Maintaining a clean home can seem like an exercise in futility, especially for parents and pet owners.

If the constant struggle has you down, it’s time to explore ways to save time and effort in your cleaning routines.

Combat Clutter

Clutter can spread faster than wildfire. Avoid the details of your life from taking over every surface by giving everything a proper place.

Make clean-up time easy on your kids with big sortable toy bins and shelves for board games and books. [Ed. Note: This can also work for “big kids” as well with a variety of applications, from work-related items to media collections.] If they “forget” to put something away, it will be easy for you to pick up after them.

Create a mail center and deal with mail as soon as you get home. A nearby recycling bin will encourage immediate disposal of junk mail. Consider reducing your pile by receiving bills and bank statements electronically, and requesting a stop to catalogs.

Don‘t be a hoarder. Periodically assess your closet. If you have clothing that doesn’t fit, is fraying or out of date, get rid of it. You don’t need to take up valuable closet space with unusable garments.

No more stains

Art projects gone awry, muddy dog paws, party fouls. Anyone with a pet, kids or a love of red wine knows that fabric stains on furniture, pillows and blankets can happen all too easily. And, once items are stained, they’ll never look clean again. But you don’t need to constantly flip those cushions or turn your children into little adults to keep your home looking great.

“All it takes is a staple gun and some special fabric to turn your bar stool or dining room chair into a new piece of furniture that will repel stains and moisture,” says Randy Rubin, co-founder of Crypton, a textile manufacturer that develops eco-friendly fabrics that are stain, liquid and odor-causing bacteria resistant. The company recently launched CryptonHome, a residential product line of pet products, furniture and tabletop accessories like placemats and aprons that are all made with this innovative fabric.

Consider outfitting your home with such stain-proof fabrics. You won’t need to sacrifice style either. Crypton’s fabrics, for example, come in a variety of colors, patterns and designer styles. The company is currently offering a seasonal discount of 20 percent off select products by entering the code “Spring” at

No more mold

Mold is not only an eyesore; it poses a number of health risks. And, cleaning it is a big job that can be expensive. Avoid mold build-up by following some simple steps.

Test the humidity level of each room, including closets. If your Relative Humidity (RH) is 55 percent or higher, invest in a dehumidifier.

Fix leaky faucets immediately and use a fan or open a window when taking a shower.

Inspect your roof twice yearly, keep your chimney free of cracks and clean your gutters regularly.

The key to cleanliness is prevention. Take steps this spring to eliminate extra work in the future. : :