Weekly Column Spring Edition – You Never have to Spring Clean Again!

You Never have to Spring Clean Again!

All our lives we have been subjected to the torture of Spring Cleaning! Our mothers and grandmothers thought that this was the way to get the house clean. Sometimes they would spend days pulling out all the furniture and the junk from the closets; then expecting us to put it back in some order. Well I am here to tell you; you cannot organize clutter!  All you can do is get rid of it!

I can promise that you will never have to spring clean again, if you will follow the Zones that we have established,. After all, when was the last time you spring cleaned anyway? I bet you can’t find the corners of the rooms to get to the cobwebs anyway! How can you get rid of cobwebs, dust bunnies, and spiders when you can’t find the floor? This is why it is so important to declutter your home first, before you start your zone cleaning. I am tired of you all feeling guilty because you have not spring cleaned yet. This guilty feeling has got to be zapped right out of your head. Now hear this. We don’t clean like our mothers did! Not anymore. We have a better way that doesn’t even seem like we are cleaning at all. Our zones free us up to have a life with less guilt and more peace. Your home will always look great, not just for one day in the spring and the fall.

This idea that it all has to be done at once is for the birds. This all or nothing attitude is the perfectionist again. We like to stand back and admire what we have accomplished, but what fun is that if you are too tired to enjoy the fruits of your labor. What happens if you don’t have a week or even a day to spring clean? You think you don’t have time, so you just don’t do anything. Here we go again with the perfectionist attitude! Then the guilt starts to smother you and the depression eats away at your being. I can hear those ugly things you have said to yourself. “I no good, I can’t keep house like my mother did!” Well for the hundredth time! You are not your momma, you can keep house and you can do it your way; a much better way! Routines and zones are the tools to help you stay on top of your never-ending cycle of housecleaning.

Now this is not as bad as it all sounds. Doing a little every day is the key to never having to spring clean again. I like to call it BabySteps! Our daily missions are part of those babysteps.  On our website we have detailed cleaning lists for every room in your home. These need to be adapted for your home, but for the most part we start at the ceiling and work our way to the floor. The little jobs put together on a full list seem like an enormous amount of work, but when you only take one item and do it and nothing else; you will find that zone cleaning will take just a few short minutes a day. We don’t expect you to do the whole list in a week. Just keep in mind that you can start at the top and work your way down the list and in a few months, you will be able to mark off every single item on your list and you can start over. If you will do this, you will find that your home will always be company ready. After all, doesn’t your family deserve to be treated like company? I think that you deserve to live in a home that is a reflection of you and the love that you have for yourself and your family.

So now that you don’t have to Spring Clean anymore. We would love to hear how you are going to spend this free time. http://flylady.net  It is so much fun to FLY without spring cleaning holding you down!

Time to Garden

I guess I have a touch of cabin fever/spring fever this morning. Any reference to gardening has sparked another essay from me. I’ll bet you didn’t know I used to farm. Now there is nothing better in the world than planting your bare feet in dark rich bottom land dirt. I love the smell of tilled ground. Preparing the seed bed is but one step to a beautiful garden.

Once the soil has been loosened, it is time to plant. You are my garden. Your mind is the soil. Upon joining this group, you made the decision to let me help you with your garden. You have researched every possible way to plant. You know all those organizational books you have. Finally you decided to give FlyLady’s planting methods a try. For now you only know that you are looking for Peace. You have no idea how to find this peace in all of your clutter and Chaos. You can see the picture of your garden in your mind, but the harvest seems just too far away. Don’t give up.

You have been told by countless friends that FlyLady can help you with your garden, but you have your doubts. “No one can ever help me with my garden. It is just too far gone!” Well sisters and brothers I am here to tell you that your garden can be beautiful, but it will take some very hard, consistent work on your part. At times it will be heart wrenching and you will not be able to understand the method behind my madness(I know what you are thinking, FlyLady has to be crazy to ask us to do this). Please don’t give up when you get an assignment that is hard.

We have planted the seeds that will reap beautiful flowers, those seeds are our essays. We can’t physically come to your home do this, but with your consistent reading of our messages the seeds will begin to germinate. Your soil is prepared, but there are still some nasty weeds that did not get removed when your ground was tilled. We have to go in and pull up those weeds of bad habits, stinking thinking and not taking care of yourself. These weeds are so hard to get rid of, because right when you think you have conquered them, something happens and they rear their little heads and take root. This is why I tell you that you can start over at any moment.

