Did FlyLady Work for You?

Updated on February 08, 2012
E.D. asks from Olympia, WA
18 answers

Have you tried using FlyLady? Did it work for you?
((I've seen it mentioned quite a few times and went to check out their site. Just wondering what people's experiences were, actually using her schedules and tips.))

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answers from Santa Fe on

I read her book, and while I think it would work, I got sidetracked.....
That said, I did pick up a few things that work really well for me:
1- Do a little bit when you have the moment, and the thought strikes you. (You don't have to get it done to perfection, but a little bit done helps, next time you can do more.)
2- If you have a long period of time to work on cleaning, set a timer for 15 minutes. Work in one room for 15 minutes, then move to the next area for 15 minutes - then take a break, and do something for YOU for 15 minutes, and repeat. (That keeps you from getting too far into something, and you can get a ton done in 15 minutes, it also gives you time to take care of you.)
3- Perfection is not going to happen overnight. BABY STEPS. Cleaning just a little is better than not at all. Just getting rid of a few things mean that you have that much less clutter. :)


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I don't like the website. What worked for me was reading her book "Sink Reflections". It helped me tremendously.

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answers from Savannah on

I love her, as does my husband, lol. I was really scattered and have tendencies to try to tackle 50 projects at once and then not finish any of them. Or other days, I'd be overwhelmed and not do ANYTHING just because I didn't know where to start. I found her encouraging words, seeing that other people had issues similar to mine, and how to break things down into tangible steps really, really helped me.
I did not subscribe to emails (that is an OPTION that you can always say no to!) because I don't like receiving emails that are random. I think I do occasionally get a little something of interest on facebook from her site, but that is all. (I also don't get emails from this site, facebook, or anything else: they go to a junk email that I have and really never use unless I've ordered something and am tracking it, or if I bid on ebay.
What really worked for me: stupid as it sounds, that shining the sink thing! And the habit of taking a shower and getting fully dressed so that I don't fall into the dreaded housewife slump (physically, emotionally, as well as "tangibly") that is so easy to do. Don't get me wrong: I dress comfortably ALL the time, even when going out, but there's a mental shift when you are fully dressed (even if casual) and ready to take on the day. I remember VERY well (unfortunately) what flylady calls "CHAOS" (can't have anyone over syndrome) when I was growing up. Mom would flip out and crack the whip on us to run around like little madmen so that the house would be presentable if someone said they were coming over in an hour. I'm very happy to say that my family will never have to live with that kind of mess OR stress. My house is not and will never be "a museum", but it is always a place that I can feel perfectly comfortable about people dropping in unannounced, and that gives me a little pride and peace. The division of housework did help. That checklist helps me so I don't overlook some things that I don't think of often. Another thing I love: THE TIMER. It helps me not get sucked in too deep and spend all my time on say, mamapedia, or one project...it also helps prevent me from quitting too soon just because I don't "like" it. And with my boys, it's a tangible way for them to start understanding time and they have to do their little chores too! I'm not doing everything for everybody--the family is a team.
All that said, I just used flylady as inspiration, and a sort of template, and I do my OWN thing. I got a 3 ring binder and put dividers in it, and that's my household manual. (Mom made fun of me for this, until she came to visit me when the baby was born and never had to ask a question because everything was in there and ran so smoothly). I think everyone's journal could be tailored to their own family's needs or personality, as long as they have the basics in place, and it's a general thing to keep me on track but the world won't end if an event comes up and we move off the paper for a minute (ha). My personal manual's dividers are:
1) Basic Weekly Plan--this is what I do each week in basic chunks of time on different days, and includes the homeschool pre-k thing we're doing and other activities (storytime at the library, kung fu, sparring class, horses, and a weekly field trip, etc), and FlyLady's weekly checklist (what needs to be done in each room in a week period, every week...this is good because I really wouldn't think to clean out the fridge or change drip pans if it wasn't on the list to do...) I used the weekly checklist to help me make a weekly routine that not only covers the fun stuff like outside activities, pre-k time, and field trips but also to help me divide the house into little blocks so I can make sure everything on the weekly checklist (cleaning wise) gets done. I went a step further and made a list of what I view are our needs, and try to plug in something every week that nourishes those areas (spirit, emotional, intellectual, social, financial, community/volunteering, etc)
2) Daily Routines--I used her morning and evening routines as basic templates, but made my own to suit my lifestyle and our needs. They are probably the best things I've taken from flylady---the evening routine really sets up the next day to be a success and not just heads in the clouds.
3) Zones. Flylady divides your house into 5 zones and gives detailed lists to complete each zone. Those are cool. And they make sense with my house. If they didn't, I'd just tweak them.
4)Budget---Here I chose to keep a basic weekly/monthly budget (not the heavy stuff which is on my computer, and something similar to a check register...but just a short version that I can refer to at a glance when out somewhere to know where I'm at on my budget.
5)Menu/List--this is my weekly menu, and the shopping list that goes with it. I do keep them for the month because I don't want to get in the rut of eating one thing every week (BLAH--boring, and husband wouldn't like it either). This helped me a lot financially, but also in helping me incorporate a new meal every week, and also helps me make sure that we're getting good nutrition overall. Yeah, we'll have hamburgers or whatever, but over the course of the week, our nutrition is great. And the shopping list is right there for anyone to add something as they notice they're running low (shaving cream, spray starch, etc).
6) Helpful numbers: anything from the neighbors, coaches, mother's day out, our favorite take out, etc. This helped a lot when mom was here to help out, because she didn't necessarily know everyone's name to look them up in my address book, but in this tab she could say "Ok, neighbor....or I need to call Joe's MDO", when she didn't necessarily know the name of the place, just where it was. And of course, Jason's Deli delivered lunch every day she was here, lol.
Tabs 7 and 8 are "Projects" (what I'm currently working on and need by me---right now it's a Bible study, a book, and preparing my other house to be listed and rented out) and "Misc, Notes" which would be just any random thing that needs to be written down to look at later (most usually someone on the phone with me while I'm in a parking lot and I just need to jot down what they said and will do it later....or something that caught my eye that I want to look at later).
I know that sounds like a lot, but it took me about a week of thoughtful planning and thinking to get my manual together and start using it successfully. I'm not a super anal person: I have down time, I'm on here several times a day during the week, read, have time to pray and exercise, etc. But I also found that with discipline and planning, I can really get everything that needs to be done, DONE. And that's awesome. And if something comes up (doctor appointments, hurt leg, out of town guests, a cool community event), we don't sweat it. We can veer away from the manual knowing that it's going to be there when we want to pick it up again. So....yeah, I really liked flylady and learned a lot from her (specifically how to organize, how to think differently, how to get things done and feel good about myself for it, and how to NOT beat myself up if I don't succeed at all my goals that day).
My mom (who used to make fun of me) now uses her own version of my version. A family friend swears it actually saved their marriage. And now my brother is (SECRETLY) using his version. He's a sahd and awesome at it, but there were areas that he thought were helpful as well.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes! I go on and off "the wagon" but some things have really stuck and they make a big difference. I am religious about using the flylady wall calendar and synchronizing that with my Cozi/Outlook calendar and my paper planner. I usually do the bathroom swish and swipe every day, make my bed, and clear out the kitchen sink. I did set up a control journal (I call it my flight manual) and when I get off track, I pull that out and start following routines again. My control journal contains seasonal tasks that remind me to do things like put away the lawn furniture in October, get the oil burner serviced, have the chimney cleaned, get the lawn mower and snow blower serviced, order seeds, clean my garden tools, trim my flowering shrubs at the right time, etc. I use the holiday control journal in November and December.

