StorkNet interview with
The FlyLady - Marla Cilley
Your personal online coach to help you gain control of your house and home

Visit FlyLady's website"Who is the FlyLady?" you ask. She just could be your answer to getting your house and life in order! Everyone is talking about her, everyone is listening to her and everyone is trying her suggestions and tips. With a no-nonsense approach, the FlyLady will help you establish new habits and develop daily routines, but there is one major rule... No whining allowed! She mixes housekeeping advice with insights about life and love and anything else that is on her mind.

The first assignment is to shine your kitchen sink and get dressed all the way to lace up shoes, fix your hair and put on your make-up. Talk about whining... you may not like this at first, but wait... it will change your life!

When inviting FlyLady to be our guest, I asked her what she was all about and of course, I wanted to know what FlyLady meant. She replied, "I am a Fly Fishing instructor, among the many other hats I wear - wife of a judge, mother of a 26 year old son, and I am an elected County Commissioner. My name has evolved to mean Finally Loving Yourself. This is what I teach."

Read on about...

FlyLady's Eleven Commandments

1. Keep your sink clean and shiny!
2. Get dressed every morning, even if you don't feel like it. Don't forget your lace-up shoes.
3. Do your Morning and Before Bed Routines EVERY DAY.
4. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by the computer
5. Pick up after yourself. IF YOU GET IT OUT, PUT IT AWAY.
6. Don't try to do two projects at once. ONE JOB AT A TIME. Don't pull out more than you can put back in 1 hour.
7. Do something for yourself everyday, maybe even every morning and night.
8. Work as fast as you can to get a job done. This will give you more time to play later.
9. Smile even when you don't feel like it. It is contagious.
10. Make your mind up to be happy and you will be. Don't forget to laugh everyday.
11. Pamper yourself, you deserve it!


SHE: Sidetracked Home Executives
FLY: Finally Loving Yourself

Don't forget to visit FlyLady's web page!

About FlyLady's Email Group

... also known as the email mentoring system. Join up, lace on your shoes and get started!

FlyLady image used with permission from FlyLady.

StorkNet: Hi and Welcome, FlyLady! We at StorkNet are a needy bunch of new and soon-to-be new moms who are in dire need of direction. Some new changes in our lives have gotten us out of step and we're ready to get back on track. So thank you for visiting with us and imparting some helpful hints and lots of inspiration. I know what we really need to do is sign up for your mailing list and stop by your new beautiful website, so I'm encouraging everyone to do so. As we get started with our questions, I'd first like to ask you if you ever dreamed you'd be doing this on the Internet all over the world? And, how do you find time for all of us?

FlyLady: How do I find I find the time? LOL! I have a very busy life, I am a wife, mother of a grown son, an elected County Commission, serve on several volunteer boards and mentor thousands on the Internet. The only way I can do all of this, is that I have set my priorities. I come first, then my Sweet Darling Husband, our home and then everything else. Without my routines in place I would not be able to keep everything on track. My routines are my game plan. Every day I read my personal mission statement out loud to myself. "To find joy in everything I do, and be the loving devoted wife to my Sweet Darling." I look at my schedule and ask myself a very important question, "Is there anything that I don't find joy in doing?" The answer is always "No!" If I ever answered "Yes," I would take steps to get out of those projects.

StorkNet: Sounds perfectly planned, as we expected. Thank you... and now to our questions.

Vicki: Hello there, FlyLady! I'm a Oregonian FlyBaby. I'm really looking forward to and anticipating this new challenge of tackling my housekeeping and organization. It's not just a program to follow, but also an entire lifestyle change. My question is that after reading through all of your information, could you please list specifically what supplies I should have in order to help me? A few I happen to remember offhand were Post-it Notes, a journal and a daily planner. Is there something else that I may be forgetting? I am extremely excited about your concept of house cleaning and organization. My dh has been riding me for years about staying on top of everything. But with four kids and all their various activities, it can be really hard task at times. I am rather proud of myself though... my sink has looked beautiful for almost two full weeks now (thanks directly to you!). And I'm just starting to incorporate my morning and bedtime routines. You are a true inspiration and motivation to us all. Thank you so much for that.

