12 Habits for a Happy and Healthy Homes

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
For the next 12 installments, I am going to share 12 Habits for a Happy and Healthy home. They are not dependent on doing them in order, but they are each equally important in your home routines. I learned these from The FlyLady (FlyLady.net), and they have changed how my home looks and feels.
Habit #1 – Shine your kitchen sink daily
How does one simple thing revolutionize your home? Most of us grew up avoiding washing dishes at all costs. Therefore, as adults, we tend to struggle in the kitchen when it comes to doing the dishes. Even with a dishwasher, we delay doing dishes as long as possible.
We procrastinate. We soak the dishes and pots and pans for days.
Embark on a new habit. Wash or rinse dishes as you cook. Use your dishwasher regularly, if you have one. Wash dishes following each meal. Teach your family how to load and unload the dishwasher. Resist the urge to re-arrange the dishes behind your family.
The goal is to empty the sink immediately after a meal, so you want to establish a routine for running your dishwasher or hand wash the dishes. With a large family, I run my dishwasher after lunch and at night. It is emptied first thing in the morning. Then it is ready to receive breakfast and lunch dishes.
Keeping the sink area clean and tidy helps prevent the spread of germs. Running your dishwasher regularly helps keep your family healthy. During cold and flu season, you can run the sanitize cycle on your dishwasher to eliminate the spread of germs.
When you walk into the kitchen each morning and are greeted with a clean and shiny sink, you will be happy and ready to start your day.
After you shine your sink, set your timer and do you zone mission for the day.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to attack the clothes pile (put it away or purge).
My menu plan for Tuesday is grilled chicken.
Have a blessed day!

Making Your Bedroom a Place of Peace

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Have you started your Holiday Missions with The FlyLady ? Jump in and do a little bit each day to help you prepare for the Holidays.
This week we are decluttering in the Master Bedroom.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 4 Missions: The Master Bedroom
Monday – Declutter in the Master Bedroom
Tuesday – Attack the clothes pile (put away and purge)
Wednesday – Declutter the bottom of the closet
Thursday – Declutter the top of the nightstand & dust
Friday – Declutter the top of the dresser & dust
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
This week I want your goal to be to declutter in your bedroom and make it a place of peace for you. These missions are not long and complicated. Use your timer and only spend 15 minutes a day on them. If you have a lot of clutter in your Master Bedroom, you can chip away at it a little at a time. Resist the urge to spend hours in your bedroom on decluttering.
Here’s your recap of the Weekly Zone Missions.
On Monday, spend 15 minutes decluttering in the Master Bedroom. Deal with the little piles or the stash and dash. If you have paper or clothes strewn about the room, start in one area and work until the timer goes off. You can assign this same mission to your children to do in their bedrooms.
On Tuesday, deal with the clothes that are in piles or baskets. Either put them away or purge them. Don’t overthink this mission. Use the timer, and if you have more to do than you can accomplish in 15 minutes, you can come back to this mission later.
On Wednesday, spend 15 minutes decluttering items from the bottom of your closet. Spend 15 minutes on this mission. Donate some shoes or other items that are taking up space in your closet.
On Thursday, declutter the top of your nightstand and dust it. If you have piles of books or other items on your nightstand, consider another place for these items. Only keep items on your nightstand that you absolutely need.
On Friday, declutter the top of your dresser and dust. Throughout the month, strive to maintain it. You can do it!
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to declutter in the Master Bedroom.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers.
Have a blessed day!

Keep Your Daily To Do List Short and Sweet

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Did you clear out your stash and dash areas this week? Decluttering will help you with maintaining and cleaning your home when you do your Weekly Home Blessings. If you still have some stash and dash areas, spend five minutes a day on these areas.
Do you procrastinate when it comes to your To Do List?
My best advice on your To Do list daily is to keep it short, and then you will experience the feeling of being successful in completing it. If you are homeschooling and have small children, keep your To Do List daily to ONE thing. Yes, that is right. Put ONE thing on your To Do List for the day.
Keep a Master To Do List with your Control Journal. This can be a list that you add to and mark off, but it is always there. Each day, read over the list and pick parts of some of the items on the Master List.
If you have older children, you can limit yourself to 3 small steps from the Master List.
When I am writing a book, I will have Book on my Master List. Then, I will pick something to work on for the book as a daily goal, such as write Chapter 10. Later in the process, it might be to edit Chapter 10.
If I am doing a room project, I might have the room name written down, and then smaller projects listed under the room title. When I do my daily list, I pick one of those things to do.
My daily projects stay around 15 minutes, but they can be larger and take 30 or 45 minutes. They do not take all day. I cannot budget all day to a project because my routines will fall to the side.
Your perfectionism wants you to do it all at once. You have been doing it this way for years and breaking it down into small steps feels strange to you. You can do it! It takes small, consistent steps.
Where do you flounder with your To Do List?
Today’s Zone Mission is to do mop the bathroom floor and do a 27 Fling Boogie.
Your Home Blessing for today is to take out the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Send me pictures of your progress this week in zone 3!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Make decluttering paper a daily habit


