I Hate Mess and Clutter

Declutter KitDear FlyLady,

I just wanted to thank you for all that you do. I’ve been fluttering for a number of years now, ever since I had my DS (6). I hate mess and clutter and, yet, have 3 children so that is a struggle for me!  Whilst I totally accept the need to show kids how to do things from an early age, I didn’t want to be the kind of mum that is always on the children’s backs asking them to clean this or clean that. Because of this, we have simply “got by.”

But last year we had our DD, our third and last child, and ever since I have slowly begun to fly.

As she is outgrowing each stage of clothing and toys, I am getting rid of them. It makes me feel good knowing that I have blessed other people with these items. Ever since I had my first child, I have saved all kinds of clothes and toys, knowing that I couldn’t afford to buy each new baby new items. But now I can send them off with a light heart, knowing that they have served me well and can now go on and serve someone else.

As part of the whole process, we swapped 2 of the bedrooms around and bought proper bedroom furniture for the children.

My DS keeps asking me what today’s Kid’s Challenge is and I keep having to make it up because now that he has a proper place for everything, there is no mess beyond the daily routine of hanging things up,  putting clothes in the washing basket, and making the bed!

I’m a long way from finished; I now have to sort out the toy room and our living room. But I KNOW that I can succeed this time. I know that you can’t organize clutter, no matter how much storage you buy and so I know that I’ll get there in the end.

FlyBaby UK


FlyLady here: You bless yourself, your family, your home, and others by decluttering and giving away what you no longer need, use, or love!!

We have a great tool to help you declutter. It is the FlyLady’s De-Clutter Kit!!

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Hurry Up and Wait

Dear Friends,

Hurry up and wait. The waiting is the hardest part.

I have been reading testimonials this morning. One reoccurring theme has been celebration of their FlyLady anniversary; from many years to one year. They have all been amazed at their transformations.

As FlyBabies we are not patient people and we are probably married to even more impatient husbands. Upon hearing about FlyLady; you expect to see phenomenal over night changes. Well we have all tried those methods. They are called crash and burn. We do too much and don’t want to do anything else for several days or even months. Then what happens? Your home is in a worse state than when you started. All because we don’t want to wait for the FLY Washing to penetrate our stubborn heads. We think we are super women so this does not apply to us. We don’t need to take babysteps because we are better than all those other people with messy houses. Only to find out that it is not fun to crash and burn.

I know this feeling of failure. For many years I suffered with my perfectionist attitudes that pushed me to the limit more times than I care to share with you. It wasn’t until I decided to be nice to myself and take babysteps by only requiring that I learn one habit at a time. I chose shining my sink. The rest was just simply adding one more habit at a time as the previous habit became automatic. For FlyBabies it takes about a month of practice to accomplish this. We need the habit written down in front of our face so we will remember. We can get sidetracked so easily. After all we are FlyBabies and the least little thing can pull us off track. It all starts with our perfectionism. I know because it just happened to me writing this paragraph. I was looking for the right word for the first sentence; I knew the meaning but could not think of the word. We drug out a thesaurus trying to find a word for being in a state of defeat. Robert finally came up with the simple word failure. That is really what happens. We end up feeling like a failure; all because our perfectionism will not let us win.

So when are we going to quit pushing ourselves past the limit of our endurance and take babysteps to accomplish the same thing? It took me many times of crashing and burning to get through my thick head that perfectionism didn’t work. Then I decide to be kind to myself and understand my sidetractedness as well as accept it and learn to love that part of me. Right now I am sitting in my favorite chair with my timer ticking away as I write for 15 minutes and when my timer dings; I will be up doing 15 minutes in my home. My home looks great; so I am doing some zone cleaning so I will never have to see dirt again. It is amazing how just a little maintenance keeps a home gleaming. It is almost as if my home cleans itself. My routines keep everything looking nice and when my home looks good; I feel good. The better it looks the more time I have to do the things I love. I would not be able to be FlyLady if my home were dragging me down. I would not be able to write or even think if things were piled up around me. This is why cleaning off your hotspot and keeping them policed daily helps your disposition.

Clean is contagious. Just clear off one little spot and see what happens to you. You become energized. Go shine your sink and look at how you feel. No one believes it until they do it for themselves. The shine penetrates your being; makes you smile and before you know it you feel better and you look better because you are no longer beating yourself up. You have hope for the first time in a very long time.

Celebrate every little accomplishment. You don’t have to brag to others to get this feeling of euphoria; it is inside of you. I want you to FLY! But we have to be patient with the process! Routines are just babysteps put together into a dance that makes your day FLY!!

