Are you overwhelmed by the chaos in your home? Wondering how to keep your house clean? Clutter got you down? As Flylady says: you can’t organize clutter. Through these simple daily routines I have managed to tame the chaos, and cull the piles that were taking over my home.
When I first found Flylady, I was a new mom and learning to keep house for the first time. We are older parents, and so the adjustment to life with baby and starting a family was difficult at best. We had been in a little condo for years just the two of us – we did laundry when we felt like it, we ran the dishwasher when we ran out of coffee cups! Now we were in a 2 bedroom with a baby and all of a sudden I was finding that I was having a harder time keeping up even though I was home full-time.
Can you relate? Is it just me? I feel like our generation was so encouraged to go to college and start our careers, that it was forgotten to also teach us basic homemaking skills. In fact, it was virtually passe. It was almost like it was terribly old-fashioned to mention to a young woman that she needed to learn how to cook or clean. Yet here I was floundering to just keep up with managing my daily life.
How could this be? I am a smart woman, I have a college degree and have run a small business, I should be able to keep up my own home.
Enter stage left: Flylady.
I remember the day like it was yesterday, I was leaving coffee with girlfriends and two of us were standing out by our cars. She mentioned how quiet I had been and asked how I really was. Then, I finally let her in on my dirty secret. That I had a mess of a home and felt like a mess of a mom, what was wrong with me?
I told her I was going to hire a professional organizer to come in and clean my home because I was sure if it could just get cleaned then I would be able to keep up.
All she said was “Flylady.”
It’s an amazing website, it is all you need, save your money on the organizer, that won’t solve your problems because you won’t learn anything or change your habits.
And as they say, it was all history from there. I went home and googled it. To say it was life changing would be a slightly dramatic and yet 100% true at the same time. I love to F.L.Y. around my home!
Managing daily life
After years of listening to the positive messages from FlyLady, I now truly enjoy fluttering around my home and doing the small daily steps that allow me to never spring clean again!
So how do you know when you are finally flying? I like to think that it is when you are doing these three things without really thinking about it. You wake up each morning and start your morning routine without having to look at your control journal. Your laundry and dishes are “caught up” – because basically you will never be “done” with those chores!
This is when you will know you have graduated from fluttering to flying. Each day you: do a quick 15 minute clean up and 27 fling boogie, you follow your routines, and you work in your zone for the week.
27 fling boogie/15 minute cleanup
One of the key elements of doing the FlyLady system for keeping CHAOS at bay is her 27 fling boogie – crazy name but great concept! Who knows why she picked 27 items to declutter each day, but it works. In a nutshell you grab a trash bag and go through you home picking up 27 items that can be taken out to the trash. With two kids around, this isn’t nearly as hard it should be!
Any broken toys I find, empty snack bags, you name it goes in the trash. If I am in an exceptionally decluttering mood I will go through my stacks of magazines and pick out a dozen that I don’t mind putting out in the recycling bins.
Another favorite is the day before I go grocery shopping – I will go through the refrigerator and find any science experiments in the way back that need to go straight into the garbage disposal or trash. If I find a bunch of random leftovers that are still good then we will do smorgasbord leftovers for dinner that night. The basic concept is clean it out and move it out!
House cleaning schedule
The only other two things you need to keep up your house cleaning schedule are: routines and zones. Let me explain further.
Another key element in the FlyLady system is to stick to routines each day. This takes out the decision fatigue that can plague us throughout the day. Think Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck everyday, except we are using it to swish and swipe our homes.
Every morning we do three things to keep our homes humming right along. And then every evening another three step routine to boogie towards bedtime. An example of a morning routine might be to:
make the beds
start a load of laundry
unload the dishwasher
Conversely, the evening routine can be before bed:
load up the dishwasher and run it
finish up any laundry not yet done
check the calendar for tomorrow’s events so we can plan our days and our outfits
These simple three step routines can save you so much stress and overwhelm.
While the routines are our daily to do’s, we also have those weekly chores that also need a set time in our schedules. FlyLady breaks our homes into 5 basic zones and then we just focus on one small zone each week and get it really clean. By doing this, no one singular area gets really out of control.
Also, if I miss one zone due to a particularly crazy week, I can rest assured- knowing that I will be coming back to it next month. So the week that we are in the living room zone, you might clean the windows on day one. Then the baseboards another day and under the couch on the third day. Finally, behind the entertainment center on the fourth day.
The biggest key to doing the deep zone cleaning is that before we can do anything we need to cull the clutter. So if you are brand new to FlyLady you will only spend your 15 minutes daily in the current zone going through the clutter. Like FlyLady always says, “You can’t organize clutter.”
So don’t even try to move the couch and clean under it if the rest of the floor is covered in toys. Each day, set your timer for 15 minutes and go through the toys to decide which ones the kids still play with. Separate the ones that aren’t broken and which ones can go on to live another day in another home giving joy to another child.
Don’t worry about the deep cleaning until after the clutter has been cleared – I mean it hasn’t been done in forever anyway! Just be patient and trust the process – I know, easier said then done!
Never Spring Clean again!
So, to never have to spring clean again, we are going to follow our morning and evening routines. Our routines will help us to keep our laundry and dishes at bay. We are going to do our 27 fling boogie to keep the clutter down. Finally we will do one deep cleaning project for 15 minutes in our current zone for the week.
I hope these three simple ideas can help you tame the chaos in your home, as they have done in mine. If you haven’t signed up for Flylady’s daily emails – do so here – you won’t regret it! And your family will be so glad to have a little more peace, and a little less chaos, in your home. It’s time to F.L.Y.!