Your Entryway Does Not Have to be a Clutter Magnet

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

Dear Friends,
Take a look at your around your entryway. Is there where your launch pad is located? With some gentle reminders and training, this does not have to be a dumping ground for your family.
Some entryway areas do not have a good place for a launch pad. That is the case for my entryway. The closest place to our main door is a table. When we walk in the door, the natural tendency is to drop stuff on this table and walk away.
When we bring things into the house, it is okay to put things here, but the key is to not leave them there. You have to take a few minutes to put things away. You have to teach your family this habit as well.
If this area is a big struggle for you, start with yourself. Begin putting your things away. Then you can narrow it down to the other members of your family. When you see items laying near the entryway that does not belong, ask the owner of the items to put them away.
If you have room in your entryway for a shelf and baskets, that may help you give a “place” to some of these items. I have a coat rack near our main entryway way. It holds light jackets and several hats.
I do not have a place for coat hooks near that door, and I don’t have room for a bench. I am working with the space I have to make it usable and to not have a cluttered feel to it.
Some of you have a mud run or area that your family stops in to take of coats and shoes. Set this area up to make it easy to store these items, so you don’t end up with a pile of shoes and socks.
If you have outdoor shoes and indoor shoes, set up an area near the entryway for an easy switch of the shoes. If your family enters and exits through a garage, you can build some shelves to aid in this process.
What are some ways you have organized your main entryway and launch pad?
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter in the entryway of your home.
Your Home Blessing for today is to toss papers and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is low country boil and salad.
Have a great day!

Being Thankful in All Things

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

Dear Friends,
Happy Independence Day! Today we celebrate the birth of the United States of America.
What are you thankful for today?
I am thankful for my independence, for my family and friends, and for the freedom to homeschool my children.
On the days when life is hard, I make a conscious effort to write down my blessings. It helps me to refocus and look for the positive things in my life. I do not want to dwell on the difficult things. I need to pray and give the hard things over to God.
This morning, I read something a friend of mine wrote about loss. It touched my heart. She shared how difficult it is to walk through the valley of grief. She wrote about the good memories, and she wrote about the hard memories.
Some of you are grieving now. I want to encourage you to write down the good memories. Go through pictures. You may find that your eyes leak a bit as you remember, but you will also find memories that make you smile.
Make memories with your family daily. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in checking off a To Do List that you forget to stop and play with your children. They are only little for a short season. I see this in my life as my children have grown up right before my eyes.
The days of packing diaper bags, snack bags, and lugging around car seats and strollers are behind me. The days of constant supervision of a toddler are behind me. Presently, my children enjoy different activities than when they were little, and I have embraced the days of fishing, hiking, and kayaking.
I am grateful for the time I have with my family. I love talking to them and listening to what’s on their mind. I enjoy hearing them share their favorite childhood memories with me. It warms my heart to know that they have many of the same fond memories as I have.
If you are going through a tough time right now, stop and breathe for a minute. Pray. Write down your blessings. If you feel alone, reach out to someone and ask for help. You are not alone in this. God is with you.
What are you thankful for this Independence Day?
Your Zone Mission today is to wipe the walls and windows in the Dining Room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is grilled shrimp with a salad.
Have a great day!

Summer Fun with Little Ones

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

 
Dear Friends,
Some of you are enjoying a Holiday week or vacation, so I wanted to share some ideas with you for summer fun for your little ones. I have such fond memories of summer vacations and making memories when my children were young.
Water Table.
Young children love playing in water. We had a small water table that the boys played with for years. I set ii up in the shade and let them play as long as they wanted. Often, I would also have a small wading pool nearby, so they went back and forth.
Water tables provide hours of fun and education. You can play float and sink games with various items. They will learn about buoyancy and also how some things sink faster than others.
Sand box.
My children also enjoyed a sandbox for playing with cars and trucks. Children love to dig holes and fill them in. At the beach, we spent hours building sand castles and making trenches and moats around the castle. They learned a lot about the properties of sand and how to use a little bit of water to form their buildings better.
If you have outdoor pets, I recommend a sand box that you can cover when it is not being used. Sandboxes are easy to maintain, but they can attract animals, and you don’t want to deal with the mess an animal can make in your sandbox.
Sidewalk Chalk.
If you have a place outside for your children to draw with sidewalk chalk, it’s a fun activity that can be washed away with a water hose. I have such fond memories of drawing outlines of my children when they were little. Then, we decorated their chalk outlines. If you do this, remember to take pictures.
Bubbles.
When I am working in the church nursery, a favorite distraction for them is blowing bubbles. Children love bubbles, and if you have the ability to set up a big vat of bubble solution outside, your children will have fun for hours. We had large wands and a large tub that I made a mixture with liquid dishwashing soap that allowed them to make large bubbles.
Park Day.
If you have a park close to you, schedule a park day each week with friends. Two of our local parks have splash pads for young children to play and cool off on a hot summer day. We have several parks that are not too far to drive, and there are moms in my homeschool group who set up play dates and send out emails to remind us about them. Park day is a lot of fun for your kids and for you, too.
What are some of your favorite summer activities with young children?
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to have a Hot Spot Fire Drill in Zone 1. Spend 5 to 10 minutes putting things away that are in piles in your entryway.
My menu plan for Tuesday is homemade pizza. Veggies and salad for me.
Have a blessed day!