Are you ready to let go of your Crash and Burn Mentality and take a few babysteps to find yourself through the clutter and CHAOS?

You can do this. If I did anyone can! It took me nine months of hurry of and wait for my babysteps to become life long habits. It is giving birth to a new you! What have you got to lose: Exhaustion, depression, failure? Try it the FLYLADY way and see the changes FLY all around you.

I love you all!



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Will You Please Explain The Zones?

zonesDear FlyLady,

I went on the website because I am still confused by the zone cleaning: how do the zones rotate? what do you do? How does the detailed cleaning list fit in (I printed that). It is ambiguous to me – I see the individual e-mails come out but can’t quite put them together into a whole picture.

Thank you for your help,


Dear Liane,

You don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step. I promise it all fits together. Please keep in mind that February and March of this year the month started on a Saturday. This does not happen often. So we had one day for Zone 1 and you got a special mission.

Many of you have had questions about the zones. I hope I can clear this up.

We are breaking our homes into 5 zones, but we are using my zones so that we will all be on the same page. After you graduate, you can break your house into what ever zones you choose. Right now we are all together.

Let’s look at a calendar, in most months the days fall over parts of 5 weeks, sometimes 4 and other times 6. Look at a whole years worth of months. My zones start on Sunday. To take the guess work out of it, go sign up for your Cozi Calendar and let it tell you what zone we are in.

Here is how the zones are laid out:

Zone 1 occurs during the first week of the month. Some months have only has a few days in this first week, but in March we have a 1 day to concentrate on our entrance, front porch, and dining room.

All I ask is that you spend 15 minutes a day working on your zone for that week. If you still have lots of clutter, work on clearing this clutter, 15 minutes at a time first. Then you can do your detailed cleaning later after the clutter is gone. Let’s face it, you have not cleaned cobwebs or dust bunnies in several months or maybe years, so don’t get overwhelmed here. I don’t want you to burn out. 15 minutes a day, consistency is the key here. That is all.

Zone 2 is the kitchen. Most of our kitchens need a full week of cleaning, (only 15 minutes a day). This is usually the first full week in each month.

Zone 3 it the main bathroom and one other room in the house. (kid room, extra room, office, craft room, utility room.) Don’t do two really bad rooms at once. This is usually the 2nd full week of the month. Only do 15 minutes at a time or a day. Take it easy. The consistency will get you to your goal 15 minutes at a time.

Zone 4 is the master bedroom. This is usually the 3rd full week of the month, 4th week if you count the parts of week 1. We clean our closets, bathrooms and bedroom. But if there is serious clutter, this has to go first. 15 minute at a time. Your master bedroom, is the room that is most important in your life. This is where you rest, clutter keeps you from resting well. Get rid of this clutter and find your oasis.

Zone 5 is your living room. This zone is on the 5th week of the month. Usually it only has a few days. Then the month ends and the next month starts. Zone 1 and Zone 5 usually happen in the same week.

I hope this has straightened out zones for the time being. Look at the calendar and write them down if you have too. This is how I had to do it, to get it into my head.

Don’t forget, all I ask is 15 minutes a day. Set a timer and just do a little every day. You will see a difference in a week’s time. In a month, you will start to notice a trend in your home. You can do this. It didn’t get dirty in a day and it is not going to get clean overnight. It is going to take a few months of decluttering, and then detail cleaning, to make your home the place of peace you want.

Many of you are trying to do zone cleaning while you are doing your Weekly Home Blessing Hour. Don’t do this. In fact, it is more important that you concentrate on your morning and before bed routines before you do yourWeekly Home Blessing Hour.

Here is how it all fits together. Get your routines established one habit at a time. Then, add new habits as your old ones become second nature. Then, throw in the 15 minutes a day decluttering. As your home becomes clear, the Weekly Home Blessings are a piece of cake. There will not be stuff to vacuum around and dust.

My whole house looks great all the time, with just my morning and before bed routines. Even if you do nothing else, your home will come together.

Quit trying to see the big picture, and focus on your BabySteps. You don’t have to do it all at once: BABYSTEPS.

Let go of your perfections and watch your home shine!

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Congratulations You Are a CEO

Dear Friends,

Now for the God Breeze! What if we ran our homes like 5 Star Hotels? The funny part is we already do a lot of it!  So let’s look at our homes in comparison to a hotel!

