Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sink Reflections - 52 in 52 Week 2

Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley - The FlyLady

Every January I always get the urge to buckle down and get something accomplished that I've been putting off for a while. This month, I decided I really needed to revise my housecleaning / chore system to reflect the changing needs of my house. I also needed some inspiration to do some decluttering. I had visited the FlyLady website several years back and thought a quick read through of her book might give me some inspiration and some new ideas to incorporate for myself.


I love the FlyLady for several reasons. She is an excellent cheerleader. When looking at a kitchen that looks like it's been hit by a hurricane, her simple basic encouraging words often come to mind. "Your home did not get dirty in a day and it is not going to get clean overnight." When I ask one of the girls to do something, and they only do it what I would consider halfway, I remember "housework done incorrectly still blesses your family." When I'm facing a project that I don't think I have time to complete, I remember how 15 minutes a day can make a big difference. She's an excellent source of inspiration and a great motivator to get you started one step at a time. The basic set up of her system will work for anyone. Daily chores are accomplished by establishing routines in the morning and evening. Creating a weekly plan to manage the basic cleaning needs of the house and establishing zones to focus on deeper cleaning on a monthly basis(once you've finished decluttering) help eliminate the frustration of doing little bits here and there without being able to see improvements. Beyond basic housecleaning, there are chapters for paper clutter, laundry, menu planning, vacation planning, and moving. She also has a wonderful sense of humor (decluttering while singing "Please Release Me, Let Me Go) and a no nonsense attitude (no whining or excuses allowed).


I personally am not a true FlyBaby although I did try her website at one time (the emails drove me bonkers.) It simply didn't work for me. I personally find her basic weekly plan insufficient for my household. She only vacuums and mops once a week. (Don't ask me how she finishes each task in 10 minutes.) That set up might work if my house was empty most of the day, but with 4 kids home all day and a shedding Golden Retriever my floors alone would be a disaster after a couple of days (and no, I don't expect my floors to be perfectly clean all the time.) While I agree that making cleaning fun is a great way to get the kids involved, I don't think there needs to be a reward every time they help. When I tried her zone system for monthly chores, I found the distribution of work very uneven. Week 3 includes the main bathroom, kid's bathroom, children's rooms, office, and laundry area. She solves this problem by focusing on different rooms each month, but it just doesn't work for me. If I were going to change one aspect of the book, I would love to see more of an emphasis on personalizing the system with more examples of how different moms set up their routines and cleaning schedules.


For inspiration, motivation, and ideas to get you started, the FlyLady's book and website are excellent. The principles of the system do work. My caution for anyone reading is to remember that your household is unique. Following the FlyLady's or anyone else's house cleaning schedule, most likely will not work. Take the principles learned and figure out what works for your family. Make your own routines and weekly plans, and set up reasonable zones for your house. Apply what works and change or ignore what doesn't. Then you're end result will truly be one that works for you.


Jean said...

I have similar feelings. I have found much of FlyLady very useful--I don't like her website or the emails, but the book was easier to deal with. I took what worked for me and tweaked it to fit, and though I'm still a fairly abysmal housekeeper, I'm better and I'm working on it. I love that line, "Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family." So much better than "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." Every little bit helps!

Liza Q said...

I have read this book and I really enjoyed - and agreed with! - your final thoughts. Thanks for posting!

Lori said...

I've heard a lot about the Fly Lady over the years and have always thought it would be a good thing to check out but haven't actually made it over to her site. Perhaps this will inspire me to at least check it out! Thanks for sharing. :-D

Michelle said...

I used to subscribe to the Flylady emails as well, and her system really didn't quite work for our family either. (I have 5 children and homeschool, but I think I had 3 children back then.) Yet, it is something which you can glean from and then "tweak" to fit your own family, isn't it?