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Keeping your home in order can be quite a challenge. With work, kids in school, activities, homework, and increasingly busy lives, we find it harder than ever to keep up with household chores. Families struggle to find downtime together when their lives are so scattered and busy. It can leave you longing for a simpler time when only one parent had to work to support the household. Because it's hard to find time to keep the house clean, it is important to come up with a plan. We've compiled tips from professionals and busy homeowners to help make certain, unavoidable chores less of a hassle. With just a few slight adjustments to your routine, you will be able to free up some extra time to spend with your family, all while making your household chores less of a hassle.

1) Dishes are a constant battle in many homes. When the dishes pile up, it means that you have to do them before you can even think about preparing dinner. It's the last thing you want to come home to after a busy day at work. Dishes are many people's pet peeve, so we thought we'd start there. It may be difficult at first, but it's important to get your family on board with making housework easier. The secret is to offer lots of rewards. Reward children who rinse their dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Tackle one thing at a time. Don't try to make everyone change all of their habits all at once. It may take some time. Studies show that it takes around three weeks for new habits to become established.

2) The second thing to work on is your hot spots. Hot spots are areas of your home that seem to pile up with things that do not belong there. People may come in and take off their shoes in front of the couch or throw their jackets over a kitchen chair. You may be in the habit of tossing the mail on the coffee table where it piles up with other things until it's a cluttered mess. Again, tackle one thing at a time. Find containers and other easy to access places for these everyday items to go. Slowly but surely, practice getting one type of item into the place where it goes until everyone is in the habit of putting their things where they belong.

3) Laundry seems to be the nemesis of most families. It can be difficult to keep the family putting their dirty clothes where they belong. If your family has a habit of tossing dirty clothes on top of the laundry hamper, go for ones without lids or remove the lids permanently. Place them in the areas where your family normally drops their clothes to increase the chances of them being used.

4) Another problem area is the laundry room. When things come out of the dryer, they can live in laundry baskets or clean piles waiting to be folded all over the house. Avoid this problem by installing an inexpensive hanging bar over your washer and dryer. You can even use a rolling garment rack to make delivery of clean clothes to their closets an easy task. Stock your closets and laundry room with plenty of plastic clothes hangers that save space and protect clothing. Clear plastic hangers are an excellent choice for the laundry room because they are able to withstand moisture from damp clothing. Also, hanging clothes up immediately after they come out of the dryer can help you to protect clothes, avoid ironing, and dry damp clothing with very little effort.

About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online resource for plastic clothing hangers. For more information, please visit