M.B. asks from Aurora, CO on April 22, 2009
Hi there, I am frustrated with keeping up my house. I do have the Fly Lady book and have implemented some of her ideas, but I still feel overwhelmed much of the time. I have a six year old who is a walking Tornado, she loves to "craft" and is constantly making messes when she is home. I don't work outside the home so I feel like I should be doing a better job and I feel bad about it and it makes me irritable alot! Do I need to suck it up and quit whining? My husband is great and helps alot when he is home and my kids do chores. I guess i just feel like I am the General sometimes with the kids, constatly barking orders to get them to help me and I know if I don't it won't get done! Anyone gone from unorganized to organized? It is not in my nature for sure, but I think it can be learned. Thankyou in advance!
S.S. answers from Denver on April 22, 2009
The main thing I recommend is making sure your daughter picks up after herself. She is definitely old enough. My 6 yr old daughter is a huge crafter as well.
What I have found works with her is "put it away or lose it". You have to be firm. If she can't pick up after herself she should lose her crafting things for a day. I have implemented that here and it works.
As for tips on changing an unorganized behavior, say to yourself "I am an organized person" as many times a day as you can for 21-30 days and it will become a true statement. This is part of the Law of Attraction. I definitely recommend reading books like "The Secret" to learn more about controlling all aspects of your life through your thoughts.
HTH & have a GREAT day!
M.H. answers from Pocatello on May 06, 2009
The Fly Lady is great for us grown ups. Her friend "The House Fairy" did wonders for my kids. There's a link to her website from flylady.net No more yelling, just a simple, "What if the House Fairy comes today?" will get my kids moving!!
I use fly lady's daily missions and I broke up her home blessing hour into 1 job a day because I get overwhelmed & side tracked. I also found doing 1 load of laundry each day helped me actually finish (all the way to put away)!! Fly Lady's website (& 15 minute timer) has helped me a lot. She also does radio shows on Blog Talk Radio, which has helped a lot of other Fly Babies.
The hardest part for me is to "keep going" - I do great with my blessings (which I print out every week on a spreadsheet & post on a cupboard door) on Mon & Tue, but by Fri, I'm slacking. When I work the system, I can actually keep up with myself! :) LOL
Good luck with your adventure.
L. answers from Colorado Springs on April 22, 2009
I have a really hard time, too. One thing that helps is to have a schedule for cleaning. I try to really clean one area a day. Mondays, for example, I clean the master bedroom and bath. I try to do everything involved in that such as my husband's and my laundry and changing sheets. It's not so overwhelming if it's just one area that I'm trying to deal with versus the entire house. Daily pick up and organizing is always exhausting for me, though, and I do struggle to keep up with it. The messes drive me crazy, but at least things are relativley clean. In my opinion, it's beeter to have a mess than filth. :o)
P.D. answers from Denver on April 22, 2009
Oh, do I feel your pain! I have not gotten completely 'there' yet, but I have gotten some wonderful tools and learned much over the years. (I am a little further down the parenting path than you, with kids at ages 16, 14 and 10- and they tend to be walking tornadoes as well.) I think I will always be somewhat in process, but if you saw my house now compared to 'then'... There are a couple of things I can suggest that helped me., One, in addition to the FlyLady (which I love!) I would really recommend reading 'The Messies Manual' by Sandra Felton. Besides some wonderful tools, it can help you understand a little more about why you are this way. It is not a major character flaw, nor is it a sign of laziness! There are lot's of possibilties, and you will find yourself relating to one or more. Personally, I am distractable (very!) and tend to be perfectionistic -if I can't get it JUST RIGHT, why bother?- among other things. I also get caught up in shame and that can paralyze me and make my thinking unclear. Another thing I can suggest that helped me immensely is to come up with whatever routine you think is reasonable on a daily basis, and always do it in the same order. I used to buck up at the 'schedule' thing as a atay home mom, but I found if I just went in the same order, not worrying about time, I would get more efficient in my use of time since I didn't have to stop and think about it. Also, if I got distracted away rom my task for a moment it was way easier to resume it rather than flitting off somewhere else, then somewhere after that, etc. The last thing that really helped me was to start off with my 'daily' tasks. This would include making sure all the dishes were done, the kitchen surfaces cleared of clutter, counters wiped and so forth. Then I would go on to the next room and pick up clutter, etc. This whole routine includes making the bed, dealing with laundry on the floor, etc. If one of these areas is WAY cluttered, I would limit the decluttering to a few minutes on that day before moving on to the next thing, so I wouldn't feel too overwhelmed and give up. But the next day, I would make a bigger dent in that clutter, and in a very short amount of time it would be under control. After my 'dailies', which are generally a half hour to 45 minutes, depending, I would do a 'weekly', such as; Mondays, I give extra focus to my kitchen, bleaching the counters, throwing out leftovers, a good mopping to the floor, etc. Tuesdays I might do the vacuuming. You get the idea. After my 'weekly' I would spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes tops on my 'zone' area for that week (a FlyLady concept that I love!) Then, depending on how long all this had taken, I might spend a bit of timing on decluttering a particularly messy area. All told, my regular routine around the house can range from 1-and-a- half to 2 hours a day. I plan my grocery shopping on lighter cleaning days, too. So, when it's all said and done, my house is not perfect, but it's liveable and if someone drops in unannounced, there's a chance it will be in decent shape, not the source of huge embarrassment that it's been in the past. I hope this helps! And it's so great that your husband is helpful and understanding, mine is too. What a blessing! If you feel the need for moral support or whatever, drop me a line! Good luck!!
S.L. answers from Boise on April 22, 2009
I don't really have any advice for you, but I'm right there with you. I feel like I should be doing a better job, and my husband has serious issues with clutter. He's obsessed with not having clutter or mess anywhere. Once he said he'd like our house to look like no one lives here. So I've got a lot of pressure.
The one thing that really helped me from FlyLady is her 15 minute timer trick. It works for kids, too, although 15 minutes may be too long for them. My kids are really young (5 & 3) so 10 minutes is good for them (it usually takes about 5 minutes for them to actually start cleaning, so I only expect 5 minutes of cleaning.) We take a break from playing to clean until the timer rings. Then we can play again.
Another thing I tell my son when he feels overwhelmed with the amount of things to clean up is to pick up 5 things at a time. I also have him pick up five things when he goes to his room to put on his pj's or get dressed each day. 5 things is so manageable that he rarely complains.
It also helps when we want to do something or go somewhere, but things are really messy. If we want to watch a 2 hour movie, and it's 2 hours and 15 minutes before bedtime, I tell the kids that we have to clean up the family room before we can watch the movie, and we only have 15 minutes to do it, or we'll run out of time to watch the movie. They usually scamper around cleaning up as fast as they can.
I've learned that kids don't clean much alone. They want to be with you and spend time with you. And they don't have the skills to tackle a big mess on their own, so they get overwhelmed. So as hard as it is, you'll have to join in. DON'T get suckered into doing it all, though. It sounds so simple, but just yesterday I had a brilliant idea that worked. If you say you'll pick up half the mega blocks, take turns putting them away, or they'll watch you put away half, then complain about putting away their half. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I did it with my 3 year old. I said, "I put mine away!" and he said, "here's mine!" and we were done in record time.
Another fun thing is to play "basketball." This only works for certain toys, that aren't fragile and belong in a large bin. We have fun tossing MegaBlocks into their giant bins and seeing who can make the most "baskets."
Thanks for asking the question, because I've sort of forgotten about all these tricks I've tried. I have way more things in my arsenal than I thought! I'll have to try them out again today.