Finally Loving the Front of Your Home

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

Dear Friends,
Welcome to a new month and a new Habit of the Month, Swish and Swipe. We are also decluttering and detail cleaning the front portion of our homes.
In the United States, we are also celebrating Independence Day on the 4th of July. Plan your Zone Missions accordingly, if you are having guests this week to celebrate the Holiday.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 1 Missions: The Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room
Monday – Declutter and sweep the front porch & wipe the front door
Tuesday – Hot Spot Fire Drill in all 3 Areas
Wednesday – Wipe Walls & Windows of Dining Room
Thursday – Declutter Entryway & Launch Pad Area
Friday – Wipe ceiling fixtures and window sills in the Dining Room
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
The missions this week can be kept short and sweet. If you spend 5 minutes at a time doing them, you will see a big difference at the entry of your home.
On Monday, you are going to spend a few minutes decluttering and sweeping the front porch. In some cultures, the front porch or stoop is swept every morning as a part of their daily routines. In the US, I have not seen this done daily, but it is a neat reminder of how important the front of our home is to our families and guests.
On Tuesday, your mission is to have a Hot Spot drill in Zone 1. You can spend a few minutes in all three areas or concentrate on one area. The entryway is often a big clutter magnet, so you might need to focus in that area. It’s summer for those of us to the north of the equator. Do you still have winter things in the entryway?
On Wednesday, you are going to spend a few minutes wiping the walls and windows of the dining room. Include your kids in this mission. Give everyone a cloth to wipe the walls. Turn on some music and have fun!
On Thursday, you are going to focus on clutter in the entryway and dining room. If you finished with the entryway, spend 5 to 10 minutes decluttering in the dining room. In many homes, the dining room table and chairs become clutter magnets. They are often not used as often as the kitchen table, and our family members stack items on them.
On Friday, your mission is to dust the ceiling fixtures and window sills in the dining room and entryway.
You can do these missions. I know you can.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter and sweep the front porch.
My menu plan for Monday is paella. It’s a Spanish recipe that my brother taught us to make.
Have a blessed day!

Show Me Your Living Room

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

Dear Friends,
How did you do with the Zone Missions this week? I want to see your progress in your living room. Email a picture to me at Tami@TamiFox.com.
Each week I want you to see progress in your home with these missions. I also want you to feel a shift in how you view caring for your home through these missions and Home Blessings. While you will always have things coming into your home, a few minutes of decluttering each day will help you tame the
clutter monster.
Look at clutter like balancing your checkbook. If you always bring stuff into the house, you need to keep a balance by getting rid of things you are not using any longer. If you bring in 5 new things, you need to get rid of 5 to 10 old things. You always want to get rid of the same amount of stuff or more.
If you are living with a lot of clutter and are frozen in your tracks, I want you to consider making a pact to not bring anything new into your house unless it is food or medically necessary. Just buy the things you truly NEED and not buy the things that you want for one month.
During that month, I want you to spend 5 to 10 minutes a day bagging things up to give away or trash. Some of you are holding onto “stuff” so you can have a yard sale. Yard sales are a lot of trouble, and I do not recommend you have them.
Many of you are holding onto stuff to give to just the right person. This stuff is taking up valuable space in your home. Spend a few minutes in each room in your home and pretend you are a real estate agent. You want to stage this house to get it ready to sell. What would you keep? What would you get rid of?
Take some pictures of your rooms and closets. What can you do to maximize your space and lose the cluttered feel?
The bottom line is that you need to get rid of stuff. You are holding onto things that no longer bless your family. You need to release these things and bless someone else with your abundance.
Send me some pictures of your living room or family room! How did you do with your zone missions this week?
Today’s Zone Mission is to do a Hot Spot Fire Drill in your Living Room.
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!

