Column 03 – The Cart before the Horse by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

Have you ever gotten sidetracked painting a room when you had friends coming over for dinner? If you have then you might be a FlyBaby! Let’s say company is coming and you need to crisis clean by focusing on the main areas of the house. Instead you are cleaning out closets and scrubbing the bathroom tile with a toothbrush. This is our perfectionism.

If you are planning a party, I want you to fight the urge to tear out carpet and paint walls for now. Big family parties are stressful enough without adding the hassle of tearing up your home and trying to put it back together. Even under to most ideal circumstances, a remodel is tough.

Let me tell you about the easiest remodel of all! It is getting rid of your clutter. For three years; Robert and I would plan and scheme about remodeling our home. We would take paper and pencils to a restaurant and start drawing up plans. Only to walk back in our home and be hit with a room filled with wall to wall clutter!!! I wanted change! I wanted a home that was beautiful and the only way I knew to get it was to tear out and start over! Guess what friends; you don’t
have to remodel to love your home or to have people over! You just have to get rid of the clutter that makes your home feel closed in.

When Robert and I married in 1996, I had a houseful of clutter and he had a houseful of clutter. We put our clutter together and went to estate auctions and bought more. We could hardly walk in our home; much less invite anyone in! We would have to meet people on our front porch. I hated our home. I felt closed in and wanted something different. I thought it was a new home but that would have only made matters worse. I would have had to pack up all of our clutter and put  it in a bigger house. Even if we added a room on then we would only invade that new space with our old clutter, making it unlivable. I realized that it was not the house that was making me feel bad but the clutter in the house and I had control over that.

In January of 1999 I started establishing my routines one little habit at a time. In the process I was trying to fix our finances by reading or listening to Suze Orman. I thought if only we had enough money we could remodel our house. I told myself that there was not any way we could remodel a house and make it bigger when I couldn’t even keep our little house clean. What I learned from Suze was if I will get rid of my clutter and bless others then I would be blessed in
return. WOW!!! I never dreamed that releasing clutter was the best and the easiest remodel I could do!

So for the next nine months I got rid of clutter 3 times a day with a 27 Fling Boogie! I took BabySteps and this consistency slowly but surely made a difference in our home. By September of 1999, our home was practically cleaning itself. By Thanksgiving I was able to have our family over for dinner. Then in December our little email group started.

It wasn’t until my routines had been in place for way over a year that I finally consented to explore a real remodel. I was afraid that our cute little home would fall apart and my routines would go by the wayside. For the first time in my life, I was able to keep house without beating myself up and I was so scared that I would forget my routines.

You are going to be so surprised just how nice your home really is without all the clutter blinding you. Please don’t start tearing out, fixing up and painting until your clutter is eliminated. Clutter  makes the job much harder than it really is. Think about a sparse room. It is much easier to paint than one that is piled to the ceiling with clutter. In fact you can’t even see the walls for the clutter. Many times a little soap and water is all your home needs for now. Don’t get the cart before the horse.

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