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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The Mother-Voice I Never Had

Dear FlyLady,

I recently picked you back up after going through a tumultuous 3 year long divorce.  Thanks to your previous trainings, I’d managed to keep my home presentable through the upheaval, but there was still a lot to be desired.  I downsized from a 5 bedroom house with a full basement to a little 2 bedroom cottage in the country.  I suddenly had a lot of “clutter” on my hands, and it was overwhelming.In desperation, I signed up for your emails again.  It was the best gift I could have given myself.  In the 3 weeks I’ve been signed back up, I have made tremendous changes in my home.  I feel like I can breathe again.  My 7 year old DD commented that her bedroom feels “NEW”, and the other evening when we were playing the “I-Love-You-game” she said, “Mommy, I love you because you make our house feel SO GOOD!”FlyLady, thank you so much for being that kind mother-voice I never had.  For teaching me how to take care of myself, my children, and our home.  For being such a BLESSING in my life.God bless,

Michelle in Missouri

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Food For Thought: Better Than Store Bought: 7 Simple Sauces

Hello Friends,

There are very few bottled items in my refrigerator that I have not made myself. I enjoy making my own condiments because I can tell exactly where each ingredient came from!

I also like to make condiments that use up the bounty of my garden. Currently that would be tomatoes!

The following are seven common kitchen items that I make myself and that you can too!

Applesauce. Core and slice some organic apples, simmer them down and sprinkle with cinnamon. Ta da . . . applesauce!

Tomato paste. Peel and seed your tomatoes, and then dice them into little pieces. Put tomatoes in a single layer in a medium-large sauce pan. Toss some salt over the tomatoes and cook at medium heat, uncovered, stirring once in a while, until you have tomato paste! Be patient because it can take a couple of hours for this to happen. Keep the heat low enough that the tomatoes aren’t boiling, but high enough that there’s steam coming from them.

Ketchup. Take a good scoop or two of organic tomato paste (or homemade!) and add a dollop of organic molasses or local honey, some organic apple cider vinegar, a pinch of onion powder and garlic powder, a pinch of allspice and some salt and pepper. Add a little bit of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until it looks like ketchup!

Salsa. Your basic ingredients will be roma tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, jalapenos, lime juice, salt and cilantro. Taste test until you get it just right. Once you have the basic formula down, have fun with it! Separate your salsa into separate little batches where you can add all kinds of things. Add in some avocado, mango, strawberries, pineapple, black beans . . . you’re limited only by your imagination!

Barbecue Sauce. Here’s a great recipe for you to try (it’s also Paleo!)

1/2 cup organic tomato sauce
1 cup organic apple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup local honey or organic molasses
4 tablespoons organic Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (can adjust to taste or omit)
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

Cook onion in melted butter until clear, slowly stir in liquid ingredients, adding dry at the end. Bring to a boil for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously. Use in place of any BBQ sauce.

Mayonnaise. All mayonnaise really is, is a mixture of oil, egg, lemon juice and seasonings. Here’s a fantastic recipe for paleo mayo for you to try:

1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup avocado oil, grape seed, or olive oil

Mix together all ingredients, except oil. Once all previous ingredients are fully combined, whisk in oil. You’re done!

Salad dressing. My Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette is the only salad dressing recipe you will ever need!

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

It’s not all that much work to make your own condiments. In fact, I find that making these items as I need them is quite convenient and spares a lot of space in my refrigerator. It also saves on the grocery bill!

PS–FlyBabies, click here to get a FR*EE Trial of Premium Menu-Mailer, our exciting new menu planning program!

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Enough Sleep to FLY

Dear Friends,

You know how some mornings you just drag? Last night I had what Robert calls, Christmas Morning syndrome; you know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep. Usually it is a result of anticipation of something special; a trip or an auction. Last night my sleeplessness was not connected to any problem or upcoming excitement. I just could not turn off the computer in my head. So for two hours my thoughts jumped around and I tossed and turned till I got up and curled up on the couch. I was back to sleep in 5 minutes.

Anyway the topic of this morning musing is our tendency to deprive ourselves of sleep.

Your Before Bed Routine reminds you to go to bed at a decent hour. You can start your before bed routine right after dinner. Well while I was in the tub this morning trying to make my eyes open, I picked up Dr. Northrup’s book,The Wisdom of Menopause. Guess what? Insomnia is part of it. She give us common sense advice on how to deal with it. You know that before bed routine that I have been insisting that all of you do. Well it is prescribed by a doctor!!! She says don’t wait till it is time to go to bed to start it. Where have you heard that one! LOL I am really enjoying her book. I use it as my bath time read.