Dear Friends,


Since we are in the third week of the month, tell me how you are doing decluttering paper daily. I have received emails and had comments from many of you who have implemented this routine into your day.


Decluttering paper is a necessary habit for us. If we do not declutter paper regularly, it will take over our homes. Papers cause some of you emotions. Papers cause some of you to make decisions on what to do with it. Some of you are paralyzed when it comes to getting rid of papers.


What should you keep?


What should you toss?


Will I ever need it again?


Will my kids want to have their papers when they grow up?


I need to make a decision, so I should keep this paper.


Meanwhile, you have papers you have been holding onto for months.


I want you to take a deep breath, set your timer for 15 minutes, and start dealing with your paper stacks.


Really try to take action with one piece of paper at a time.


Trash it or shred it.

File it. (Set up files if you don’t have anything set up.)

Make that call if needed.


Decide how to handle your children’s school papers. You are not obligated to keep every piece of paper your children produce. Keep what is necessary for state laws for homeschoolers. Keep some sentimental papers. Share their artwork and writing with others. Then, whatever is left, toss it in the trash.


While you are decluttering paper, keep telling yourself to let it go. Having a lot of paper in your files is not your security. You will be decluttering paper for the rest of your life. Even in a digital age, we produce a lot of paper.


Keep practicing this habit. Write it down on your daily schedule. This habit will also help you if you struggle with keeping up with your bills because you will be going through your mail daily. Set up a file or envelope to put bills as they arrive. Make a note for bills that are on auto-pay. Make a note for statements that you receive electronically.

I want you to have cleared flat surfaces and no piles of papers sitting around your house. You can do it!


Today’s Zone Mission is to shine the bathroom sink and counter. Toss items from your Stash and Dash.


Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.


My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and a salad.


Have a great day!


Siggie - Tami Fox

Tossing Clutter and Expired Medications

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Today I want you to focus on tossing items that are taking up valuable space in your home. Use your timer and work on your zone mission and monthly habit wherever it fits best in your day. Spend 5 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening if that works for you. The main thing is to just do it. This is anti-procrastination day, so take those consistent steps in getting rid of clutter.
For your zone mission, you are going to check expiration dates on the items in your medication list. If you have expired medications, collect them in a box. You will need to find a proper way of disposing of them in your area. You do not want to flush medications down the toilet, and you do not want to send them to the landfill.
The two safe ways to dispose of expired medications is to take them to your local police department, if they have a pill drop box. Ours has one of these. You can also check with a pharmacy to see if they have a safe way for you to dispose of them.
The only safe way I know to do it at home involves using water and kitty litter. You will need a heavy plastic bag and a large scoop of kitty litter. Dump in the expired medications and add water. You want to soak the kitty litter very well. Let it sit and check to see if things have dissolved. You can dispose of this bag in your trash after this process. The kitty little neutralizes the medications. I learned this from a hospice nurse several years ago.
The second part of your zone mission is to put away the items you have stashed around the house. These are the things that need a permanent home. Spend 5 to 10 minutes doing this. Don’t get carried away and spend hours putting things away.
Your habit of the month is to declutter paper. Spend at least 5 minutes but no more than 15 minutes decluttering paper today. If you are overrun with homeschool papers, focus on those first. If you have mail and bills to sort and shred, do those. Just pick one and start pitching!
Share with me something you are going to do that you have been putting off.
Your Zone Mission today is to toss expired items from the medicine cabinet and put away items from your stash and dash.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken.
Have a blessed day!