FlyLady: Thank you. The main item to have is just a simple notebook to keep your routines. Let's not obsess about this. I can obsess too! There is no special way to put the notebook together. All you really need:

  • Sheet protectors for your printed out morning and before bed routines.
  • Dry erase markers, blank tabs, just in case you want to put other things in this notebook.
  • A Calendar (either a pocket planner ($3.00) or family calendar you can post on the refrigerator)
  • A small notepad or post-it notes (for reminders or shopping list)
  • A Pen
  • A zippered pouch for little things, stamps, cards, etc.

Having one place to keep these helpful and important things: your routines, family phone numbers, emergency numbers and such is efficient. This is just a place for things, so you will not have to search the house over when you need a number. This way it is always handy. I was never able to use a planner, because I would forget to check my schedule and I could not read my own hand writing. This is how I taught myself to keep up with my busy schedule. Now I still have my notebook that lives on my kitchen counter, but now I use a Palm Pilot for all my appointments. I don't have to worry about not being able to read what I have written. LOL It is portable too! For many years, I used a zippered notebook with a handle for students. This was my portable office. So when you are having to wait for an appointment, you can do little desk jobs: write thank you notes, pay a bill or work on your grocery list and menus. Every minute counts when you are a SHE with little time for anything at all. Try to keep it simple! I know I have probably told you more than you needed to know.

Cathie: How does a working mother do the program? I see where a lot of things are done during the day. Thanks!

FlyLady: I do have several reminders that come out during the day through email, but these are there to brainwash you into remembering to do them. Many of my members who work outside of the home, leave these in their inbox until they have addressed them in some way. Then at the end of the day, all are deleted. I wish all my members knew the value of a minute the way my working members do. The secret to doing this system is to start with very simple routines and go to bed at a decent hour so you can get up without a struggle. Those of you with children who are up and down during the night are going to have to sleep on the children's schedule as much as possible. Take a few minutes of time to pamper yourself and don't spend all your free time on the computer. Get your fanny to bed, instead of chatting. This works well for Payroll SHEs.

Amy: Why should I get dressed all the way to my shoes? I'd rather wait and put them on as I get ready to leave.

FlyLady: This is so easy! So you will have on your "Go To Work" ATTITUDE. If you are in your gown tail all day, you will feel slouchy and lazy, in lounging mode. If you will get dressed to lace-up shoes, your head will think it is time to work, instead of veg out on the couch. Try it for one week and prove me wrong. THOUSANDS HAVE TRIED, NONE HAVE SUCCEEDED. When you lace up your shoes, you have tied them to your feet so you can not unconsciously kick them off and revert back to LOUNGING MODE!

Nancy G: How can I keep organized while chasing a very active two year old? It seems that I can never keep the clutter at bay because I am always having to lift something away from her reach. The biggest problem for me is no kitchen counter space. Small kitchen and everything has to be pushed back six inches. Help! Thanks.

FlyLady: Now is the time to teach this child the meaning of "No!" Also, let her help you. They want to be in the kitchen helping. Give them a job. You will be surprised at how much fun the both of you can have, if you will channel this curiosity and let them feel useful. Even if it is play, they will be learning how to wipe, and clean, peel potatoes with peeler (not a real sharp one). Many two year olds love to vacuum, sweep and feather dust. Give them their own tools. A little spray bottle, child's broom, feather duster, rake. One member that was interviewed in Oklahoma has gotten her Dear Daughter (two year old) a toy vacuum. She loves it! She help put dishes and silverware away (not knives) and make her bed nice like Mommy, pick up toys and she has her own routines. Children are very trainable at two. You may also have too many things on your counters and tables. Get rid of some of the clutter. You will both feel better.

