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If you don't have much time to clean, then you need to keep up with a quick chore maintenance routine. If you can, divide chores into manageable groups. Try to tackle one big thing per day and then quickly make a few rounds through the house performing maintenance so that chores stay small.

1) Laundry is something that most families need to do every day, or at least every other day. I like to make a quick job of it by throwing clothes in the washing machine as part of my morning routine. When I get home from work, I move the load to the dryer. After dinner, the family divides the chores. The smaller kids straighten the living room by putting toys away and making sure that the couches and chairs are neat and clear of clutter. Bigger kids can do dishes and clear countertops. I take the freshly dry laundry. I hang, fold and put away the load. Really, this whole process only takes between 10-15 minutes.

2) On days when we don't have a full load of laundry to do or we find a few more minutes available, we tackle a clutter area. The kids like to do this as a group and compete. We tend to accumulate clutter on our kitchen counters. I will gather the kids around and put each one in charge of a certain category of items. One will get mail, another trash, another pens and pencils, and the last one will get toys. If everyone runs to put everything away, then I can usually get the rest of the clutter cleared before they get back. We enjoy a reward of dessert or a small amount of money for everyone that helped.

3) Getting the family on board may be difficult at first, but if you do, it'll pay off. Give lots of praise and rewards for those who don't complain. If your kids respond to it, you can keep a chore chart or reward system for doing certain things. Scrubbing the toilet, sink and tub can be worth five stars while setting the table can be worth two stars. Set up prizes that can be earned by accumulating the most stars in a week.

4) Try to make things like bringing the dirty clothes to the laundry room part of your routine. Every morning after getting ready for work, I walk around and make sure that everyone's clothes are in the laundry basket. I carry it downstairs with me, toss it in and continue getting ready for the day. It helps to time myself so that I realize how little time it actually takes. I can make my bed in 30 seconds. I can gather laundry and put it in to wash in under 2 minutes. I can fold pants and hang shirts in under five minutes. Showing yourself how easy it really is will help you to get into a routine and have your house fairly clean all the time.

About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online retailer offering the best selection of styles and sizes of clothing hangers available.