Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why flylady doesn't work for me

Flylady is a popular home organization site. I personally know several people who swear by this site and credit it with having their homes totally organized, and the fact that it didn’t work for me definitely doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. This is definitely not intended to be disparaging to flylady - there are lots of good tips on there and I encourage you to check it out. But I had many frustrated failure moments trying to follow the plan to the letter before I realized that baby steps and routines just don’t keep me motivated. Maybe I’m too impatient, but I need my whole house to be totally clean and clutter free to give me the impetus to keep going.
Whether you call it perfectionism or just being anal, I like to have my whole house in order. It gives me some kind of perverse satisfaction and I generally feel more accomplished in general, even though the rational side of me knows how ridiculous that sounds. Eventually I realized that the only way for me to be completely organized around the home was to fully spring clean the entire house, and then set up routines to keep it going. This takes at least a weekend of hard work on the front end to get the house in perfect shape. The trick is keeping it that way. I had several relapses before I realized that the only way I can achieve it is to dedicate an hour a day to whole house straightening.
I know an hour sounds like a LOT of time. It’s almost impossible to think that you can set aside that much time a day. And for me, it is impossible if I leave it until the end of the day, because I’m tired and too lazy to do much of anything. So here is where you’re probably going to start thinking I’m crazy, but I found that the only way for me to get this done is to get up an hour earlier in the mornings. It has the added bonus that the kids are asleep and don’t have a tendency to follow me around the house like target missiles, seeking out and destroying every area I just cleaned.
My standard morning routine on weekdays is as follows:
·         Unload dishwasher
·         Wipe down and polish counters, stove top, surfaces, and table tops
·         Clean floors with my Shark Steam Mop (every other day)
·         Dust
·         Fold and put away laundry
This all takes about 30 minutes, and I catch up on my DVR shows at the same time. I find that doing these tasks every day means they take far less time. Then depending on what needs doing that day, I use the remaining 30 minutes to steam clean the upholstery with my Shark cleaner, clean the bathrooms, clean the walls with magic erasers (FYI – they are the best at getting rid of crayon marks from your little Picasso), clean the oven and fridge, and pay bills. I don’t set a specific schedule for these things because I like the whole house to be presentable, so I will tackle whatever I think needs it the most, whether that is a combination of all the above, or a deep cleaning of the bathroom.
Freshening the couch with the Shark is one of those things that seems like it might not make a difference, but is actually one of the most valuable things I do. Having a cream couch with small children was not the best decision I ever made, and sometimes the grimy fingerprints seem to creep up on me until I suddenly realize it looks disgusting. I now try to clean it once a week at least, even if it doesn’t look like it needs it, and that has made a huge difference to how the whole living area looks.
In the evenings, I always start a load of laundry when I get home from work, and put it in the dryer overnight, ready for me to fold in the morning. Doing laundry every day means it never gets overwhelming (and I can always find something to wear). After dinner and before bed, we take 15 minutes as a family to do the following:
·         Load dishwasher (it runs overnight)
·         Straighten each room (the kids straighten their own rooms and play area)
·         Sweep and vacuum
By doing these routines every week day, I never get stuck needing to do hours of cleaning on the weekend. I can fully enjoy my days off with my family, spending quality time with the kids, and lessening some of that working mommy guilt!
In another post I’ll talk about the problem areas in my house and what I do to prevent clutter and mess creeping up on me.


  1. Like your plan, but I have to wipe down/polish counters, stove top & surfaces, and table tops after dinner. I can't stand the thought of it sitting overnight -- we sometimes get ants. I also try to spot clean floors at night.

  2. Hmm, good point. I always wipe up any spills and/or noticeable mess but I know there are crumbs etc because I get those in the morning when I'm doing my main clean. We don't usually get ants but I'm sure it probably could attract bugs. EEEEK!!! I might have to add that into my evening routine now that you mention it!!