Friday, March 5, 2010
Marla Cilley, The FlyLady
I have just finished reading Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady. A friend recommended this book to me several years ago. When it was obvious I hadn't done much with her recommendation, she loaned me her copy of the book. The book is pink, rather hard to miss, and it has been sitting on a shelf by my bed for several months. Untouched. Let's face it, there is a giant picture of a stainless steel kitchen sink on the front cover and it is about cleaning your house. Not exactly what I've been in the mood for. In January, while Dan and I were on our vacation, my mom read the book while watching the kids. I must admit, her admonitions upon my return that I read it were kind of a turn off, but at the same time, I was intrigued, and I can always use more suggestions in the homemaking department.
When I finally decided to read the darn book, it took less than a chapter to realize I had found a new soul mate. I don't know if Mormon women are really particularly good at balancing the care of a large family with the keeping of a beautiful home and the maintenance of a cute figure, but it seems like they are to me. I can't help but feel like a bit of a dysfunctional ugly duckling. I have often wondered if I am the only (Mormon) woman in the world who can't keep her house clean, and I'm not talking about the kind of deep cleaning that is only visible to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I'm talking about you drop by to visit and it looks like our home was recently struck by a tornado. As Dan likes to say, "the good thing about our house is that if a robber broke in, he would take one look at the living room and assume that someone else had beat him to the punch." Ah, the ransacked look. So cozy. So inviting.
So, back to my new soul mate, the FlyLady. There is so much about her to love, but my favorite right now is the fact that she knows I am a perfectionist, she knows that my perfectionism gets me paralyzed with indecision ("Where to start...I know, I'll sit on the couch and look out the window!" ), and she says set a timer for 15 minutes and tackle one small job until it goes off. The 15 minute approach has really been helping me, and the boys like it too. She also says that cleaning your house the "wrong" way still blesses your family, and describes imperfect cleaning methods that work just fine, like wiping off the bathroom sink with the dirty hand towel at the end of the day. She is also encouraging me to get rid of anything in our home that is not blessing us. Dan is thoroughly enjoying pointing out things that are not "blessing" our home, such as the broken floor lamp that has been propped up next to the dresser in our bedroom for several months (in the garbage, baby, oh yes), or a bottle in our kitchen cupboard that Naomi wouldn't even drink out of when she was small enough to use it (um, not in the garbage yet, come to think of it).
If you ever find yourself feeling like your messy house is going to bury you alive and you don't know where to start, I highly recommend making friends with the FlyLady. You may find her website overwhelming at first, so start with the book if you can.