Your garden is filled with perennials; you know these flowers that you have had for years. When you prepared the ground, you did not disturb the soil around them. It would break your heart, but the patch has become unruly, it no longer gives you the joy that it once did. Maybe that flower is not to your liking anymore. You have seen so much of it that it is no longer a pleasure to behold. This is why we are going to have to thin out the patch. The best part of this lesson is that we can share our abundance with our friends. We get the joy of giving something we have grown weary of and they get the joy of receiving your gift.

This is kind of like planting a row of radishes and having thousands sprout, but if you don’t remove the majority of the little plants you will only have radish tops and no radishes. When you thin the row, you make room for bigger and better radishes to come into your garden. I know it is hard to thin out those plants that you have worked hard to grow. Too much of any one thing is not good. With too many radishes you will not be able to harvest any, but once your thin them, your radishes will get big and you will be able to have some to eat. You know what these radishes represent. They are collections of clothes, shoes, books, toys, paper, what-knots, ceramics, dishes, fabric, you name it, we have collected it.

Now don’t quit reading. I am not telling you to till under the whole row of radishes, I am just saying that we need to thin them just a bit. It is going to be hard, but when you finish, you will have a collection that does not consume your whole garden. If you had a garden full of radishes, you might be missing something wonderful just waiting to fill your taste buds with joy. Make room for the joys that this garden can bring you. I once had a coffee mug collection; about 4 dozen. It took me months, but slowly I gave them away to friends, one at a time. I would leave them anonymously on their desk. The mugs were beautiful, but they were no longer me. It was not that I didn’t like them anymore, they reminded me of where I had bought them or who I was with at the time. Not all those memories were pleasant. By giving the mugs away, I got a new memory to replace the sad one. I was thinning my radishes.

Then there are times when you have mowed your grass and the grass clipping get tossed into the garden. This is your trash that you leave lying around instead of disposing of right when it becomes trash. We leave it where it lies. Go into your garden and rake up all the trash. This action in itself will help the appearance of your Garden.

Preparing the ground, planting the seeds, and thinning the rows, is the hardest part of gardening. The fun part is your daily watering, pruning, and nurturing of the plants. It is a labor of love, to go into your garden and just pamper your plants. Your daily watering is your routines. These help you to stay on top of any problem. While you are doing your routines, you can nip off those spent flowers, these are your Hot Spots. Also while you are in the garden nurturing your wonderful plants you will notice that one area of the garden needs just a little more attention. This is your zones. As you work your way around the garden it will eventually become the tranquil place of peace that you have been yearning for.

This sanctuary did not happen in one week, it was a gradual change in the landscape, by your loving hand. Each nurturing touch may not have been noticed by the passer-by, but the overall effect will become a thing of beauty to behold. You see for the true gardener, it is the process that makes the garden. An on-going, day to day journey that is a passion for the love that is in you. Bless your garden by your tender hand. Make each swish of the toilet, swipe of a counter or shining of your sink be the influence that makes your garden welcome to all visitors.

I love Gardens, Are you ready to cultivate yours?

Gardening: A Labor of Love and Laughter

Dear Friends,

We are heading into spring and gardening season; I can’t wait. Let’s look at our yards and gardens and see how we can use a basic weekly plan to help us.

As with most things in our life, we see all or nothing. Just looking at our homes and the yard, we don’t think that there is enough time to do it all. Well there is, if you will learn to break these areas into zones and smaller bites. Trying to do it all in one day is going to overwhelm you and take the joy from it. Oh yes there is joy in yard work.

Now let me tell you about our yard. We do not mow. We live in the woods and have no grass, but I know about mowing! It is like washing dishes; you never get finished, because as soon as you do, the grass decides to grow again.

For those of you who don’t know about our basic weekly plan. Just think of it as a day for everything. Kind of like the childhood song we sang. This is the way we wash our clothes, every Monday morning. We can also think of it, instead of a place for everything and everything in its place, we change it just a little to say; a time for everything. When we look at our homes, we have things that we do daily, every other day, weekly, biweekly, and monthly. This also works for our yards and gardens.