Leslie: Dear FlyLady, I love your ideas, but they seem geared to a work-at-home or stay-at-home situation. I work several 12 hour days each week. Can you make any suggestions to amend your plans to better suit someone who works this sort of schedule? Thanks for your clear thinking!

FlyLady: You have to go to bed at a decent hour and get dressed as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning. As well as laying your clothes out in the evening before bed. Even simple routines will get you started toward a more peaceful life.

Mary Beth: Okay, I need help! I've got four children (ages 10, 8, 3 and 5 months) a husband and a cat! I am constantly "picking up" all day... by the time I'm through "picking up," there's no time for actual cleaning. How do I get my family organized so they can help out? I think all but my baby should be doing their fair share. I should be able to spend my housework time actually cleaning instead of cleaning the trail of junk they all leave behind them. Help please!!

FlyLady: You have to set the example first and quit feeling like a martyr. You are blessing your family each time you pick up and clean. The way to get more family involvement, is to make it fun. Do a crazy clean like one of my members shared today. The whole family pitches in for one hour each week and they do all their weekly cleaning. As for the constant pick up, you have too many things for them to get into and they are not putting them away when they are finished. Every hour on the hour, have a two minute game of pickup and put away to fun music. Set a timer and everyone work as fast as they can. Each night before bed attack the hot spots the same way. Everyone has to put away their things before leaving the room for bed. Sort all their toys into four boxes and rotate the boxes each month. Cull the broken ones and put them away, then get out a fresh new box of toys for them to play with. NEW TO THEM!

Alison: I'm really struggling with the morning routine because I have a one year old who gets up really early and doesn't nap well. Any suggestions?

FlyLady: What time are you going to bed? Get your bath in the evening so you can get dressed rather fast in the morning. Your routines may be too big. Baby steps. Practice. Put the baby down for a nap at the same time each day. (S)he doesn't have to sleep, just get things still for a while. This will be good for you too. You need the quiet time as much as the baby.

NessaBelle: How do I get a almost four year old to help clean her room? We have tried everything. Thanks.

FlyLady: Just telling a four year old to clean a room is too overwhelming. You have to give them specific instructions. Get rid of the clutter that is clogging up this room. The poor baby doesn't know where to start or what to do. Help them get it clean first and then establish routines for this child with pictures on a sheet. They can help cut up magazines for this. The problem is too many toys and clothes they don't wear. Gather them up and teach them the joy of giving. Clean out their drawers so they have a place to put their things and clothes.


Sharon: What is the best way to organize the "plastics cabinet?" Mine has sippy cups, rubbermaid containers, pitchers, plastic bowls, and countless lids, plastic plates, etc. etc. etc. And it is a mess. Help!

FlyLady: I would toss most of it out. You have too many. Only keep the bare necessities. I threw out all my rubbermaid, tupperware, and buttertubs long ago. I use ziplock bags for leftovers. Toss and go. No guilt. As for sippy cups, Just how many do you need in one day, if you wash the dishes morning and evening. Only having a few will force you to do the dishes.

Our clutter is making our lives unmanageable. Tame the clutter and you will bring peace back to your life.

JenT: I have joined your email list and printed out the first two emails that I received (in digest form). I have to admit, I feel so overwhelmed! Where do I start? I am such a perfectionist that I would rather not do anything than do something poorly, and hence I feel this need to jump in and do everything that you're suggesting all at once, which I know just isn't feasible. Thanks!

FlyLady: Stop this!!! House work done incorrectly, still blesses your family. Did you read your welcome letter? If not, do it now.

I want you to go shine your sink, FIRST!

Get Dressed to Shoes

Lay out your clothes for tomorrow.

This is it.

Baby Steps will get you there. I could not do it all either. For the first month, I just concentrated on keeping my sink clean and shiny. It is contagious. I promise. Our perfectionism and the belief that we can do it all, is why our homes are in the shape they are in. Let go of this and live.

Trixi: If you had one piece of advice for organization for a mom who works full time outside the home what would it be?