Look down and all around for dust bunnies

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

 
Dear Friends,
Today we are going to work on the lower part of our living rooms. Yesterday we worked on the higher parts of it. Today we are going to detail clean the baseboards, the corners, and under the furniture. Enlist help for moving the furniture.
One of the big benefits of decluttering and detail cleaning is that you do not have to work hard doing your Weekly Home Blessings. One of the big stumbling blocks you encounter to vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting is that you have to spend precious time picking up stuff before you start.
Teaching your children to pick up behind themselves and putting things away once or twice a day will make a huge impact on how your home looks and how easy you can start your Home Blessings.
Your home will start to feel like you are staying in a vacation rental as you do your zone missions. You will take care of the nice little details and feel joyful doing it.
Play games with your children as you do your missions. Teach them that blessing their home by picking up and decluttering is a joy! You have the ability to help your children look at home blessings a whole new way.
If you find your attitude is slipping toward a negative zone, then stop yourself and remind yourself of the happiness you feel when you look at your shiny sink in the kitchen. You want your whole house to make you feel this way. When you change your attitude to a positive attitude, it will spread to your family.
Many people have commented on my social media posts about lack of support from their husbands. I will tell you what I have heard The FlyLady say many times. “Change starts with you. Your family did not sign up for FlyLady.” So you will influence their changes by starting with you.
As you move your furniture today to clean under it, think about other ways you might arrange your Living Room furniture.
Your Zone Mission today is to detail clean the lower portion of your living room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to toss papers and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is lasagna and salad.

Have a great day!

5 Fun Things to Do With Your Family

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

 
Dear Friends,

Are you enjoying your summer and having fun with your kids?
One thing I have worked on this summer is having fun with my kids and getting in movement, too. When it’s hot outside, you might have to be creative in what you do in order to not get too hot, but I want you to have fun this summer. Make memories!
Here are 5 Fun Things to Do with Your Family:
Go swimming or have a water play day.
When the temperatures soar in the summer, we like to play in the water. We have set up water games in the yard, gone to a mountain creek, or gone swimming. You want to teach your children water safety, and one of the best ways to do that is to expose them to water. If they do not know how to swim, sign them up for swimming lessons.
Go for a hike in the woods.
We live in the middle of the woods, so the boys and I have ready access to walking in the woods whenever we want, but I have also taken them to various state parks and the mountains to hike in the forest. It’s a lot of fun to get out into nature and learn about trees and animals. By using shady paths, you are also able to stay cooler on a hot day.
Go fishing.
If you live near a lake or a stream, get some fishing poles and simple gear and go fishing. My boys love to fish, and I enjoy watching them fish. When they were little, it was more work for me to supervise them. Now that they are bigger, I can sit in the shade and just admire their catches as they reel them in. I also walk around a little bit as they are fishing for extra movement in my day and to talk to each of them as they are fishing.
Go biking.
Do your kids have bikes? Do you have one, too? Get out your bikes and helmets and go for a ride! Last week, my son rode his bike for 3 miles while I ran 3 miles. We had a lot of fun outside, and we both got in some good movement. We go to local places that do not have car traffic for safety purposes, and we pack our water bottles and go out and enjoy the ride.
Go bowling.
What about indoor movement? Some bowling centers offer inexpensive rates for kids to bowl in the summer. We have gone bowling on days when the temperature was too hot or when it was raining. Bowling is great exercise and a lot of fun. It builds muscles and coordination.
Your Zone Mission today is to dust the tops of doors, windows, pictures, molding, ceiling fan, and the tops of your curtains.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken with a salad.
Have a blessed day!

