Maria Cilley, from North Carolina, or the Fly Lady, first caught my attention when I read her book, Reflections. What first caught my attention was her sense of humor. I laughed out loud as I read through the book. I understand that Fly Lady has been popular with the homeschooling crowd for years. After all, who needs help organizing home more than those brave souls who not only maintain their household but also take on the responsibility of homeschooling their children? Whether or not you homeschool, run a business out of your home office, or just hope to find more peace and harmony in your home, and life, you probably are running a constant battle to keep up with all the demands of life.
Organizing can be overwhelming, at best and paralyzing at worst. We know that clutter, confusion, and disorganization block our energy and make us less productive. To get and stay organized, “Keep it Simple!“ Select ideas that work for you. Organize your life, one step at a time, to free up energy and empower yourself to be more creative, relaxed, and productive. Dedicating yourself to avoiding what Fly Lady calls, CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome), begins with some simple steps. The following seven steps include both the Fly Lady’s and my suggestions.:
Shine the Sink: Fly Lady says, “Shine the Sink.” Keep the kitchen sink clean. Before leaving the house or going to bed at night, make sure to leave the kitchen sink clear, clean, and sparkling. It’s a simple task, but it provides a shot of good chemicals to wake up to a clean sink. For years I’ve made it a practice to do the dishes before going to bed. Haven’t had a dishwasher for years, so this was necessary for my peace of mind. Shine the sink for a little piece of peace of mind.
Do it in littles. When faced with an overwhelming mess, start small. Select one space and give yourself 15 minutes to clear the clutter and clean up the space. Start where it’s most important. For example, clear and clean the desk before starting work. Clean up the counters or clean off the stove top before starting a meal. Select the space that is of immediate importance. Or spend 15 minutes in a room. You might spend time in your living room, the bathroom, or your bedroom. Just 15 minutes is manageable, and it’s a great way to teach the children how to keep their rooms and play areas neater. Set a timer and see how time flies and how much you can actually get done!
FACE (Financial Awareness Continually Empowers ): The Fly Lady’s tool FACE is a great tool for getting control of finances. Having used my own versions of this tool for years, I have found that if my finances are a mess, I have no peace of mind regardless of how neat my house is. I would also recommend getting Rosemary Williams’, book, A Woman’s Book of Money and Spiritual Vision: Putting Your Values into Spiritual Perspective. Rosemary will be coming to the Monterey Peninsula to conduct a workshop with me in 2010. Both resources offer you excellent ways of getting your finances organized.
Daily Routine: All of us who work at home love the idea of sitting in our p.j.s taking care of business, but there’s something about getting up and getting dressed that helps us get into a presentation mode. We are shifting gears from rest and rejuvenation to the taking-care-of-business mode. It doesn’t mean you can’t write or pay the bills in your underwear, but the process of “getting dressed” reminds us to take care of our personal appearance and hygiene. Remember all those little routines we learned as children? Brush your teeth, wash your hands, bathe regularly, eat a good breakfast, wear clean underwear and dress for the weather? Turns out, they usually help us feel better about ourselves, and also keep people at the store from backing away in horror if we’ve forgotten to brush our teeth. Fly Lady makes some great suggestions for daily routines. Make the bed, wash and dress, brush your hair and treat yourself to some quiet meditative or prayerful time. My daughter comes home from work each day, and sits in the kitchen with a cup of tea and her gratitude journal…reminding herself of why she works so hard for her family. Starting and ending the day with a gratitude ritual is a very valuable practice to get into . When I tuck my Granddaughter in bed, we say what we are thankful for, and that prepares us for “sweet dreams.”
Weekly Routines: Fly Lady suggests cleaning out your purse every Friday. I grew up changing the bedding every Monday (that harkens back to a time when doing laundry was an all-day affair). It still works for me since I use the laundromat. Shopping is another task I’ve developed a weekly routine around. Make shopping lists, eat before going shopping, and make menus for the week. Doing these weekly tasks keeps me from impulse shopping trips. Every time you walk into a store, remember, the store is designed to make you want to need and buy something. Stay out of the stores until you’re ready to shop. Other monthly and seasonal routines help us too. Getting the car washed monthly at El Estero Car Wash results a free car wash at the end of the year.
10-minute Toss: Different versions exist, but one of my favorite practices is the 10-minute Toss. I also usually give myself a number. For example, for 10 minutes I’m going through my drawers, closets, shelves, or cupboards to find 10 items I can recylce or give away. Whenever I buy something new, I get rid of at least one thing. One thing in: one thing out. Sr. Cecilia taught me this one, and I feel so good when I practice this.
Rewards Journal: Make sure to have a Pat-on-the-Back Time each day. Instead of or in addition to that to-do list, make a list of what you have accomplished. Also, keep your to-do lists, and go back and mark off items you’ve finished. This practice sparks good chemicals and hormones, and makes you feel better.