You all know that I keep up with FlyLady and that I've talked about her before on this blog. I have even changed my opinion on some of her philosophies of housekeeping. I am not a "FlyBaby" as her supporters call themselves. I think that is a bit cultish, and, although Marla the FlyLady seems like a lovely human being, I don't do personality cults. I think that's probably because I'm jealous of the cultee.
The other reason I can't be called a "FlyBaby" is that keeping house, like any other day-in-day-out activity (think of exercise, eating right, being a good person, keeping up with your finances) doesn't have any magic secrets. Faire le ménage, c'est apprendre à mourir, to paraphrase Montaigne. You can get tips from somebody, but ultimately it's up to you to figure out how you tick.
I do think she's on to something with her "routines," though. She says that a person who struggles to keep up their house needs a routine to keep them on track. A routine is something that you should do every day, or on a regular basis. The sine qua non of FlyLady is to clean your kitchen sink every day. This is a point of order in an otherwise chaotic household. It allows you to always do your dishes at any moment. Although I don't necessarily do this rule, I think the point is well taken.
I would like to share with you my daily routine I've figured out. These help me avoid doom. I have actually found that I don't have to do each one every day, however, checking my list at least keeps me thinking about it and not putting it off too long.
1. Make beds. I actually slack on this a lot. However, in theory, I like to make the beds because, like a shiny sink, these are a point of order in the bedroom part of the house. Otherwise, the whole area can look like the garbage tip. This also kind of assumes picking up in the bedrooms: get stuff (e.g. laundry) off the floors, take any dishes to the kitchen, etc. I put it under the rubric of making beds in my mind to simplify my list.
2. Pick up in the living room. I try to pick up in the living room each day. Especially dishes, but we still have lots of toys, paper, etc., because we are not terribly strict on what we let the daughter have in there.
3. Pick up in the family room. I'd rather have a house with one big room than two separate rooms to keep tidy, but I try to do this every day too. Actually, since my daughter doesn't always come down into the family room, it's easier to keep up with.
4. Clean out cat box. I have two enormous cats. I used to have one tiny cat who was hardly any trouble but these guys eat a lot and make a lot of stink. Therefore, every day.
5. Kitchen. My kitchen routine is do the dishes and sweep the floor. Having the kitchen clean is a big deal because that lets you make meals, handle kids' food requests and so forth. It's a pain but there is a return on the investment.
6. Bathrooms tidy. Flylady refers to this as "swish and swipe." Just pick up and put away the toothpaste, brushes, makeup, etc. and wipe things down with some window cleaner.
7. Laundry. The fly says "a load a day keeps chaos away." I think that's pretty much right, but let me say that for a family of three I average slightly over that, but we're not skimpy with towel washing. I think that if your family was bigger than mine, you'd definitely be averaging 1.5-2 loads of laundry a day. I try to think about laundry every day but usually I have laundry sprints where I'll wait a day or two and do three loads or so. I kind of put it on an assembly line where at the end of the day I fold the laundry and put it away. That part is very important too.
8. Quicken. This is not housekeeping per se, but I definitely need to think about the finances each day. Otherwise there are too many transactions to remember. I've found that prioritizing the finances on a daily basis is a definite doom-avoidance measure.
That's it for the daily list. I've found these lists are highly personal, and suited to your family and the particular house you live in. But the daily housekeeping list helps me a lot.
I also have processes that I run on MWF, Weekly and Fortnightly. I'll cover these in different posts.
So, I have this incredibly crappy lawn mower I got off of craigslist. I thought it had decent specs, and I did ask the guy to start it for me, which he did. However, I used the lawn mower about 4 times before it started giving me grief. It wouldn't start until the 100th pull (long after I'd had to use the asthma inhaler.) It would quit every row I'd mow. The self-propelled throttle thingy was upside down so holding it in place killed your back. In January, I had it repaired to the tune of $200+ dollars. (Do not ask me why this happened, I am not happy about the circumstances surrounding that. Actually, okay. They did a ton of work without giving me a figure. Then they're like, "here you go, it's $200.") Still, I thought, "great, this'll be a really good lawnmower now." They again started it up in the parking lot and everything. Worked like a charm. I started lawn mowing season and it was back to its old tricks--only worse. Finally, last month, I could not get it to start. At all. So now, I have to get a new lawn mower AND dispose of the old one. Turns out I can have it recycled by a place that does ferrous metals. So, that part is fine. But I have to drain the oil and gas first. I for one have very little small engine experience (if I'd had some, I wouldn't have been in this situation to begin with). However, I did some research and here is what I figured out. For oil. If you turn the lawn mower upside-down, you should see a little cap screwed into a hole near the blade base, like this: Then, you screw it off, like this: Then you can, if you have some, use some cinder blocks to lift the lawn mower up so the oil can drain out. I just balanced it on the bucket, like this: That's it for the oil part. For the gasoline, many online sources say to "run the lawn mower until the gasoline is dry." Which would make perfect sense, except for the fact that I'm readying it for the dump because it won't run! Anyway, I did the logical thing and held it on its side while draining the gasoline into another pail. So for the disposal, where I live anyway, you have to take the oil and gas down to the hazardous waste recycling place. Then you take the lawn mower to the ferrous metals place. Fortunately, when folded up, the stupid thing fits in my trunk.