After a weekend of catching up on chores, your house is sparkling: The beds are made, there are no dishes in the sink and you finally vacuumed those Cheerios up from under the couch. But by Wednesday, everything is a disaster again. How does your neighbor’s house always look so spic and span, even when you pop by for an announced visit? Here are the seven habits of highly effective cleaners. Take notes.

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THEY CLEAN AS THEY GO

Instead of waiting until after dinner to clean the kitchen, take advantage of the downtime you have while you’re cooking. Washing mixing bowls and wiping down the counter takes only a minute, so do it while you’re waiting for the lasagna to bake. 

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THEY DO A LITTLE EVERY DAY

When you have a big work project due and you’re running on five hours of sleep, washing windows is probably the last thing on your mind. But if you devote 20 minutes a day to dusting and tidying up, you can skip the three-hour Saturday cleaning session and spend your weekend relaxing instead. 

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THEY GIVE EVERYONE A JOB

Hey, it takes a village to keep a house clean. Hold each family member accountable for a different chore, like wiping down countertops, cleaning the dining room table, vacuuming and sweeping. When each chore has been successfully completed for a week, give the person who did it a reward. (Yes, this works on spouses, too.)

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THEY MAKE IT FUN

OK, no one actually looks forward to spending two hours wiping down bathtub grout. But if you blast Beyoncé and dance while you’re scrubbing, the time will go by twice as fast, we promise. 

RELATED: How Often You Should Wash Everything in Your Life

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THEY RESET THE HOUSE BEFORE BED

Before going to sleep, make sure shoes and coats are put away, odds and ends are cleaned off the coffee table and the pillows on the couch are straightened. This five-minute tidying session will make you soooo much happier when you wake up in the morning.

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THEY FOLLOW THE TWO-MINUTE RULE

This genius productivity technique by time management consultant David Allen is great for cleaning: If the task takes two minutes or less to do, stop thinking about it and just do it right this second. So wipe down that sink, change that pillowcase and push in those chairs. We’re waiting.

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If NONE OF THIS WORKS, THEY HIRE A CLEANING SERVICE

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with having a housekeeping service come in and give you a helping hand. And thanks to apps like Handy and MaidsApp, it’s never been easier or more affordable. So go put your feet up and watch Barefoot Contessa. You’ve earned it. 

RELATED: The 7 Apps Your Phone Is Probably Missing

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