My Own Version of Fly Lady

Allie really does an awesome job of keeping her house pretty. Take her advice, I do.

It’s taken me 37 years to get a grip on how to keep a clean, smooth-running household…

That is an inordinate learning curve which makes no sense considering I grew up in an immaculately clean home with a mother who probably suffers from some form of OCD… Or maybe it does make sense…?

I’m striving for a healthy balance in my life. Of course a nice home makes me happy and satisfied, and I feel it’s important for my family’s health and emotional well-being, but I don’t want to be killing myself, or raging over an inevitable mess, or making my kids feel that they can’t enjoy healthy exploration/play, or that mom’s just too busy cleaning to hang out with them. I’ve found that for me, the key is just to do a little bit every day. Even when I get a wild hair and I just want to go crazy, I really make an effort to just dial it down; slow and steady wins the race…

I like to break my housekeeping down into two categories: daily chores and extras. I strive to do my daily chores every day (duh), and I strive to choose just one extra to do every day. “Strive” being the key word, no one is perfect, especially not me, I have sick days, lazy days, headache days, PMS days, too busy with other things days, just too pissed off about something to think about anything else days, etc.

Here is a list of my daily chores:

  • make breakfast for my kids and clean up the breakfast dishes
  • exercise
  • pack lunches for my kids
  • dress my kids
  • take a shower, fix my hair, and put on a little bit of makeup and some earrings
  • give the mirror and vanity top a quick wipe with a paper towel and some all purpose cleaner
  • make the beds
  • do one load of laundry
  • take my kids to school
  • check my email, manage my calendar, make any necessary phone calls
  • pick my kids up from school
  • fix my kids a snack and then clean up the dishes
  • spend some qt with my kids
  • pick up toys/clutter/general messes
  • make dinner and clean up the dishes
  • wipe down the counters and dinner table
  • bathe my kids and dress them for bed
  • put my kids to bed.

Now, every day, I strive to do just one other task (usually when my kids are at school), and I choose from this list:

  • scrub down my shower enclosure
  • scrub down a bathtub
  • give a toilet (we have 3) a squirt of cleaner, a swipe with a brush, and a wipe down with an antibacterial wipe
  • pick up the bathroom rugs, throw them in the washing machine (this counts as my one load of wash per day) and vacuum and/or mop the floor
  • dust a bedroom (we have 4)
  • vacuum a bedroom or hallway
  • strip a bed and put on fresh sheets
  • iron
  • vacuum the stairs
  • vacuum and/or polish the hardwoods (we have in our foyer, dining room, and downstairs hallways)
  • dust a downstairs room
  • vacuum a carpeted downstairs room
  • give my kitchen some extra tlc (clean the stove, microwave, toaster oven, wipe down the fronts of the fridge, dishwasher, cabinets, oven, that sort of thing)
  • vacuum and steam mop my kitchen floor (we have vinyl)
  • sweep, vacuum or leaf blow the dust, dirt, detritus from the garage floor (it gets tracked all over the house, we rarely use our front door)
  • remove toys, snacks, wrappers, empty juice boxes from my car
  • grocery shop
  • run other errands
  • bake something special to keep on hand
  • do something nice for myself (meet a friend for lunch, get a manicure, watch a movie, read a fashion magazine, walk around the mall)

I would encourage you to use my method as a guide, but modify it as your home and lifestyle and personal preferences move you. My husband handles the yard work, paying bills, and taking out the trash, maybe you don’t have a husband and you need to work those tasks into your lists too. Or maybe you have a partner that can take on more and you can cut your list back to fewer tasks.

Now, as I mentioned, we all have our days… for your own peace of mind, do not beat yourself up if you can’t complete all your goals. You do the best you can and you cut yourself a break once in a while. If you are having a bad day, cut yourself some slack and just do the bare minimum, or even nothing at all. But its all about consistency here. Keep on top of it as best you can. Maintain. Don’t let it get too out of control or it will feel insurmountable and you will become discouraged. Find your balance, modify this list to suit your schedule and your priorities, and just keep on top of it with frequent little tasks and you’ll never have to sacrifice an entire day, weekend, or even week to the miserable task of housecleaning.


4 thoughts on “My Own Version of Fly Lady

  1. Sounds similar to my list. My boys are older, so they are taking over more responsibilities. Thanks for the encouragement!

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