Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cleaning my cobwebs

Well, we fly ladies have been busy in real life with our respective broods and the back to school mayhem but now that we're finding our new normals, we're baaaaaaaaaacccccckkkkkk.
This fly lady in particular has had a lot on her plate.  I am working again!  This can lead to a neglecting of housework. I'm trying to work out a system/schedule for ensuring all cleaning is done.

I'll let you know when i find one. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Getting the Kids Involved

The worst areas in my house are the kids' rooms.  We have 3 bedrooms so there's a boys room and a girls room. The rooms aren't huge so they should be easy to keep clean, right?


Their rooms are horrendous.  It's crazy! Sometimes one of the rooms will be fantastic and the other will be awful. Occasionally, they are both presentable. But the vast majority of the time they look like this.

A & T2's room

T and J's room
(as a sidenote, the TV is neither plugged up nor hooked to the cable, but that's another post for another day)
Not pretty, huh. So in my effort to banish the CHAOS, I must get my children on board.  I lined them all up for a pep talk. I told them that any chore could be done in 15 minutes and that's all the time I'd be giving them for cleaning their rooms. We talked about what clean meant in our house. They gave me specific examples.  I really like what they came up with.
Clean room:
  • all drawers closed
  • no clothes on the floor
  • books and toys in their places
  • beds made up (I added this one)
  • Then I set the timer and told them to go!
What are those crazy kids up to?
During the 15 minutes, I didn't micromanage, supervise, or oversee them at all. I say that because that's ususally what I do. Room cleaning is an awful, angry, stressful event in chez moi.  Not this time, though.  This time, I sat on the couch with M. It was very, very quiet and I worried that nothing was getting done.

Here's how they looked 15 minutes later. They were actually hard at work. My first impulse was to let them keep going, but that was not the agreement I made with them.  Here's what their rooms looked like after 15 minutes.

T & J's room
A & T2's room

Not perfect, but a drastic improvement and it didn't take hours and lots of screaming, threats, or cajoling. And I can walk in their rooms, which is significant.The best thing, though, is that it was less stressful for both me and for the kids. I called them back into the living room for a sort of debriefing and we talked about how much they'd accomplished in such a short amount of time. Turns out, my girls took a bathroom break (cause even at home, girls go to the bathroom in twos!) and still got it done.

It also motivated them even more. I looked in the boys room a few minutes ago and their bed was full made up and they'd laid out a little fire truck rug. They went back and continued to clean after I said to stop. Totally Twilight Zone, right?  I think they cleaning time was so short, they didn't get frustrated or burnt out, and they also saw the immediate improvement which motivate them to make it even better.

 So our new thing is 15 minutes of room cleaning a day. They can even do that during the school year without it interfering with the after school rush.  Things are really starting to change around here.
Thank you, Mr. Timer!
I leave you with this thought: any ordinary chore can be completed in 15 minutes or less.  And we can all find 15 minutes in our day to do something.  Commit to 15 minutes a day, and see if it makes a difference.

Tell me: What chore will you do?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back Pats and Brag's !!

