finish low. You could vacuum first and dust last, but the vacuum cleaners these days don't raise a lotta floaties. Some prefer to dust and then vacuum. Stirred-up dust floats down, so make gravity work for you.

  Unless the windows need heavy cleaning, wipe the glass and the mirrors after everything else.

  Don't worry about it not being perfect. Clean it to the best of your ability and then move on. Does your mother-in-law think the floor needs to be clean enough to eat off? Unless she plans on dinning on the ceramic tile, a simple dry mopping will do.

That was much better, wasn't it? And just in time for the game.

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