Last year I heard on the radio that lack of sleep has been connected to many chronic illnesses. I have heard every excuse in the world for not getting the proper amount of sleep.

1. The baby wakes up, yes most of us have done that one. But it doesn’t mean that we push ourselves all the next day and not rest when the baby needs a nap. Even a few minutes of closed eyes and quiet time will help replenish your batteries.

2. I need some time to myself after everyone goes to bed. This is hog wash. You need your sleep more.

3. It is the only time I have to get on the computer. The problem is we don’t know when to turn it off so we continue to stay up later and later.

Those of you that have to deal with graveyard shifts, I know how hard it can be. My hat is off to you. But you need more sleep than the rest of us.

So today I am going to rest when I can and go to bed a bit earlier because I lost a couple of hours of that precious prescription for health.

I want you to FLY and it is much easier when you get enough sleep!

Please go to bed at a decent hour. There is nothing harder on children than a cranky mommy! Especially as we are getting ready for the holidays.

        ONLY ONE MORE DAY                                                                                           ONE MORE WEEK

Be sure and add a calendar to your cart while we have them. They make great Clutter FREE gifts!
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November Habit #30 An In Between System that Works for Us

Dear FlyLady,

I have been reading all of the testimonials about menu planning, always looking for ways to improve my system. When my DDs were very small, a friend introduced me to “once a month cooking,” and even with a very small freezer at that time I was able to fit quite a few meals. This helped greatly with that terrible dinner hour when DH was walking through the door and the little ones were hungry/crabby. It took a Friday evening (shopping) and most of the day Saturday (cooking) in order to accomplish it (with DH watching the girls), but the rewards were huge!! As the kids (now 3 of them!) got older I still tried to keep a few things in the freezer, but I didn’t do the huge monthly cooking anymore.

Then about 5 years ago we did a major remodel, and thankfully I put many, many meals in the freezer for that (we have a bigger freezer now.) This was a huge blessing because what was supposed to be 4 weeks without a kitchen turned into 12 weeks without a kitchen. We were able to get along with only a microwave, a toaster oven, and a Crock pot, only ordering out about once a week.  I realized after that, that I was spoiled. It had been so nice to be able to go to my freezer for dinner, rather than start from scratch each night.

So I have found an “in between” system that works for us. Whenever I cook something that is conducive to it, I double or triple it. Mac & cheese, brisket, stroganoff, soups. We eat once and I freeze the rest. Or I make a big pork roast, and I slice up the leftovers and freeze for fajitas in the future (usually 2 more meals.) When I can get bone-in chicken breasts for a great price, I prepare a huge batch of them, make a few pot pies or pans of enchiladas, then dice or shred the rest and freeze for future stir fry or soups. Yesterday I was “cooked out” from Thanksgiving, but we obviously needed to eat! I could have picked something from the freezer, but I needed to run to the store anyway for milk and produce. So I purchased a large package of ground beef (93% lean and on sale!) and browned the whole thing with onions. I turned part of it into taco meat for two meals this week (last night and another night that we need a quick meal) and divided up the rest and froze it in freezer bags.  It can be pulled out later for pizza topping, more taco meat, or some other use.

This system has freed me up so much! When I plan my meals for the week I try to use one or two meals from my freezer, and also try to add SOMETHING back to the freezer once a week. It is not always a big meal, sometimes it is just bags of browned ground beef, but it is something to feed my perpetual freezer.

Thanks for all you do!
A Midwest Flybaby

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Are The Voices From the Past Paralyzing You?

Dear Friends,

Often while answering your emails, I respond with a message this bears repeating and an expounding. This morning I got a complaint that my mantra, “Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family!” should be changed. They said it was negative!

I have found over the last few years that PERFECTIONISM is the main reason our homes are in this shape! PERFECTIONISM is the reason we are depressed and PERFECTIONISM keeps us from making things better.

We have been brainwashed our whole lives by our parents, teachers, and spouses that if you can’t do it right don’t do it at all. So guess what! We didn’t! I am trying to undo this stinking thinking and give you the freedom to just do something even if it is not the way your momma would do it.

What are the mindless words you hear in your head, whose face is saying these things. Next time you hear them. Stop and ask yourself whose voice?

If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.  WHOSE VOICE?

I can’t possible do this now, I don’t have the time.

I can’t leave this unfinished.