Okay, so I don't know about you - but sometimes I find I'm the only person who will acknowledge a job well done on my part - so ya, I'm gonna pat myself on the back today.  I must admit,. I've been really lax on my flylady babysteps,.. I know, I know - but I'm not giving up  and even redeemed myself today by catching the cleaning bug and getting in that dreaded room - MY ROOM! lol.  We've got a fairly small master bedroom - but boy does stuff sure pile up in there, and I hate going thru it all once its built up.  My biggest struggle is laundry; there's just too much!!  Clothes to put in drawers, hang up in closets, put away for the season, too big, too small, donate, consign - ugh!!  Then there's always - stuff.  Pens, hair clips, cords that you're not sure what they go to but don't want to throw away, puzzle pieces, etc (always the etc.)  So most the time, even when I want to clean up, I manage to talk myself out've it bc I don't want to take on that stuff, those clothes, but today I did!! 
I started out by putting clean sheets on my bed; doesn't that make everyone feel better?  I love laying down on freshly laundered sheets.  Then I straightened my comforter out over the bed - now I've got my work surface, lol.  Here come the separated, folded piles of clean clothes that have been waiting a while to be put up; tshirts, pants & shorts, nightgowns, tank tops, and a pile of 'other'; this usually consists of the kids clothes that have some way made it into our room or outve season clothes.  Then a pile for clothes to donate, and a pile of things like pantyhose, tights, scarves, gloves, etc.  (Always the etc)  What was left on the floor was quite a heft load of dirty clothes, that took some serious weight out the room,. lol.  I had to empty our tiny wastebasket twice but I got all the random scraps of paper, price tags, receipts we don't need, even the occasional snack size chips bag.  I filled one big bag of winter clothes, one big bag of clothes to give away on craigslist, and two big bags to give to goodwill.  So four big bags of clothes were scattered about the room waiting for a place to be put up!  So voila! Clean room, and it only took a few hours that honestly flew buy while I listened to some old school R&B.  (didn't realize how much I missed New Edition and Mint Condition, lol)  I even did my one load for the day to keep the C.H.A.O.S away!! 
Sometimes, even baby steps can be too much for some of us to take, but we gotta do what we can, when we can, and remember to pat ourselves on the back when we do!!  (we beat ourselves up enough - no more!)

Baby Step #2 plus a laundry tip!

I have been dutifully shining my sink for a couple of weeks, though I haven't had much time to blog about it.  Today, I moved on to baby step #2: Get Dressed!

By getting dressed, I mean fully dressed with my hair fixed and my shoes on. Since giving birth, 7 weeks and 2 days ago, I've been living in pajama pants, tank tops, and-if I have company-my fuzzy bathrobe.  Well, no more!  I am now dressed-a turquoise v-neck tee, jeans, and sandals.  I even put on earrings.

And I. Feel. Good.

I feel more ready for the day, I'm gonna carpe ever diem from now on. I will probably dress T2 and M, too.  I think this will be my favorite baby step, though it will increase my laundry.

And now, a tip for laundry.
(When I tell you this, you will be so mad you didn't think of it first. If it's any consolation, I didn't think of this so I am equally mad.

How does your linen closet look?  Be honest.  Our linens are a mess.  Since we moved, we no longer have a dedicated linen closet. The boys' sheets are on the shelf at the top of their closet, the girls' in theirs.  The baby's and ours are in my walk in.  The kids' sets are always getting separated and there is nothing that makes me want to cloth myself in sackcloth and rub my face with ashes than the wrong pillowcases.  It almost makes me  physically ill and sends me into screaming tirades (hey-I never said I was the perfect mother!).

So last night, I found the greatest linen closet tip ever: put your sheet sets inside of one of the pillowcases.
Clever ideas: store bedlinen sets inside their pillowcases
Don't be silly-that's not my linen closet!  
Aren't you kicking yourself for not doing this all along?  Anyways, I put all the sheet sets together and the top shelves of my closets look amazing! No more tottering piles of stuff leaning precariously over our heads.  I'll have to admit, mine don't look nearly as good as the ones in the pic, but they are definitely 1000% better.

Do you have a bed linen storage tip to share?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shine your sink!

"The longest journey begins with a single step"-Confucius

Tonight, the journey to banish the madness began with a single step, shining the sinks. It only took a few minutes to do, but it really made me feel accomplished.

When I say I cleaned my sink, those words don't do it justice. My sink looks brand new. There are no dishes, no crumbs, no stinky rags, not even a soap bubble.  It's so clean I don't want to go to bed. I want  to stay up till the hubby gets home so he can see it.  I did this with my infant napping in the ring sling.  I swear I'd get nothing done without this doohickey.
Complete with a fresh dish cloth!
I used olive oil to shine my sink because I don't have Windex. That alone should tell you about my cleaning SMH I was also motivated to put a load in the wash. See, I'm trying.  

Here's how to shine that sink, Fly Lady Style!

