Here’s the truth. I’m a very messy person at heart. I was the kid in elementary school who stuffed bent folders, stubby pencils, broken crayons, and crumpled notes into her desk. Oh how I envied my friends who kept their desks meticulous–shiny folders all in a row, neat pencil boxes (actually filled with pencils and not trash), and books lined upright with bindings facing front! In high school–my messes spilled from binders. English papers mixed with Algebra mixed with World History. Amazingly, I was a straight A student. Obviously I was a high functioning mess–but I was stressed and embarrassed! Now it’s one thing to be a messy kid who can’t keep her locker clean–but it is a whole other level of hot mess when you’re a mom and can’t find your keys or clean undies. Thankfully, I found the FlyLady about 15 years ago–she has been a game changer for me. And if she can help me–I know she can help you! Let’s dig in and talk about how to get started with FlyLady routines!
Who the heck is the FlyLady?
The FlyLady is an amazing woman named Marla Cilley. She doesn’t know me from Eve–but I think we’d be dear friends. She gets me–she gets it. Marla is also a not-so-organized person by nature and a self-professed SHE: Sidetracked Home Executive.
She understands how perfectionism paralyzes us and how it leads to procrastination. But slowly she learned new routines and new thought patterns–which developed into habits! Her transformation to peace and organization is inspirational! I love her–she has truly blessed my life.
What exactly does she do? Well–her heart is to teach other women to FLY…Finally Loving Yourself…no more beating yourself up about your organization or homemaking skills. But instead–taking baby steps to build new habits and new ways of thinking!
Marla is a truth teller–she will not let you wallow in self-pity or become a martyr over your housework. But she is so gentle and loving–and encouraging! If you struggle with keeping up the house–or if you struggle with your attitude about keeping up the house…you need the FlyLady in your life!
So I obviously love her–but I do think her website can be a little daunting for a newbie…It’s filled with lots of great information, and I truly encourage you to spend some time exploring and getting to know your way around all the resources she offers (which are FREE)!
It is suggested that you get on her email list, and you will be sent daily tasks and encouragement. However, I feel like the amount of emails sent daily is a lot–almost an overwhelming amount…and you really don’t need them to get started. (Years ago when I started with the FlyLady, I was able to get a daily digest of all the emails, but that is not offered as a free service any longer.)
What it Looks Like Daily for Me
I certainly don’t Fly perfectly…I flutter and have to start back at square one. But over the years, these essential pieces have become part of my routine:
- Empty dishwasher/finish any kitchen clean-up from the night before (with 6 kids…there are usually some dirty dishes in the sink when I go to bed)!
- Reboot the laundry.
- Make my bed.
- Clean a bathroom…this is the part of my routine I’m most likely to skip! But it’s my goal to be much better! Otherwise, I end up cleaning all my bathrooms on the day I’m doing my weekly home blessing (more on that below).
- Quick clean-up for 15 minutes (As the FlyLady says…You can do anything for 15 minutes)!
- Figure out dinner/prep as needed.
- Finish up any laundry.
- Clean Up kitchen.
- Check my calendar for tomorrow.
- 15 Minute quick clean/tidy up Hot Spots (places where all the clutter starts collecting)!
After all these years, I’m still working on building good habits…specifically getting dressed to my shoes first thing in the morning!
Besides daily routines, the FlyLady has a weekly rhythm where each day is given a specific focus (called Daily Focus on her site)–which is very flexible! I love having a specific focus for the day–something about knowing I have an “anti-procrastination day,” gives me mental peace!
For example: One day is set aside for vacuuming, dusting, emptying the trash–all your basic housekeeping chores (except bathrooms–because these *should* be worked into your daily routine). This daily focus is called the Weekly Home Blessing (I love the heart attitude behind this)!
The FlyLady suggests your week might look like this:
Monday: Weekly Home Blessing
Tuesday: Plan and Play Day (make all your lists)
Wednesday: Anti-Procrastination Day (Pay the Bills, Make the Phone Calls, Send the Emails)
Thursday: Errands Day
Friday: Clean Out Your Purse and Car Day
Saturday: Family Fun Day
Sunday: Renew Your Spirit Day
But you can mix these around to work with your schedule. Personally, I like the house to be extra-clean going into the weekend, so I try to do my Weekly Home Blessing on Thursday or Friday.
Weekly Cleaning Focus
Each week focuses on a specific area in the home to declutter or spend some time deep cleaning. These areas are called zones–so ideally, each zone is thoroughly cleaned once a month.
She actually provides simple zone “missions,” for you to accomplish each day! Every mission for the entire week can be found right in the “Launch Pad,” section of her website, under “Sneak Peek for the Week.”
I try to fit zone chores in during the morning–but this doesn’t always happen! And that’s okay! I’ve learned we are never behind–and I just to jump in the next day (or week)!
Here are the zones:
- 1: Entrance, Front Porch, Dining Room
- 2: Kitchen
- 3: Main Bathroom and Other Room
- 4: Master Bedroom, Bath, and Closet
- 5: Livingroom
Most Helpful Tools
So the way I make Flying the most accessible for me is to bookmark her website.
The Launch Pad section is the most valuable tool for me–from here you can go right to the Flight Plan (Daily To-Do List) or Sneak Peek for the Week (all the zone chores).
I also really like the FlyLadyPlus app for iPhones and iPads–it is completely customizable (and FREE)! I created morning and evening routines for myself, and I can easily check the zone missions for the week!
In addition, I use pages from my free planner to help me keep up with FlyLady routines and homeschooling! Here’s a post with more details on that!
Other FlyLady Tips…
As I said before…I follow my routines very imperfectly, and sometimes I end up with a house really out of whack–which causes me anxiety. When this happens, my remedy is what the FlyLady calls Crisis Cleaning.
In a nutshell, Crisis Cleaning consists of setting the timer for 15 minutes and cleaning–really focusing on getting the job done! The timer gets set again for another 15 minutes (hopefully I’m able to move on to a new area or chore). And then again–the timer is set for another 15 minutes of intense work. After the three bursts of cleaning, you take a 15 minute break. The cycle continues until the house is clean. (It can be exhausting, but on the bright side–the house will look great and it counts as a workout!)
And with the holidays approaching, I can’t imagine doing them without her Holiday Missions. Please check out her “Cruising Through the Holidays,” and her free Holiday Control Journal–it all really helps!!
The Heart Change
I think the most surprising thing about following the FlyLady is the heart change. No more angry mom about cleaning not done “the right way.” No more pity party about being the only one who notices the toilet paper roll is empty. No more beating myself up for not getting it all done…
Because the truth is: it will never be all done…We are in process, and keeping house is a rhythm–not something that gets finished. And doing it imperfectly still blesses my family.
One final word of wisdom from the FlyLady…Nothing says I love you quite like clean underwear, toilet paper on the roll, and a clean toilet when you’re sick!
So keep loving your people and loving yourself! It’s the little things, Sweet Friend…And Jesus sees and treasures all of it!