Dirt: 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.

Cobwebs: 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 confused and exclaim, "What? And spoil the mood?"

Pet Hair: Explain 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.

Guests: 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."

Dusting: If dusting is REALLY out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and insist "This is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes..."

Painting: 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..."

General Cleaning: Mix one-quart cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cup soft 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..."