FlyLady: Go to bed at a decent and get off of the computer until the wee hours of the morning. You are not getting enough sleep. You are dead tired. STOP THIS and you will find the time for your routines.

Deborah: One of your "11 Commandments" says not to get sidetracked by the computer. I find myself spending way too much time on the computer and I admit it. I have an 11 month old son and I still can't seem to stay away from the computer. My husband works on the computer when he comes home from work so I can't use it then. Please help, I'm addicted to Storknet.;) Just kidding though. I do need some kind of guidelines though since my son is getting to the walking stage now. Thanks.:)

FlyLady: We have a very honest member that sees her problem. My hat is off to you. Many people are in denial about this, as they are about most addictions.

Use the computer and Storknet family as a reward for completing your routines. Do not turn on the computer until your routines are done. I know that you can get your Franny in Gear, when you have this computer carrot waiting for you.

Use the computer as a tool, instead of place to get attention for whining. Challenge each other to 45 minutes of work and meet back at the top of the hour for 15 minutes of support and more challenges. On the SHE boards, we call this TOTH! See you at the TOTH.

Set a timer and limit your time on the computer. Stick to it. You will be so surprised at how much you can get done, when you will get your Franny up out of that chair.

Stephanie: I have a couple of Pam and Peggy's books, and I've tried their 3 x 5 system before, but even that's too much for me! Can you help as pathetic a housekeeper as I? After the sink, what are the "babiest" baby steps? (P.S. Speaking of babies, I have one to keep up with -- and things really do take twice as long now!)

FlyLady: The first thing I notice is that you are putting yourself down. This has got to stop. YOU ARE NOT A PATHETIC HOUSEKEEPER! Now you have me crying. It breaks my heart to hear my dear sisters say negative things to themselves. Now take this back. You are just overwhelmed and you need some guidance. {{{hugs}}}

Shine your sink,

Get dressed to shoe, fix your hair and moisturize your face or put on some make up.

Lay out your clothes for tomorrow.

You can do this. I promise. I don't care if it does take you twice as long. This is where to start.

Tica: DH and I were having issues about the clutter and dirt in the house. After going back to work, we were unable to keep up with all the housework, work, and kids. Anyway, I hired a cleaning lady to come in once a week for two hours. She is doing a wonderful job and has made our life better. So I need some advice about how to unclutter one area of the house... When we come in, we tend to drop everything on the kitchen counter which is a clutter of mail (incoming and outgoing), photos, stuff from work, lists, and change (from pockets, keys, pens, etc) How do I de-clutter this area? And keep it that way?

FlyLady: As soon as you walk in the door put things where they belong. You dump them in a hot spot. Find them a home and deal with it as soon as you get home. It will only take minutes. Declare this area a clutter-free zone. I used to have one of these, It was a chair in our entrance. Once a declared it my clutter-free zone, I would actually hang up my coat. Is your coat closet too full? Do you have a desk to put your mail on? Toss all the junk mail immediately. Do you have a trash can handy? Do you have a place to put your keys? I keep mine hooked to my purse. If all else fails, keep a bouquet of flowers on your hot spot. Before bed and in the morning check your favorite hot spots and put out those fires before they get out of control.

Shelby: As a mom of three children with a full time job, I find it impossible to get a lot done around the house. The best way I know is getting the kids to help. How do I teach my eight year old not to be a slob? The rest of the family is fairly neat and he is in the room for ten seconds and it's a disaster area. He is horrible. He drops his clothes, garbage everything where he stands. We have followed him around, grounded him, reminded him constantly. We've tried making it a game, we've tried paying him, we've tried having him realize its a family responsibility. Nothing seems to work. I just can't keep up with him any longer. HELP!

FlyLady: By you setting the example. He is looking for attention and he gets it by being messy or he is probably a HeSHE(sidetracked home executive). He has a lack of focus. Many of my members have been this way all their life. Having "Born Organized Parents" is the hardest part. Many of these children don't respond well to go clean your room. They are just as overwhelmed as my 16,000 members, they don't know where to start. Try helping him learn routines, but this is going to be hard if you don't need them. If all else fails, have him email me and I will help him. If you are really Born Organized, think about the way you speak to him. No more negative talk. There is no way you can understand the turmoil that he is in. I am not making excuses for him, I just want you to understand that he can be helped.

