Are you ready to work on your decluttering habit?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Happy February 1st! We start a new Habit of the Month today. We are going to declutter daily. The FlyLady has been doing her daily videos, and she is challenging you to get rid of a small bag of clutter daily. This could be things to throw away or give away.
Let’s talk for a minute about the giveaway part because some of you are struggling greatly with this. When I am decluttering, I use boxes that I take directly to my car, or I use a black trash bag. If you leave the box or bag in the house or garage, your family will take things back out of it.
Some of you are stuck on finding just the right place to donate your items. Here is my best suggestion — donate at the place you drive by the most often when doing your errands. Don’t wait to go to the out of the way place because you think it is a “better” place to donate.
When you put off donating because it is not conveniently located, it will either ride around in your car for months, or it ends up back in your home. So pick a place that you pass by frequently, and that is your “go to” place for donating.
If you are struggling with paper clutter, you can make it your mission this month to get rid of paper daily. I would suggest you pick a number of pieces of paper to get rid of, like 27 (27 fling boogie), or I would suggest you give yourself a small bag to fill from the shredder daily. Either way, spend time each day in February purging paper!
If your laundry is out of control, spend time each day purging clothes. Start with one drawer or one basket and get rid of the excess clothing!
Whatever your clutter struggle is, I want you to practice the habit of decluttering something daily, and at the end of the month, you will be surprised at how much you are able to clear out.
Your Zone Mission today is in Zone 1. You can either spend 5 minutes each on the Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room, or you can spend 15 minutes in one of those areas. It depends on what you need to do!
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter in Zone 1.
Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Send me pictures of your progress this week in zone 5!

Being Proactive with Your Family’s Health

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
This year colds, the flu, and stomach bugs are being spread quickly and easily. You can be proactive in caring for your home and family. The number one defense in preventing the spread of germs is to wash your hands with soap and water.
You can use cleaning wipes for commonly touched surfaces. I use bleach wipes from a pop up container to wipe door knobs, light switches, bathroom surfaces, and kitchen counters during the winter.
We are not sick in our home right now, but any time we go out, we can be exposed to different germs. When we get home from an outing, I ask everyone to wash their hands as soon as we walk into the house. I also keep hand sanitizer in my purse to use while we are out.
Some of the most known places to spread germs are church and shopping cart handles. I have been known to keep my gloves on my hands to keep from touching the handle of the cart.
The flu is quite bad this year, and I want to be proactive with our health. We take vitamins, drink water, eat healthy, and get adequate rest.
Even with these precautions in the past, we have gotten sick. I have protocols for that as well. Frequent hand washing helps contain the spread of germs. If someone has been ill, I replace their toothbrush when they are better. I use washcloths in place of hand towels in the bathroom.
Teach your children how to cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crook of their elbow. That helps keep them from spreading germs from their hands to everything they touch.
A great way to show them how many germs are on their hands is to have them wipe their unwashed hands on a piece of bread and put the break in a zipper bag. Write the date on it and see how fast it grows bacteria.
The FlyLady has a great article on dealing with a stomach bug. Take a minute to read it today. You can be prepared in case the stomach bug does come to your house. I pray that it doesn’t!
What do you do to stay healthy and keep the germs at bay?
Today’s Zone Mission is to go sofa and chair diving.
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!

