On How Clean Is Your House?, a television program imported from
Britain, two irreverent women -- Kim and Aggie -- visit filthy homes and teach
the owners how to clean, tsk-tsking them in the process of finding grease on
the oven, goo on the counters, and layers of dirt everywhere.
It's good clean fun if you're a viewer -- until you happen to think: What
would I do if they knocked on my door?
Nobody wants to get a hospital bill for $44,000. But for Joe Ryan, a
Colorado pilot and owner of Rocky Mountain Biplane Adventures, it was
especially upsetting. He'd never even had surgery before, but he was being
asked to pay for it. Ryan's "medical identity" had been stolen.
When someone uses your personal information to collect money, prescription
drugs, goods, or health services, it's called medical identity theft.
Like other versions of identity theft, it causes severe financial problems
If housecleaning isn't your thing, or the word alone give you hives, you're
not alone. Help abounds -- there are dozens of how-to-clean-house books and web
sites out there. But what you may really need is a new attitude, a personalized
schedule for cleaning, and tips on how to make the whole job less painful. So
why not start with a novel approach to housecleaning basics that goes beyond
the standardized lists?
Clean House Attitudes: The Basics
Instead of focusing on a rigid housecleaning schedule dictated by someone
else, consider the needs of you and your family, then decide how clean your
house has to be, says Cynthia Townley Ewer of Richland, Wash., the editor of
the web site Organized Home and author of Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed
the Cleaning and Calm the Chaos.
For example, if you have young children, elders, or someone who is
immune-compromised, you may need a much more rigorous cleaning schedule,
Townley Ewer says, than a household of healthy young adults.
When you do compose a housecleaning schedule based on your needs, don't
think of it as simply a to-do list, Townley Ewer says, but as a launching pad
to allow you to easily delegate some of the cleaning. After all, it should be a
team effort, she says.
How to Clean House: Minimum Maintenance
First consider minimum maintenance: which tasks that must be done on a daily
basis to keep the household afloat, says Townley Ewer.
Depending on family size, this might include washing a load of laundry,
wiping the kitchen counters and sink after meals, and giving the bathroom a
"Every family needs their own set of minimums," Townley Ewer tells
WebMD. How it shakes out will depend on such factors as family size and
individual comfort levels about cleanliness.