The Gift is Yours, Just Open it

Dear Friends,

We all love receiving gifts: The thrill of the surprise of what is in the package; opening it up. Wouldn’t you like to receive a special gift every single day? This is the gift that keeps on giving.

Your routines even simple ones can give you a great big present every day. There is nothing better than waking up to a home that surprises you each morning because it is CLEAN! I am still in shock when I walk out of my bedroom each day.

This is the finest gift that I have ever received and the best part is I gave it to me! You know you deserve to have the thrill of this gift and it is so simple. But most of the time we are too busy beating ourselves up to take the few minutes to do our simple routines. We don’t have time! We think! Every single minute of every solitary day is spoken for. In our perfectionism we don’t think we have time for anything new.

My question to you today is why did you join our group if you were not willing to do the babysteps?

All I have ever asked of you is to get up each morning and get dressed to shoes. Do a 3 babystep before bed routine that only takes a few minutes, go to bed at a decent hour, declutter your home for 15 minutes a day and shine your sink!

You really do have time: your perfectionism tells you that you don’t have time! Let’s look at how much time we are actually talking about.

Getting up and getting dressed to shoes—– 15-20 minutes

Before Bed Routine:
Lay out clothes for tomorrow —— 5 minutes tops
Brush teeth  ——       2 minutes
Shine your sink —–  1 minute once you have done it the 1st time
Go to bed at a decent hour     ——–  0 minutes

Declutter your home —————————  15 minutes

Less than 45 minutes

Now 45 minutes at one pop may be too much to ask for but all I want is 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes to declutter and 15 minutes at night before you go to bed.  You can do anything for 15 minutes!

You are already getting dressed just not when you first get up. This starts you off on the right foot. Unless you have to go to work, but I’ll bet even if you do go to work that you wait till the last minute to get dressed. Try it, you may be surprised by the difference it makes in your day. You may not be late to work any longer. This is the first gift you can give yourself: A stress free start to your day.

Shining your sink may seem like a useless task that nothing can be gained from. If you feel this way then you have not felt the pleasure of that sink greeting you in the morning. You see it doesn’t matter if your sink is stainless steel, porcelain, or 30 years old. It is not your reflection that makes you smile it is the fact that there is not nasty water and dirty dishes shaming you each morning.  I have been getting up to my shining sink for many  years and I still smile each morning at my sink because it smiles at me first. This is a present I love to open every day.

Doing your before bed routine of laying out your clothes and getting ready for bed may not seem necessary after all, you are already going to bed. What is the laying out your clothes for anyway? Why can’t I just wait and pick them out in the morning? Because having them picked out and ready to go does not allow you to PROCRASTINATE about getting dressed. You have NO EXCUSE any more. A before bed routine is the most important habit of the whole day. It is a gift that you wrap up in the evening and you get to enjoy the opening in the morning.

Are you still refusing to go to bed at a decent hour? Oh you feel that this is the only time you have to yourself! Well staying up late is robbing you of your health, patience and love. Not getting enough rest and trying to function on only a few short hours of sleep is not good for you, your marriage or your children. Go to bed at a decent hour and give yourself the gift of FLYing!

I have had many people ask me what the most important part of the FlyLady program is: This is hard to say but if I had to only pick one gift for you to give yourself it would be to go to bed at a decent hour because if you will do this you will be Finally Loving Yourself. If I can teach you that you need your rest then your home will come together. You will no longer be dragging around living off of adrenaline. It all starts with you.

I know you joined our group looking for the magic solution to getting rid of the CHAOS in your home and life. The gift is there for you to open if you will only let go of your perfectionism and start with our simple babysteps.

No one is going to give you this gift but you. If you don’t take care of you then who will?

FLYing is like opening up a present every single day! Are you ready to FLY?


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What Does FlyWashing Mean?

Finally Love YourselfDear FlyLady,

I often hear the term ‘FlyWashing’ on your website and in your emails. What do you mean, exactly, by this? I’ve got a clue, but perhaps my ‘p’-word thing is still telling me it can’t be true and it can’t work like that.

Many thanks,
Trying to Buzz in May


Dear Barbs,

I know that we have all had to deal with negative thinking that attacks us at our every wrong move. Yesterday, I started this line of thought. Now, I think I have to address the ones that we hear most often and come up with ways to delete them from our minds. I have told you many times that our site is not just about house cleaning. We serve to build you up so you can learn to FLY on your own. The process of building starts with a bit of excavation. We have to get rid of the old, undesirable habits and replace them with new, uplifting behaviors so you will feel the freedom to FLY farther than you ever dreamed.

