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Flylady

If you have been around me long enough, you will learn that I am a HUGE Flylady Fan.  I found her website at least 8 years ago, and have been using her techniques to take my home from chaos to peace ever since.  There have been times in the past where I did everything her site told me to do, (and it worked!!) but honestly, most of the time I just use some of her main points to keep my homemaking and attitude in check.  I would like to get back to using the system as a whole, I did that when my girls were babies and toddlers, and it really made a huge difference in my homemaking.

What is Flylady?
Flylady is a group online that offers advice, tips and humor to assist people in keeping their homes tidier, especially for those suffering from “CHAOS” (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  It is a group centered around Flylady.net and uses an email delivery system, so the “Flylady” can speak to and encourage you through emails.  You can set it up to receive numerous email reminders all throughout the day, or there is a setting to receive them all in one lump email at the beginning of the day (this is the one I choose, I don’t like inbox clutter!).  Its like having your own little cheerleader as you get your home in order.  I know, cheesy, but IT WORKS!!
Subjects covered by Flylady include clutter, routines, weekly cleaning with focus on the zone of the week (five in total), self-esteem, and letting go of perfectionism.  It is a free site, but she does have a small store at the website where tools are sold for organization, decluttering and cleaning.  I personally love her ostrich feather duster and I use her insulated water bottle every day!
The system encourages “baby steps” to develop routines and habits to organize and maintain your home.  She has you declutter and menu plan, she has “anti-procrastination” days, and she teaches to plan ahead by establishing routines.  She helps organize personal finances, makes sure you take time to pamper yourself, encourages Friday Night Date Night, Saturday Family Fun Day and Sunday Renew Your Spirit Day.
Below is a great explanation of what the Flylady system consists of from Wikipedia:

Babysteps and Routines

New recruits to Flylady are called “Flybabies” and are introduced to “babysteps” – a series of 31 small daily tasks which introduce and then reinforce aspects of cleaning and decluttering which build into a daily routine, with tasks split into morning routines, after-work routines and bedtime routines.
Shine Your Sink
The first task is “Go shine your sink!” By clearing away the clutter in the sink, scrubbing and shining it, the entire kitchen looks better from such a simple step, and the Flybaby gains encouragement from seeing such a clean and shiny sink and is inspired to help make the rest of the kitchen gleam, too. Flylady asserts that each room has its own “shiny sink”– making the bed in the bedroom and cleaning the desk off in the office will all have the same effect.
15 Minutes at a Time
A crucial part to the Flylady system is that you should only spend 15 minutes doing something, as otherwise you will become bored and get sidetracked. Flylady refers to people who need her system as “SHEs”– “Sidetracked Home Executives” who are perfectionistic and fear beginning to tackle housework because there won’t be enough time to do it all or it won’t be done perfectly. SHEs are in contrast to “born organized” people who are naturally very organized– but even “born organized” people can use Flylady’s system with success. Because of this perfectionism, the SHE cannot ever get started cleaning and the clutter gets worse. By focusing on spending only 15 minutes at a time on cleaning, SHEs learn that a lot can be done in 15 minutes, a task is always quicker and easier than you would imagine it to be, and you do not have to spend all your time cleaning in order to get your home company-ready. Flylady also highly encourages the actual use of a timer to measure the 15-minute increments, to measure them accurately.
Clutter Cannot Be Organized
Another important aspect of Flylady’s system is her attitude towards clutter. She tells her group that if you look at something and it doesn’t make you happy, you should get rid of it. Many people fill their houses with clutter and then try to organize it in some way. Flylady says that clutter cannot be organized, because by its very nature it’s an obstacle. Only when Flybabies reduce their clutter can they expect to be able to organize their household. This is done in Flylady’s system, 15 minutes at a time, through the “27-fling Boogie,” in which a Flybaby goes around an area and chooses 27 things to either throw out or give away. FlyBabies are also encouraged to prevent clutter to enter the home – buying less and buying only what they need.
Weekly Routines
Once Flybabies have learned the basic habits and are able to manage their daily routines, Flylady then advises including weekly routines, whereby each weekday is assigned an additional task – Monday is daily cleaning, Wednesday is errand day, Thursday is grocery day and Friday is “desk day” – sorting out paperwork and finances, as well as the day to declutter the car. One additional day can be a “weekly home blessing.” If a Flybaby has been keeping up with her routines, 15 minutes at a time, during the week, she will only have to spend a small amount of time doing a weekly dusting/cleaning, or a “home blessing.”
Get Dressed to Shoes
Flylady encourages Flybabies to “get dressed to shoes”– getting dressed in street clothes down to lace-up shoes, which help them to get moving during the day and have a better effect on the mind than staying in pajamas. For women it is also important to do their hair and wear make up as this is intended to have a positive effect on their self-esteem.
Zones
Once your home is decluttered and your daily and weekly routines established (which may take months or even years, depending on how cluttered your home is!), Cilley advises “zone work” – each month, the home is split into five zones, and a daily ‘mission’ is set in that week’s zone. Each mission covers more detailed cleaning but should take no more than 15 minutes. Some missions are repeated in subsequent months, so that the missions take less time as there is less clutter and cleaning. As this point, Flylady recommends you tackle detailed zone cleaning, which cover the kinds of tasks you would usually expect of a spring clean – cleaning skirting boards, cleaning windows etc. However, as you should only tackle what you can do in 15 minutes, this spreads the detailed cleaning over a period of time, so that rather than ‘spring cleaning’, you simply do a little bit every day and your home stays tidier and cleaner.
Control Journal
Flylady advises the use of a “Control Journal,” a notebook or binder, as a personal manual for noting one’s routines. This may also include a folder in which important papers and bills are kept so they can be worked on while waiting in public places such as doctor’s offices. A Control Journal should also include important information so it can be had at a moment’s notice in case of an emergency. Before taking someone to the emergency room, a Flybaby might grab her Control Journal, where she knows she has stored a list of medicines taken by the patient. Knowing that all that important information is kept in one place saves a lot of time, money and stress, according to Flylady, and is certainly worth the initial time involved in setting up the journal.
Flylady Reminders
Daily reminders of the routines, zones and missions are sent out when you subscribe to the Flylady groups. There is a UK group which sends out reminders according to GMT rather than US timezone, and many alternative ‘non-official’ groups.
Perfectionism leads to Procrastination
According to the FlyLady system, the most frequent reason for procrastination and inefficacy is perfectionism, as people won’t start a task if they think they don’t have the time or the ability to do it perfectly. Some frequently repeated sayings in this respect are “good enough is good enough” or “housework done incorrectly still blesses your family”.

I have loved Flylady, and what I have learned from her influences what I do and how I do it, everyday.  I will be talking about her from time to time on this blog.
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