This house has to be cleaned all at the same time.

That’s not the way Momma did it.

I can’t shine my sink, because the dishwasher is already full.

I can’t lay out my clothes for tomorrow, because they are all dirty and I need to wash everything I own.

I don’t wear shoes in the house because my carpet will get dirty and we have babies on the floor. (Don’t get me started with this one today, I am stopping myself, it is really hard)

Anything less than perfect is not acceptable.(this one has perfect in it)

I can’t start this system, until I have my control journal all set up.

There are too many emails in my box, I don’t have time to read them. (If I said this, I would never get anything done.) You think you have too many emails, you should see my inbox everyday. I read one at a time and answer. All you have to do is read and delete at will.

I haven’t found the right planner yet.

It takes me 3 hours to vacuum my first floor.

I can’t exercise during my morning routine, I will get sweaty and have to shower again. (So exercise before you shower) or don’t do such strenuous workouts. Take a walk with the stroller or Dance like no one is watching. Just do loving Movements.

I’m waiting till I get the perfect FlyLady shoes! Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! Wear what you have and get started.

We are getting ready to move. I will start fresh in our new house. Not if your routines aren’t in place. It will become the same pig stye you moved away from, you just took your bad habits with you.

Oh and my favorite! It takes me too long to get dressed in the morning, that’s why I stay in my sweats and barefoot. It takes you too long because you spend too much time thinking instead of doing. You are not going to the prom, just looking presentable to your family and yourself and whoever pops through your door.

Robert had a wonderful Geometry teacher in High School. She taught him, “Anything worth doing is worth doing WRONG! This is where I got my saying, “Housework done incorrectly, still blesses your family.”

As Robert walked out the door one day, He said, “I just had a thought and it sent chills down my spine.” I said, “WRITE!”

Do you hear your Mother’s or Whoever’s Voice saying, “That’s not good enough, you can do better than that, go back and do it right!” It really didn’t matter how nice a spin they put on it the message came through loud and clear. “Anything less than perfect is unacceptable!” and the horrible extension: “Unless you are perfect, you are not good enough.” or Not Worthy of Being Loved!!!

Is this what you have suffered with your whole life?

Well I have news for those voices in your head. None of us are perfect! We have never been and we will never be. Quit striving for the unattainable. We are IMPERFECT BEINGS AND I AM THANKFUL FOR MY EVERY IMPERFECTION!

Now when are you going to Finally Love Yourself enough to say, “I can not live with this any longer. I have got to stop.”

Are you ready to FLY, Finally Loving Yourself? Let go of your Perfectionism and start to live without fear of being rejected.


Purple Rag Bogo email Banner

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Help Me With My Craft Room

Hello FlyLady,

I have a craft room. As most craft rooms, it is cluttered. How do I tackle the clutter? I know you would say, I should throw away the things I do not make anymore, but I DO make the things, I have. I just do not know how to organize the things. Yes I know I cannot organize clutter, but the thing is it is not clutter!

How do I store the stuff? How do I organize it?

I have been fluttering a couple of years now, and I like your system especially the 15 minutes at a time. When I get home and are so tired, that I cannot think about cleaning, I say to myself just 15 minutes that helps me to get going.

Thank you for all you are doing.

Yours sincerely,

Flybaby Joan from Denmark

Dear Joan,

We are very creative. We love making stuff but that does not give us a license to hoard stuff. It is time you decided what you love and what is clutter to you. Let me tell you my craft room story.

I learned how to sew when I was seven years old. When I was twelve, my dad gave me my first sewing machine with a cabinet. If I had not learned to sew; we would not have had clothes when we were little. In high school I helped to teach people how to sew when we had sewing in Home Economics. Everything happens for a reason. I was always making something.

When I married the sewing machine came with me. I made all our curtains and my clothes. It was nice to be able to decorate our home. When we divorced I left the sewing machine at Justin’s dad’s home. I still miss it. Maybe one day I will get the sewing machine back. My portable machine just isn’t quite the same.

Sorry to get sidetracked down memory lane. When Robert and I married in 1996. We went to estate auctions. I had a lot of time on my hands and I thought I would start sewing again. I started building my craft room. I found a fancy sewing machine and craft table at one of those auctions. Then I decided I wanted to make quilts. I figured out real quick that I like designing the quilts much more than actually making them. I cut out several quilts and bundled the blocks together and bagged them up. God had other plans for me.

