Posts Tagged ‘baby steps’


My Favorite Things:…

Last summer something crazy happened. A friend of ours was looking for dressers that she could purchase cheaply, then update so that they could be useful pieces of furniture in our home. I had two such dressers and invited her to come and take a look at them. As a young mother she looked at my mostly tidy home and said, “I’m never letting you in my home; yours is way too orderly!” I laughed. If she only knew. Back when I was her age, I was just as ashamed of my messy, dirty, should-be-condemned home as she probably was. What changed?

To be honest–the kids moved out! It’s much easier keeping a home tidy if you and your husband are the only residents most of the time!  But, even before we had kids, I was a messy, lackluster homemaker. Obviously, my habits and mindset have changed. How? That’s how.

FLY stands for “Finally Loving Yourself” and was created by Marla Cilley. She, herself, describes an unkempt home until she finally took “baby steps” to get not only her home in order, but her life. The first baby step? “Shine your sink.” This probably sounds counter-intuitive since messy homes really have much direr situations in our homes than just dirty sinks. In reality, it’s brilliant. Why?

In my case shining my sink involved me taking all the dirty dishes out of my sink first! And after I had cleaned my sink thoroughly and made it sparkle for the first time in years, there was absolutely no way that I was putting those stinky dishes back in my clean sink! Thus, without really thinking about it, I finally unloaded the clean dishes out of my dishwasher and reloaded my dishwasher. If you’re a neat freak, you probably don’t understand a dishwasher full of clean dishes, but if you have 3 or more kids and no hubby to help you with the “arsenic hours” of getting kids from one activity to the next, making dinner, supervising homework, ensuring bath time goes off without major floods and putting your kids to bed, then you know how difficult it can be to get the clean laundry out of the laundry room and into your drawers and closets and how difficult emptying a dishwasher becomes. 

And I had 3 very different kiddos at 3 very different ages of maturity who had all picked up my bad habits of not tidying up their own messes and creating good habits. So, I needed to help me get on track and do things responsibly. will send you daily emails to help you unlock the joy of having a tidy home you can actually invite people to see without 3 days advanced notice. When you no longer need the emails, you can “graduate” to merely consulting her web site for more complicated tasks. And Marla doesn’t stop there.

She feels finally loving yourself also involves doing at least 15 minutes of exercise every day and “saving dinner.” So, she has other organizational helpers on her site that help you conquer the nightly terror of planning decent, quick dinners for your family and helping you to begin to take care of your body. Her checklist style and “zone philosophy” just appeals to the detail side of my head. I find myself still printing off some of her lists when the house needs a top-to-bottom cleaning. 

I know what you’re thinking out there, you fellow messies! “Your home has NEVER been the disaster mine has.” Wrong. Once there was a ketchup stain stayed on my floor for a full 3 months and I never had the time to actually clean it up, even though it was solidifying on my floor like cement. It required a putty knife and a lot of elbow grease to clean it up. And no, not all parts of my home are presentable. The garages are still a disaster area and two of the kids’ bedrooms are still a work in progress, along with the hubby’s office, our bedroom, our bathroom and pretty much all the closets and drawers in the house. And don’t look in my refrigerator–there are still at least 2 science experiments growing in there at all times.  Most areas of the house are still ridiculously dusty because I still hate, hate, hate dusting. 

So, what has changed? My dishwasher gets emptied every day and reloaded every day. I can find the laundry room floor now and every week the laundry gets done from start to finish, including sheets and towels and laundered items either get put away or are neatly folded and hung in my laundry room. My living room is no longer wall-to-wall toys everywhere (and I have a large living room!). I banished those to the kids’ rooms a long time ago. I actually put out some seasonal decor now and put it away on time. 

The kids’ bathroom is now usually clean. (It was a huge science experiment once upon a time.) And the eldest son’s bedroom is now a beautiful guest room with a mostly cleaned out closet. It’s ready for guests with little effort now. And I exercise a full 99 minutes a day every day. (That’s as high as the treadmill will let me go, time-wise, and I am slowly working on training for a race some day.) I’ve lost 30 pounds and stopped eating everyone’s leftovers on the way to stacking up the dishes in that dirty sink. And clutter is starting to just irritate the stuffing out of me, so it’s getting easier to let go of stuff. The less stuff I have, the easier my life gets–all the way around. 

And miracle of all miracles–I am finally starting to love myself.

So much so, that I have developed my own system for working on the house as needed and no longer consult religiously. And somehow I think Marla would like that. 

Thank you, Marla, for more than just a household organization system. Thank you for being so non-judgmental. Thank you for teaching me that taking care of my home is actually me taking care of me. 

Monday’s Post: How knackered are you?

You Might Also Like: My Favorite Things: Misfit Shine; My Favorite Things: Keurig Machines; and My Favorite Things: Tempur-Pedic Mattresses