What needs to be done daily in our yards?

1. Weeding flowerbeds. Now don’t blow a gasket on this one. This is one of those outside jobs that only take a few minutes at a time. It does not have to be done all at once. We are used to doing it this way. Consistent daily plucking of weeds for only 5-15 minutes will keep this under control. This is something that we have never noticed until it was out of hand. I keep a pair of garden gloves, small rake/spade tool, and some snips in a basket by my front door, so when I walk outside in the cool of the evening or early morning, I can put on the gloves and do just a little. Another reason for wearing the glove besides getting your hands dirty; is to protect from thorns and spider bites. We found several black widow spiders in our rock garden. I do not want to be surprised by one of them.

2. Deadheading spent flowers; is something that can be done daily as you walk around your garden. Snip, Snip, Snip!

3. Bird feeders need to be filled daily and fresh water put in birdbaths. This takes only a few minutes. If I don’t refill ours, the squirrels, woodpeckers, and crows will come to the door and let us know they need seeds and peanuts. They are so cute. Yes! We feed our woodpeckers, they are beautiful smart birds. We have a pair of pileated woodpeckers that we have named Sidney and Shirley.  When you give them suet they will leave your house alone.

4. Some plants need to be watered every day during the hot part of the summer. I make it easy to water, by having the water hose handy or a watering can filled at all times. I just refill it after I water, that way I can water without a lot of hassle.

5. Porches may also need to be swept each day. You can just do the main traffic areas and then sweep the whole porch or walk well once a week.

You can incorporate these things into your daily routines. I fill bird feeders in the morning and in the afternoon while supper is cooking I usually pluck and prune the weeds and spent flowers. Just spend 15 minutes a day doing these little things in your garden. You will never have to spend a whole day again.

Now what needs to be done on a weekly basis.

1. Mowing. For the most part, mowing takes from 1 hour to as many as 5-6 hours, if you have a big yard. You can also break your yard into zones and do it over a couple of days if you need too. This schedule will need to be flexible according to the weather. So set aside one day with an optional day if need.

2. Some flowers or lawns may need to be watered weekly, I personally do not recommend heavy watering. The more you water early in the year, the more shallow the root system develops and if we have a lot of dry weather, the plants will not be hardy, will suffer, and so will you. So just a little water when you plant them, then let them root hog or die, I always say. If I have to water them; I know me, I will not do it. So they had better learn to fend for themselves. I also like to plant a lot of sedums and drought tolerant plants. I like a pretty garden without a lot of work.

3. Some people like to fertilize their lawn and garden weekly. Not me, I buy a bag of time released fertlizer and put a spoon full around my plants in the spring and then I do not have to do it again for 4 months. They even make some that lasts for 8 months; fertilizer for the lazy gardener. I love it. I am very pleased with the results in time saving and beautiful flowers.

4. Prune your perennials so you will have staggered blooms and less leggy plants is also a good thing to do early on in the season. This also helps them to make bushier plants.

5. Some of my flowers need to be staked so they don’t spread out when the rain weighs them down. So I check on this about once a week. I also look at my vines to make sure that they are entwined in the trellis.

So for the most part, if you will spend 15 minutes a day enjoying your yard and garden by walking out there and looking for a few weeds and clipping what is calling out to you, you can turn work into a labor of love and beauty. Isn’t that exactly what we have done with your home, fill it with love! Fill your yard with the same love. It is only work, if you think of it that way.

Now if you are on a budget and want to plant flowers, then let your children plant some zinnia seeds, marigolds, morning glory vines or Moon Flowers. Moon flowers are some of my favorite, because the blossoms open up before your very eyes in the evening. Children love to watch the show. They are big beautiful white blooms.

Last year I heard a radio essay on flowers. A mother was telling what her little boy had said. “Flowers are God’s way of laughing.” Think about it. When we experience the sensual joy of flowers, we give God pleasure.

We can all do 15 minutes in our yards, if we will just set a timer and get out there and do it. It is just like decluttering our homes. It didn’t get messed up in a day and it is not going to get clean overnight. PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

Are you ready to FLY, by living your day in continuous joy?


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