Decluttering is now a mindset and something that we just do regularly. Is my house clean right now? No, but if someone were coming over I could have it picked up in 15-30 minutes and truly clean in a couple of hours. I don't follow every thing every day (too busy and too much to do) but I definitely use my time more wisely, a lot gets done in 15 minute bursts, and it's a relief to know that I now KNOW how to get things cleaned and organized and am capable of doing so when I choose to.

I use the detailed cleaning lists to give my big kids things to do during vacations and over the summer, so a lot of heavy duty cleaning (windows, drapes, etc.) gets done at least a couple of times a year.

ETA another thing that I like is the idea that it's not about cleaning something perfectly and thoroughly...once. It's about cleaning a little bit regularly. You spend 15 minutes cleaning an area and that's it. If you didn't get everything spotless, big deal - it's still better than when you started and that task/zone will come around again soon enough and you'll spend 15 more minutes, and 15 more, and 15 more and over time, in little bursts, you are getting to every part of your house. So instead of spending 15 minutes trying to detail clean the fronts of every cabinet and only getting 3 done, I give a quick wipe to all 19 cabinet doors (and 7 drawers) and get off a layer of grime or two. In a few weeks, that task will come up again and they'll be a get a little more clean. That grime didn't get there in a month, so it's OK to take a while to get it cleaned and not turn it into a giant chore.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes it was/is helpful, but I don't "follow" the site any more. I took what I found helpful and applied it to my home. I think trying to follow the site exactly, and the ensuing emails, reminders, etc might be overwhelming for a lot of people.
What I did was join to get the "lay of the land" and how things work. You're supposed to jump in there they are...don't feel like you need to "catch up" or anything. I kept what I liked and disregarded the rest. I never bought any of the products, etc. Hasn't cost me a dime.
I no longer technically "follow Fly Lady", but there are lots of her ideas I still use:

