I must confess I am a terrible housekeeper. Like a good psychiatric patient, I blame my mother. You see, I am the youngest of five daughters. By the time I was old enough to help out around the house, all the chores had already been assigned. To be fair, mother gave me a couple of “token” chores to do around the house but they really didn’t count. Needless to say I grew up blissfully unaware of all the drudgery that was involved in the sparkling clean house I lived in.

When I moved out into my first apartment, my mother, unwilling to cut the final apron strings with the last one leaving the nest, inserted herself into my new life of independence in every way imaginable. This meant that she came over once weekly to clean my apartment. So, even throughout my early twenties I did not learn to become a housekeeper.

In my mid-twenties I moved into a nice home in the suburbs that I shared with four other roommates. We were all either in graduate school or struggling as new college graduates with low paying jobs and high college loan debt. We divided up the household chores. It became clear to everyone I didn’t have  a clue about housework so I became the designated yard keeper. I liked puttering about the yard so that was perfect.

Once I finally got married and had kids, it became evident I needed to get me some skills if I wanted to have a happy, healthy home. Unfortunately, starting so late in life meant I had absolutely no mental attitude conditioning toward housekeeping. I hate it. I want it to be over with as fast as possible. So, here are some of my clever shortcuts:

First, get a cordless drill with a soft bristle brush attachment. Scrubbing the bathtub is now no longer a backbreaking task and it only takes a few minutes.

For all that crusty stuff in the microwave that you need a putty knife to scrape off, there is an easier way. Slice a lemon into wedges. Toss them into a bowl of water. Put them in the microwave on high for about five minutes. I won’t even tell you what will happen. Try it and discover this wonderful magic all for yourself.

I can come up with amazing excuses to avoid the task of cleaning the ceiling fan blades. It’s never just about cleaning the blades. I then have to wash my hair and face because they are covered with dust and lint. I also have to vacuum and dust because, inevitably, there is the fallout below from all the gunk above. Now, I use a pillow case. I slide the blade in, pull back scraping the blade, everything falls into the case. Piece o’ cake!

If you’re a recycling freak like me, and also a housekeeping hater like me, this trick wins the daily double. Recycle your dryer sheets. Use them to dust with. Because they are treated to be anti-static, it will help treat the surfaces so that they will remain dust free for longer periods of time.

Do you have kids (or grandkids) that have gone crazy with the crayons and now there are scribbles on your laptop or television screen? Try WD-40 on a sponge to remove it.

It never occurred to me to clean the vent in the ceiling of my bathroom until we had a bat invasion and that was their point of entry. For the first time I actually noticed this “thing” in my bathroom. It was filthy. It probably had about seven years of lint and goop collected within it. The easiest method I found was to soak a rag in cleaning solution (half vinegar, half water), wrap it around a butter knife, and scrape out the goo. I then did the same thing on the exhaust vent for my stove. Once they had been thoroughly cleaned with the rag and knife method, I now do a routine weekly cleaning using a blow dryer to blow out the dust.

I’m still not a great housekeeper. I suppose I will be a work in progress for the rest of my life. I often use unconventional methods to the amusement of my family. Keeping them happy is what it’s all about anyway.