Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fly Lady

It is with...mixed feelings...that I admit I have discovered the Fly Lady.  For those of you not familiar with this impossibly chipper force of house-cleaning-and-organizing nature, she's developed a system of practices and habits designed to keep the the dirt and clutter in your home under control.  She breaks daunting tasks into easily manageable chunks and sends out emails with reminders and encouragement each day to those who sign up for her email list.

These emails drive me freakin' crazy (but don't worry, we'll end on a positive note).  First, there are approximately eleventy billion sent out each day.  I suspect this is a clever, Fly Lady ploy to get you to organize your email inbox.  The sheer volume of email from her list alone forced me to create a system of folders and automatic filters for my Blue Carpet email that's also helped me keep reader comments and pattern correspondence straight as well.  So, um...thanks, Fly Lady.

The next step in my filter system is to filter out any of these emails that contain the word "testimonial."  Easily half of these emails are forwards from users gushing about products - either the cleaning products she sells in her shop, or some cleaning product she's agreed to push for another company.  Seems fake, gets old.  But hey, the good stuff's free, and a girl's gotta make a living, right?

The Fly Lady claims she's talking to everyone, that her system can work and her emails are intended for any type of person - stay at home mom, single working mom, single working dad, wantonly childfree student, gay, straight, Christian, Pastafarian, whoever.  And yet, though outwardly open, I get the feeling that her head is stuck quite firmly in the "middle-aged Christian woman with kids" mindset, and that's who she writes to.  Every time she mentions a "God Breeze," I roll my eyes, heathen that I am.  And dude, just look at her site.  Not so much my aesthetic.

And spite of myself...after reading a few of her emails, I'm left with this bewilderingly warm and comforted feeling.  It's the same kind of bizarrely calming feeling you get when you stumble blearily into the bathroom in the morning, and it's all shiny and clean, or when you flop into bed and the sheets are clean, and the kitty's curled up on it but not getting cat hair and kitty litter all over your sheets because it's made, and who cares if there's some cat hair on the foot of the comforter?  It's like...this shouldn't make me feel good...but it does.

Most importantly, her system really works.  And if she's subconsciously gearing it toward middle-aged women with kids, and it still works for Little Ms 20-Something-Cynicism, then wow.  It's not a lot of work.  Targeted cleaning happens in 2 or 15 minute chunks.  Things get clean calmly, over time, and they stay clean through establishing habits.  These habits are quick, simple, time-saving things that make you feel better about your space and yourself, which keeps you from throwing up your hands in despair like I, um...did...a few months ago...when we moved.  :-\

Her system will take some adapting, but it's adaptable.  No, Fly Lady, I will not put my face on every morning when I wake up or pretty much ever.  But I guess I can brush my hair every morning...instead of just pulling it back into a bun so tight no one sees the tangles.  And I really do feel like less of a schlub when I do that.  So, um...thanks, Fly Lady.


  1. Oh, I think you should at least try on a few faces in the morning... like the "please, please, please" face, or the "I keel you, humahn" face, or of course the WTF face.

    : P

  2. I have tried fly lady numerous times in the past and am once again attempting the babysteps. I'm glad I'm not the only one who rolls her eyes at the blatent house-wifey-ness of the whole thing. And for somone who espouses decluttering that website is a bear to get through - completely disorganized!

  3. For what it's worth, I am not a Christian (though I suppose at 41, I getting middle-aged), and being polyamorous and all, I'm not exactly a traditional wife.

    That being said, while I don't agree with everything the old girl says, I adore her system. The house is clean, by damn, and I don't spend all day on it. Yes, adapt the system to what works for you. I wear slippers, not lace-up shoes. When it warms up, those feet will be bare, darn it.

  4. For several years I was on THE BEST flylady yahoo group. I am still in touch with some of the ladies I met there and would be happy to direct you to the list. It is an international group and they talk about anything and everything! They helped me realize how Flylady's program has to be custom tailored by you to fit your lifestyle. I am more than happy to chat with you about it and cheer for you when you need it.