An article gives the secret of beating housework as, "Clean less stuff more often." Six easy steps can tell you how to stay on top of cleaning.

Although it is now believed that some dirt and germs may help us develop immunity to asthma and allergies, no one wants a filthy home. Work less in your home by following these easy steps.

  1. Lighten your load. Paring down your possessions is an easy way to have less to clean. Anything that is broken or no longer useful should either be thrown away or given to a charity. Having trouble deciding what to get rid of? Put items you're not sure about in a box and mark the box with the name of a favorite charity and a date in six months'  time. (Any seasonal items should be given a year). If you haven't looked in the box for something you need when the expiration date rolls around, go ahead and give the box away. Another timesaver: many charities will be more than happy to schedule a pickup for items you no longer want, including large items such as furniture, cars or appliances.

  2. Be prepared. Although it may sound nice to keep all of your cleaning supplies in one place, it's not practical. Chances are, you will never have the glass cleaner when you notice a smudge on the mirror or you will have to hike up and down stairs to retrieve the vacuum cleaner. Keep cleaner, all-purpose spray and a sponge in every bathroom. Consider having a vacuum, or at least a small handed vacuum, on every floor.

  3. Clean as you go. If you notice a smudge, spill, or bit of dirt, clean it up immediately. This will prevent small jobs from turning into big jobs. For example, cleaning up as you cook dinner will prevent you from having to soak dishes, wipe countertops, and basically scour the whole kitchen in a day or two. This also applies to keep things clutter-free. Instead of letting the mail pile up, sort through it each day and throw away what you need to, file what you need to keep and take action on things needing your attention.

  4. Make big jobs manageable. All of us dread large cleaning jobs. Make large jobs easier to tackle by breaking them up into a series of smaller jobs. For example, if the silver needs polishing, don't take one day to do the whole lot. Try doing the forks one week, spoons the next and so on. You can also do this with smaller jobs. Instead of vacuuming the whole house, do one floor after you get home from work or on a weekend morning. Do another floor the next day, and finish up the day after.

  5. Do as little as possible. You don't need to steam clean the entire rug if there are just two or three spots that can be taken care of. You also don't need to clean where no one will see, such as under the TV or behind the couch. Cleaning too much isn't good for any surface.

  6. Distract yourself. Any job is made easierby a distraction. Put on some energetic music or use a cordless phone with a headset to call a friend while you change the bedding, door the laundry, or mop the floor.

Incorporate these simple tips into your cleaning and see the difference. You will have a clean house, but more importantly, you will have more time and energy to spend on the things you love doing.