  1. Take all the dishes out of the sink.
  2. Run some very hot water into the sink and fill it to the rim. If you have a two-sided sink, only do one side at a time. Then, pour a cup of household bleach into the hot water. Let it sit for one hour. Now, pull the plug with a pair of tongs. If you don’t have tongs, then scoop some of the water out of the sink into the other sink and use your hand to pull the plug. Make sure you wear gloves so the bleach doesn’t irritate your skin, and don’t get the bleach water on your clothes.
  3. Rinse your sink well.
  4. Use some powdered cleanser (Comet, Ajax, or baking soda) and scrub your sink. Be sure to rinse ALL of the cleanser from the sink.
  5. Take a sharp edge, such as a butter knife, and clean around the rim of the sink, just like you would clean dirt out from under your fingernails.
  6. Clean around the faucets. You may need an old toothbrush or dental floss.
  7. Now, get out your window cleaner; I use Windex. Give it a good shine.
  8. If you still don’t like the way it looks, then you can try some car wax. Just know in your heart that you have cleaned it very well now, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Our perfectionism is what got us in this situation in the first place!
  9. Every time you run water in your sink, take your clean dishtowel and dry it out (I lay out a clean one every night as part of my before-bed routine). Before you know it, you will be doing this everytime you leave your kitchen! The rest of the family will, too. No more water spots. You will have a clean and shiny sink.
  10. Don’t have a fit if someone doesn’t take as much pride in your sink as you do. It is very easy to fix. You have already done the hard part; you will never have to go through this process again. Daily maintenance will keep it looking this way all the time. Nasty, hurtful words are not as easy to repair. Just be sure and tell your family what you are trying to do. They will think you have gone crazy.
  11. If you don’t have a dishwasher, don’t worry. A dishwasher is just a dirty dish disposal. Clean out a place under your sink and put a dishpan in there. Teach your family that instead of putting their dirty dishes and glasses in the sink, place them into the dish pan. Get into the habit of putting your dishes away as soon as they have been washed and are dry. No more leaving the dish-drying rack on the counter or in the sink. Put it away under the sink when you have finished. If your old one is nasty, you may want to soak it in the sink full of bleach water at the same time you soak the sink, or go buy a new set.
  12. To insure that your family remembers this, put a note in the sink. It will get their attention and remind them where to put the dishes. Be patient! They have never been taught, either. It is going to take some practice.
Now if you have a stainless steel sink, I recommend all of the above directions with one extra instruction added: after you soak your sink, rinse well, and use SOS pads to scrub it. This will buff the finish. It will look like new.
If you still can’t get it to shine after the Windex, put a light coat of lemon oil or olive oil on it. I mean just a tiny bit on a cloth and rub it. This will make you smile. Some people have had very good results from Bar Keepers Friend.

I'm Tracey :)

Married mother of six plus two in heaven and I'm right there with Regina - in fact thats how we hatched this plan to support each other! (Cause isn't that what us women are supposed to do?!?)  So right now I'm staring at four baskets of clothing, wrinkled and sooooo ready to be put up.  I've tried to enlist the help of my children, and I remind them that I was doing my own laundry at their age (younger) but when they do laundry it just frustrates me.  I'm not a control freak but they are ridiculous, lol.  My husband does more than most men around the house but he fares no better than them.  Lets face it, no one but momma knows where some of these clothes go.  Looking forward to this journey with one of my dearest friends - Regina!  Time to go shine that sink!!

Hi, I'm Regina

I'm Regina, one of the Funky Fly Ladies. I'm 30 and married with 5 kids.

That's right, FIVE. I tend to talk about them all the time so let me introduce them:
A-11 year old boy
T-9 year old girl
J-6 year old girl
T2-4 year old boy
M-wee baby girl. Seriously.  She was born last month so she's a wee little thing, only 6 weeks old.
Curious-our krazy kitteh. I love that furry sucker.
My little family <3

We live in SC and I'm just a southern girl at heart.  I love cooking for my family. I eat copious amounts of grits, I drink sweet tea. I love bourbon and going to church.

Needless to say, with a family of seven plus a cat, my home is beyond cluttered and I am sick of it.  My biggest cleaning issue is laundry.  I swear my clothes are breeding in the baskets.  Right now, I have 3 full tall baskets of dirty clothes, one full basket of unmatched socks, and several small baskets of clean clothes shoved in my closet because I can't stand to look at them.

I have one goal in mind: I want to be able to have company. I'm tired of living in CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome).

Want to know more?  Just ask!