Ideas I love & still use:
•Thinking of my house in "zones" with regard to cleaning
•The "swish the toilets with soap" every day idea
•The "wipe down bathroom counters first thing in the morning" idea
•The "shining sink" idea--fill sink with hot water & bleach & let stand for an hour then drain--amazingly clean!
•The "re-booting" of a load of laundry every day, rather than a Laundry Day of Hell every week
•Get dressed "to the shoes" every morning (actually, I've always done this!)
•Strategies for keeping "hot spots" (piles of junk) clean

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I have done FlyLady off and on for the last couple of years. I am able to follow a few things consistently but still have difficulty on the whole process. Here is what I find works best:

• The morning and evening routines
• 15 minute timer concept
• Trash emptied on Wednesdays
• Clean out car on Fridays - already did this one so not much of a stretch
• One load of laundry a day - this has been great except to actually keep up with my family, I need to do 2 loads per day. Argh!

Here is what I have the most trouble with:

• 1 hour cleaning day on Mondays - I have tried and tried to do this but it takes nearly an hour just to pick up to do the quick clean - I have four kids!
• Zones - although I love the zone concept, my life is not my own and with four kids, I just seem to get sidetracked constantly and never fulfill a zone therefore my house is never deep cleaned.
• With the one load of laundry per day, FlyLady never clarified that you need to put it away as part of the "reboot" laundry process. If you don't you spend an entire day putting everything away. Which is what I do.

As far as everyone's comments about the emails, you can deem which type of emails you get. I just get the emails that tell me what to do that day. I do agree however, the website is just pure CHAOS! It is nearly impossible to figure out what to do or where to go on there.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If you do the emails they can overwhelm your inbox and you'll spend time just sitting and deleting them.

I found the the divisions of the housework helped me. I have a monthly calendar on the front of the fridge. It is huge. I buy them at a local office supply and they fit nearly the whole front bottom half.

Each child's activities are on it and there are stickers to show the activity. Like on Tues. the kids have class, he is in gymnastics and she is in hip hop. His sticker is a boy is shorts and a tee her's is a dancer. They are sort of generic since they don't have cute stickers for those particular classes. If it were soccer and T-Ball there would be a soccer ball and baseball.

Across the top of the calendar is the chores for that day, like each Monday I might clean out the fridge that night for trash pick up on Tuesday morning. Laundry days, appointments, etc...across the top.

Along the side in the zone for that week. If it's the living room then I might have some special chores in that room in one of the days across the week.

So for me, flylady helps me think more organized. More structured, like having assigned chores.

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answers from Provo on

It's worked for me...like others, I've gone off and on...it seems like the first time I did it...there wasn't so much STUFF in my email...I don't like spending so much time deleting. The 'motivational' emails didn't do much for me...I just liked the 'task' type emails and the reminders. It's been awhile...maybe I should jump on the wagon again for a bit :p.

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answers from Reno on

I love her! I am the person that would tackle cleaning the whole house and then get bored 2 hours into it and leave it a much bigger mess than before I started! I love her small and easy steps-it sounds so simple but I never thought of doing that at all! Plus I feel like it helped keep my kids engaged in cleaning and gave us more time together.

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answers from Orlando on

I also saw the FlyLady suggestion pop here and there so I went.
I only could find step 1, which it was the sink cleaning.
I actually liked, and it did feel nice to see my sink literally shine, with the oil thing and all
But I couldn't find the next step, and even if I do shine my sink every once in a while, I just got overwhelmed with the website.
What was the step 2?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Nope, not for me. Like others, I just found all the e-mails and posts to my Yahoo calendar really overwhelming. Also, I HATE my kitchen sink, so the idea of having that be the one thing that must be clean every day was not a good motivator for me.

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answers from Detroit on

No, it didn't work for me. Just like the others who posted, I was very overwhelmed with the site...glad to hear that I wasn't the only one!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I was really excited to try it but the website seemed overwhelming and not very "fast-easy-friendly" like I was looking for.

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answers from Fargo on

Oh my, no. It didn't work for me! I have a huge problem with organization and clutter and I went to her site for help to reform, but the website was so cluttered and unorganized that I felt even more discouraged about cleaning.

The only thing I gleaned was setting a timer for 15 minutes and cleaning in one specific room for that amount of time and, when the timer rings, move to another room and reset the timer. It's a good way to keep from getting overwhelmed.

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answers from Canton on

I signed up for it and received a lot of emails but it seemed really over whelming...more than trying to do just figure everyting out myself. I'm curious to hear from Moms that it worked for..maybe it was just me.