Let’s Have Fun with a 27 Fling Boogie

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Thank you for the emails I received from yesterday’s article. I am so happy that it helped you to stop beating yourself up when you start comparing yourself to others. Remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are uniquely chosen for your family.
Your zone mission today is to have a 27 Fling Boogie in the Living Room or Family Room. I want you to make this a game with your children. Use your timer for 5 minutes. Tell them to gather anything that needs to go into the trash. You can have the trash bag handy, so you can see what they toss.
Then, set the timer for 5 minutes again and ask them to find things that need to be put away. As they are putting things away, you can use the next 5 minutes to look for things in the Living Room or Family Room that need to be given away.
From my years of mentoring ladies in decluttering and organizing, I know that some of you might have some Christmas gifts or decorations still in the Living Room or Family Room. Use this opportunity to finish putting things away today. If your children still have toys that need to be put away, help them find a place for their things.
If you have homeschool materials overtaking your home, declutter and organize. Teach your children where their book go, and if you find homeschool things around the house, remind them to pick up behind themselves daily. Textbooks and papers can quickly mount up if they are not put away daily.
Remember that the first step in starting something is the hardest step. Take a step today on something you have been putting off. Do it early in the day, so you feel like you conquered the world for the rest of the day!
How are your Home Blessings coming along? If you are following the suggestions I have for you each day, you should have washed your sheets, dusted, and vacuumed already this week. If you have not done these yet, set aside 30 minutes and do them quickly.
You do not have to do these perfectly. You just need to start and do what you can. Dust around the items on the flat surfaces and vacuum the middles and high traffic areas of your home.
You can do it!
Your Zone Mission today is to do a 27 Fling Boogie in the Living Room or Family Room. Find things to throw away, put away, and give away.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is soup and sandwiches.
Have a blessed day!

Are you stuck in the trap of comparing yourself?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Have you fallen into the trap of comparing yourself to others? I have be seeing several posts from ladies who feel like they are not doing enough or have decluttered enough when they compare themselves to others.
This hurts my heart! My goal for each of you is to progress in the way that works with your family and does not cause you pain or burn out. My wish is that you find peace and joy in decluttering and blessing your home. Use the tools I share with you — timer, throw away, put away, and give away.
Your Home Blessings are also a tool to help you bless yourself and your family with a clean home without perfectionism holding you hostage. Are you having a hard time just vacuuming the middles of the room or just dusting around items on your flat surfaces? Remember that you WILL do the detail stuff during your zone missions.
If you are one of the ones who is beating yourself up, I want you to stop right now. Your journey is different from the ones you see on social media and blogs. You are unique, and your family is unique.
Things change within your family as time goes on. Before you know it, you will have children who are grown and on their own. So enjoy the sloppy kisses and little messes they make. It’s ok. You can give them the tools they need by teaching them routines and picking up behind themselves.
If you grew up in a home where messes were not permitted, you might find yourself on the opposite side of the spectrum. Or you may have grown up in a messy, chaotic house, and you are militant about cleaning. You need to find the balance between these two things. I like to say that my house is messy enough that you know a family lives here and love is in abundance.
Share your successes with decluttering and reclaiming areas of your home, but don’t let this become the guiding force in your decluttering missions. Your goal is to have a home that you and your family love and enjoy being together and having others over to visit. You don’t want to live in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) or live in a museum.
Love your perfectly imperfect life and stop comparing yourself to the pictures you see on social media!
Your Zone Mission today is to detail vacuum the Living Room. Get help with moving the furniture.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
My menu plan for Tuesday is chicken and a salad.
Have a great day!

