1. Vacuuming too often weakens the carpet fibers. Say this with a serious face, and shudder delicately whenever anyone mentions Carpet Fresh.
2. If disturbed, dust bunnies cannot evolve into dust rhinos. Rename the area under the couch “The Galapagos Islands,” and claim an ecological exemption.
3. Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun. Call it an SPF factor of 5, and leave it alone.
4. Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere. If your husband points out that the light fixtures need dusting, simply look affronted and exclaim, “What? And spoil the mood?”
5. In a pinch, you can always claim that the haphazard tower of unread magazines and newspapers next to your chair provides the valuable Feng Shui aspect of a tiger, thereby reducing your vulnerability. Roll your eyes when you say this.
6. Explain away the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it there to use for stuffing hand-sewn play animals for underprivileged children.
7. If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door. As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, “I’d love you to see our Den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed, and the shots are SO expensive.”
8. If dusting is REALLY out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and insist that “THIS is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes.”
9. Don’t bother repainting. Simply scribble lightly over a dirty wall with an assortment of crayons, and try to muster a glint of tears as you say, “Junior did this the week before that unspeakable accident. I haven’t had the heart to clean it.”
10. Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Mist the air lightly. Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations. Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself onto the couch, and sigh, “I clean and I clean, and I still don’t get anywhere.”