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[Urban Buy]

Clean up your act
The grunge years are over


SOME OF US aren’t very good at sticking to a cleaning schedule, despite our best intentions. That once-a-week bathroom/kitchen scrubbing gets pushed off to every other week and then ... well, you see where this is going.

So here we are, a good two months past spring, and all we have to show for it is a house full of sticky countertops, dust bunnies, and grime. Embarrassing. We could wallow in the depths of all this dirt, or we could just get up already and tackle the project like the grown-ups we aspire to be.

Why don’t you join us? Throw on some of Restoration Hardware’s peppy, cotton-lined, brilliant-blue rubber kitchen gloves ($10) and get to work. Aesthetes may take inspiration from Michael Graves’s elegantly simple wares, found at our favorite upscale down-market big box, Target (that’s Tar-zhay to you). There’s a New Age–y solid-grip feather duster ($5.99), a blue nonslip-grip plastic toilet plunger ($9.99) with gray suction cups, and a translucent cleaning caddy ($6.99) in which to tote it all around. It’s like buying a fancy pen to force yourself to face that pile of letters you need to return: odd consumeristic logic, but hey, it kick-starts the job.

To help with the bigger messes, we found a multi-tasking machine to keep the utility closet in order: Metro Vacuum Cleaner Company’s Vac ’N Blo’ ($79.99), available at Restoration Hardware. The dual-action mechanism can vacuum your embarrassingly filthy carpets, couches, and whatever else. (Apparently, it has the strength to suck up a 79-pound bowling ball, but we don’t advise trying that one without us there to laugh.) And then there’s the reverse blowing action, which can send litter flying, swoosh all your dust into the hallway, and shoo mail you’d like to ignore off the porch.

Hey, clean is clean. We won’t dish on the process.

• Restoration Hardware, 711 Boylston Street, Boston, (617) 578-0088;

• Target, 1 Mystic View Road, Everett, (617) 420-0000; 400 Lynn Fells Parkway, Saugus, (781) 307-0000;

Issue Date: July 26- August 2, 2001

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