How does 15 minutes at a time work on a big project?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Can you believe we are entering the last week of January? This month has gone by quickly for me. It’s been filled with fun family time, homeschool time, working time, taking care of me time, and rest! We will start the week off in the Living Room (or Family Room), and we will end the week in Zone 1.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 5 Missions: The Living Room (Family Room)
Monday – Hot Spot Fire Drill in the Living Room (Toss. Donate. Put Away.)
Tuesday – Detail vacuum the Living Room (Enlist help to move the furniture.)
Wednesday – 27 Fling Boogie in Living Room.
Thursday – Go Sofa and Chair Diving.
Friday – Declutter in Zone 1 (Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room)
Set your timers for 15 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!
Weekly Menu Plan
Monday – Taco Soup
Tuesday – Chicken
Wednesday – Soup and Sandwiches
Thursday – Chicken
Friday – Take out
Enjoy your week! Keep your routines simple.
A reader asked me to talk about how to deal with a big project that comes along your way and has a deadline or series or deadlines. One project might be a home renovation project or a big painting project.
Several years ago, we had a pipe burst in the bathroom wall. In the few minutes that water poured from the pipe, enough water got under our flooring and destroyed flooring and baseboards in 5 rooms of our home. This was not a 15 minute and done project. (smile) But what I did do in the subsequent days is use the 15 minutes to guide me along in the process.
We had to call our insurance company. They contracted someone to come out to assess the damage. This turned into a 3-day process of trying to drying things out. During those three days, I packed items and moved items because we had to continue to assess the water damage. I did this 15 minutes at a time and took breaks.
We eventually had to pull up flooring in 5 rooms and pull the baseboards up. This led to the need to paint the walls because of replacing the baseboards. Over the course of 30 days, I did project management of various sub-contractors who came in to do different parts of the repair.
While it seemed like my home was in chaos, I knew where most things were. I learned to adapt our schedule to accommodate the workers who came and went daily. I picked up a lot of take out during that time because my kitchen was out of commission for three weeks.
Since that time, we have redone our kitchen counters, and we have painted and done flooring in one of the bedrooms. I kept our basic routines in place as much as possible, and when we could not do something that was a part of our routine, we just moved to the next thing we could do. (It’s hard to shine a kitchen sink when you don’t have one! LOL)
No matter what the scope of your project, you can break it down into steps and use your timer for 15 minutes.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to have a Hot Spot Fire Drill in the Living Room (or Family Room).
Mymenu plan

for Monday is taco soup and salad.
Have a blessed day!

Baby Steps are Building Blocks to Routines

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Congratulations! This is the last day of your Zone Missions in the Master Bedroom for this month. A reader shared her progress with me yesterday of her nightstand Before she decluttered and After. She is so pleased with the results and is looking forward to enjoying this peaceful area beside of her bed.
If you did not accomplish all that you wanted to do in your bedroom, don’t lose hope! We will be back to the zone again next month. You also have flexibility in week 3 each month to work in any area of your choosing and the Main bathroom.
It takes time if you have accumulated clutter, and what you will find as you go through the process of getting rid of items in small steps is that you maintain your areas much better. If you paid someone to declutter for you, you would not establish the habit of decluttering. You would find yourself back in the same situation.
If you did the big purge in day or a weekend, you would be burned out of decluttering, and it would be months or years before you decluttered again. The small steps lead to routines, and that is what will stay with you.
As we are getting close to the end of the month, check on your monthly maintenance. Do you need to change the air filters on your home? Have you cleaned the dryer lint filter and exhaust vent? Have you checked the batteries on your fire detector?
Put these things on your calendar to be done monthly. You are more apt to remember to do it, if you pick the beginning of the month or the end of the month. Find a way that works best for your family. Put it on your paper calendar and on your digital calendar.
On Friday, I do my menu planning for the next week, and I grocery shop. This has worked well for my schedule for quite a number of years. Have you found a good routine for your menu planning and grocery shopping? This one routines saves you stress, time, and money, and I hear from readers every week who struggle with menu planning.
If this is an area you have difficulty doing, let me know. I am happy to answer any questions you have about it/
Today’s Zone Mission is to wash your bedding and make your bed.
Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Send me pictures of your progress this week in zone 4!

Decluttering and Maintaining

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your emails and comments this week as we have been making a difference in the Master Bedroom. The missions have been quick ones, and they make a big impact.
Today your mission is to declutter items from the top of your dresser. For some of you, this is a landmine of things. You tend to stack things on your dresser. You might have clothes there that you are not sure what you need to do with them.
Your family may have given you clothes that need to be repaired. When you walk by these piled, you have feelings of guilt. Today spend 15 minutes on these items and make a decision. Do you just need to donate some of them?
Set aside some time one evening to work on the repairs. For me, it is usually buttons that need to be sewn back onto an item.
This mission is a great one for your children to do as well. Children have the tendency to pile their treasures on their dresser tops (or any flat surface in their bedroom). Give them a trash bag for any trash they can collect from the tops of the flat surfaces, and then ask them to put away the items they want to keep.
After the flat surfaces in the bedroom have been decluttered, make it a point to maintain them throughout the month. Before you put something on your dresser, take the few extra minutes to put the item away.
How is your homeschool year going? January can be a hard month in the homeschool year. Take time this week to evaluate where you are with your curriculum. Are you on target? Do you need to make adjustments?
It’s time to look at the big picture for a few minutes. We get caught up in the day to day part of homeschooling, and we often overlook the big picture. Giving my children a love a learning and the knowledge of how to find the answers to their questions is important to me.
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter the items from the top of your dresser and dust..
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!