All my sewing stuff began to become clutter. I started finding new homes for those beautiful quilt projects. It wasn’t long until FlyLady started. I told the FlyBabies about my dilemma. A FlyBaby from up north came by our home and picked up the bags of unloved quilting pieces. She was involved with a group of ladies who made quilts for foster children. Imagine that! My clutter was going to bless a precious child. Now I as I think about it; I have tears running down my face.

That fancy sewing machine also blessed my friendly neighborhood Jehovah Witness lady, Rosemary.  She made quilts by hand for her family for Christmas presents. I was so happy to get rid of the guilt. I had lots of guilt when it came to my crafting tools and supplies. My sister-in-law got my big Jack Loom. Robert put my stained glass tools with his tools in the basement, Rebecca got my scrapbooking supplies. Brian got my anvil, forge, and blacksmithing tools.

The first thing you have to do is gather up all your craft supplies. I know you may not be ready to give them new homes but all I am asking is that you put like items together into Rubbermaid bins. This way when the time is right; you will be able to let go of them easily without having to round them all up. This will be one less thing to keep you from procrastinating.

You will be so surprised at the items you really love and the ones you are just holding on to because you might need them one day. Now when I want to do something crafty; I help with a baby shower or wedding shower. I use Pinterest to come up with cute ideas. It is so much fun to play with my creative side.

Here is another reason to get your craft room cleaned up. When it is messy; you don’t want to go in there. All the crafting clutter/hoarding is keeping you from your joy. I will never forget a testimonial we got from a doll artist.


Testimonial: Sabbatical? No – Clutter Burn-Out!

Dear FlyLady,

Sometimes decluttering is more exciting than Christmas!  For many years (21) I was a fulltime doll artist. I made one-of-a-kind, hand sculpted art dolls for high end collectors.   Almost five years ago I moved from a large 7 room house (where I had a LARGE studio dedicated to my work) to my present rather small 4 room apartment.  Needless to say, I have been living in TOTAL CHAOS, and unable to return to what I loved doing most (because I had so much clutter, no room to work, and couldn’t find anything).  Once in a great while, I’d do a little sewing on my KITCHEN table, and find myself buying things I needed, but couldn’t find (because my “spare” bedroom was an overflowing storeroom, instead of the sewing and doll making room it was supposed to be).  Until I discovered you, I never really understood what was holding me back from doing what I do best.

I have been working on that room for WEEKS now, sorting and flinging, finding the “tools of my trade”, wonderful art supplies I’d forgotten I even had, all my much needed sewing gizmos, gadgets (some of which I’d replaced because I didn’t know where to find them).  Of course, I’ve also found lots and lots of STUFF that I neither need nor want and so far I have hauled off four carloads of boxes and bags to charity (and have kept the trash man busy as well).  As the saying goes, I’m beginning to see the light of day, and each day I declutter is bringing me closer to my goal.

Clutter has been the root of my problem and the REAL reason for my “sabbatical”. It has been so much easier to tell people I was feeling “burnt out” and needed a break, than to admit to anyone that I haven’t made a doll for five years because I just couldn’t face the clutter. It was so easy to blame my “Interim Job” (which required much travel and lots of timeaway from the clutter) for leaving me no time to get my act together at home, when 15 minutes to a half hour a day of 27 Boogie Flings would have added up to a LOT of declutteing.  This is pretty pitiful coming from someone whose work is in collections in 39 states, 3 provinces in Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Australia, has been exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris and is included in five published books.  It becomes even more pitiful when you consider that I live alone and the clutter has been ALL MINE.

Thanks to your system, I’m smiling a lot more and will send you a photo of the first doll that I make in my newly decluttered work room.

Flybaby getting ready to SOAR

PS  My sink is shining brightly!


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So Many Thank You’s

Dear FlyLady,

 I’ve been fluttering for about a month now, and have been trying to spend 15 minutes every day in my basement. I have cleaned out two-4 cubic feet shelves and filled three huge garbage bags!! Gee, I really needed to store all that junk, didn’t I?!! 
In the process, I’ve found recital programs from the 1980’s, a photo of a dear departed friend, and I’ve unearthed some really great memorabilia from my old work place. I’m putting what I want to save in sheet protectors in binders. I have also sent photos of some of the work funnies by email to some old friends, and laughing hysterically! I now have some wonderful memories in two binders, and lots of storage available for things I actually want to keep! Wowza!!!
Thank you for the routines. It’s true – you can do anything for 15 minutes! I’ve still got a long way to go, but now I know that a clean, organized home is not only possible, but it’s actually going to happen!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
FlyBaby in Illinois


