I remember a few years ago, a friend of mine (who had a messy house problem like me), told me about a website thing she joined, called “fly lady” that sent you reminders to clean your house. At the time I was living at my parents place, so I didn’t see the point….. but now, in a house full of mess, I decided to look it up (www.flylady.com)
I’m not exactly going to follow the plan, but I’ve taken a lot of ideas onboard and I’m going to try and get the house organised. I like the bit that talks about the CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome 🙂 Yep, that’s true of this house! And its REALLY bugging me lately.
The problem is, lots of stuff, no where for it to go, other people living here who are just as messy as me… and a bit of a lack of pride in the house…. added to the type of cleaner I am (Decide to clean and pull everything out to do a good job – go to put something away in another room and get distracted there and start cleaning there, then go to put something back in another room and get distracted there…. so the house never looks like I’ve done anything and I end up sometimes making more mess than we started with). But that’s what sort of resonated with me in the Flylady site – it was talking about that, and saying not to try and do it all at once, start off with just 5 mins a day spent cleaning one room. Her idea includes a box marked “Put Away” and instead of wandering around putting everything away while cleaning, stay in the one room and put anything that doesn’t belong in there and then take the box around when you’ve finished and put all that stuff where it goes.
So its not so overwhemling (coz I often stand in the middle of the room and go “where the hell do I start?” and decide it’s just too much to cope with and don’t do anything …
and theoretically, once the house gets tidy – you can just keep it there… just with a few blocks of 2-5 mins a day. Its basically allowing a month of gentle cleaning to get your house to clean, and then its plan is that by then, you’ve spent that month getting into a routine and learning not to hate cleaning… so by then your house is clean, and the same cleaning schedule you used to get it there, will help you maintain it.
And if you join the mailing list (like I did), they send daily messages (lots of them) reminding you to do different things. There is even a kids section, and gives suggestions like getting the kids to do a 10 item walk around – where they walk around the house an pick up 10 things that are theirs to go back into their room. Of course, its in the US, so they send the “now go to bed and get your beauty sleep” e-mail when it’s morning, but still…. I’ve picked up some good ideas.
Since having a baby I find it really hard to do the simple things, like getting dressed in the morning and having breakfast and lunch (well, I’ve always found it hard to eat breakfast in the mornings)…. So I’m trying to make myself have breakfast, and have bought a couple of those sustagen drink thingos and if I’m really not in the mood for breakfast I’m making myself have one of those. I tried to find “up and go” since I think they are more designed for that, but no luck…. and meal replacement shakes are so expensive! if I ever find a food dehydrator cheap enough, I’m going to dry some fruit and powder it and perhaps make my own fruit smoothies (even when the fruit is not in season). Anyway…. I need to be reminded of things, or I just completely forget to do them.
So I have made myself a daily list. Listing everything I need to be reminded of. Even the childishly silly things of getting dressed, having breakfast , drinking a glass of water…. and also including things like 5 mins cleaning one room in the house, cleaning the bathroom sink and counter while I’m in there doing my hair etc. I can set the oven timer, and according to the flylady rules, you clean for your allotted time and then stop, even if you didn’t finish what you were meaning to do. So we’ll see how we go. And I’ve made a weekly list, so I have designated things to do each day – things I’d otherwise forget…..like cleaning the bathroom and sweeping the footpath (The tree outside drops leaves and everyone elses footpath is neat, except ours, but I never think about it until I walk on it and go “bloody hell, this looks atrocious!”) on a Monday, laundry and vaccuming on Tuesday etc.
I never agreed with lists and structure, but I find now if I don’t have some sort of plan, I get side tracked into doing something else, and it never gets done… and then I just get stressed and depressed.
So, her day 1 thing to do is to clean the sink. Apparently everyone like me goes “err… why”… but her reasoning is that its something that gives you a sense of achievement…. which I’ve actually said before is one thing I don’t get much and that brings me down…. particularly with my cleaning method (when I clean)… I do it in such a wide scale that nothing ever looks achieved. I’m always surrounded by half finished things so nothing ever seems to be completed. So She says that by cleaning the sink till it shines, and then making a job of keeping it clean the last thing you do at night – you wake up to a sparkling sink in the morning and you start off on a good note.
So this morning, I cleaned my sink. Not as completely as she said (and I used baking soda and lemon rather than bleach and windex).. I didn’t remove the grot from that bench/sink junction, as I’d not got dressed or had breakfast and it was already 11am… but I did find a sense of achievement. I took all the dishes out of the drainer, put them away and put the drainer away!!!!!!!!! Our left side draining board hasn’t been naked in the whole time we’ve lived here…. so that was a bit amazing in itself!
Now her idea is to put the dirty dishes in a crate thing and put it in the cupboard. Now in our house “out of sight, out of mind” is applicable…. so hiding dirty dishes in a cupboard is soooooooooo not a good idea. We’d only find them after we ran out of plates, and they would be sporting a colony of god knows what… But I did find a crate and put all the (rinsed) dishes in that and put that on the draining board. Not idea, but I think even if they sit in a white crate on the draining board its neater than just piled up on the draining board. If I can move my spice rack and the pyrex dish that are sitting in the corner of the kitchen bench, there is a space there the right size for the crate, which tucks in beside the microwave and with a teatowel over the top will look reasonably tidy, while not being hidden. So I’m going to give that a go.
Day 2 Flylady plan is to clean the sink and get dressed (including lace up shoes apparently). I agree with the dressed bit, but I don’t normally wear shoes in the house, and the only lace up shoes I own are high heeled “witchy boots” or army boots… so slippers will have to do 😉 So I’m not following her plan to the letter… but more the spirit of the idea (Her reasoning is that when fully dressed you feel more complete)
So I’m starting a new category called “FLYing” for my posts to do with the house cleaning. Probably as exciting as paint drying, but you don’t have to read them.