Wednesday, December 1

Charlie VS FlyLady: How My House went on a Diet

The other day I got mad. I couldn’t find my favorite comfy boots. Because my house was a wreck. AGAIN. Seemed like no matter how I “piled” stuff (Charlie’s version of cleaning) the piles eventually exploded and our happy little home, while still happy, was a good candidate for the TV show Clean Sweep.
About a year ago, I tried to completely organize my house. I even signed up for an awesome website called FLYLADY. This FlyGal sends you wonderful reminders about things you need to do the next day. And she sends them EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. A few months weeks days into her plan of attack, I gave up. (I get points for honesty on that.)
Because my house had sooooooo much stuff, I would never find the carpet again. So things kinda sat around for a year. Clothes, papers, items from my Gma’s estate I couldn’t part with (including grocery lists that she would write when I went to the store for her)- all of it PILED in not-so-neat stacks in our 750 square foot home- that we share with a mom, a dad, 3 kids, a cat named Puppy, and the random visits of an occasional mouse and our next door neighbor girl, Fred.
We lived, in our self induced CHAOS (which FlyLady dubs as “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome”) and existed. With piles of stuff.
Me, and A.D.D. (which I dub as “Avoiding Domestic Duties”), and all this shhhtuff. Not much of an existence at all
Flash forward to last week.
I couldn’t find my dang boots. I had to wear the hooker heel boots to Thanksgiving with Matt’s family. Not the image your mother-in-law wants her daughter-in-law to present- "I'm thankful for my own corner of the world…"
And something inside me snapped while my feet were aching from the hooker heels.
I lost a bunch of weight, and am still going… (173 ya’ll! Whoo-hoo!)
What if I looked at my piles of stuff as POUNDS? What could I lose?

My whole life I had told myself I couldn’t diet. But I really could.
Likewise, my whole life I have been saying I don’t like cleaning. But what if I really did?
And so began the diety version of my (now close) relationship with the FlyLady.
Step 1. Shine your sink everyday. That’s all you do the first day.
Now, I had spammed enough of the FlyLady’s emails (sorry FlyLady! Just being honest with ya!) to know that it gets more intense with each day. Plus Matt is in charge of the kitchen. (Dishes, mopping, and cat litter. Yes folks, he does it all!) (Which is usually why the kitchen is the least chaotic room in the house!) So I skipped step 1, and with my zeal to redeem my honor at Christmas with Matt’s family by finding and wearing proper mommy shoes, and my newfound poundage/cleaning analogy, I jumped head first into the house diet. I did it exactly like I begin all my diet episodes.
Throw out the stuff you don’t need.
So I began sorting Clothes Mountain. I took plastic storage tubs and lined them up across the living room. Each person had a tub of their own, and we also made a “give away” tub, and one for costumes. (Because we are that kind of a family. Theatrical and such.) We sorted and folded and debated about what to keep and what to toss. We ended up with 5 trash bags full of donation clothes. Just in the living room. By the end of our time sorting, we were giving practically everything away. Cause we didn’t want to deal with it.
And my living room became a living room again, instead of looking like a second hand store barfed on my treadmill.
I imagine FlyLady to have a big authoritative voice, thundering down from the heavens: It is GOOD.
And just like when I lost those first 12 pounds, I got excited. Because I COULD do it. And now, I wanted to see how much more I could do.
Matt was a total sweetheart, and bagged up all the laundry in our room (a haven for clothes that have been worn once, and are too dirty to put back in drawers, but not dirty enough to re-wash). After he did that, I was able to get my game plan together. I would clean off the tops of my dressers, and re-discover my writing desk. (I knew it was in there somewhere.) So the Friday after Thanksgiving, while the kids were gone, we attacked the areas of our bedroom that vexed us the most. The tops of dressers that had been catching everything from dirty socks to paperclips, unopened mail to Christmas ribbon. (Not kidding you- my dresser was loaded 3 feet above the top of the dresser.) But with every item I put in it’s place (a lot of which got put in the trash), I kept thinking “You started at 238, and now you are almost back down to your lowest recorded weight. It didn’t happen overnight, but I did take effort and sacrifice. Keep going!” and that helped soften the blow to my A.D.D. condition. And before I knew it, I had completely cleaned off, polished, and arranged the top of my dresser! Matt got his done too!
And FlyLady said: It is GOOD.
Next, I went into the bathroom. Not to pee (although you know me, there’s plenty of that going on.), but to scrubba scrubba organize. I shined my toilet, hand mopped the floors, and even cleaned out the bathroom sink cabinet. Including the drawer with 80 jagillion band-aid wrappers and not one actual band-aid to be found. I dustbusted out the drawers, Clorox wipe-ed them, and threw away everything we don’t need. I washed the trash can, something I used to make fun of Margaret the Saint for doing when I was a kid. I was even able to actually put CLEAN TOWELS and washcloths onto the rack I specifically bought for such a time, but had never encountered the time they ended up on said rack. Until now.
And FlyLady said: It is GOOD!!!!
I never thought in a million years these 3 rooms would be clean all at the same time. But they are. Not only are they clean, but they are organized. Pounds and pounds of stuff lost. That’s a train I can ride all night long!
So today, I tackled the dreaded dining room. Piled with secrets only Jesus would know about. Cause I hadn’t touched a few of the piles for so long I couldn’t remember what was in them.
I am going to go off track for a minute and talk about that point as it relates to weight. 2 years ago, I had what I considered solid reasons for staying fat (no pun intended, but it’s pretty funny!). I was scared of hard work, I was afraid of diets, I thought I would lose my “fat and jolly” demeanor if I got skinny. Looking back at all those things now, I think to myself “Why did I wait so long to do this? Why was I so afraid? Why did I think I couldn’t do it?” It almost seems silly to me now, but for those who are in the first steps of the journey, it’s exactly how you feel. And I will never forget feeling that way. Now that I’m over the halfway point, and a few pounds away from 70 pounds lost, I know that my worth as a person has very little to do with my weight. But I let it (weight) be the driving force when making decisions. I’m already fat, so what is one more oreo going to hurt? I’m too fat for the gym, so I’ll just sleep. Stuff like that. I’m betting lots of you know exactly what I mean.
Back to the house diet… the piles of things had been in my dining room so long, I forgot WHY I kept them. The beautiful thing about this is once I was removed from the reasons- legit or totally BS- it was easier for me to let go. To toss unnecessary things out. (Just like pounds!) And I got exactly half of my piled up dining room cleared out. Scary thing is, I was having fun while I was cleaning. Yep, folks, hell has officially frozen over. Expect flocks of pigs in the morning sky… plus I found my comfy boots. The hooker heel boots can be put away until Date Night. (((GRIN)))
Right now, I can see over 80% of my floor in my house as a whole. I have space, I have freedom, I am comfortable moving around.  And I wonder…why DID I wait so long? I always push myself to the brink of total destruction before I make a move that changes my entire existence. That’s probably not a good quality, but it is an honest assessment of my reality. (Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?) Once I start making the change into a new way of thinking, I can do anything. So can you.
I can lose weight. You can lose weight. My house can lose weight. And we all can come out smelling like roses. Or Lysol. Or whatever you like smelling the best.
WE CAN DO THIS. One pound of shhhhhtuff at a time.
FlyLady said: THIS IS GREAT!!!!!
And Charlie wholeheartedly agreed.

