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About 5 years ago, I found this chick online who calls herself Flylady. She can be found here and you can sign up for her daily emails and podcasts and watch videos and sign up for her branded version of a calendar program, etc. She’s also got products that she sells like special timers and scrubbers and books.
Oh I hear you.. “But Amanda, it all looks like a big scam to sell me cleaning supplies” and I’ll admit that she’s definitely figured out a way to monetize the advice she gives. But at the heart of all of the gadgets and gizmos and buzzwords that you’ll find, you will find something very interesting.
She’s offering real advice on how to make your house your sanctuary and she’s offering a real way to do it. And there’s no judgment, but there’s also no excuses.
FlyLady has broken down the first 31 days of her system down into a list of easy to complete list of tasks that she recommends for folks new to her system. I fully embraced it about five years ago and went through most of the steps, but found myself reverting back to my old habits. It’s taken me 5 years of misery in my house to really appreciate what Flylady has to say. It’s taken me 5 years to stop being a perfectionist in my housekeeping.
A perfectionist, you say? Yep, Flylady helped me realize that it was perfectionism that made me not want to clean. That it was my mother’s and grandmother’s perfectionism that drove me crazy and that I am walking down the same path. And like other crazy stuff passed down in my family – which will be another post – the CRAZY PERFECTIONIST STUFF STOPS WITH ME.
Here’s some of the logic for you: I see that the kitchen is a mess. I guestimate how long it will take me to clean the kitchen to my perfectionist mindset and I ALWAYS overestimate – usually by several hours. Then, because it seems so big, I PROCRASTINATE because, come on, who’s got 4 hours to clean one room?
The truth is that the kitchen only needs maybe 20 minutes of real work. However, my mind is saying that there is a lot more work. It’s saying that I also need to clean out the junk drawer and change the baking soda in the refrigerator and bleach the countertops and wash the tray thing in the silverware drawer and sanitize the trash can and reorganize the pantry and suck the lint out of the lint trap in the dryer and a million other things that NEED to be done before I will declare the kitchen clean.
So old me would have said, I’ll just do what absolutely needs to be done right now for me to be able to cook a meal and leave everything else for another day. New me says that’s good, work on the 4 or 5 quick tasks that absolutely needs to be done but also set a 15 minute timer and do one of those other things. The next day, new me will do the things that absolutely be done (i.e. empty and fill the dishwasher and run it, wipe off the counters and stovetop, and empty the trash can if needed) which won’t take more than 15 minutes and then set a timer and do another 7-15 minutes on something else.
This very act has taken my house from a total wreck to a livable place that I LIKE in a matter of just a few weeks. And best of all, no one is stressed out. No one is being yelled at. No one is being driven bat shit crazy with crazy perfectionist attitudes.
I was beginning to think that we really needed a new house and now I am convinced that we just have too much damn stuff.
My house isn’t perfect and that’s ok. It’s clean enough that I don’t feel embarrassed to have a friend’s almost 1 year old crawling on my floors. My husband doesn’t complain about not having enough clean underwear because I’m keeping up with laundry. My daughter stays out of things better because there just isn’t as much clutter to get into. And I’m a lot happier because I don’t feel guilty when I play on the computer or take a nap because I am not looking at a cluttered house and thinking about how I should be working on that instead of taking care of me.
And isn’t loving yourself just as important as loving your family?