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Adrienne Freas

A picture-perfect home might be what you’d expect from the creator of the DVD series Ready, Set, Clean, but Adrienne Frea’s home is simply warm and welcoming, with just enough out of place that you know a real family lives there. “You’ll have to excuse the mess,” Adrienne says as she tosses a pile of blankets into a corner and shuffles a stack of magazines out of the way with her toe. “I want our home to be comfortable.”
 
Adrienne’s passion for cleaning was born out of necessity. When her husband lost his job, she began looking for employment that would allow her to continue to homeschool her four young children. Experience with cleaning houses in college made a house-cleaning business a natural fit for her orderly and upbeat personality, and easily fit with her mom duties. With at least one of her kids along as a paid assistant, she began cleaning houses in the community.
 
As she spent her days cleaning, she noticed a problem. “I was genuinely upset that there were so many families who did not seem to have the skills to clean their homes,” she says, “and I wanted to find a way to help them learn those life skills.” Adrienne began offering clinics that taught parents and kids how to clean side by side.
 
Classes started with the basics by breaking down simple chores into step-by-step instructions that parents could easily share with their kids. “It was a process of teaching parents how to teach their kids,” she says. She moved on to teach “Team Cleaning,” a method of moving from top to bottom and left to right through each room to make cleaning as efficient as possible. Working as a parent-child team, moms and dads were teaching their kids new skills and creating bonding time, all while getting a clean house, Adrienne says. The classes were so popular that people began asking for a video that they could take home and show to their whole family, so the DVD series was born.
 
“We live in a culture with kids who do too little around the house, and that creates a culture of moms who do too much,” Adrienne says. She blames kids’ increasingly busy schedules as the reason they don’t have time to learn to clean properly. To remedy this, she advises parents to teach cleaning habits when kids are small and encourages the use of green cleaning products for safety. “Little ones actually enjoy wiping with a cloth and love to clean alongside their parents. If you have a 3-year-old, there is no excuse not to have clean baseboards,” she says with a smile.
 
Adrienne’s days of cleaning little fingerprints are over now, as her oldest son is off at his first year of college and the younger three girls are well into their high school years. Looking back at her years in the trenches, she admits that it wasn’t only about having a clean house or even finding a way to support the family. “I feel that my kids are prepared to take care of themselves, know how to manage their space and have a good work ethic,” she says. “Learning how to clean has spilled out into every other aspect of their lives.”