Do you have two minutes a day?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Are you swishing and swiping your bathroom daily? This one daily habit will transform your bathroom. It is a habit that takes less than 2 minutes a day. Can you spare two minutes a day to have a clean bathroom?
Pick a time of the day and swish your toilet and wipe your sink and counter. Done. Do not let your perfectionism keep you in there for 15 minutes. Just spend 2 minutes doing this.
If you have more than one bathroom, then you can switch around which bathroom you use when nature calls. Then do a swish and swipe in each bathroom throughout the day.
Today’s zone mission takes you to the bathroom to clean your waste can. You can either wash it in your tub or shower, or if it’s nice outside, take it outside and use the hose on it.
The second part of your zone mission today is to collect items to donate from your stash and dash area. You might have collected some small items that you just are not using, and I want you to put them in your box of items to donate. Then put the box in your car. Donate them the next time you are out.
These small habits and zone missions really help you clean your home and maintain it. It gives you peace and more free time when you have less clutter in your home to work around.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to wash your bathroom trash can and collect items to donate.
My menu plan for Tuesday is spaghetti.
Have a blessed day!

Decluttering Your Stash and Dash this Week

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Are you enjoying your weekends and having Family Fun Day on Saturday? My goal each week is to encourage you to work your zone missions and home blessings during the week, so your weekends are for fun and relaxation.
This week we are decluttering in the Main Bathroom and One Extra Room.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 3 Missions: The Main Bathroom & One Extra Room
Monday - Wipe Around Toilet & Toss Stuff from Stash and Dash
Tuesday – Clean Bathroom Trash Can & Collect Items to Donate from Stash and Dash
Wednesday - Toss Expired Stuff from Medicine Cabinet & Put Away Things from Stash and Dash
Thursday – Shine Bathroom Sink and Counter & Toss Items from Stash and Dash
Friday – Mop Bathroom Floor & Do a 27 Fling Boogie
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
Each month when we are in Zone 3, you can pick the extra room you declutter. I have suggestions for you above, but I want you to make this yours. Get rid of things by throwing them away or giving them away. For the things you want to keep, find a home for them.
Here’s your recap of the Weekly Zone Missions.
On Monday, wipe around the toilet in the Main Bathroom. If you have more than one bathroom, ask for help and get them all done today. Then go to your Stash and Dash area and toss stuff that you do not need.
On Tuesday, clean the bathroom trash can. You can do it outside and let it soak. Collect items from your Stash and Dash areas to donate.
On Wednesday, toss expired items from the medicine cabinet. Dispose of items in a safe manner. Our local pharmacy and police department have safe recycle bins for medications. You do not want to flush expired medications or send them to the landfill by putting them in the trash. Improperly disposed of medications can contaminate ground water.
On Thursday, shine your bathroom sink and counter area. Go back to your Stash and Dash area and toss some more items.
On Friday, Mop the bathroom floor. Do a 27 Fling Boogie through your home. This is your last zone mission of the week. You can do it!
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to wipe around the toilet.
My menu plan for Monday is chicken and a salad.
Have a blessed day!

Teaching Your Children to Bless Their Homes

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Is your kitchen shining today? This week’s zone missions were designed to help you spend just a few minutes a day decluttering and shining your kitchen. If you did not do them all, it’s okay. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you did get done.
This week was a busy week for me, and I did my zone missions right after dinner each night. That is just where it fit in my day, and it was easy to do them as we all pitched in to clean the kitchen after dinner.
Your homeschool schedule might be very full during the day, so that is why I like to share with you how I get my zone missions done when I have a busy week.
My Home Blessings are done during my morning routine each day as the boys are getting started on school work. On Fridays, they help with the floors. It takes time to figure out where things fit, but it is well worth it when it becomes a routine.
Teaching your children habits will go with them as they grow up, so don’t be afraid to include them in blessing your home. Teach them to pick up behind themselves. Make it fun to fold laundry with your children. Give them small cloths to dust when you are dusting or cleaning the windows.
When you finish a meal, teach your children to clear their place at the table. They can scrape their plates, rinse their dishes, and put them in the dishwasher. If you hand-wash, they can help with that as long as you are careful with glass and knives.
Swish and swipe in the bathroom is another way to teach your children to bless their homes. Keep your supplies handy for a quick swipe and a quick swish. It does not have to be perfect. It’s better to do it imperfectly than to not do it at all.
Use a simple sorting process for the laundry and show everyone in the house how it is sorted when they take their clothes off.
Simple routines shared among all of the family members makes it easy to bless yourself with a clean and peaceful home.
Send me pictures of your progress this week in zone 2!
Today’s Zone Mission is to sweep and mop the kitchen.
Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Moving Tips

