Starting Over with Baby Steps

Dear FlyLady,

My Husband had a Heart attack in July this year and all routines flew out the window. When he came home everything changed and I am now his full time carer as he has other health issues as well. Not having any family  and friends who flew the nest when we needed help means we are on our own.

My old routine no longer worked, I did however mange to keep up with Shining my Sink and Swish and Swipe and Dust with  the feather duster.

Everything else has gone out the window so I have started over, slowly adding the things one Baby Step at a time.

I am not behind I am making a fresh start and finding a routine that works for me.

This is hard as I have really bad nights up to 3 times a week and have had to call the Ambulance out twice since my Husbands return home.

I get up at the same time every day and dress to shoes.

I get as much as I can done before my Husband gets up.  I make time for myself during the day and rest, making sure I have a set time to go to bed, layout my clothes and put out hot spots and shine my sink, this means I have a good start to the day.

You never know what is around the corner but I have found that your plans work and that I can and will get a new routine that will work for me.

I am trying to work out a plan so I can start a new Control Journal. Nothing is impossible as long as you have a plan and with all the information on FLYLADY I  will be able to do what is needed and keep my home nice, not perfect but able to have people over. It also means I won’t feel I have to say ‘Sorry about the mess’ when the Doctor or Ambulance crew arrives.

FlyLady to the rescue, Thank you.

Paula from Milton Keynes England

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October Habit #19 Things Getting Even Better

Dear FlyLady,

I want to thank you for helping me to start getting my house in order!

For paper clutter, I’ve been using your suggestion of doing bills once a week – all of the paper that comes in, gets placed in a handing folder until that day.

Also on that day, I bring in a small case that holds files folders from the car – I have 3 main folders in the case: “Stores”, “Restaurants” and “Groceries”. Also in the case I have current magazines or other reading items. Items get filed, and back into the car the case goes. That way I always have coupons in case I’m caught out and in need of a coupon.

I also have similar files for my email — I had an ah-ha moment about 3 weeks ago – and set up filters in my inbox – so the emails get automatically filed into the appropriate folder (no more wasting time moving emails into folders!), and I only have to deal with the supposed “important” emails that come into my box.

The Cozi to do and shopping lists are wonderful! And I have my Control Journal written into the to-do lists. Your missions are right in my calendar!  The new Menu Planning tool is awesome too. Select the recipe from anywhere on the web and get it added to my shopping list automatically. A quick comparison in the kitchen marking off the items I already have. How cool is that!

I look forward to things getting even better and better 15 min at a time.

Fluttering in Jackson, TN

Please share your Paper Clutter stories, tips and routines with me.

Send them to with PAPER CLUTTER in the subject line.

Posted in Habit of the Month Tagged , , , ,

Crisis Cleaning Can Help You Get Started!

pumpkin14(1)Dear Friends,

I know that some of you have trouble getting started because your home is so overwhelming. I have always found that if I get one room clean, it helps me to continue will the whole process. I like to start with my kitchen. As the kitchen goes so does the rest of the house. When I was a child, my job was cleaning the bathroom. I could get in there and really give it a good scrub. It would not take long and I had something that I got strokes for.

I don’t recommend Crisis cleaning unless you need to get a quick handle on the chaos in your home. I don’t want you to crash and burn. I do know that once the worst is done, with your routines in hand and posted everywhere, you can keep it from ever getting in that shape again. Sometimes this is all it takes get you going.

At the end of the month many of you will be having guests come and visit for family gatherings: Passover, Easter, or other events. I have heard the panic in your voices. There are others that need to get the mess cleaned because of friction in your marriages or children bringing home future in-laws. The stress is hard on you. This is why we have posted our Crisis Cleaning on the website.

This will help you tackle the CHAOS, but it won’t keep it away. We have been crisis cleaning our whole lives. The problem is that never does stay clean long. In a day or two the mess has taken back over and you are overwhelmed again; Not to mention exhausted from the Marathon you just put yourself through. If you will get the surface clear(Just the part that guests see)then over the next few months you will declutter the hidden areas and find homes for all the stuff that is in bags on your bedroom floor and in your closet. Yes I know what you do when company is coming! You bag it all up and put it in your bedroom; the graveyard things to deal with later.

Please follow the directions! Do not skip a single step! I do not want you to crash and burn. Pace yourself.

