Most of you know I have been trying to FLY through the management of my house. I’ve been fluttering around off and on for several years now, but this time it seems to be sticking – I think mostly because I’ve held myself back from completely overdoing it and exhausting myself. I’m going with the mantra “you’re not behind – jump in wherever you are,” which is what I keep reading on the daily digest I get emailed from Flylady.
It has been a great change that, on weekdays, the kids are involved. I’ve been working with them on a “15 minute room rescue” each afternoon (or morning, if it works out better for us). The real key has been (as with all things with kids, or when you are learning it yourself) to do it together. As I’m setting the timer, I remind them how it works: Step one is clear the floor off (which is always cluttered up with stacks of the clean clothes I folded that day, dirty clothes in piles, tissues or toys put away in haste that only made it a few steps into the room). Step two is choosing a surface to work on (top of dresser, bedside table, Farmer Boy’s cardboard platform where all his sheds, bins, and tiny tractors live) and separate the things on it into three piles. Those piles are (a) Trash (b) Give Away (c) Keep.
Then, we make a big deal of “on your marks, get set, GO!” and race off together down the hallway. I remind them to work on the floor first and we cheer each other on as if we are in a race with the timer. Everyone throws dirty clothes into the hallway and I race them to the laundry buckets. I help clear off surfaces and tidy up around them as they are working – straitening the beds, fluffing pillows, dusting surfaces, piling up all the paper scraps/foam pieces from who-knows-what/soybeans/corn kernels/pebbles/stray twist-ties and etc that will end up in the trash. In no time, the buzzer goes off and everyone hurries to put their “keep” piles away while I take the give-away piles to the bag in the trunk (to go to the DAV or Goodwill, whichever I drive by first) and the trash piles to – well duh.
I can’t believe how clean the kids’ rooms have been staying. Sometimes we miss a day, and I let them skip the weekends. But it’s made a huge difference in how the house “feels,” because sometimes, even when the living room is company-ready and the bathrooms are clean, I know what is waiting down the hall.
The kids think it’s a great time, too. They have all commented on how nice it is not to feel overwhelmed when they go into to do some cleaning, and how little effort it seems to spread an hour or so out over the week rather than feeling swamped for an hour all at once on a free day. Flylady also includes “daily missions” for kids in the emails I get, but we are doing baby steps here, so I haven’t added those.
I just like it that I can check on them at night without fear of losing a toe.