Q: I read that you cleaned houses as a teenager, so I'm hoping you can answer this question. How often should you dust and vacuum, really? I hate housework. And while I'd love to hire a cleaning service, my husband doesn't want to spend the money and hates the idea of other people inside our house. - P.
A: The biggest shortcut is getting your husband to help. To build your case, look online for housekeeping services and see their rates. Show this to your husband to decide how much you'd budget for this expense and discuss what each of you is willing to do regularly to keep your house clean. If you can't agree how to divvy up the chores, you may find the expense is well worth it.

Reputable cleaning companies are licensed and bonded for your protection as well as their own. They can visit weekly, every other week, or even just once or twice a year for a big clean - if you're OK with doing regular cleaning on your own. Ask your neighbors and friends for referrals; it's not unusual for people to try several different companies until they find one they like.

And, how often you need to clean depends on things such as how many people live in your house, how many pets you have, your lifestyle, whether you take your shoes off at the door, and where you live. Homes next to dusty fields or near busy streets may need more frequent cleaning.

At a minimum, you should vacuum and thoroughly clean your kitchen and frequently used bathrooms weekly for sanitary reasons, as well as to reduce dust and allergens.

You'll spend less time cleaning if you take care of small messes and spills as they happen. De-clutter often, and do similar tasks at the same time, like dusting and vacuuming.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.