- We have bedrooms and bathrooms.
- We provide a place for people to sleep comfortably and      get ready for their day.
- We have a laundry service.
- The dining room is always open.
- The concierge is ready to plan any excursion.
- The limousine service is at their beckon call.
- The lounge has nice reading material and comfortable places to relax.

So as you can plainly see our hotels already offer the best! You are the Chief Executive of this hotel; it is your responsibility to keep it running! But how do you do this?

Every business has to know where their money is being spent and to keep track of their (ugly word here)Budget. Do you know what a budget really is? It is a projection of what you have coming in and how much you think it will take to operate your hotel. That doesn’t mean you spend everything that comes in either. When we continually do this we eventually go bankrupt. You can only rob Peter to pay Paul just so many times.

At this point our hotels are struggling to stay afloat in a sea of problems. As we fix one problem another one rears its ugly head. We are working on the cleaning problems. We have established routines for getting things done on a daily basis. The kitchen is coming together too. Menus are posted and purchasing lists are ready for the buyer. But this is only part of keep our hotel running.

When we have financial problems the stress hurts everyone involved with the operation. We have to learn to find a balance in our hotel and look objectively at how much we have coming in and how much is going out. Some people would automatically say we need to charge more for a room in our hotel! WRONG! Higher rates mean you could run off customers. More is not always the key to having enough to operate.

Every year when I was county commissioner, we were faced with trying times for our budget. We had to get creative in order to save jobs and not raise taxes. Our income was being cut by forces outside of our control. What we did have control over, we did not want to abuse by raising our rates. When we look at our homes from this prospective this would be like going to your boss and demanding a raise and getting it! Now that is not going to happen. We have to learn to run our little hotel operation with what we have. In other words live within our means.

In order to address these issues we had to start with a zero based budget. Now I don’t quite understand this, but I think it means start with nothing. Each department head wrote down what they needed to run their department; from paperclips to payroll! In other words we started fresh! I love it; we do this every morning when we get up! Just because we spent it last year doesn’t mean we can spend it this year or this month or today. Money is like spilled milk. Once it is gone it is gone; all we really have control over is what we have now and what we plan to do with it.

Last week someone asked me what my greatest asset was! Without hesitation I replied me! Do you want to know why? It is because of my “can do” attitude that keeps me learning and doing. You want to know something else! You have that attitude too! Knowledge is the answer! Why do you think you keep looking for those answers! Why do you think you found us? You were searching for answers to problems. You know deep down inside that the knowledge is out there, but having the knowledge and using it are two different things. We are going to teach you how to use what you know.

Our whole lives we have been told! You are woman and you can do any and everything! The problem with this type of brainwashing is it made us go after what we wanted(we wanted it all), but it didn’t teach us how to keep what we have and prioritize what is important to us. This is what I want help you with.

As SHEs we are smart savvy people! Our greatest asset is ourselves. When you take care of you in even the simplest ways you are taking care of your hotel! I know you equate this with being selfish! But it is not! In order to keep your hotel running smoothly and efficiently you have to be happy and healthy!

SHEs fall into all types of people, some of us are better at certain things. I like to call them savants SHEs! There are lots of our member that don’t have mountains of laundry or dishes piled high, but their clutter is over taking their homes and they can’t let go. There are some that are good with their finances while others that can’t find their bills. We have members that can literally run a 5 Star Hotel but have trouble finding things, just not at the office! At the office our members look totally put together! They just Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Their dirty little secret about their home has been kept from their friends and co-workers and I’ll bet their financial dirty little secret has been hidden from their loved ones. Do you want to know why?

FEAR! FEAR OF REJECTION! Could that be why we spend ourselves into countless credit card debt; Living beyond our means? Fear of not being worthy because of a flaw. Fear of not looking like we are worth something. Fear of what other people think! Fear of not living up to our ideals of what life really is? Do you see the stinking thinking in all of these attitudes? Are you trying to keeping up with the neighbors. The FEAR of not knowing is worse than actually knowing. When you know your enemy you can work out a battle plan!

Now back to your assets! You have them and we are going to utilize them. Even our SHEness is an asset! Think about this! We love to plan and scheme and scheme and plan; oh and let’s not forget our love of making lists, but we are not really good at implementing these plans.

Are you ready let knowledge give you the power to FLY?


Your Control Journal is your guide to running your 5 Star Hotel!

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How Do I Wash My Purple Rags?

Dear FlyLady,

Please don’t buy a more pale color for the Rags in a Bag as the purple doesn’t show dirt stains. I was amazed at how clean my outdoor glass-top table got with just one pass of the rag. The next pass made it sparkle. The next day I ate lunch on it–great weather and I escaped hearing the World Cup match. I never would have considered eating outside previously.

