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Spring Cleaning the Anti-Martha Way

Martha Stewart spring cleans like a pro — because she is a pro. But the rest of us seek an easier way. Welcome to The Anti-Martha Stewart Spring Cleaning Guide.

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Domestic goddess Martha Stewart

We love you, Martha Stewart — but we beg to differ when it comes to spring cleaning chores. Image: David Shankbone/Wikipedia

For the record, we love Martha Stewart. She has elevated housekeeping to high art, which protects home values. Martha’s taught us the devil is in the details, and that even mundane chores can be tackled with grace, diligence, and elbow-high rubber gloves.

That said, spring is here, and cleaning is required. But who’s got the time or energy to rip apart every square inch of the house? When we saw a Martha blog that suggested cleaning our kitchen range in only 22 steps, we threw in the towel and shouted, “Get real!”

Then, we created our Anti-Martha Stewart Spring Cleaning Guide, acknowledging that top-to-bottom cleaning is a good idea, but nobody’s idea of a good time.

Except for Martha. Almost 30 years ago, when I was a cub reporter in Westport, Conn., I interviewed Martha at her Turkey Hill estate there. Then, she was a fabulous local caterer about to hit the big time with her book, “Entertaining.” She gave me a tour of her place — the Federal-style house, glorious gardens, chicken coop — and was appalled to hear I had never eaten an egg fresh from a chicken’s butt.

She straightaway gathered powder blue eggs with brown spots, walked them back to the best-appointed kitchen I’d ever seen, and whipped up the best omelet I’d ever eaten.

Lesson learned: Effort bears fruit (or eggs).

But days have only 24 hours, and work, family, and the tyranny of getting in 10,000 steps makes spring cleaning Martha-style merely a fantasy for most of us. So, we created our own get-real guide.

Our guide is all about time-savers and corner-cutters. Our advice:

  • Don’t scrub when a good soak will do.
  • Take small bites out of large tasks: If you live long enough, you’ll get it clean.
  • Invest in white vinegar companies, because vinegar is the one cleaner you can’t do without.
  • If a machine can clean it better and faster, buy it or rent it.

But seriously, folks. Here’s a little preview of our guide.

  • Shower heads: A warm white vinegar bath will get rid of mineral deposits.
  • Windows: Use coffee filters or microfiber cloths instead of paper towels to wash windows and avoid streaks.
  • Patio furniture: Vacuum wicker furniture with an upholstery attachment.
  • Primo declutter tip: Get rid of “fat clothes” first, which make you feel bad about your body.

Hey, we’ve got a million of these. Martha, we’re sure, is shaking her head in dismay. But we’re sure our guide will help you get clean in spring and still have time to enjoy the season.

And that’s a good thing.

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

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