Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Order Out of Chaos

As a concrete step toward my resolution to wrest order from my life chaos, I signed up for FlyLady , an online support group for clutterbugs.

It's hard to describe how Flylady works. It's like having a sweetly nagging Southern belle -- someone who calls you "Precious" -- sending your daily e-mails reminding you to "swish and swipe" (that'd be in the bathroom), shine your sink and throw a load of laundry in the machine. And every week she focuses on an area of your home for a more intensive cleaning and extra 15 minutes a day doing something in that room to keep it civilized.

I feel as if I live on the other side of a great cultural divide, with the FlyLadies over yonder in their Donna Reed much so that I kind of have to read my daily set of missives with a sense of irony -- maybe picturing a more Blanche DuBoisish character composing them out on the verandah in between sips of gin. I feel embarrassed at my apparent need for an external locus of control -- what sort of person can't get organized without directive e-mails from an imaginary friend?

But I'm doing it. I am swishing and swiping and shining and loading.


Questing Parson said...

Sounds like a program I could use, but I know good and well the first time I got an email suggesting I clean up my desk I'd unsubscribe.

chartreuseova said...

I found FlyLady often annoying, but it works. That is when you actually follow through...after the initial enthusiasm and decluttering I found myself deleting emails without reading & then unsubbed when I went on a trip. But even now my house is in better shape than before the venture into FlyLand.

I've been thinking about signing up again...thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

I subscribe to Flylady. For those of us whose personalities tend to be on the acerbic side, it takes a little getting used to, but in all those messages are some pretty blunt ones about how and when she started it, including her tale of having been dragged to a doctor by a friend to get treatment for depression. She's also big on warning us not to kill ourselves with housework or whatever trying to catch up all at once, or trying to be perfect.

It is also fun, sometimes, when she runs a "weirdest item found when cleaning" campaign.

Sarah said...

I've been FLYing for almost a year now. I mostly skim for the testimonials and such, since I added my own routines to my pre-existing time managment system a while back so I wouldn't have to check two sources for to-dos. Her personality definitely takes some getting used to, but by improvising on her system I've found a happy medium between chaos and OCD that keeps my apartment looking great. The biggest thing I learned from her is to break housekeeping into manageable steps, and not to beat myself up if I don't get around to shining the sink before bed on occasion. I hope it works for you as well! :-)

Jody said...

I do FlyLady in fits and starts, because eventually the whole persona overwhelms me and I have to run screaming from the room. But for as long as I can tolerate the testimonials about how cleaning the house saved someone's unbelievably neanderthal marriage, I have a cleaner house.

Beware, though, after a few weeks of decluttering, you won't be able to enter any shopping district in America without thinking the entire economy runs on the sale of clutter and items with which to organize and care for the clutter.

hipastorzwife2B said...

I have a neighbor who told me about it. She has 4 kids and Flylady really works for her. But those emails! I unsubscribed within 3 days when I found myself talking snidely to my computer. I printed out her routines though and posted it on the inside of my glassware cupboard...sometimes I even do it (though no one who's seen my home would ever guess that).

LutheranChik said...

It makes me wonder if the franchise would go farther with a choice of instructive e-mail personas:

"Damn, girlfriend, when you finally gonna clean the funk outta that ghetto refrigerator of yours?"

"Far be it from me to nag, but -- Oy veh! -- if your mother, may she rest in peace, saw the inside of your refrigerator, it would kill her again."

"Well, ya know, if it was me, I'd tink about if I had to go ta hospital, and da EMTs or da neighbors was in my house lookin' in da fridge fer my medicine or one o' dem Vials o' Life -- well, Holy Wah, would I be embarrassed or what, eh?"

"A well-run home is a disciplined home. And since you have failed to swish and swipe today, you must spend 15 minutes in the Naughty Corner."

Anonymous said...

Sounds like I'm married to my own personal Flylady ...

"Honey, something really stinks in the fridge. What do you think it might be?"

"Honey, the cats are gagging when they're in the catbox --do you think their litter needs changing?"

"Baby, have you noticed we have algae in the upstairs toilet? How is that possible?"

"Honey, Corky peed in the bathtub again --did you ever change that litter ...?"

I could go on and on.

Anonymous said...

"Damn, girlfriend, when you finally gonna clean the funk outta that ghetto refrigerator of yours?"

let me know when you create the snappy alternative to flylady....i'll gladly sign up.

i'm with hpw2b--i tried it and just couldn't "flow" with the emails. i gave up and you can certainly tell by my house!

good luck with it! i hope it works for you!

BetteTheRed said...

Oh, the guilt those e-mails inspired in me. I was almost mad at the end of a week. I had to unsubscribe to retain my sanity. Although, it actually bugged me into doing some serious re-looking at the amount of crap in my space, mainly paper. Paper seems to follow me and stick to me, then peel off around me, peeking out in drifts from unlikely places, like under the bed...

Anyway, I've been better recently and the original inspiration was FlyLady. I've got private odds about what date you'll unsubscribe. ;-)