Among married couples, women still do 63 percent of the household work, according to findings last year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They dedicate an average of 16 hours per week to household tasks such as cleaning.

Among married couples, women still do 63 percent of the household work, according to findings last year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They dedicate an average of 16 hours per week to household tasks such as cleaning.

Housework is shared quite unequally among most married couples in the United States, even when both the husband and wife work full-time (Pleck, 1982; 1985; Barnett and Baruch, 1987; Bradley Googins, cited in Hochschild, 1989). Hochschild (1989) and others have attributed this pattern to the failure of the gender division of household labor to keep up with rapid changes in family and work roles.

Here's How:

1. Begin with a 15-minute Kitchen Cleanup.
This will clear out the clutter and dirty dishes, and give you room to do the actual spring clean up. Don't worry about cleaning the floors in the 15-minute clean up. We will do this later.

2. Dust down the ceiling and corners of walls.
Determine if the walls need washed in dirty spots. Spot wash, remembering air vents, doorknobs, doors, switch plates. Walls will likely need to be washed more often in this room than in others. You may not have noticed that the hand mixer or blender sloshed goop all over the wall. Take your spring cleaning time now to clean the grease, grime, and spilled food from your walls.

3. Dust and clean all art and photographs along the wall.
Be careful when cleaning framed art and photographs. Never spray cleanser or water onto the frame. The liquid can seep behind the glass and damage the pictures. Instead lightly wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.

4. Dust and clean the ceiling fan.
You may need to use a gentle cleanser like Murphy's Oil Soap. Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing.

5. Take down draperies, curtains, and blinds to wash or have cleaned according to the manufacturer's directions.
Vacuum and clean windowsills and corners. Wash the insides and outsides of the windows. Take down and rinse off screens, before replacing.

6. Apply oven cleaner to the oven and clean the refrigerator.
Leave the windows in the kitchen open to avoid the overpowering smell. Don't forget to vacuum the coils of your UNPLUGGED refrigerator. This is a great time to sweep and mop underneath it too if you can find some help to move it. Be careful of scratching your floor.

7. While the oven cleaner works, begin sorting through the freezer and refrigerator.
Throw out any expired food, mostly empty containers, and items that you bought and never used. Put the stuff to keep on the counter. Take out the refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire inside of the refrigerator and freezer before replacing shelves and food. Wipe down and clean out the oven according to the directions on the oven cleaner.

8. Take the knobs, burners, burner covers, and spill catchers off of the stove.
Follow your stove/oven owner's manual for information on proper cleaning methods for your model. (The one you carefully filed, when you bought the stove, just for an occasion like this.) Some stovetops lift up to allow easy access to spills and crumbs. Wipe down the entire stove.

9. Wipe down and clean the toaster, blender, and other small appliances.
Wipe down and clean the microwave. If the spills in the microwave are fossilized, try bring a water-filled glass cup to boiling in the microwave. The steam should help loosen the gunk. If the microwave smells, boil lemon juice. Unplug all appliances first. Don't forget the turntable.

10. Clean out kitchen cabinets.
Reline if needed. Remove mismatched lids and bowls. Take out anything that isn't being used on a regular basis. Reorganize and wash down the insides and outsides of cabinets.

11. Run the dishwasher empty.
Try adding vinegar or baking soda to the empty dishwasher before running it. If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, clean it out. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.

12. Wash down the countertops in your kitchen.
Don't forget backsplashes. Check here for ideas on cleaning different countertop surfaces.

13. Wipe down and clean out any drawers.
Organize your flatware. This is a great time to install drawer dividers to better organize your kitchen drawers.

14. Wash down the sink. If you have a garbage disposal now is the time to pour baking soda with warm water and/or a lemon peel down the disposal to freshen the drain. Put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades.

15. Sweep and mop the floors.
Don't forget baseboards. One of the best ways to get a floor REALLY clean is to use a rag or towel while on your hands and knees. If this is not an option try going barefoot and scooting a large towel around the floor with your feet. It provides more contact and pressure with the floor. Press gently, and be careful and slow. Even though this is the last step, the floor is not the best place to rest.

Tips:

1. Gather all of your supplies together first thing. Trying to sort through the pantry cabinet for your oven cleaner might make you frustrated enough to declutter the cabinet. It's easy to forget what your initial goal was.
2. Reward yourself by ordering in for dinner tonight. Forbid anyone to touch your spotless kitchen at least until breakfast the next morning. Any longer is probably cruel, but they can handle it overnight.
3. Listen to music, an audio book, or a foreign language tape. The time will pass a lot more quickly if you have an enjoyable atmosphere. This is a great time to commandeer the stereo for what you want to listen to. If anyone objects, offer to let them have a turn with the stereo and the spring cleaning.