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Pamper Mission 11/29/15

haircutmodDear Friends,

I finally gave in and went to the salon to get my roots touched up last week. When your roots are 2 inches long and people start complimenting you on your new “ombre” color (which you were NOT aiming for), you know it’s time to quit putting off that hair appointment. LOL! After coloring my hair, it’s always extremely dry and damaged and could use a good deep conditioning treatment. But after the cut and color, I just can’t bring myself to spend another $20+ on my head. So, what’s a girl to do? Find her own DIY home hair treatment and share it with you of course! And that is exactly what our Pamper Mission is this week…inexpensive, at-home hair masks! Working with every day kitchen ingredients of course. Here’s a simple nourishing mix I found that gives you super soft “salon” hair:

Mix 2 Tablespoons olive oil with 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 egg until well blended. Apply to dry hair and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash, condition, and dry as normal.

Cheap and easy! And it works wonders! My hair feels fantastic. Now go pamper yourself. You deserve it!


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Help Me Avoid Cluttering Up My New Home

Hi FlyLady,

At first I have to thank you for all your advices, it helped me a lot! I’m a lazybones, but many things are working better now.

I’ll move to a new, clutter free home at the beginning of March and it took me weeks to get rid of all the clutter in the tiny apartment where I lived for the last 12 years… it was so much, you really can’t imagine! And now I’m worried about the new, clean home with all the new furniture. I’d like to know what’s the best strategy to avoid clutter! I can’t help, but it’s really hard for me to throw things away when I paid for them earlier. I always think I can use them all again later and if I’d have thrown something away I have to buy it new…

Very best regards,
FlyBaby Trashcat

Dear FlyBaby Trashcat,

First YOU ARE NOT A LAZYBONES! Please do not speak to yourself that way! You are strong, you are creative, and you are special. Now says these things to yourself and outloud. I AM STRONG, I AM CREATIVE, I AM SPECIAL! I do this at night before I go to sleep.

Yes my dear sweet FlyBaby, I can imagine the clutter because I had it. When Robert and I got married, I had a house full of clutter and he had a house full of clutter. We put them together and started going to estate auctions. We would by pallet lots and incorporate the STUFF into our house. We had paths through the boxes. You didn’t dare get up in the middle of the night because it was dangerous. It was only after we got rid of our clutter; did our house become a real home. Now it is home that blesses us every day.

The secret to keeping your new home from being filled with clutter is to get rid of two things when you bring home something new. For example when you bring home a new pair of shoes; get rid of two old pairs of shoes that you don’t love or wear. This will keep clutter from piling up again.

Your desire to keep your new home clutter free, will be the catalyst to protect you from your urge to be frugal. The truth is that you don’t have faith in yourself or God to provide for your needs. That is why you hoard. Yes you heard me right, hoarding.

I had the same problem. I didn’t want to let go of anything because I might need it one day. This fear comes from having to start over with very little. This happened when I left my son’s father in 1990. I moved out with my goose down comforter, my little stereo, a few clothes, and my car. In October of 1994, I moved to North Carolina with my camping gear, fishing equipment, and my winter clothes. Twice in my life I have started over with very few belongings.

As a child; I did not hoard. Hoarding was something I learned as an adult. Could it be that the fear of loss; created this hoarding mentality.

It took me nine months of slowly but steadily removing my clutter. I was very careful to not create another era of loss in my life. I knew deep in my heart that getting rid of too much too fast was going to make me hold on tighter. I wanted to be free of this clutter that was choking me. This is why you have to take it slow and easy, make it fun, and bless someone else with your abundance.

When you bless others with your abundance; the item takes on a whole new meaning in your life. No longer does it represent the money you wasted; it becomes a gift that will give you more blessings.

The giving is empowering! My husband gave me a quote once about prosperity. We do not know who said it. You are prosperous in proportion to what you can do without.

This quote will help you to not start collecting/hoarding again. You will be more particular with what you purchase, what you drag home from the thrift stores, what people give you, and what you buy at yard sales.

The “What People Give You” is tough! They are well meaning. Be gracious and explain that you are decluttering. Take what you need and pass things on to others or donate to your church. Don’t allow the bags to pile up. Go though them immediately and pass them on to others.

I know you can make this move and not clutter up your new home. Be kind to yourself in the process of moving. We have a moving section on our website.

Here we are at gift giving time. Set the example by giving clutter free gifts this year.

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