Cleaning the Kitchen
If the sink is full of dirty dishes and the backsplash is grimy, your kitchen can be made of marble and gold and it still won't look good.
To reduce the number of dishes you do, use disposable plates and utensils. If that seems like cheating, at least get some paper cups and cereal bowls for your children to use in the mornings.
To keep track of when to run the dishwasher, use a "clean/dirty" sign. (You can buy one at OrganizeEverything.com.) After dinner, rinse the dinner dishes, load them into the dishwasher, and turn it on. Next morning, unload the clean dishes. Rinse and load the breakfast dishes — but hold off on running the dishwasher. After dinner, rinse the dinner dishes, load them into the dishwasher, and turn it on. Repeat this routine every day.
Each time you open the refrigerator, take a whiff and toss anything that smells iffy. Once a month, give the fridge a thorough cleaning. Sponges quickly get covered in germs, so I recommend paper towels instead. Lots of paper towels. To clean up spilled liquids, use a dry paper towel. If something is dry (crumbs, for example), use a wet paper towel.
If you insist on using a sponge, use it for no more than seven days, then wash it in the dishwasher and use for another seven days. Then throw it away.
Don't use furniture spray on wood surfaces. It only attracts dust. Wipe with a slightly damp cloth instead.
Mop the floors and clean the countertops at least once a week (and any time you create a mess). Simply shift everything on the counters to the left and clean, then shift everything to the right and clean again. If there's so much stuff on the countertops that shifting is impossible, it's time to de-clutter.
Once a week, close the bathroom door and run the hottest water possible in your shower. The steam will give you a head start on cleaning.
Spritz the mirrors with glass cleaner and the counters with non-glass cleaner. Wipe with paper towels. Mop the floor on your way out.
Not in the mood to clean? Put on a favorite CD, drink a cappuccino, sing, whatever. (Don't turn on the TV — it's too distracting.) Wear a pedometer (like the ones sold at OregonScientific.com), and make it a game to see how much exercise you can get. Away you go!
Don't fret if housekeeping chores don't get done exactly the way you want them done. What matters is that the chores get done on schedule.
Your home should be clean enough to satisfy an imaginary visit from, say, a bachelor brother. Unless your mother really is visiting, there's no need for your home to be clean enough to satisfy her.