FlyLady has had an impeccable effect on my organization, my attitude, and especially our home atmosphere.
I had read her book, Sink Reflections, before I attended college. My sister had been raving about this “perfect” organizing method and loaned us the book. The ideas sounded good, but I did not implement them in my parents’ house. My mother didn’t like being told what to do by a stranger with a website, either. Good ideas filtered into the back of my mind, nevertheless.
At college, my microwave counter in the dorm became my version of FlyLady’s “shiny sink.” As long as that counter was in good order, I knew everything else could fall into place. Especially useful on campus, was her “launch pad” method of laying out everything I would need for a day, the night before. Utensils for Algebra, reports for English, personal notes for Chamber Singers, and work pages for Economics were packed up and ready in my bag. I could wake up fifteen minutes before class, jump into the clothes I had laid out, run through my beauty routine, grab that bag, and show up for class feeling prepared for the entire day. Some mornings, I could get up earlier to savor a cup of coffee.
Once married, I had my own sink to shine…most of the time. I wrote up routines, which didn’t stick. Then came the morning sickness that lasted all day, days on end. My sink was sorely neglected. “FLYing” was not on my mind for months. However, the FlyLady habit of dressing to shoes each morning would soon be a desperate necessity. My firstborn was stillborn, and I wanted to die with him. Previous near-suicide experiences taught me to fight before I was pushed into the pit, where I could be too overwhelmed to get out. So I let my God bear my grief, I got out of bed and dressed down to my boots each morning, and I did not let myself be alone for more than a couple of hours. After two months, the tears began to slow and I limped back to the land of the living.
Then again came the morning sickness. Learning to mother an infant soon followed. I was very grateful for my beautiful baby, but feeding was difficult and I couldn’t manage much else. Four months after giving birth, my house was a depressive wreck, and so was I.
I sat and looked around at the house full of one, big, disheartening mess. Anger grew. “Why couldn’t my husband pick up after himself?” Blame increased. “Doesn’t he see the trouble I’m in?” I picked apart the room about me. “This thing was his responsibility, and that, and that…” My pity party was rolling well until I looked at my bedside table. The items in that pile of clutter were mine, and I had placed each one on that table myself. I couldn’t blame any of it on my husband, so why was it just was messy as the rest of the house? Something within me clicked. Some responsibility was mine to take. I couldn’t fix my husband’s habits. I could only fix myself. I had to. My man deserved better. The baby deserved better. That day, I found FlyLady’s day-by-day baby steps. I began taking baby steps the next morning.
Gradually, but permanently, my habits changed. I learned to take care of myself consistently. Thirty days were listed in the Babysteps, but I only completed perhaps twenty. The results still turned my house around. I could recognize the “negative voices” (or lies of the enemy, as I call them) and put a stop to them. My husband rarely ran out of clean clothes to wear, anymore. I didn’t have to pinch my nose while washing dishes; the abhorrent mystery water simply didn’t come to my sink. There was time to snuggle and nurse my baby while she cut her first teeth. The living room looked nice and retained its gleam, thanks to the Weekly Home Blessing Hour. I looked forward to having people visit my cozy home, and my husband wasn’t embarrassed when guests entered our domain. Domain. That’s what it was. This house that had owned me, had now become my domain. I could rule without struggle, attending to our affairs without worry.
After eight months of progress, I began to skip decluttering every day. Then, I missed my hotspots. One habit after another, I began to backslide. Another illness and death in the family, and participating in a wedding five hours away, kept me from home and my habits were lost. However, this is only a demonstration of how effective the FlyLady’s methods are, because it was easy to get back on track! I went back to the day-by-day Babysteps. Day one, I thoroughly cleaned and shined my sink and picked out my clothes for the next day. Just that much made me feel good again. After a week of following those two habits, most of my morning routine has now fallen back into place. My before-bed routine is stronger than ever. I’m inviting relatives to a meal and game night each week. Turning a wreck into my home took months, before. This time, it only took a couple of days!
In years to come, I look forward to keeping a calm and comfortable haven for my family and friends, and teaching my children to manage the same for themselves. Each day I find myself grateful for learning stewardship over the home we have been blessed with. I am thankful for the self-control, discipline, and love I have been taught this year, even if it’s still a work in progress. Particularly, I am glad to have new tools with which I can bless our marriage.
So if you are hopeless, overwhelmed, immersed in chaos, or depressed with yourself or your home, I encourage you to use these Beginner Babysteps. They are a tool that will work for anyone willing to try. May you claim for yourself the peace I have found.