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
For the next several days, I am going to help someone I love very much move into a new home. Since I have lived in the same house for 29 years, I have not moved very many times as an adult. I also did not move a lot in my childhood, but I do understand the moving process. I have learned many things from The FlyLady, and her system can be applied to moving.
You need to take things one step at a time, and you need to let go of some things in the process.
If you have time to plan a move well ahead of time, you can start with decluttering daily. You need to think of the size of the home you may move into. Is it larger or smaller?
You will need to think of HOW you are going to move your stuff. Will you be limited to the size of moving truck you will have? You might not know the answers to these questions if you are months away from moving, but you do need to consider these things as you are decluttering. If you don’t love something, you really need to consider if it is worth moving.
When you are ready to start packing boxes, start with stuff you do not use often. Write on the box the room it goes in or the contents of the box on the outside. Then write a number 1 on it. As you pack up boxes, keep numbering them in order.
You can keep an inventory log in your Control Journal. Write down the box number, room it goes in, and the contents on your inventory list. I would suggest keeping the list in an Office in a Bag, so it is secure and nothing falls out when you zip it closed.
Your numbering system will grow, and that is okay. Don’t worry about it. The last boxes you pack will have the highest numbers and will hold your most important things to unpack first.
As you pack boxes, use your timer to keep you from over-doing it, and keep your water bottle refilled. You need to hydrate while you are packing. Toss items that you do not love and want to bless someone else with. Keep a box for donations handy, and keep a trash can handy.
If you hire people to help you load and unload the moving truck, you will need to mark boxes fragile if they contain breakable items. Use a red marker to write this on the boxes.
Use color coding with your tape or markers if you want to designate different rooms by color. If you pack food items, use plastic storage boxes or plastic zipper bags. This will help prevent spills, hopefully.
When the moving truck is unloaded, you can tell your helpers to use the notes on the boxes to put them in the appropriate room.
As you start unpacking, start with the highest numbers to access you most-used items first, and then work your way through the boxes from the highest number to the lowest numbers.
Over the course of mentoring ladies, I have learned a lot about the unpacking process. You need to deal with your boxes in a timely manner. If they stay packed up for more than a year, you probably don’t need those items very badly. Write a date on the box that you want to be finished with unpacking.
Today’s Zone Mission is to wipe the stove top and fridge.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and a salad.
Have a great day!

Are your routines becoming habits?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
What routines do you have firmly in place?
The ones that stick even when your world seems upside down are your habits.
We all go through seasons of change in our lives. I went through the season of life of being newly married to parenthood. There were many changes in those years. There were some routines that I had established at that time, and there were a lot of things I was not doing.
We continued having children, and with each child, new routines were forged. Schedules were changed to accommodate nap times and bedtimes.
What I saw was that young children liked routines and predictability.
When I started following the FlyLady, there were certain routines that I was already doing really well, and there were things that I struggled to do on a regular basis. I did not jump right into all of the routines at once.
There are some of you who are reading this who feel overwhelmed with adding in new routines and decluttering. That is okay. You just need to start with one thing and build from there over time.
The FlyLady has you practice one habit a month, so you have a pretty big grace period to work on your routines.
The FlyLady wants you to start with shining your kitchen sink for a month. As you practice this routine, and it becomes a habit, you can just jump into the current Habit of the Month.
In October, we declutter paper. This is an excellent habit for homeschoolers to practice. In November, we will work on menu planning. This habit saves us money and time.
The routines are practical, and they work no matter what season of life you are in. If you have small children at home, you will practice some of the habits with them. If you have older children, you will include them in blessing your home. They will also practice some of the habits with you, like getting dressed down to the lace up shoes.
Throughout the summer and this fall, we have been through a very difficult time with our family. Even on the hardest days, my routines stayed firmly in place. I am so accustomed to my routines that I don’t think about doing them. I just do them one thing at a time. This gave me much peace on a day that felt less than peaceful.
The only times I skip parts of my routines are the times when I am so sick that I cannot get out of bed. I keep my routines basic with what The FlyLady suggests. Each part of the routine has a purpose. There is no fluff.
If you are having a lot of change in your life, practice the routines until they are habits. It will help you have a feeling of peace.
Have you decluttered paper this month? After you finish reading this, spend 5 minutes tossing paper. Then check on your kitchen sink.
It’s anti-procrastination day, too. Share with me something you are going to do that you have been putting off.
Your Zone Mission today is to scrub your kitchen faucet.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken and rice.
Have a blessed day!