Just like getting rid of the clutter in our homes, we have to toss out the clutter in our heads. This clutter comes from years of being beaten down. We have heard these words from caring people in our lives. They meant well, but they just didn’t know how to say things without pulling you down in the process. We have also heard these words from people that wanted to hurt us; Husbands that said we were lazy, stupid or just plain crazy. Friends, teachers, and parents, all in the name of love, have discouraged us. Their words hurt us more than we ever dreamed. After a while, we begin to believe the negative message that they were sending. They told us we were less than perfect and that was not acceptable. So, you were rejected in heart and dejected spirit. How sad that we have been treated this way, by caring people and by not so caring people.

Now, you want to know how you can change this stinking thinking? It is very simple. Now that you know what nasty things you say to yourself, you can stop saying them. In the 1980s, I listened to some cassette tapes by Rita Davenport. She was the first person to bring this to my attention that I reinforce negative behavior with negative affirmations. (Oh, I’m so lazy or stupid). What she taught me was that every time I had one of the nasty negative thoughts, I was to say “cancel” and replace it with a positive affirmation.

So, when you hear those words come into your brain, stop and say “cancel.” Turn the thought around and replace it with positive words. To replace, “you are just stupid” say “I am a wise woman and I can find the answer”. To replace lazy thoughts, say “I have had my break and I am ready to get to work”.

Don’t berate yourself when things go wrong. Learn through self-talk to build yourself up. If you have ways of inspiring yourself with words of self-praise, please share them with me so I can pass them along. It is time that we all put the negative words out to pasture. One other thing you will find that when you don’t allow yourself to say nasty things in your head, you are less likely to take it from other people.

There is one other benefit to changing your negative way of thinking toward yourself. You will be less likely to say the same things that have been said to you, to your babies. In other words, you are breaking the cycle of mental abuse.

As we learn new ways of thinking, we will change our way of doing. This will make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you. Many of you have called our messages and testimonials a form of brainwashing. I like to think of them as FLYwashing. If you hear it enough, then eventually it will sink in. You know how you feel about your Shiny Sink! Just wait till you have FLYwashed your mind and spirit.

Are you ready to FLY?


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It Feels Awesome

Dear FlyLady,

I’ve been a FlyLady reader for awhile, but never seem to get started completing the tasks. This morning I told myself to take 15 minutes and do something. I just completed my Stash and Dash for this morning (Tuesday, July 15th), and wanted to write and say “thank you” for giving me the nudge I needed to finally tackle something.

We have a floor to ceiling cupboard (like a pantry) in our bathroom. I cleaned out just the top shelf this morning, pulling out everything and putting back only what we use. I don’t think I’ve cleaned it out since we moved into this house nine years ago.

When I was done, I’d filled a whole trash bag with half bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body washes that I’ve tried and didn’t care for, including some $50.00 salon shampoos. Wow! What a huge waste of money! I have to be honest, I had a hard time throwing all those bottles away.

Now all that’s left on the shelf is rolls of toilet paper and extra bars of soap. It feels great to open the cupboard, have it organized and know exactly what’s on that shelf.

Thank you for setting small, achievable goals and continuing to encourage us to jump in where we are. I’m a total perfectionist who won’t start anything unless I can do it perfectly.

I’ve taken a Baby Step, and it feels awesome! Thanks again!

FlyBaby in MN

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The House Fairy Makes a Big Difference

Oooh, it’s working on my kids already; you’re going to LAUGH, because my kids are 13 and 11, and obviously they know the House Fairy is really MOM, but they think it’s fun and they LOVE getting little surprises and notes from the House Fairy.

My daughter thinks the House Fairy is adorable and she wants to watch the videos (she’s the 13 year old!).  The very day I signed up I left a letter (revised for older kids) on each of their pillows.  Their rooms were a train wreck at the time.  Within a day, both rooms were neat, tidy, and sparkling!  Doing things the “old way,” my kids would receive a set amount of “chore money” for doing a limited number of chores per week, and they would often slack on doing them.

Now, the House Fairy leaves frequent little requests on their pillows that bring simple little rewards like a pack of gum and they respond.  Bigger jobs get bigger rewards. It’s like a fun game to them, and I don’t think they’ll ever grow tired of it.  It has really changed our family dynamics–Mom yells a lot less, and the entire family is enjoying our clean, tidy home!

