FLYing Lesson: Tips for Not Getting Sidetracked

Are you getting sidetracked? Do you feel like you are not making progress? This is required reading once per week! Have you read this? – FlyLady

Let’s start when our feet hit the floor. No, let’s back up to the night before, just prior to bedtime.

  1. Did you do your Before-Bed Routine? The beauty of the Before-Bed Routine is that you are one step ahead on the day. It only takes a few minutes once you get started. Reviewing your control journal before you go to bed keeps what you need to do the next day fresh in your mind for the morning. When you wake up, you know what has to be done.
  2. Did you do your Morning Routine? Dawn has broken. You probably think there is nothing better than to stay in bed half the morning, but it’s often not true — remember how guilty you feel when you do? Most of us are forced into a not-so-good-morning. We do this to ourselves by not getting enough rest. As a result, we wake up grumpy and dragging. Our happiness depends on getting proper rest. Go to bed at the right time and get up 15 minutes early and give yourself a good start with your Morning Routine!
  3. Kitchen Tips: Let’s talk about the kitchen for a while. If the kitchen is clean, the rest of the house stays clean, too. In other words, as the kitchen goes, so goes the rest of the house. Consider this: broken windows in a city. If a broken window is left unrepaired, the neighborhood goes down the drain. Crime rates go up and other buildings fall apart, but if these windows are fixed immediately, the neighborhood is not affected, or shall we say infected. A dirty kitchen infects the remaining rooms. Strive to keep the kitchen tidy:
    • Empty the dishwasher first thing upon entering the kitchen. (This way you always have a place for dirty dishes.)
    • Always keep the sink spotless and shining. (If the sink is clean, you are less likely to put a dirty dish in it.)
    • Use a clean dish cloth and dish rag every day.
    • Get in the habit of drying your sink after every use (with the clean dish towel).
    • Fill sink with hot soapy water when you start to cook. (This helps to clean as you go.) If you don’t, the dishes pile up! Swish them well and put them in the dishwasher. The counter stays clear, and when you are through cooking, all you have to do is load the dishwasher with the dishes from dinner.
    • Throw trash and recyclables away as you empty the container.
    • Shut the cabinet doors.
    • Keep a can of Comet, bottle of Windex, and cleaning towels handy (for the little spritz that keeps things shiny)
    • Make table clearing everyone’s job. Have each person take their own plate to the kitchen. They rake their scraps into the compost bin and put their plate into the dishwasher. This is something else children can do!
  4. Menu planning: This is tough! Try this: take a calendar and list every meal you’re going to cook for a month. At the end of a month, you will have a journal of what to fix. From this journal, you can make out menu cards and a grocery list. Don’t forget to list what you ate at the restaurants, too; that is a menu as well. Once you have the right food in your house, you are more apt to cook it. Knowing what is planned for the day helps to keep you on track. Our biggest problem is that if we have to think about what to cook, we will probably go out.Keep a master grocery list and highlighter on your refrigerator. The master grocery list is a list of everything you buy for the home. You can compile it in categories, alphabetically, or how your grocery store is laid out — whatever works for you! When you are running low on something, just highlight it on your list, then take the list to the grocery store on your shopping day.Another tip: Clean the refrigerator out the day before you go grocery shopping. This gives you a neat place to put your food. Besides, it’s easier to clean when the refrigerator is empty.

    Also, don’t forget to put the groceries away as you bring them into the house. This keeps the counters clear, and you do not feel overwhelmed by all those groceries that need to be put away. It should go without saying — bring the meat and refrigerator stuff in first.

  5. Paper pile ups: Mail is often a big pile up problem! Take care of it with the the “Do It Now Principle,” as described by FlyLady’s Dear Husband:
    • Go through the mail as soon as you bring it in the house.
    • Only open it with your calendar, cards, and garbage can at your side. (This cuts down on handling it twice.)
    • Have one place for bills, and put them there!
    • Have a day for paying them and stick to it. FlyLady’s date with her bills: on the 1st and 15th of each month.
    • Reconcile your bank statement the day you get it.
    • Put sale papers, advertisments, and catalogs by your chair so you can look at them when you deserve a break. Do not let them pile up! Look at them the next time you sit down and have your scissors, grocery list, and garbage can handy.

    By the way, the “Do It Now Principle” works for most everything (not just mail!)

  6. The Laundry: Do You Know Where Your Laundry Is? Go! Give your laundry the attention it deserves. If you don’t, you will pay later. It will grow and get out of hand. Here are some tips:
    • Sorting – If we have to sort the dirty clothes, it may take longer to put a load in the washer. We might decide not to do it at all. Try this: have three baskets in the closet or wherever you keep dirty clothes. One for whites, colors, and one for delicate clothes that you don’t want to wash with the other things. As you undress, place the dirty clothes in the proper basket, then hang up the items that can be worn again. The “Do It Now Principle” kicks in; even little children can be taught this!
    • Washing – Only do a load if you have time to do everything: wash, dry, fold, and put away.
    • Drying – Always take the clothes out of the dryer the minute you hear the buzzer. This saves you from ironing.
    • Folding – Fold up the clothes as soon as you get them from the dryer.
    • Putting the clothes away – No one likes to live out of a laundry basket. Have a place for everything, even if you have to label the drawers for a while until you get used to putting them in their own place.
  7. More Laundry Hints
    • Buy low maintenance clothing.
    • Buy several pair of socks that are the same color. They will match easier.
    • When you take off socks, make sure they are right side out.
  8. Bathroom tips:
    • Keep a toilet bowl brush beside the toilet
    • Keep Windex bottle, paper towels, and Comet handy. This means one for each bathroom, so you can clean without even thinking about it.
    • Polish bathroom sink daily. The same principle holds in the bathroom as in the kitchen.
  9. Bedroom Tips (for cleaning!):
    • Get in the habit of making up the bed as soon as possible — the minute everyone is out of it. This will keep you from going back to bed.
    • Dust daily.
    • Lint roller: for those of us that have pets that shed.
  10. Living room/Dining room/Family room Hints:
    • Throw newspaper away daily.
    • Dust daily.
    • Straighten Cushions on the couch.
    • Put things away when you finish with them.
    • Don’t take your shoes off in the living room.
  11. The car:
    • Keep it empty. This is hard — unload it every time you get out.
    • Don’t eat in the car. This way you don’t have trash to throw away.
    • Always fill up with gas. It saves time in the long run.
    • Check oil weekly.
  12. Craft projects:
    • Only drag out enough to finish in the time allotted, unless you have a room just for that purpose. Then put things away in a neat fashion.
    • Put it away as soon as you finish.
  13. Staying with this system:
    • Establish a goal and work toward it. Set a timer if you have to.
    • Establish a routine to do your daily chores. By the time you get to the kitchen, half of your work may be done. The routine keeps you from having to think about what to do next.
    • Establish a new habit each month. It takes 21 days to form a habit. But for SHEs, it takes 28 days.

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