I do have a question: What kind of load should we throw the purple rags into?



Dear Elinor,

I did the same thing today. I cleaned my outside glass top table that was covered in muck, pollen, and dirt. In the past, I have had to use Windex and lots of paper towels. I could not believe how fast my table was shining!

Do not wash purple rags with anything other than Purple Rags. Fibers from other cloths can ruin the texture of the purple rag. I use very little soap and a bucket with warm water to wash them. Do not use any fabric softener on them. Then, I hang mine out to dry so that the dogs can’t get to them.

These rags are good for doors, counters, mirrors, and the latest use is in the shower. You can use them on your body to exfoliate or on your shower doors to get rid of soap scum. We love these rags. Head on over to the FlyShop and get yours today!


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Destroyed Mount Washmore

Weekly Home BlessingDear FlyLady,

Just had to let you know we’ve finished our first Home Blessing here in UK.

My DS 5, DD 7, and I used a suggestion that I saw on one of your messages a while ago. The kids and I both had great fun doing it and DS insisted I send you and e-mail to let you know what great cleaners we are!

In other FLY news, we’ve destroyed Mount Washmore finally today. I’m Swishing and Swiping two bathrooms every morning and following Morning and Evening routines. The clutter is slowly leaving our home bag by bag. There are clean surfaces and calm, ordered spaces for the family to be in.

I am so happy to have found your system and to have the relief of not feeling I am the only one who has difficulty with household management. My house was in complete CHAOS; no surfaces any where, and dirt as far as the eye could see. Cleaning was always a marathon of stress, shouting and frankly, bad behavior on my part due to the guilt and frustration I felt with myself for not being able to run a proper home for my family and myself like “real” people did.

As I’m doing my “rounds” I’m chanting “You need never see dirt again” and “Even house work done imperfectly still blesses my family” and occasionally “Nothing says love like a clean toilet bowl to throw up in” (!).

Thank you thank you thank you lots of love,

FlyBaby in Gloucester, UK

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Change! Bring it On!

Change is inevitable, so we may as well enjoy it. For a long time I thought I didn’t like change. But since I try to be very careful about the words I use, saying “I don’t like change,” bothered me enough to take a closer look at those words. (Saying you don’t like something makes it so; and since change is inevitable, we may as well decide to enjoy it.)

What I realized is thinking I don’t like change is a lot of hooey! I do too like change! I love clean sheets, fresh towels, and the change in seasons. I like the time when day turns to night, night turns to day, each different day of the week, the growth in goodness of my children and grandchildren, new stuff like cars, shoes, books and such. I love a change of scenery, a vacation, and even “the change of life” had its very good qualities.

The reason I thought I didn’t like change was because I love a routine. When I have a routine (good or bad) I don’t have to think. I think what happens is we can get stuck in dumb routines and they become such habits we just don’t stop to think ourselves out of them. When my house was a mess I was just stuck in a routine that served up a messy home. When I didn’t include exercise in my daily life it didn’t serve my body well. When I used credit cards as if they were income, the outcome was predictable. So it’s not that we don’t like change, we don’t like having to think about getting out of a bad routine.

It was Einstein, or maybe it was Miley Cyrus, who said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.”

When we baby step our way into a better routine, we get the best of both worlds.  We get to gently take ourselves into another way to live and be happy with ourselves in spite of our circumstances, knowing they will change. You’ve heard the term KISS. It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. I use the same acronym only my KISS stands for Keep It Special Sweetie. I heard Garrison Keeler on Prairie Home Companion say, “Having ice cream for breakfast one morning is wonderful, but after ten days of it for breakfast it would lose its specialness.”

When I embarked on my plan to get organized, I included in the plan a day each week in which I could do nothing if I wanted to. I could stay in my nightgown all day if I wanted to. I could eat over the sink if I wanted to. Funny thing is, as I began to live a different life of order it took me into a whole new world and there is no way I would go back to what I have always termed, “my slob days.” I still have my free day which has evolved into what I call; My Day and I love to stay in my nightgown all day if I want to.

I love that we have the freedom and the ability to put things behind us and move on and being easy with ourselves as we go makes the whole process of change enjoyable.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Young@Heart on change. Pick something you’d like to change and start doing something different than you’re doing now to make that change you want, become a reality. If you’re in the habit of putting yourself down, my book The Joy of Being Disorganized will give you a whole bunch of new thoughts about your SHEness. Just for an example, did you ever consider that your disorder is a blessing? It certainly is. I’d love you to have my chapter entitled There Arose Such a Clutter as my gift. Just click here to receive one of my favorite chapters in the book.

