Do you like clean houses (Yes/No)?

Do you like to clean houses (Yes/No)?

If you answered Yes and Yes – Congratulations! You are a well-balanced individual of pro-Martha-Stewart houskeepin’ type. You can get what you like and you like what you get. (Possible side effect – Obsessive-compulsive disorder.)

If you answered No and No – Congratulations! You are a well-balanced individual of anti-Martha type. You easily get what you like and you sure like what you get. (Possible side effect - Antisocial personality disorder.)

If you answered No and Yes – Congratulations! While you are severely unbalanced, you can still achieve housekeepin’ harmony. You can clean other people houses (for money or for fun), enjoy what you do, come home to your glorious pigsty home and enjoy what you have. (Possible side effect – Multiple personality disorder.)

If you answered Yes and No – Condolences. You are the most popular, hopelessly unbalanced housekeepin’ type, trapped between pro-Martha objective and sorry-Martha execution. You don’t like what you get and you don’t like to do what can get you what you like. (Possible side effects - Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Multiple personality disorder, Anxiety disorders, Depression, Social phobia, Hysteria, Insomnia and Sleep terror disorder.)

People of the last type are definitely in need of help. And there is help, hang on, people.

First, there is actual housekeepin’ help. Like Merry maids, Jolly maids, Holly maids, Molly maids and Holly-Molly maids. Although, people with a variety of side phobias have a variety of concerns about hired help.

Financial concern. For a family on budget, house-cleaning help is an unacceptable luxury. While the funds are hardly sufficient for the basic luxuries, like cable, how can you spend on cleaning assistance? With twice-a-month cleanin’ service costing about the same as premium cable package, watching TV in a professionally cleaned house is not a viable option. Something’s gotta give. Ditch the cable, or look for a different kind of help.

Social concern. You care about what people think. What if they think “Cleaning help is a luxury, only for the privileged”?  Or “Hiring household help is classist and unethical”? Or “Running a household isn’t that hard. You should be able to do it yourself”?

Don’t you worry ‘bout it. First, tell these people, it’s no shame to be privileged. Even on a budget. Don’t these people enjoy salon haircut or gourmet coffee? Second, deny that you are classist and unethical. You can always find an excuse. You are too busy/allergic/disabled/fat/pregnant. Finally, you don’t need to disclose that you are using hired help. It’s none of their business. And if they ask, how you can do it being busy/allergic/disabled/fat/pregnant, refer them to Martha Stewart. If she can do it, why can’t you?

What if people think that a clean house is a sign, you don't have enough fun things in your life? Or a sign of a broken computer? Refer them to Martha.

Liability concern. Housekeepin’ is a dangerous spot. Your maid fell in your kitchen and broke her hip (Ouch!)  She sues your homeowner’s insurance company, she sues you in civil court, and now she owns 50% of your home (Ouch!)

Your maid breaks your 100-year-old heirloom vase left to your mother by her grandmother. (Oops!) She is sorry and empathetic, but she is not licensed or insured. As well as your precious vase. So you bite your lip and chalk it up to a loss (Oops!)

Your carpet cleaner uses a cleaning solution that is not compatible with the wood surface that is now permanently damaged. (Damn!) Did you remember to inquire if he is properly licensed and insured to cover such damages?.. (Damn!)

If you can’t handle hired help, there are other options for help. Like therapy. It’s also expensive. So ditch the cable and get yourself a piece of mind.

Your shrink will explain you that life is about compromises. So what if your house is not up to Martha’s standards? Don’t you worry ‘bout it. Apparently, cleanin’- cookin’- washin’- ironin’ is not your strongest suit. You are probably very good with everythin’ else. Give yourself some credit. Don’t apologize for messy house. Don’t try to kill yourself with house chores. If a filthy substance doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. You can only get rid of it temporarily. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and three months later you have to start all over again. Don’t sweat ‘bout it. Do something, you are good at.

Your therapist will set reasonable boundaries for you. Do not go too far. As your dirty-messy-smelly house makes you want to live somewhere else, an overly cleaned house can do the same. Trying not to disturb a beautifully made bed, you will rather sleep outside in a tent. Not to mess your perfectly clean kitchen, you will rather eat out. And, with a high regard for a sparkling, sanitized toilet, you will not be able to dump any unsanitary stuff in it. You will rather go to the woods or pay a spontaineous visit to your friends. Ultimately, you will be living somewhere else.

Your shrink will help you believe in your ingenuity and originality. Creative clutter is better than idle neatness. A messy house is a sign of creativity. On the other hand, a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind. So you better not keep your desk empty.

If you don’t trust shrinks, there is still help. Martha’s help – trustworthy, legitimate and free. Here are some secret tips from Martha Stewart.

-         Door knobs with locks. They are great accents to your home, beautifully crafted, shiny when clean, and very practical. As “Your house” refers to the parts your visitors will see, lock all the doors and don’t let anyone in. If you absolutely have to allow some visitors, lock as many doors as you can and only clean the guest area. It is not advisable to use this tip for the bathroom.

-         Household appliances. Ovens, dishwashers, washers/dryers and freezers provide great benefits if used as directed. But they also supply hidden storage space, a great place to shove dirty dishes, dirty clothes, or just about anything you want to get out of sight when company's coming.

-         Dust ruffles/bed skirts. No bed should be without one. They keep dust out from under the bed and help coordinate the colorful look of a bedroom. They also create an invaluable storage facility, where you can hide whatever you did not manage to squeeze into the household appliances.

-         Creative lighting. The key here is low, low, and lower. It's not only romantic, but bad lighting can hide a multitude of dirt.

-         Alka-Seltzer. A great cleanin’ resource. Two tablets of Alka-Seltzer can clean a toilet. Two tablets can clean delicate china. Two tablets can polish all your jewelry. Two tablets can clean soiled thermos bottle. An easy tip: put your jewelry, vases, and thermos in the toilet. Add two Alka-Seltzer tablets and you have solved a whole bunch of problems at once.

-         Nature-inspired arts. Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere. Don’t dust them off. Let the nature into your household.

Remember: your home is a window to your soul. Wish you good Housekeepin’.