DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a large house and clean it all myself. After the holidays, I walked into my stepdaughter’s bathroom and saw that she had left towels on the floor like you would in a hotel to let housekeeping know they are dirty. I could not believe my eyes. She is nearly 30 years old, and she does not know how to clean up after herself. Should I tell my husband about his daughter’s horrible manners? -- Not Your Maid, Atlanta
DEAR NOT YOUR MAID: Rather than telling your husband about his daughter, start one-on-one with her. Engage your stepdaughter in a positive manner, and ask her if you two can have a chat. When you have her undivided attention, tell her that you need her to support your household by keeping things tidy. Point out that you clean your home without the aid of any hired help, so you need everyone who lives there or who spends time there to pull their own weight. Let her know that you noticed towels on the floor in her bathroom. Ask her to take a different approach in the future: Either hang them up, or put them in the dirty clothes hamper. Better still, invite her to wash them.
Next, go through a list of chores that you want her to be responsible for fulfilling while she is in your home. Be kind and positive, but also very clear. Follow up with your husband by telling him what occurred and how you chose to handle it. Ask him to support you in your efforts to keep the house clean.