Some of you need to see immediate results. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but we are all different. Your home did not get dirty over night and it is not going to get clean in a day! It may look clean on the surface, but it won’t stay that way unless you take BabySteps to establish your routines so you will never have to Crisis Clean again.

I want for you what I have: Peace and it came from being able to open my doors at a moments notice. Routines can do this for you too.

Are you ready to FLY?


P.S. Don’t you dare get sidetracked by cleaning out a cabinet, closet or a drawer! Now is not the time!

My podcast for Crisis Cleaning is on this page.

Posted in Morning Musing Tagged , , , , ,

How Do I Encourage Clutter Free Gifts?

Dear FlyLady,

I love the idea of clutter free gifts, and my son’s interest in traditional toys is fleeting. How do I encourage family to give clutter free gifts like gift certificates to the bowling alley or his favorite stops (we ride bikes a lot around town) and not come off as pompous? When people ask, I can always let them know, but we have family members that just buy things to pacify their need to buy a gift for him without even asking. These are the hardest for me to deal with, since my son is Autistic, and most of these gifts are from people who choose not to spend time with him. My worry is that if I send out a message early that it will seem as if I am expecting them to buy gifts – just worried about the wording mainly.

Thank you for helping me regain some sort of structure to our lives. My home is lived in, but generally presentable.

Sincerely –

Dear Darci,

Your family cannot read your mind. If you want your child to have clutter free gifts then you have to tell them. You can do this with a simple Christmas letter. In this letter you can explain that he is growing up and has new activities that he loves to do. Include pictures of him doing some of these things. If you want them to purchase clothing and outerwear they will need to know sizes. Believe me, this information will be appreciated by grandparents.

Tell them in your letter that your family has decided to give clutter free gifts. You may even want to give them examples. What is the worst thing that can happen? They get upset and don’t send anything at all. That is better than clutter.

Just this afternoon I was informed by my son to not spoil my grandchildren. That means I need to clear any purchases with them. I always do anyway.

When my son was little, I asked the grandparents to keep their gifts simple. If they wanted to give more they could get him a United States Savings Bond. This turned out to be a blessing for my son, when he and his new wife decided to buy their first home. The savings bonds became their down payment.

Your idea of giving and receiving clutter-free gifts may not happen this year but you will set the example for the future. Just be appreciative and next year you can pack up the unwanted gifts to donate.


pumpkin14(1)We have some great clutter free gifts in our FlyShop: Calendars, water bottles, Rubba Scrubbas and purple rags, just to name a few. The water bottles have been very popular this week. There are going to be a lot of happy hydrated people this Christmas.

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Happy Anniversary

Dear FlyLady,

Happy Anniversary to us! Yes, I mean YOU and ME! This week marks a full year since I discovered you, fell in love, and made a commitment to share my life with you. My CHAOS situation was bad. I am a freelance writer and wedding photographer with a limited budget, and always chasing the money to pay the bills. Being so busy, I didn’t have time to keep the house in order so I could host client meetings at my home, so I was forced to schedule meetings at the local coffee shop. This did not allow me to show my work in the best professional manner. So I decided to scrounge up some cash to hire a cleaning service to come in a couple times a month to help me out. I found a reasonably priced service, and invited them in for an inspection.

They turned me down! They told me my house was too cluttered and messy, and they wouldn’t take the job at any price. I was floored! Yes, there was clutter, and since my husband and I have two dogs and a cat, there was pet hair and dust. But, the kitchen was ok, and the bathrooms were passable. I realized after asking around my small town that the company was not hungry for work—they were taking only new construction and easy jobs where they could just do some weekly tidying up.  So it wasn’t really that I was an abject failure as a housekeeper – what a relief. But I still needed a solution.

That very day I received their “rejection letter” I saw a FlyLady ad on Facebook. One look and I knew we were a match made in heaven. I started immediately with my 15 minute daily assignments, while I awaited delivery of your fabulous purple rags and now-discontinued feather duster. Now my kitchen is spotless, my bathrooms look and smell clean, and there is not a single dust bunny in sight. My seasonal clothes are all in one place – my closet – and I don’t have to schlepp the off-season tubs of clothes from the basement twice a year.

And the best part? Removing the clutter in my home has also removed the clutter in my mind. I love to get up every morning and face the new exciting adventures that await me.