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answers from Portland on

We love FlyLady at our house. I started using it when my kids were born, eight years ago and we're still going strong. I do about half of what she recommends. I'd like to do all of it, but I find that I run out of time in my days, with a business and all of the kids homework and other schtuff. She is all about jumping in when you can and not worrying about doing things perfectly. The best things I have found from using her solution: my husband cleans way more each day that he used to, my kids know what the routine is for each morning, afternoon and evening, and I am on auto-pilot for making my bed, doing laundry and dishes, etc. I actually can't leave my bedroom in the morning until the bed is made and everything is in it's place. I surprise myself now! So, at least the daily stuff is getting done. I also do the declutter missions and I'm currently working on our garage. In 15 min a day, it doesn't feel like work.



answers from Portland on

I guess you could say I'm fluttering. It helps. Believe it or not, keeping my sink clean keeps my kitchen clean. I'm not sure how that works. I have started working on routines, and recently started the "swish & swipe" in the bathroom every morning right after peeing (the first thing I do after getting out of bed every morning). Then I wash my face and get dressed, unless I am going to shower--I never have time to shower before breakfast, and there's not point in getting dressed if I'm going to shower soon. But I still put my shoes on (wearing custom orthodics makes shoes pretty much a necessity all day long). Then I go out and empty the dishwasher and update my dry-erase to-do list on the fridge. Once that is done, I am ready to start breakfast if my husband hasn't started it already. Having the dishwasher empty after breakfast makes it easier to get the breakfast dishes done instead of postponing them.

I also made a routine for after breakfast. I do the dishes, then I brush my teeth and make the bed (those two are on the same line--if someone's in the only bathroom, I start with the bed; if not, I start with my teeth). I don't make the bed first thing, because I like to air it, and half the time it's still occupied when I get up, so it's just better to put it in the routine for later to be consistent. Then I start the laundry (I would start it earlier, except I want my daughter to participate, and she usually isn't up early enough to get it done before breakfast). Then I do the zone mission if applicable. Sometimes I make up my own mission, or like today, skip it entirely (today was scrubbing the kitchen faucet, but it's already shiny, so I didn't need to do it). Then I do 15 minutes of decluttering or packing (usually packing, since we have been living in temporary housing for the past 10 months and have very little clutter--and most of what we did have has disappeared in the past month, and now we're planning on moving in a couple of weeks). Then I work on some preschool with my daughter and do other things on my to-do list, like ironing or making granola, or making phone calls or paying bills or whatever needs to be done.

I have a late morning routine that I am working on. I try to start it at the same time every day (around 11:30). It consists of checking the laundry (if I haven't between starting it and now), then pondering what is for lunch (because I might need to start it shortly to have lunch by 1:00 pm, which is our ideal time). Then I put the dishes away and set the table for lunch, whether or not I've started it.

So if you are at all familiar with Flylady, you'll see that I've adapted her methods to fit my lifestyle. Having a routine instead of a schedule is much less stressful for me. A schedule would say that the breakfast dishes must be done by such and such a time, and if I don't make it, it is discouraging. My routine says the breakfast dishes are the first thing to do after I finish breakfast, and since I always finish breakfast, I'm never late!

I haven't started my control journal yet, because we are about to move, and I see no point in doing it until I know what my husband's schedule will be and how the house is going to be, etc.

Now I should confess. I first found Flylady about 10 years ago. I tried it off and on, but just didn't have the right mindset. Plus I didn't have kids. Now I have 2 and another on the way. So being a bit more organized helps so much! I started getting serious about it again pretty much on January 1 this year, so it's been over a month. Since I didn't jump in gung ho, I haven't burned out. I've been focusing on keeping the sink shiny and tweaking routines so that I can actually do them. And it's been working.

I would never sign up for the email reminders. But adapting her ideas to fit me and my lifestyle has been very helpful. My husband has noticed, and it helps to alleviate his stress when the home isn't a disaster, because I took 5 minutes to pick up stuff laying around after the kids went to bed instead of telling myself it would take too long and I was tired.

That, and you really can do almost anything for 15 minutes! There was this corner I had stashed lots of papers and things in, but with the move coming up I knew I had to go through it and get rid of stuff. I put it off until this week. Well, two 15-minute sessions and the "if I don't absolutely need it, pitch it" attitude were sufficient to get it thoroughly decluttered and packed.

So if you can use her tips to make routines and get rid of negative attitudes, even if you don't do everything perfectly, then you could say she's working for you. That's my opinion. That, and don't go all gung-ho at first. As she put it, baby steps. I think the hare and the rabbit apply very much to Flylady.

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