Love from Sandi in Mesa, AZ

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Where Did FLY Come From?

Finally Love YourselfDear Friends,

Did you ever wonder where we came up with the acronym for FLY? Well, it came from a FlyBaby named Lynda. Here is how it all started in a few emails. I think you may find this interesting. Get yourself a cup of something warm and take break for a few minutes.


Dateline January 2001

Dear Friends,

I got the email several days ago and I have been overwhelmed by the number of emails we have received this week. So I put them in another folder so I could deal with them 10 at a time. I had asked this member to give me her take on perfectionism. I am so glad she did, I could not have said it any better. You have to read this.


We were in the middle of a Super Fling Boogie too.


Her subject heading to me:

Subject: Re: 80 more pounds, and please do more on the evils of perfectionism and MORE MORE MORE testimonials (they’re my fuel)

My message to her:

I will. Do you have any thoughts you want to share on this.

Her response:

Dear FlyLady,

HaHa :) When you asked me to give you some thoughts on the evils of perfectionism, my new Flyish self was going to give you the thoughts off the top of my head. I typed those out (see below). 

Then the SHE in me said, perhaps I can get my psych books out, and my organizing books out, and I can research it for FlyLady and give her more input. 

Then the FLY in me said “You have wasted 2 days worrying about what Marla will think. Marla has 8000+ other people to bug her. You have 4 kids and homeschool and baby and renovations and traveling husband — just give her what comes to mind. She’ll use them if she is inspired to.”

And then, as I was reviewing it, I received a God Breeze as everything came together…

When you say perfectionism, I think of a lady I have been mentoring for the past 4 years who loves to brag that she is such a perfectionist. She is proud of it and thinks that it is a plus to put on a resume. I have heard her yell at her kids, while on the phone to me, about the CORRECT way to fold a sweater, and that “that would never do.” Her house, wasn’t just cluttered, but horribly filthy. One of her favorite sayings is “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

My thought is that the purpose to folding a sweater is to reduce the creases, and be able to store it and retrieve it. As long as the kid puts it away, let it go. If they can’t put it away, there must be TOO MANY things to put away, or no designated place to put it.

We don’t stop and think WHY we are doing things, or what the end result will be.

Perfectionism wastes time — it smells like procrastination, but it is really paralysis from the disease of too many choices. We aren’t putting things off, we are just overwhelmed with all the possibilitiesand potential. 

IT IS FEAR! Ahah! Lightbulb. We think that by being the good girl, the responsible one, the creative one, things will be okay, and my kids will turn out better and people will think better of me. If I make a fabulous gingerbread house and have people over, they will be impressed with my amazing gingerbread-making ability. My husband will love me more, and my children will grow up without making difficult choices. Hmmph.

****IT IS FEAR that makes us paint every wall antique white, lest we make a “mistake” and our decorating will be less that a perfect representation of our personalities, beliefs, and interests. 

It is a fear that if we don’t bake 7 dozen gorgeous cookies for the cookie exchange, our friends won’t like us and our reputation as a superb baker is at stake. 

Why don’t we care more for our friends as people and LOVE THEM, and stop caring about what they think? 

We are AFRAID that someone will actually need this saved furniture in 15 years when they buy a home, and that they won’t be able to furnish it? 

We are afraid that we might throw out some important tax document? 

We are afraid and LIVING IN THE PAST! We are not creating new, wonderful memories for ourselves, but we are clinging to matchbooks, trying to remember what occasion did we go out to dinner? 

We hold on to our wardrobe from college because it has memories attached to it, or we still can fit into it (or not!), and the surgical scrubs DH wore when holding the baby. 

We even think that editors of magazines know more about life and style than we do — WE DON’T TRUST our own feelings, our own thoughts or our own parenting instincts. 

WE DON’T TRUST our husbands to keep a job, or really, WE DON’T TRUST GOD to prepare us to receive life lessons! We are trying to control the uncontrollable. 

All of this is manifested in clutter.

Whew, I’m breathing heavy here. I’m going to jump off the computer and fill 27 trash bags (the FLY in me just warned me to fill ONE because it was good enough).

FLY stands for Finally Living Young….or Finally Loving Yourself. LOL

Well, even if you don’t use any of this…I don’t care. It was therapeutic.


P.S. There is a quote on the wall of the IKEA store from it’s founder. 

