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Come FLY with me?

September 1, 2013
The girl I mean to be

The girl I mean to be

Sometimes, when a particularly perplexing-to-me yet simple-to-others daily life event and I interact, I have been known to stomp my foot and declare, “I got ‘A’s in Organic Chemistry!  Why is this so hard?”  It turns out that not everyone is good at everything.  I can play Beethoven piano sonatas; I do not park cars well.  It also turns out that some things are taught and learned easily and other things take practice.  I would probably be a better parker if I tried harder.  I seem to remember being decent at it when forced to fit the car into small spaces at university.

My mother is one of the most hospitable people I know.  If you called and said, “I’ll be in the DC area in about half an hour, can I stay at your place?”, chances are she would have clean sheets on the guest bed, a meal close to ready and the spare house keys handy for your tourist excursion.  They are low-maintenance hosts.  (They also have no boring friends, but that is a topic for another time.)  She is good at guests.  She is good at organizing other people’s things.  She is good at organizing organizing books.  This is a true story: she has a shelf on her desk of organizing books, alphabetized by author.  It is almost the only organized thing in the house.

Her mother is very good at some things too.  She can embroider intricate designs on tea towels.  She can read a novel or two in less than a day.  She has clear ideas as to what makes a house well-kept.  And yet, that whole teaching and learning barrier happened and my mother never learned easily how to keep house.  And I never learned easily either.

Good news!  Neither my mother nor I have ever been terrible housekeepers.  (This is the moment where Miss E. might consider not remembering the apartment where she and I had to do dishes in the bathtub on occasion because there were so many.)  Let’s say we have rarely been terrible housekeepers.  We’re just not naturally gifted there.

Eight years ago, when I was waiting for Ladybug to make her appearance in the world, I discovered a housekeeping support system that has worked wonders for me.  Works wonders for me when I stick to it.  FLYLady may overwhelm your email inbox if you sign up for the list, but the FLYHelper phone app and just following the basic routines have been lifesavers.

Each month, there is a specific habit to focus on.  For September, that habit is a group of habits – The Before Bed Routine.  As we head back into the full schedule of the school year, I am being intentional and practicing these habits specifically.  It would be way more fun to do it with some friends.  Maybe some friends who breezed through Biblical Language classes or have other gifts just as not-helpful for keeping the dishes done.  Come FLY with me?

My routine is:

  • Load and start the dishwasher
  • Shine the sink
  • Check the Calendar for Tomorrow’s Events
  • Lay out clothes for tomorrow (find your shoes!)
  • Spend 2 minutes clearing off your Hot Spots (places where clutter piles up quickly)
  • Wash face, brush and floss teeth
  • Take a few minutes just for yourself
  • Write
  • Yoga (sleepytime routine)
  • Go to bed at a decent hour (For me this is by 10:30PM)

The simplest model routine can be found here.

Sometimes everything is where it should be

Sometimes everything is where it should be

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2013 6:26 pm

    How much do I love your mantel? SOOOO much. We made an effort over the summer to keep the hot spots clear…I am pleased to say that it’s turned into a habit. Mostly. I also, metaphorically, got As in Organic Chemistry, but the real world is complicated. The real world has things that can’t just be filed away with a simple command. And usually that filing involves *stairs*, or else they’d be filed away in the first place.

  2. September 2, 2013 6:48 pm

    Thanks for the house-love! The Moses picture came with the apartment. It has been set aside for a few months, but I believe it is time he returned to the place of honor. It makes me smile.

    The real world IS complicated. And stairs are lovely and evil all at once. I’ve been on a single floor now for two years. I wonder what it will be like returning to multi-level living one day.

  3. September 3, 2013 8:46 am

    I have not forgotten that bathtub full of dishes OR you and EC having a stalemate over not doing each other’s dishes! In fact, I related both events to Nicolas last week by way of explaining why I was doing his roommate’s old dishes along with ours after dinner one night. 🙂

  4. September 9, 2013 5:58 pm

    I think it’s probably time to get back to FLYing… my dresser is looking pretty scary (one of my prime hotspots, although by no means is it the only one.) I’m also eagerly looking up the app on my phone. How did I survive before iPhone apps?

    • September 10, 2013 3:23 pm

      It’s funny how those little indicators are a big deal. When my closet becomes the clean laundry pile in front of the closet, I know I’m not keeping up with a LOT of other things too.


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