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Ask Military Martha

A letter from one of our readers;

Dear Martha,

I was wondering if you could give me some tips on ways to get my house clean and keep it clean. I work 40 hours a week and sometimes more. When I get home from work I don’t feel like doing anything. I would be grateful for any tips.



Dear Stressed-


Here’s my first tip darlin’ when it comes to keepin’ a house clean.  It’s mind over matter… and if you don’t mind it don’t matter!  But if ya do mind, then ya gotta make it matter.  I like to treat the runnin’ of my household like a military objective.  If ya have a plan, and a back-up plan and ya never leave a man behind, ya can’t fail!  Here’s how it can be done in three easy steps;


Step 1- Establish a Clean Base of Operations

Establishin’ a base of operations is the most vital step in any offensive- and nothin’ is more offensive than cleanin’ a dirty house day after day, why that’s tryin’ to make a silk purse outta a sow’s ear.  Startin’ from a clean base of operations will allow ya to maintain cleanliness despite workin’ 40 or more hours a week.  Believe you me, if ya don’t have a clean base of operations, ya ain’t never gonna win the battle.

My suggestion is if ya got any time off comin’ to ya, when the kids are in school and ya got the house to yerself- take a few days and Spring Clean.  Here is my article on the HUN about Spring Cleaning…   http://homefrontunited.com/2010/12/military-marthas-10-tips-for-easier-cleaning/ Once you’ve got yer house cleaned to perfection, it’s easy to just maintain after a long day of workin’.  It’s a lot like losin’ weight, once you get to yer ideal it’s all about maintenance.  If it’s clean to start with ya’ll will work to keep it clean.  Otherwise yer just pushin’ messes from one end to the other, no use in that.  Give yer kids (if ya got any) specific duties to help maintain the cleanliness.  My rugrats know that they can play with their toys until supper time… at supper time toys go back into their proper places, any deviation from this protocol results in punishment.  Now ya don’t have to be a drill Sgt. to keep a clean house, but sometimes it don’t hurt none!


Step 2- Relieve Stress by Cleanin’

Part of the problem most folks have with cleanin’ is they hate doin’ it.  As you said yerself- last thing ya wanna do is clean after workin’ 40 hours.  Well why the heck not?  Cleanin’ can be very therapeutic if ya treat it like a game instead of a chore.  Had a bad day at work?  Scrub a floor, and imagine with each scrub yer scrubbin’ the face off of someone made ya mad.  The key is findin’ somethin’ ya like about the chore and focusin’ on that part of it.  If ya like ironin’ because it gives ya a warm fuzzy feelin’ to see wrinkles disappear, then focus on that.  If ya struggle to find somethin’ good about the chore, then make somethig’ up!  If ya have to do the dishes and that puts the turd in your punch bowl, do something about it- play some music ya like or light some candles, pour yourself a glass of wine while ya do it… or reward yourself with a nice bubble bath after the chore is done.  If you’re doin’ forty going North, then it will take no time at all and ya might find ya enjoy it!


Step 3- Maintain a Schedule

Let’s face it ya’ll messes happen.  What most folks dread about cleanin’ is that it never seems to end, but knowin’ when yer torture will end makes it more bearable.  Which tell the truth shame the Devil, cleanin’ house is a commitment that lasts longer than most marriages.  But bein’ organized and keeping a schedule for cleanin’ can help.  Knowin’ ya gotta spend x amount of time cleanin’ or doin’ household chores so ya can do y- sometimes makes it easier, and sets a fine example for the young’uns by showin’ that ya gotta fulfill yer responsibilities before ya can have yer fun.  Knowin’ ya have a start time and stop time makes it seem less like teats on a boar.

Be proud of accomplishin’ each task, make a game out of the ones ya hate, and know when ta quit. Lessons for a clean house and a good life if ya ask me… and ya did! Hope this helps ya out Stressed… and if not- hire a maid.


May all your journeys be safe and your eats be good-

Military Martha


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