Guarding Against Distractions When Decluttering

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Happy Anti-Procrastination Day! What are you going to do today that you have been putting off? Hopefully, you are looking forward to Wednesday each week because it means you are making progress on the things that you have been procrastinating.
Your zone mission today is to declutter the things from the top of your nightstand that do not belong on it. Even if you do not need to do a lot of decluttering in this regard, spend a few minutes dusting and straightening it up. I know that I sleep better without a pile of stuff beside of my head.
If you don’t use your full 15 minutes, you can deal with other flat surfaces in your bedroom, or you can do some quick decluttering from your dresser drawers. The main thing is to keep this to 15 minutes and not let it lead into more and more little projects.
Distraction can often derail attempts at decluttering. You start in one area, and before you know it, you have roamed all around the house and not finished the area that you started. This is why it is important to use a box or basket for items to put away. You can put several items in the basket as you declutter, and in the last 5 minutes of your session, you can work your way around the house putting them away.
Check on your children’s rooms today, too. How do their flat surfaces look? Provide them with clear instructions, a trash can, and a basket for items to put away. Ask them to bring you items they want to give away, so you can make a final decision on those items. Use the timer and some fun music.
You really can have fun and declutter at the same time. It is a matter of your attitude. Your attitude will spread to your children. Think about that for a minute. Yes, your good attitude or a bad attitude will spread throughout your home. Determine that today’s zone mission is going to be fun and share that with your children.
We are well into the fourth week of January. Have you started gathering papers for your 2018 taxes? Do you have your files set up? A little tip I can pass on to you is that I set up my yearly tax files at the beginning of the year, so I have a place to file things as they happen throughout the year. This helps me so much when I am working on taxes each year.
Each family has different circumstances regarding taxes, but I can give you a list of files that I think are handy to have each year.
  • Auto Insurance
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Dental/Medical/Glasses/Prescriptions
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Property Taxes
  • Utilities
I also have a file for each year’s tax return, W-2’s, 1099’s, etc.
You do not need a complicated system to keep track of your papers for your tax return, but there are certain papers you want to have handy when you are gathering information for your tax preparer.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter unnecessary items from the top of your nightstand and dust.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken.
Have a blessed day!

Decluttering the Stash and Dash from Your Bedroom

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
We are still focusing our zone mission time today on the bedroom. Yesterday, I talked about the importance of keeping it short and sweet when it comes to decluttering. The key is to be consistent with the small steps. Once it is a habit for you to declutter a little at a time, the clutter will not build up any more.
Today your mission is to deal with the items that have landed in your bedroom and do not belong in there. Get a box or basket ready for items to give away. You might also need a basket to put items that need to be put up somewhere else in the house. You can also have a trash can ready for anything you find that can be tossed.
Set your timer for 15 minutes and start tossing items into the boxes or baskets. When 10 minutes have passed, it’s time to move on to putting items away from the basket and take the giveaway box to the car. Toss the trash, and you are done! You will be surprised at the difference this 15 minute mission will have on your bedroom!
One caution — do not put the basket of items to put away somewhere to deal with later. Use the “do it now” principle and take care of them at the end of your 15 minutes. Your perfectionism might want you to keep working in the bedroom, but you can always have another decluttering mission like this in your bedroom.
If you need your children to do a similar mission, I recommend that you are very specific with their mission. If their floor is covered with stuff, tell them to focus on the floor only. If it is another area in their room, tell them to declutter that area. Children are more apt to declutter in their rooms if you give them a specific mission. Use the timer and fun music for them.
It’s been a while since I shared how you can break up your child’s bedroom into zones, but you can do it by closet, floor, flat surfaces, bed, under the bed, or bathroom (if they have one adjacent to their room). Give a different area (zone) for them to focus on per day.
Some of you might have children who have things in other areas of your home. Help them designate a place for each item. Have a daily pick up time, and only allow them to get out a certain amount of toys at one time. With small children or toddlers, you might need a couple of pick up times per day.
Remember that your Before Bed Routine sets you up for a great start to the next day. Don’t slack on this routine. I know it’s cold and gets dark early, but you can start your Before Bed Routine right after dinner and knock it out!
There are only 6 steps for your Before Bed Routine – check calendar (weather), lay out clothes, shine your sink, put things at the launch pad, wash face and brush teeth, go to bed at a decent hour.
Have a great day and stay warm!
Your Zone Mission today is to toss things from your Master Bedroom that do not belong.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
My menu plan for Tuesday is meatloaf.
Have a great day!