Kelly: I actually have two questions. #1 is that I am in the process of getting my body back in shape after having baby #2 in December. I have a hard time fitting it into my daily routine. I like to get up and do it before getting a shower and doing my morning routine but I would have to get up at the crack of dawn before the kids get up. How do you suggest working in a workout?

FlyLady: Make it part of your day. Exercise does not have to be sweaty to be good for you. A walk in the park is just as good as other forms of exercise, as long as you do it consistently. 10 minutes a day is better than no minutes. Baby steps. If you make it too hard, you won't do it at all. Make it part of your day by including the children. Dance around the house with them. Laugh and have fun. You can work up quite a sweat doing your weekly cleaning.

Kelly: Question #2: I don't have a washer and dryer right now and with a family of 4 the laundry really piles up. I go to my parents house to do my laundry but it is an all day affair. Do you suggest doing that on errand day or taking a whole separate day to do it?

FlyLady: If you go to the laundry, it would not take you as long, but that is a question of affordability. How many loads do you do a week? Do you have time to do it on an errand day? That is probably piling on! I would not suggest that. I used to have to do that when my son was a baby. We would spend the day with his Grandmother and everyone loved it. Make the most of it and enjoy the help with the children, if you have it. You will not always have a mother, so take this time to get to know her better. I know, because my mother just died at Christmas.

Kelly: Thanks for the help you've been. My life has already changed!

Kathi: I really need to get organized and stay that way but I am clueless on how to start! HELP! :) I found your website and testimonial very interesting and it's made me hopeful. I am somewhat doubtful though that this will work as well for mothers at home with young children (my second baby is due within two weeks and I have a 4.5 year old son as well). I noticed that your son is grown and wanted to know if you really think this system will work for someone who has mess-makers in their midst all day long? Morning and evening routines won't keep my house clean, not with two boys! My 4.5 year old will pick up his things but not without supervision that takes quite a bit of time from my day. Nothing I have done seems to change this fact. Add to this that I am a terrible pack rat and neither my husband or I are what you could call "neat freaks" LOL. I thank you in advance for any advice you are able to share with me (all of us).

FlyLady: Why should he clean up when you don't practice what you are preaching at him. Get rid of the clutter and you will see a difference in all the family. Also, your attitude has to change. I hear some whining too. "Morning and evening routines won't keep my house clean, not with two boys!" Yes they will, if you will get rid of the clutter, so they will not have so much to pull out and mess up. You have to set the example. Have you joined the group yet and started with your baby steps? You can all learn. Even 4.5 year olds can do routines. They love them. Cut out pictures with them and make a chore chart. Don't say you don't have time! Work on this together. I don't expect you to be a neat freak. Start with small routines.

Kimberly: How/where do you fit personal exercise into your routine with an early rising baby? With shower and dressing at the top of the morning routine and a baby who needs to eat right away I am not sure how to fit in much needed exercise. I am keeping my sink clean though... Thank you.

FlyLady: What about using the baby in your exercise? I have seen this done. Take a walk with a stroller, do aerobics to fun music while the baby watches. Get a back pack/sling for baby and hike. Or just do sit ups with the baby on your legs. Make it fun for you and your baby.

FlyLady: Thank you for asking some very good questions. If you have not already joined our group, then by all means come on over and sign up. The more the merrier. I never dreamed that I could mentor 100 members much less 13,000, but God has a plan for our group. I believe that when we take care of ourselves that we are better able to take care of our families. This is not a selfish thing to do. I want you to FLY along with me to find the peace that God has in store for you. Finally Loving Yourself is the key to this happy and fulfilling life.

Marla AKA FlyLady

FlyLady image used with permission from FlyLady.

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