Of course, they are also “downtime” sanctuaries, where you can retreat alone to read a book or just stare out the window and revel in a half hour all to yourself.

Regardless of what you do there, though, the activity is going to be a lot less pleasant if the room is dirty or cluttered.

These rooms tend to be some of the largest in the house, with a whole lot of nooks and crannies where dirt can hide.

They also experience a great deal of everyday wear and tear because they can be busy areas.

It’s not just the daily use by family members; special events, like a cocktail party in a formal living room or a footy match get-together in a family room, can take a big toll.

You’ll inevitably deal with a few stains on the furniture or sofa.

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The Common Area Action Plan Step 1. Fight the dust battle
The Common Area Action Plan Step 1. Fight the dust battle

Ever notice how many sur­faces there are in your living room?

Each and every one is a potential dust collector.

Start your common-area cleaning by whipping out your lamb’s­ wool pad or soft lint-free cloth and dust­ing from the ceiling down.

Don’t forget the lighting fixtures and the hidden areas, such as the top of door moldings.

A thorough dusting is sometimes all that is neces­sary to perk up a living room or family room.

Common areas also often contain special features that call for regular cleaning.

A formal living room may have a bow win­dow with multiple panes of glass that need to sparkle to really show that architectural feature at its best.

Family rooms often host an inviting fireplace that will be less inviting if the glass screen has become clouded with soot (a quick secret: Mix some ashes with a little water and rub the mixture onto the glass with a paper towel-the caked-on soot will come right off!).

Even the now-common all-in-one entertainment center and home theater presents a host of challenges, from keeping cable clutter out of sight to making sure various media such as CDs, DVDs, and remotes are kept in order.

A simple, regular cleaning routine is all you need to ensure that you will always have a comfortable and inviting room.

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