Thank you FlyLady, for giving me the tools to change my life. I look forward to many more anniversaries to come.

Judy McCleery
Southold, NY

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October Habit #18 All Together In One

Dear FlyLady,

Keeping my receipts organized is no longer a problem for me. I don’t have coupons all over the place either.

I bought a plastic coupon holder that has its own elastic band closure. It has many plastic dividers. I keep my receipts and coupons in it. There are only about three stores I shop regularly. My grocery store receipts go all together in one, another store in a different one, and miscellaneous receipts in one.

I divide my coupons into two sections, food and non-food items. I seldom have more than 15-20 coupons. When I make out my grocery list, I pull the ones I plan on using and put them in a different divider with my shopping list.

I usually keep receipts until I relialize I don’t want to return any anything. Stale dated coupons are purged every week.

I hate a messy purse (probably from being a cashier). I usually clean my purse daily, when I sit at the TV. Otherwise, flybabies clean their purses every Friday.

Flying High in Michigan

Please share your Paper Clutter stories, tips and routines with me.

Send them to with PAPER CLUTTER in the subject line.

Posted in Habit of the Month Tagged , ,

Taking Control of My Health by FlyLady

Dear Friends,

After my Thursday Facebook Live Video, many of you have asked me what I have been doing. I gave you a list of the recent books I had read, but my knowledge goes back to my dear friend’s love for me!

I will never forget how Leanne Ely came to my rescue when I was sick several years ago. She flew me to Charlotte, set up a doctor’s appointment for me, and developed a whole eating plan for me. What she developed for me was a low carbohydrate menu plan to help get rid of my inflammation and weight! We were Paleo and Keto before it was even a term.  With that knowledge we wrote Body Clutter together.

Everything I learned from her has stayed with me all these years. It is what I use today! My eating plan is all about living a low carb way of feeding myself. After my Facebook live on Thursday she called me. She was so excited that I had once again decided to regain control over my health. Then she showed me what she has been working on for several months.

Leanne has always been there to help my FlyBabies. She has taught them to cook and to menu plan. Knowing what’s for dinner and having the food in the house will save you money and give you success at feeding your family nutritious meals.

When your family asks that age old question, “What’s for dinner?” You will have the answer with this great tool! Dinner Answers!


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Shine Your Little Corner of the World

Dear Friends,

Many years ago on the first day of spring I headed down the curvy mountain road where I lived. I had my cup of cafe mocha in hand and felt the joy of spring in the cool crisp morning. As soon as I turned from my gravel road onto the main road I noticed something awful in the road.

It was a soiled baby diaper! I stopped and picked it up. I had plenty of bags in my car. I was thankful for my messy car that day. I could not imagine who in the world would throw that out of their car.

As I navigated the seventy-eight curves from my cabin to the main highway I got madder. I began to count the drink cups and plastic bottles along the seven miles of bad road. By the time I got to the bottom of the mountain I had counted 378 cups and bottles. That was about 1 every 100 feet.

Then as I pulled onto the main highway the straw broke the camel’s back. There was a grocery sack stuck in a tree filling up like a wind sock. It was too high to remove from the tree. I was livid! I went straight to our local newspaper.

I wrote out a letter to the editor on the back of some junk mail. At least my trash was in my car and not on the sides of the road. When I think about it; that was my first essay ever printed in a newspaper.

I hate litter, but I don’t just talk about it. I picked it up on the road and streams of our beautiful mountains. I also worked on educating young people with my Travis Trout Costume. Yes I dressed up as an 8 foot trout. I was so funny to look at! Travis didn’t like stream litter either. It was fun going around to elementary schools doing skits for them and teaching them to pick it up and put it away as well as recycle as much as possible.

This is one of the reason I became a county commissioner. I wanted to set policy for littering and recycling. Trash is a fact of life. We have to be responsible for our own trash and dispose of it properly.

When our homes are a beautiful clean we are not putting out fires all the time. We have routines for recycling. We are more particular about what we bring home too. When you are FLYing this allows more of you to shine through so that you can bless the world!

Are you ready to shine!


GroceryBagsThis is why we love to go green in a purple kind of way! Our shopping bags are one of my favorite tools to keep those wind sock shopping bags from lodging in our beautiful trees. Plus they get a lot of attention in the store because they are so pretty and purple. Then insulated bags keeps your cold food cold and your hot food hot!