Dumping It All Versus Baby Steps

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Are you ready to declutter in the Master Bedroom a little at a time with me this week? The FlyLady loves herself and her FlyBabies, and so do I. Despite what some of you have heard from other people, you CAN successfully declutter your home a little at a time. You DO NOT have to dump your possessions in a pile and sort them out.
Read the rest of this after your missions below.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 4 Missions: The Master Bedroom
Monday – Declutter for 15 minutes from the Master Closet. (Concentrate on the worst area of your closet.)
Tuesday – Deal with the Stash and Dash in your Bedroom. Toss. Toss. Toss!
Wednesday – Declutter extra items from your nightstand.
Thursday – Declutter and dust the top of your dresser and any other flat surfaces.
Friday – Strip your bed, wash everything, and remake the bed.
Set your timers for 15 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!
Weekly Menu Plan
Monday – Beef stroganoff
Tuesday – Meatloaf
Wednesday – Chicken and Dumplings
Thursday – Chicken
Friday – Take out
Enjoy your week! Keep your routines simple.
For the next few minutes, I want to share with you about why I know The FlyLady’s system works. When I started following Marla more than 15 years ago, I was a homeschool mom with 5 children. We had clutter from toys, clothes, books, paper, and just plain junk.
It was hard to keep up with the needs of the children, much less declutter. My routines were not in place at all. We ate together at night. That was one routine that stayed in place firmly. But cleaning and decluttering were hit or miss.
Twice a year, I had to switch my children’s clothes out for the new season. It was horrendous. It would wipe me out. I would spend a whole weekend just sorting through their clothes. Some of their clothes I would box up for the next child. Some of their clothes were so worn out that I just tossed them. Some of their clothes were passed on to others.
The four boys shared a large closet, and it was nice to have it all in one place. But it was also quite a beast to clean out and sort. There was no way I could pile it all in one pile and deal with it in a day. It took days and hours. Meanwhile, they still needed to nap and sleep at night.
One strategy was to deal with one boy’s clothes at a time, but it was still overwhelming to me. In a nutshell, we had too many clothes. As I started following The FlyLady, I slowly implemented her routines. I let go of clothes that the boys did not like or wear. I thinned down the amount of clothes we had in the house.
As I was implementing routines, I taught my children the routines, too. We learned together in many ways. I taught them how to put their laundry away by putting pictures on the drawers. We folded laundry together and made it fun.
We kept at it, and over time, their closets got better. We still had to switch out clothes seasonally, but with less clothes, it was much easier.
We learned to let go of extra stuff that was causing us more work. That is really what clutter does to us.
All these years later, I am maintaining our home. My children are maintaining their closets, and none of us dump our clothes in a pile to sort through them. Each month, we spend 15 minutes pulling stuff out of our closet or dresser and donate what can be used by someone else.
The FlyLady system does work! I encourage you to hang in there and resist the urge to do a mass purge. It will wear you out and burn you out.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to declutter for 15 minutes in the Master Closet. (If you have children, this is a great mission for them, too!)
My menu plan for Monday is beef stroganoff with a salad.
Have a blessed day!