Monday, July 17, 2006


So a couple of years ago I got really energized by my discovery of Flylady. Most of you are familiar with her, I'm sure, and some of you have probably really whipped your homes into shape using her approach.

Not me.

Some of her approach really did help me. I liked the whole idea of shining my sink every night, and I even did it for a few months. The idea of setting a timer and making myself do a certain task for a prescribed period of time was also good for me, and one that I still try to do from time to time (and should probably do more often). I did find the constant emails, the over-the-top testimonials, the shilling for dusters and flycrap, and the lecturing about wearing lace-up shoes all to be a tad annoying, but I was willing to put up with it all if it meant I could get a handle on my home. But that didn't happen. So I unsubscribed.

The one flything that really, really never connected with me was the 27 Fling Boogie. That's when FlyLady tells you to go through your house right now with a garbage bag and find 27 things to throw away. Supposedly, after that, you're to go through with another bag and find 27 things to give away. But the emphasis really seemed to be on finding stuff to throw away.

That irked me for a couple of reasons. First, part of my problem is impulsiveness. I buy stuff because I want it now. The cure for impulsiveness is not more impulsiveness (i.e., running through the house finding things to toss), but mindfulness. I need more intentionality in my life, not more blind and anxious dealings with my stuff.

But the other thing that really bothered me was all the throwing away. It's bad enough I've bought stuff I can't or don't use. How does throwing it away do anything but make the problem worse? I couldn't possibly feel good about finding 27 things in one fell swoop to send into our landfills. That disgusts me.

I know that Flylady would say that we fool ourselves into hanging onto clutter by telling ourselves that we will find a use for it, or we will sell it, or we will find someone else who can use it. Well, between freecycle, craigslist, eBay, the church rummage sale, and the thousands of charities which take donations, I'm pretty sure I'm not fooling myself when I tell myself I can find someone who will use my stuff. And if not, well, Ann Arbor has one of the easiest recycling programs in the country.

I still wish I could keep my sink clean and my "hot spots" cleared. I do wish I had more routines in my life, and that I kept a better house. In the meantime, I'm happy enough to be mindfully ridding myself of 7 things a week instead of impulsively grabbing 27 things at once and thinking that's somehow going to solve a problem that is a lot more than a housekeeping issue.


Anonymous Laura said...

If you want to have more routines and keep a better house try www.Motivated The daily and weekly cleaning routines have saved my sanity and my house looks much better. They don't really tackle clutter but they do speak to that need for daily housework routines. By following their daily and weekly chores, I have a cleaner house and this has freed up time to declutter. GREAT bloy by the way, I am inspired by your efforts.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Knittymama said...

I second Motivated Moms! I couldn't handle FlyLady either(those e-mails were overwhelming!) but MM's worked out great.

I posted my first seven! (I started small, but hey, I started:-)

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FlyLady annoys me too but I think the purpose of the throwing things away idea has to do with the fact that many people's houses are cluttered with actual trash, not just excess belongings. That's why there's a separate category for things to give away.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Susanna said...

A cleaning mailing list I'm on (12 minutes to GO) periodically has "52 pickup" days. You go through the house and put 52 things in their proper place, that place being a shelf, a box, a trash can, whatever.

1:53 PM  

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