“You can get a lot done in 10 minutes.” LOL. (Or 15 minutes if you set a timer.) and “Mistakes are a privelege of the living, because they have a chance each day to set things right”.


FlyLady here:

I don’t know about you, but I am crying now. This was great. Lynda, you can rant my direction anytime, Sister. Thank you for sharing your awe-inspiring words with us.

Love you!

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Creative With My Routines

Dear FlyLady,

I am getting creative with my routines.  Five years ago, I was diagnosed with severe asthma and chronic bronchitis.  I usually feel extremely tired if not downright sick, and have been trying to figure out how to do my routines. I’ve finally found what works for me on days when I feel like I can barely crawl out of bed.  I set my timer for 15 minutes, and focus on one small part of my daily routine.  Then I set my timer for 15 minutes, and I rest in bed. Another 15 minutes of routines, and another 15 minutes of rest.

It’s amazing what I’ve been able to accomplish in my 4 weeks of FLYing!  Even on the many days I’m feeling low and moving slow.  The fact is that thanks to you, I AM MOVING.  I am FOCUSED.  And when I’m resting in bed, I’m often reading FlyLady testimonials which give me the STRENGTH and COURAGE to get back up when my timer goes off.

Thank you SO much!

Much love,

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Laundry – We all Have it

Dear Friends,

Do you feel like you never get finished with the laundry? Is there evidence of the laundry process all over your home? Are there soured towels in the washing machine because you forgot about them? Do you have a dryer full of wrinkled clothes because you were on the phone when the buzzer went off? If you actually folded them are they still on top of your dryer or piled in your laundry basket waiting to be put away?

Laundry is just like dishes. If you eat on plates and drink water out of glasses; you will have dirty dishes. If you get up and get dressed and get ready for bed you will have dirty clothes. Dishes or clothes don’t magically get clean, someone has to lift a hand to start the process. Starting the process is just the beginning of five step journey of climbing Mount Washmore!

One day you wake up to no clean underwear. So you either have to go buy some new undies or do the laundry. By this time you have worn every clean item of clothing you have and Mount Washmore seems like Mount Everest. Where do you start?

If your laundry has gotten out of hand there is a good chance that you do not have a routine for staying on top of it! I am going to teach you how to get it done and then give you a routine for keeping up with it.

We are going on a laundry scavenger hunt. Put on some fun music! Go to your laundry room and check the washer and dryer for forgotten clothes. Start sorting those clothes into piles: Whites, delicates, colors, jeans, towels and sheets. Then check your laundry hot spots; the bathroom floor and hamper, treadmill handlebars and the bedroom chair. You know your favorite dumping ground for dirty clothes. Get the children involved too. Ask them to look under their beds and in their closets. Keep sorting the clothing into your piles.

Next gather up all your laundry baskets and put your laundry detergent, softener and stain pretreater in one basket. Then go to all your closets and gather up all the empty hangers and put them in another basket. You have lots of piles of clothes. Put single loads in garbage bags and take them to your car. You probably have ten or more loads. The next thing you are hunting for in this scavenger hunt is money. Go cushion diving or your change jar to gather up coins for the Laundromat. Now don’t fuss that you have a washing machine and a dryer. You have not been using them. It is time to get this done!

Before you leave the house, clean out one drawer for each family member. Most of the clothes in your drawers you do not wear because if you did they would be in the dirty clothes bags. So put them in a give-away bag. This way when you get home from Laundromat you will have a place to put your clean clothes. As you are folding the clothes at the Laundromat don’t fold things that you don’t love or that does not fit. If it is too stained to give away then put it in the trash. Have a give-away bag handy as you are doing your folding. Don’t take anything home that is just going to become a stumbling block to your daily routine of doing the laundry.

A load a day keeps you from having to scale Mount Washmore! Don’t wait till you are overwhelmed.


We want to see your pictures of your pretty laundry room.
Send them to with PRETTY LAUNDRY ROOM in the subject line.

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Finding Comfort In Routines

Dearest FlyLady,

*Purple puddle warning*

I have just gone through one of the hardest things a person can ever experience.  I lost my husband of 17 years on 6/6/14.  I had been attempting to fly for a while but my fluttering seemed to be hit or miss most of the time.  After my husband’s death, it really took a nosedive.  I started to really sink deeper and deeper into chaos, to the point that my sister was really concerned about me.  I have to admit, I was a bit concerned about me too.  What was I going to do after the memorial service and when everyone left?