If you would like to know more about Fly Lady and her perpetual quest to save us from our A.D.D. and CHAOS, please check out her website at  where she will grow you in all things cleaning. Love it!
In her defense, her saying "It is good/great" is totally in my imagination. Although I'm 99.9% sure she's proud of the progress I have made. This is not how she intended folks to do her program at all, but it’s working for me this week since McMuscles is on vacation. And I am not lifting weights and being sore all dang day. So I’m hitting the house diet hard this week, then can start the maintenance phase with the FlyLady's daily flight plans next week. Just working with the time I’ve got!  And a big shoutout to my favorite WF Jia, who encouraged me to be active on the FLyLady's wall on FB and start confessing my domestication difficutlies. THANKS JIA!!!! I lurrrrrrve you!


Untypically Jia said...

Love you too my whore-faced FlyFriend.

It is good.

Colleen @ Goodbye, Fat Girl! said...

I tried FlyLady several times. I just would up feeling guilty because when she told me that even stay-at-home and work-at-home mommies should get ready for the day from their "faces to their laces" I actually flipped off my computer.

There are a ton of great principles there to be had, though. I truly do NOT thrive in chaos and even have a "daily task" list (that sometimes goes the way of the DoDo Bird and is sometimes in action) so that I feel comfortable at all times.

That being said, last night's dinner dishes are probably still in the sink (that is unshined) unless Aron did them while I was sleeping last night. Which I would take as one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse.

Good for you, Charlie! Want to come over and organize some stuff for me?

Anonymous said...

Glad to know I'm not alone in my CHAOS. And I did just find a cape from Halloween...Maybe I'll try it on and see if it makes me want to clean.

Kate Collings said...

Ok Flylady says come one over to KC's house and start de-junking her shhtuff. Pretty please? WEll done hun as a daughter of a professional hoarder I know how hard it can be to get motivated to sort-it-out. Well done. xx

Madame Cur said...

I relate to this post perhaps more than any I've encountered in the blogosphere. We are that kind of creative, theatrical family too and we are so busy doing what we like that domestic duties take a backseat. Losing a ton of weight didn't make me enjoy cleaning more.

I blame my mother. She was the housekeeping harpy while I was growing up. It was stifling.

Lacey said...

I love this blog post. I can relate to it on many levels.

Angela Pea said...


That's her name. Flylady = Marla Cilly. Which is a pretty awesome name, dontcha think?

I've been a FlyBaby for, oh, six or seven years now. Maybe longer? I remember that when I signed up I was member 276 or something like that.

I have the reminders programmed into my phone and calendar and rotate through the zones religiously. My kids know what 27 Fling Boogie means and have assignments on Mt. Washmore.

I love, Love, LOVE FlyLady. She changed my life.

Devin said...

So happy for you Charlie! This was a great can just TELL how good you feel! :)

Anastasia said...

I do flylady kind of half ass, like i do most things. But my bathroom is cleaner then ever and the beds are always made.

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