messy houseEvery other Tuesday, my morning routine gets thrown into complete upheaval, because I have to get up early and run around like a chicken with my head cut off -- all because every other Tuesday is the day when my cleaning lady comes.

Yes, I have a cleaning lady, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, and having one doesn't make me some sort of pretentious snob who thinks she is too good to clean her own house. It's simply an issue of not having the time, energy, or the will power to clean my 2,800-square-foot house -- most of which consists of hardwood floors. (There's only so much mopping I can handle.)

And while having a cleaning lady is more than worth the extra cash I have to put aside each month, it doesn't mean that my day is stress-free when she comes, and it doesn't mean that I don't do any cleaning at all.

Because cleaning before the cleaning lady comes is almost as big of a pain in the rear end as cleaning the house myself.

Yes, I clean for the cleaning lady, and I know that every other person out there who has a cleaning lady does the exact same thing, even though it sounds totally ridiculous. I mean, you're paying someone to clean your house, so why are you taking the time to clean it before she gets there? Doesn't that kind of defeat the whole purpose of having someone come to clean in the first place?

Well, yes -- but if you want the cleaning lady to be able to clean, then you have to put away all the clutter and junk you have lying around everywhere so she can actually access whatever surface she's trying to shine, polish, disinfect, or all of the above.

And if you're a procrastinator like me and wait 'til the morning of the day she comes to organize and de-clutter -- here are a few tried and true tricks I swear by to make sure cleaning for the cleaning lady gets done quickly and efficiently.

1. The fridge doubles as a dishwasher. No, I'm not embarrassed to admit that whatever breakfast dishes we use get rinsed out and put in the refrigerator in lieu of washing them and putting them away. This little strategy also comes in handy for water glasses that line the nightstands in our bedrooms.

2. Forget the hamper, use the washing machine. Dirty clothes cluttering up your floor? Throw 'em in the washer. You'll get around to doing a load or two at some point, I promise.

3. Don't know where to put it? Try the bed in the guest room. Ours rarely gets used, so on any given day of the week, the bed houses piles of folded laundry and other various odds and ends. Piling everything up on the bed is genius, because then the cleaning lady can still run the vacuum and dust the dresser.

4. When in doubt, shut the door. My lady knows if the door to one of the rooms is closed, she doesn't have to worry about cleaning it that day. I've thrown entire messes into one room and shut the door more times than I can count. (Out of sight, out of mind, right?)

5. Shopping bags are time savers. When tidying up right before she arrives, I go to my stash of grocery bags and throw mail, papers, random toys, etc. into them to go through later on after she's done. If I tried to sort through everything in the morning, I'd never be ready for her.

What tricks do you use to clean for the cleaning lady?