Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flylady 101

What is FLYlady?  Basically the FLYlady system is a way to declutter, organize, and clean your home based on routines.  I won't go into depth about everything since so much is available on the website but I will give some basics. 

Do you have CHAOS? In your home?  It will make you laugh when you read that CHAOS stands for "Can't have anyone over syndrome".  Isn't that funny?  It doesn't necessarily mean your home is in shambles just that you get that sinking feeling when someone drops by without notice or you find that you have an hour to get ready for company.  Yep, we've all been there!!  The FLYlady concept helps you be "15 minutes from company" which basically means that in 15 minutes or less your home would be company ready.  So what does "FLY" stand for - Finally Loving Yourself.  If we love ourselves, it will show in our homes.  If you are cleaning your home to please everyone else but you, you can't really enjoy it.  Instead we should be cleaning our homes in order to make them a sanctuary for us to enjoy on a daily basis! 

Now, when I started FLYlady I thought I kept a pretty clean home but as I read through her site and saw ideas and new concepts I realized I had some work to do.  By no means was my home ready for an episode of "The Hoarders" but I did have a lot of stuff I didn't need or use.  Over the past year to year and a half I made it my goal to totally declutter my home and I feel like I've almost succeeded.  I say almost because I have to finish up the garage (Cleaning up still from a recent garage sale) and my basement (which is 95% there just need to number the tubs and find homes for the last few things).  I went shelf by shelf, cupboard by cupboard and room by room and looked at every item.  I had basic criteria to follow - I would ask myself some basic questions 1) Do I love it - if not, it went in the donate bin or trash  2) Does it make me happy or would it make someone else happier? 3) Have I used it in the last year 4) Does it have a home (If not in the current room, does it have a home somewhere else or should it have a home)  Not hard questions, right?  WRONG!!  I felt guilty sometimes getting rid of things!!  On my last go through in each room this past year, I asked my husband to look around and tell me if he saw anything that needed to go and he always did.  Ironically, it was usually the item I felt guilty about and he help me out by saying "get rid of that thing!" LOL  As a disclaimer - when it comes to kitchen items I don't always follow the "year" rule.  I have a few party supplies like a Chocolate Fountain or serving platters that I may not always use in a year but I won't get rid of them because I do use them for parties.  When doing this decluttering - I have three big neon green buckets that I label "Keep" - which means it stays in the room and must have a home; "Store" - items I love/need but don't have room for; "Donate"; and than also a big trash bag.  FLYlady is not really big on the "Store" concept but I have a smaller house now filled with 4 people so I had to pack away some "pretty's" that someday I'll use again when I have more room!!  I love having a decluttered home and continue to work on keeping it that way and finding new and creative ways to keep things neat and organized.

This is basically the first step - even if you think your home is decluttered, take time this week to walk into every room; specifically look at every object/picture/item in that room on each shelf, wall, and flat surface; in each drawer and cubby hole.  Ask yourself if you really need it/love it/use it - if not donate it!!!  You may be surprised what you find.  (Or this may need to be a year long project depending on your home - don't feel bad, just jump in where you are at!)

One funny story on the "you may be surprised at what you find" - I was doing the final decluttering in my living room and in doing so I took all the pictures off the wals.  One was hung above our front door and when I took it down, half of the back of the frame was filled with a huge moth nest!!!!  It had hung there for 7 years . .. I was telling my husband about it and he said "There's a picture above that door?"  . .. and then when I told him it was one we had made on our Honeymoon he said "Really, we had that hanging up?" That shows you - we get used to stuff and don't even notice it EVEN when there are bugs behind it LOL (Ok the moth nest was empty - we had a small problem with moths about 4 years ago . . .we thought it was from the bird food we gave our pet  bird at the time  . but still!!)

Hope this helps motivate you to look at all your stuff and only keep what truly makes you smile :-)

Here's a link to the FLYlady website for more ideas or you can do this first step and wait for more from me :-)