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , ,

Tip for a Good Holiday Season

Dear Friends,

Today I was asked by a magazine editor if I could give one tip for having a good holiday season what would that be? The answer came so quick that I even surprised myself.

Let go of your perfectionism!

If I can talk you into letting go of your perfectionism then you can cruise through the holidays without all the stress that being a perfectionist puts on you!

I know you are looking for that perfect picture post card feeling, but let’s face it! That only happens in paintings or in the movies. I want you to allow yourself the freedom to celebrate the holiday without this undue stress.

Let’s look at how your perfectionism ruins your holidays!!!

1. You procrastinate till the last minute to do anything because you just don’t seem to have enough time to do it right or you don’t think you do! Then it really isn’t done to suit you are anyone else because it is just thrown together willie nilly! I DON’T HAVE TIME! This phrase is whiny!

2. Shopping is put off till the last minute because we have not planned our purchases and then we hit the malls looking for anything and spending what ever to get something to give. You settle because of that phrase again. I DON’T HAVE TIME!! Yes you do if you started a few weeks ago!

3. Do you see a pattern here; waiting till the last minute? Do you know the meaning of the word Deadline? It is the point at which you have no more time. In other words; you practically kill yourself doing it, when a little each day would have helped you process things without the stress. NOW YOU REALLY DON’T HAVE TIME! But watch you put on your super woman costume and kill yourself along with the rest of the family trying to save face! This is what makes the holidays miserable!

4. Because you have waited till the last minute again to purchase items; you are faced with a marathon wrapping session. No one likes to do this and it is hard on your back. Be kind to you and do a little at a time as you come in the door. If you hear yourself

say, “I DON’T HAVE TIME RIGHT NOW! Then just do one little package!

5. Now let’s look at decorating your home. You hear your children begging to do things and then these words come out of your mouth!! I DON’T HAVE TIME RIGHT NOW!!! They are usually said in an unkind tone because you are mad at yourself over this procrastination pressure. Do you /want to know why you don’t think you have time? It is because of your perfectionism! You don’t think you have time to do it right! Decorating your home does not have to be done all at once. Break it down into smaller pieces; take babysteps to decorate your home and enjoy establishing new traditions.

When you hear those nasty words come out of your mouth: I DON’T HAVE TIME!!! I want you to set your timer for 15 minutes and do something! You do have time! We all have the same amount of time in a day and it is how we choose to use it that makes the difference. When your perfectionism clouds your thinking you forget to do just a little to make things better.

Holidays celebrated incorrectly still blesses your family! Let go of your perfectionism and the whiny excuse of I DON’T HAVE TIME and enjoy this year.

Are you ready to Cruise through the Holidays?


FlyLady here; Holiday Cruising Mission start on October 21st. Go download your free Holiday Control Journal.

We have a Red Office in a Bag for your Holiday Control Journal

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Steady Progress

Dear FlyLady,

I want to thank you for your encouragement and support over the years.  I read your emails for three years and never did anything.  My home was becoming a disaster and I was so overwhelmed just thinking about it that I never wanted to start. I was living in major CHAOS, which I felt very bad about. Then one day something funny happened.  I remember how you said it’s ok to try new ways to clean.  Well, I use a water-flosser when I brush my teeth. It’s like a mini power washer. I got to thinking, maybe I could use the water-flosser to clean the grout in the shower that had gotten very icky.  Well, it worked great and I had a “blast” doing it! Sure it sprayed water around a little but the results were so fantastic that I didn’t mind.  Then I decided to use the water-flosser to “power wash” around the faucet of the bathroom sink. This sink had started dripping a few weeks earlier and I couldn’t figure out why. Wouldn’t you know, after I used the water-flosser to dislodge the grime that had built up around the faucet and handles, I noticed the dripping had completely stopped! This was a small miracle because it saved me from having to call the plumber. I realized that good things happen when I clean, and that more good things are just waiting to happen when I keep cleaning!

I’ve felt inspired by this and have been making slow but steady progress ever since, and we no longer have CHAOS everywhere.

Thank you FlyLady for encouraging us FlyBabies to think outside of the box and try new things!!!

Learning to Fly in the Prairie State

Posted in testimonials Tagged , , , , , Helping women around the world get their home organized. Copyright 2001 - 2016 FlyLady and Company, Inc.