I had an AHA moment on the morning of the memorial.  I was sitting at the table with my coffee finishing up small details of the service.    Then it hit me.  I needed to get back into my routines.  I thought of them as a much needed comfort during this time.  I needed to start with shining my sink.  That wouldn’t solve all my problems but it would be a start.  I went back and read the “How to” I zeroed in on a couple things.   I needed to have a smile on my face first thing in the morning.  I also needed the big hug, no you couldn’t be there to give me the hug in person but just the having something for my hands to do and to accomplish something IS the much needed hug and pat on the back.  I also didn’t need judgment or the “finger in my face.”  Thank you for always encouraging all of us to just jump in where we are, that we are not behind.

The other thing that hit me, the big AHA moment was that we can do anything for 15 minutes.  It seems so simple but I applied it to that I can get through these next 15 minutes without my loving husband.  Then it would get a bit easier with each additional 15 minutes.  Please note that this does not mean that I do not grieve or miss him terribly but just that I CAN survive and go on.  I can and will go on because we have 3 teenage boys still at home that deserve a home free of clutter and chaos.  They deserve a mom that can FLY.

Again, thank you for always being there and for the gentle nudges and encouragement.

Adrienne in Texas

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How Many Do We Need?

Dear FlyLady,

I’ve always loved the idea of reusable grocery bags, but I’ve always been concerned about how many I’d need. I’ve always done a big shopping trip on Saturdays & will come home with anywhere from 10 to 15 of the plastic bags worth of groceries.

Will the FlyLady Grocery Bag Set really hold everything?

Also, especially on the insulated ones, are they easy to clean if something drips inside? I really am interested in buying these, but only if I know they’ll be used & not tossed in my give-away pile because they didn’t quite work for me!


FlyBaby T


Dear FlyBaby,

Yes, they do wipe up with ease. I know how you feel about chicken juice. I would probably still have them put my meat in a bag just because of my dislike of chicken leaks. eeewww.
Grocery Bags
Our set of Grocery Bags come with two black insulated bags and three purple bags about the size of a large paper sack.

There is a good way to see if they will work for you. Get 5 paper grocery bags and see if you can fit all your weeks worth of groceries in them. If you can’t then you may need to get two sets.

I would mark one of the insulated ones with a green ribbon and use it for produce. I don’t like to mix fresh vegetables and meat.

We know that these are not going to become clutter in your home. Because as soon as you put away your groceries you will put them back in your car for your next grocery shopping day! You may have to put a Post-It Note on your dashboard to remind you to take them in the grocery store. They will all fold up into one bag.

What I like about the the FlyLady Grocery Bags is that they don’t play the slip and slide in the trunk of my car with my groceries having to be repacked before I take them in the house.

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Finally Made The Best Investment of my Life


First I want to say a great big THANKS. I suddenly became a single mum to 3 kids exactly one week before Christmas. Unfortunately my ex not only left me with the 3 kids right on Christmas but he also left me with all the utility bills, 2x credit cards, 1x personal loan and 1x car loan all in my name only and my only income was from a part time job, which wasn’t even enough to cover the rent.

Thankfully I got on Centrelink benefits (I think is Social Security over there), but it still was not enough to pay all the bills and feed and clothe the kids. I was a blubbering mess every payday and even stopped answering the phone if I did not know the number in case it was another debt collector.

Well!! I thought about buying the GOOD book, but stressed about spending the money that could be spent on food or bills. After 4 months I finally made the best investment of my life and bought it and also downloaded FlyLady’s control journal. I have contacted all companies I owe money to and made arrangements that I can afford to pay leaving enough to buy food. Best of all I have gotten to know my inner brat whom I call Paris after Paris Hilton. She is a demanding, whining, spoilt brat who wants everything. I am slowly teaching my Paris we cannot afford a champagne lifestyle on a water budget. This alone has made a HUGE difference to unnecessary spending and helped control our finances so we can be in a better position.

I am now battling with her over junk food treats that are not only expensive but go straight to my hips. Of course the hip bit doesn’t bother her, hers are fine. LOL

Rose in Australia


Pam here: I am so excited for Rose! She is on her way to a wonderful new way of life! All of the circumstances in our lives cannot match the power of knowing yourself and learning to love who you are. We don’t have to have terrible things happen to discover this inner joy, but often that is how we do. We finally have to sit down beside the road and have the talk. The sooner the better.

To purchase the GOOD Book: Get Out Of Debt click here.

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