I‘m going to take a few minutes (okay, LOTS of minutes) and tell you about something I’ve found that has made a huge difference in my little corner of the world. I’ve mentioned it alot lately (on here, in conversations, emails, etc), and people keep asking me about it. I also have people ask me about it because they come over and are shocked when they see that my house is clean. If you’re someone who was born organized, don’t even bother reading this. If you can’t quite get a handle on things in most areas, you’ve gotta get help from Flylady. I know this one will be long, so I’m giving you plenty of forewarning!!
So, who is FlyLady, you ask? I’ll show you.
She will transform your life. Go to her website and see for yourself. www.flylady.com.
I’ll tell you a little bit about it. Flylady’s real name is Marla. She hasn’t come right out and said it that I’ve seen, but I think she’s a Christian by the things she says and the way she writes. She had some hard years – she was married for 17-or-so (I think) years to a man who physically abused her. She finally decided to get herself and her son out of the situation and get control of her life. She started by getting control of the outer things (home, schedule, etc), hoping that the inner things would gain some control as well. So she came up with this program… then she helped a couple of friends who were dealing with hard things, too. She started a little online group with just a few people, which has now spread to 325,000 members.
FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself. She helps people who are living in CHAOS (she says it stands for Cant Have Anyone Over Syndrome – haha) and helps them get their lives, minds, & bodies in order. She helps you to develop structure in your home. She shows you how to run an effective household in a way that doesnt take over your whole life. She teaches you to take time out of the day to love yourself and your family, and shows you that many times, the outer struggles are just symptoms of all of the struggles inside. She helps you take care of both.
You start out by signing up. You’ll get lots of emails (like 15 per day), but most of them repeat every day, so it only takes a second to check it because you get so familiar with what it says. You get reminders such as "Where is your laundry? Is it sitting in the washer growing mold because you havent changed it in 4 days??" and "Don’t forget to shine your sink!" You also get an essay during the day that she writes..which is more like her random musings on life.
Then the first thing you do is what she calls "shining your sink." The first rule of Flylady is that you shine your sink before you go to bed every night. To shine your sink, it has to be empty. If you’re going to empty the sink, you might as well wash the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. But to put them in the dishwasher you have to empty the ones that are already in the dishwasher. And if you’re going to empty those you might as well put them up where they go. So the very first night, you go to bed with a shiny sink. Once you shine it her way, (instructions on the site), you’ll never want to get it dirty again! Then you wake up the next morning and you have a shiny sink to start the day… which makes a big difference. Starting the day with dirty dishes makes me feel like I pretty much started the day a step behind. It makes me not want to wash the dishes today either, because the pile’s just too big. Start the day with a shiny sink, and it somehow stays shiny all day long.
There are lots of other steps, but one of the BIG ones is to make a Control Journal. I know, that sounds cultish or something, right? Its basically just a book of routines and lists that show you the best way to run your house. You’ll have a morning routine that takes you just a few minutes, an evening routine that helps you get everything ready for tomorrow, a list of things that you do at some point or another during the week, and a few other things. One of the greatest inventions of ALL, in my opinion, is the Zones. Flylady divides your house into 5 zones. Each month, you get 1 week per zone. This is the first week of the month, so right now, I’m in Zone 1. (usually there are only 4 and a half weeks each month, so either zone 1 or zone 5 is a little short.) I do all of my regular weekly cleaning – just the basic stuff – and all of my heavy deep cleaning is in Zone 1. I have one focus in one place, so I don’t get sidetracked. Next week, I’ll move onto Zone 2, so I can put this one behind me and not have to think about it for another month. Looking at the whole house as one big unit is way too overwhelming. This is so simple. Plus, it doesnt take that long since it’s only a small portion of the house. Your entire house gets a good deep cleaning every month, and you didnt really even have to think about it.
She also teaches you how to plan menus, stock your pantry, "swish & swipe" (you’ll think its stupid but it WORKS), use a timer, and lots of other things. Little things that seem so dumb and trivial, but if you use them, you’ll be amazed. I just started doing the timer thing this week. I’ve thought all along that I didn’t need it. Wow it makes a difference.
The important thing is not to take on too much at one time. Babysteps.
I’ve told you lots of the basics, but there’s lots more on the website. Joining is free. The only thing that costs anything is the items in the FlyShop.
Now that I have completely spent my afternoon doing an advertisement for Flylady.com (I should be getting paid for this!!), you should make it worth my while and go check it out. If MY house can be in order (and you all know that I am unbelievably messy and unorganized), then yours can too. The reason I promote this so crazily is because she has lots of great stuff to say, and because having some order brings peace of mind, which we all need. Especially me.
The catch? You have to really want it. You have to be dedicated enough that you want to make a change. Wishing for it won’t get you anywhere. You have to get up off your hiney and do it. If you don’t, you obviously didn’t want it that bad to begin with.
It’s amazing how little things like getting the physical things in my life somewhat structured has made my relationship with God stronger in the past 7 or 8 weeks. I guess it’s because there are so many distractions throughout my day that constantly make me focus on what I’m doing wrong or how I don’t measure up or how behind I am. When I feel like I have a goal, a plan to get me there, and the energy to get it done, it takes alot of the distractions away. I feel like I have time to actually THINK during the day now. I remember to stop and pray. I make time to sit and read my Bible. I realize that
God has given me so many blessings, gifts, and talents, and when all of the other junk is crowding my brain, none of those are appreciated and used. If I can’t get a handle on getting my house clean during the day, how am I going to handle the bigger tasks that God has laid out for me in his plan?
It seems a little structure has gone a long way.