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What Is A Hot Spot?

Hot SpotDear Friends,

I want you to declare one area of your home a CLUTTER FREE ZONE. This morning I got a message asking what was a HOT SPOT?

Here was my answer:


Hot spot is an area of your home that collects clutter. Mine is my dining table and coffee table. If you put one piece of paper on this table and it begins to multiply, you have a hot spot.


This was her wonderful answer and I have to let you all read it for yourself:

Thank you for your reply. Yes, my table is a hot spot also. The window seat next to it used to be a horrendous hot spot until I declared it a “clutter free zone” 2 years ago, and it has remained that way since…talk about ‘reclaiming the land’! LOL


We all need at least one CLUTTER FREE ZONE!

Where is yours????


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Truly A Gift From God

Hello FlyLady!

I wanted to send a huge THANK YOU to you! In my two weeks as a FlyBaby, my life has changed immensely for the better!!  Not only is my house cleaner, I feel more confident about myself!

Today was my first Home Blessing. I did it with my 4 year old, and we had a blast!  And the strangest thing happened. We were playing music from my phone while cleaning, and guess what song came on not once, but twice?  Pearl Jam’s “Given to Fly”!!! No joke!  Is that a sign or what?

Your book is a life changer. My mom and her blind sister were even implementing tips from it just from me telling them about it!  (I bought the book for my mom and she can’t put it down either!)

I just want you to know that you are truly a gift from God, and have made my life so much better and happier (and yes, cleaner too!)!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for everything you’ve done for us!  You truly make this world a better place!!!!

Cathy from Centennial, CO

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The Vicious Cycle of Perfectionism

Dear Friends,

From the day we were born we have had perfectionism shoved down our throats. You know those words as well as I do, “If you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all!” We were also forced to redo things when we didn’t do them to suit the person giving the ORDERS!

None of us like to be dictated to! What we were taught by these words and actions is that it didn’t matter how well we did something because it was never going to live up to the expectations of that person we were trying to please. Do you want to know what happened then? We gave up! We didn’t even try anymore because we knew it would not be good enough.

This pattern of being put down was all you heard. That is why we feel the need to beat ourselves up when we don’t do something right! This negative attitude was drilled into our heads. We were brainwashed with this perfectionism. Now in our parent’s defense; they had the same thing done to them. It is all they knew! We can put a stop to this vicious cycle of perfectionism through the generations.

We are our own person and we have made a choice to change. We are not being dictated to by our parents any longer. You may have just gotten fed up with living in CHAOS (Cant Have Anyone Over Syndrome) or you may have heard about this FlyLady person who can help you get your house clean. Whatever the reason; you are ready to try something new. This time the choice is yours!

When we get to make the decision it is much easier for us to do! The only problem is that we still have those negative voices echoing in our heads. This is why we beat ourselves up! It is those voices from the past that make FLYing difficult! They tell us the same old message we have heard from day one! You have to do it perfectly or dont do it. So when you are not FLYing the way you think you are supposed to then you quit trying. This is also why we get overwhelmed!

In the perfectionism we had forced on us; we look at the whole picture instead of just doing something. We don’t think that 15 minutes can make a difference in a messy house. This goes back to getting it done right. We expect ourselves to magically do it all in one day! We are not Supermen or Superwomen! So with this negativity ping ponging in our heads we tell ourselves we don’t have time!

The real thing we are saying is not that we don’t have time, but that we don’t have time to do it right! This is when we begin to do what has always been done to us! We beat ourselves up or we punish ourselves. Because of this perfectionism we don’t feel worthy!

We don’t feel worthy to have nice things. We don’t feel worthy to live in peace. We don’t feel worthy to enjoy ourselves and worst of all we don’t feel worthy to be loved! I want to help you eliminate those unsaid thoughts from your mind. I want to replace them with loving thoughts and rewards for taking babysteps.

Your home did not get messy in a day and it is not going to get clean overnight. We are not our mothers and fathers. I don’t expect you to be perfect! So quit expecting perfection from your precious little inner child. When you start feeling defeated, overwhelmed and beaten down; I want you to recognize the voices you are hearing in your head. Then say delete delete delete!

You can do this! You are worthy of being loved! I will start this ball rolling by saying there is no wrong way or right way to FLY; there is only your way! It all starts by going to shine your sink and Finally Loving Yourself by not beating yourself up when you are not perfect!


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