Decluttering Flat Surfaces Will Bring You Peace

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

 
Dear Friends,
How are you doing on your decluttering journey? As you continue to clear and maintain flat surfaces, you will start to feel peaceful in your home. Anxiety will start to melt away as you look around your home and enjoy the scene before you.
Some of you are seeing the fruits of your labor in decluttering, and some of you are just starting your journey. No matter where you are in your decluttering journey, you can enjoy your progress.
My home is going through a process of purging and moving things around as one of my children is moving out after getting married, and another child is moving into the vacated bedroom. We have been working on stages of moving, much like a puzzle.
There are days when things might sit in an area until we can make a decision on where it goes. So my house does not look perfect. Overall, it looks great, but if you wanted to be picky, you could find things that need to be put somewhere else.
Letting go of my perfectionism has allowed me to be patient when we move things around, and when we move one person out of the house. I know the end result will be great, but it might take a few weeks to get there.
This approach allows me to steer clear of burn-out, and it keeps me from yelling and screaming about things being in my launch pad area or wherever they have landed temporarily.
When I prepared for my spring speaking trips, my launch pad area had things in it for several days. It was a part of my process, and when I returned home, I put everything away.
Using my routines and my zone missions help me declutter and purge a little at a time without stressing me out. Wherever you are in your journey, I want you to feel less stress, too.
Today, I want you to look around the Living Room and declutter anything that sits on a flat surface that does not belong. Use your timer for no more than 15 minutes. You can do your detail dusting as you move through the area.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter items from the flat surfaces in your Living Room.
My menu plan for Tuesday is spaghetti for the boys. Veggies and salad for me.
Have a blessed day!

Decluttering Missions in the Living Room

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

 
Dear Friends,
Welcome to Zone 5! We are going to declutter and detail clean the Living Room this week. If you have a Family Room, you can split the missions or do the missions in both rooms. If you have guests, they typically end up in your Living Room, so spend a few minutes each day this week decluttering and detail cleaning.
Here are your missions for the week:
Zone 5 Missions: The Living Room
Monday – Go Sofa and Chair Diving
Tuesday – Declutter some of your decorative items
Wednesday – Dust the tops of things in your Living Room
Thursday - Dust and vacuum lower items
Friday – Hot Spot Fire Drill in the Living Room
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
The missions this week are designed to be short and sweet. Don’t let your perfectionism hold you back from starting or allow it to keep you working in the area for hours. Set your timer for 10 to 15 minutes and abide by it. Don’t restart it or ignore it. Remember that good enough is good enough.
On Monday, you are going to go sofa diving and chair diving. Pull the cushions and see what treasures you can find, or you can assign this to one of your children. I let my son keep any loose change that he finds, so he does this mission for me monthly.
On Tuesday, your mission is to declutter extra decorative items from the Living Room flat surfaces. Keep out the things that have special meaning for you. Put away the rest. This will make your weekly quick dusting to go much faster and easier.
On Wednesday and Thursday, you are going to divide and conquer to higher surfaces and the lower surfaces.
When you do the higher surfaces, dust the tops of the doors, ceiling fans, tops of pictures, molding, windows, corners of the ceiling, and the tops of your curtains.
When you do the lower surfaces, vacuum the corners and baseboards. Enlist the help of your family to move the furniture and vacuum under it.
On Friday, your mission is to do a Hot Spot Fire Drill in the Living Room. Throw away, put away, or give away anything that is in the living room that does not belong in there. Keep this mission quick!
You can do these missions. I know you can.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for today is to go sofa and chair diving.
My menu plan for Monday is grilled burgers for the guys and salad for me.
Have a blessed day!

Show Me Your Progress in Your Master Bedroom

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

    

 
Dear Friends,
How did you do with the Zone Missions this week? I want to see your progress in your master bedroom. Email a picture to me at homeschool@flylady.net.
We spent this week doing zone missions in our master bedrooms. Yesterday, I told you that I want you to feel successful with your missions. As you develop the habit of doing a small zone mission each day, it will get easier.
You will also start seeing that you have less to deal with when you are decluttering. You just have to take the first step and then be consistent with doing these missions each week.
During the summer, you do not have the pressure of a homeschool schedule, but other activities can take up a lot of your time. You will need to be quick and efficient with your missions, so you can develop the habit now rather than later.
Some of you may homeschool year round, and that is okay, too, but you can use your breaks throughout the year to work on consistency with your zone missions.
My zone missions are a part of my day because I have practiced them a lot over the years, and I want the same for you. I found it easier to practice the zone missions in the summer because I was under less restraints with my schedule, and I could use fun outings to encourage the boys to help me.
When we transitioned into our school schedule in August each summer, it was easier to keep the habits we had worked on that year in our daily routines. I used this summer training to let them work on their skills in sweeping and dusting and in doing laundry.
When my children were small, I used little check off lists with pictures, and each summer, I changed them as needed and added new things to it. As they got older, I used a mix of pictures and words. After they mastered reading, I used check off sheets with just words. It helped them to know there was an end in sight as far as their routines. It kept me from continually giving them one more thing to do.
Send me some pictures of your master bedroom! You can also send pictures of your children’s rooms, too. How did you do with your zone missions this week?
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter items from the shelf in your closet.
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!