What You Need:

    * Dust mop (preferably with a long handle)
    * Step-ladder
    * Cleaning cloths
    * Small bucket with handle
    * Sponges
    * Vacuum with attachment
    * All-purpose cleanser, dishsoap, or mild cleanser of choice
    * Oven Cleaner
    * Shelf or cabinet liner and drawer dividers
    * Broom and mop or towel

Fly Lady
Kitchen, 4 1/2 minutes daily
Always start with the sink. "Keep it empty and shining," says Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections (Bantam, $15) and creator of www.FlyLady.net, a housekeeping Web site. A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen's benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stove top spick-and-span, too.
• Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
• Wipe down the stove top (one minute).
• Wipe down the counters (one minute).
• Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (two minutes).



1. Follow the 15-minute Bathroom Cleanup.
This will get rid of trash and laundry, enabling you to deeply clean the room. Don't do the floors in the 15-minute cleanup. We'll do that in a later step.

2. Dust down the ceiling and corners.
Consider if the walls in your home need to be washed. Check here for information on how to clean some wall surfaces. Dust and clean all wall art. Be careful when cleaning framed art and photographs. Never spray cleaner or water onto the frame. The liquid can seep behind the glass and damage the pictures. Instead light wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.

3. Dust the vents and fans.
Dust the outside of vents and fans. You may need to use a gentle cleanser mixed with water and a cleaning cloth. Take down light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing.

4. Take down draperies, curtains, blinds, etc, to wash or have cleaned according to the directions.
Dust down any blinds and other window treatments. Dust down and wash windowsills and corners. Wash the inside and outsides of windows. Take down and rinse off screens, before replacing.

5. Scrub the shower and tub.
Don't forget fixtures. Launder or clean your shower curtain and replace the shower curtain liner. Clean shower doors. Dissolve soap scum buildup with commercial cleaner or natural cleaners. Do not use lemons and vinegar or other acidic cleansers on tile grout. The cleansers will eat away the grout.

6. Scrub down the toilet.
Don't forget the handle, crevices on the outside, and underneath.

7. Wash the inside and outside of medicine cabinets, linen cabinets, etc.

8. Wash down the sink and fixtures.
Don't forget to thoroughly clean your mirrors. Since you’re spring cleaning, use cotton swabs to scrub in tight spots on your sink.

9. Shake out bathroom rugs.
Launder them and hang to dry.

10. Sweep and mop the floor.
One of the best ways to get a floor REALLY clean is to use a rag or towel while on your hands and knees. If this is not an option try going barefoot and scooting a large towel around the floor with your feet. It provides more contact and pressure with the floor. Press gently, and be careful and slow. Even though this is the last step, the floor is not the best place to rest.

11. Empty and wash out the trash can.
Lining the trash can will save time when it needs to be emptied, and help keep it cleaner longer. You can buy small commercial trash sacks, or use leftover grocery sacks and help recycle.

Tips:
1. Make sure to leave the window open to ventilate the cleansers you will be using.
2. If you like singing in the shower, try singing while cleaning it. It will help pass the time.

What You Need:

    * Dust mop (preferably with a long handle)
    * Step-ladder
    * Cleaning cloths
    * Small bucket with handle
    * Sponges or stiff brush
    * Cleansers of choice
    * Broom and mop or towel
    * Plastic sack to line trash can

Bathroom, 2 minutes daily
Make cleaning the basin as routine as washing your hands. But don't stop there. Get the most out of your premoistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.
• Wipe out the sink (30 seconds). Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
• Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
• Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
• Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
• Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).

Real Simple
Washing Windows
Save this job for a cloudy day (the sun's rays cause streaking) and start indoors. Just spray the panes with water and wipe clean with one of the versatile new microfiber cloths, which work by trapping dirt between the fibers. When the cloth looks dirty, rinse it in warm water. (If your water is hard, substitute distilled water.)

Finish up outside with a blast of Windex Outdoor, which attaches to your hose, spares you the experience of falling off a tippy ladder, and is harmless to plants. Windex Outdoor works even through screens and dries without streaking. (If you have hard water, you'll need a ladder, a friend to hold it, and a squeegee on an extension pole to finish the job properly.)

ACT Natural microfiber cloths, $15 for three, 888-638-3552. Windex Outdoor, about $9 for 32 ounces, at grocery, hardware, and discount stores. For squeegees, visit www.cleret.com or call 800-825-0750.

Dusting - Real Simple
The Basic Rules
• Dust high to low. Let dust that you've kicked up from the top of an armoire or the crown molding, for example, have plenty of time to settle before you attack the floor.

• Dry to wet. Dust before you disinfect - especially in the bathroom. "Make sure you pick up hair and dirt, so you aren't just pushing them around from surface to surface as you clean," says Tan.