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It's the last day of the Baby Steps project! I'm getting a late start because I slept in until a decadent 6:30 this morning, so I did my old thing of throwing on some clothes, grabbing a quick breakfast (cold lasagna) and scooting out the door. Made it to work with thirty seconds to spare. I like the new way better.

So I'm gonna do two things this evening: Work my way through my routines as much as possible, and then take a set of photos from approximately the same angles as my "before" photos, so I can show them to you side by side. Because I'm a geek that way.

Previous days )

Day Thirty-one: Don’t get bogged down by wanting to know everything about our system. As your clutter goes away, you will find that you will have time to do the zone detailed cleaning, the weekly home blessing hour, and some of the fun things we do in our e-mails and on the website. You don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step or the 30th step; you just need to keep FLYing!

Okay, so there's no task today, I guess. That'll work. I'm gonna go do what I can do before I poop out. The pain is bad today, but I'm in the mood to do some cleaning, so that's what I'll do.
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I used to resist being told what to do unless I was at work. These days, I use being told what to do as a tool. When I feel overwhelmed by something, I sometimes ask someone near me to tell me what to do next, and it breaks the logjam. Similarly, the morning routines have made my mornings more productive just by existing. When I wonder what I should do next, I just consult the list. This will sound obvious to some people, but it's a different way of approaching my mornings. I used to just get up, sit in front of the computer until about ten minutes before I had to be out the door, and then rush around getting ready for work, often forgetting to take my keys or my wallet with me.

Previous days )

Day Thirty: Look at your calendar for next month. Does anyone have a birthday? We often forget to send cards and purchase gifts because we have so much going on. Put this on your errands list so you can buy cards and gifts on your errand day. If you don’t know what an errands day is, read the FLYing Lesson about Routines to see FlyLady’s Basic Weekly Plan and how to create your own. You don’t have to start doing it yet, just start thinking about it.

Okay, I was just talking about needing a weekly routine. This will be helpful. I'll work on it this morning.

Checking my calendar, the next birthday in my family is my own, and it's more than a month away. Eventually, I'd like to acknowledge all my good friends' birthdays, as well.

---

Finding it hard to get myself to tackle decluttering in the morning, because it's really early, I'm the only one up, and I don't want to get all dusty and dirty before work. So I'm moving it to the afternoons, before my shower, and we'll see how that goes.
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Twisted both ankles yesterday. I'm not making much of a mess today, but I'm also not cleaning. I'll resume when I can hobble a little better.
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It's silly how excited I am to have a weekend free of plans to do anything except working on the last few areas of fuckedness in my home. My desk. My dresser/closet. The disgusting bathroom. The food-storage-container cabinet. The refrigerator.

(I'm not sure I'll get to it, but the storeroom could use decluttering, too, but at least it's all neat in there, because James keeps it so. We're thinking of moving next year during my furlough, though, and that will be easier if we go through all the boxes of stored stuff and get rid of what we don't want to move.)

So. Onward!

Previous days )

Day Twenty-nine: You have worked very hard this past month. Hopefully you have become familiar with our “FLY Washing” e-mail system and you are seeing some progress in your home. It took FlyLady nine months of building her routines one habit at a time to get her home running on automatic pilot. Please do not beat yourself up over this. Anything you do today is better than it used to be! Celebrate each accomplishment and enjoy the process. Before you know it you will be having more time for the things that you love to do.

Right now, go to the Taking Care of You page and find the Weekly Pamper Mission. Read it, then think about when you are going to do it. You may have to put it on your calendar to really make it happen. Schedule yourself some “you” time — you deserve it!

This week's "Mission" is to use vinegar as a hair rinse. Well, that was easy. :-)

The past couple days, we've been playing around with Magic Erasers (well, generic versions of it) and wow, for some stuff, they really are amazing. Our floors are dark, so I don't know if it'll photograph well, but James cleaned ONE square of our old-style linoleum with one and it's so dramatic. Now I guess we'll have to clean the OTHER 749 squares. Le Sigh.

Decluttering will happen today. So will photos. But first, my morning routines and my breakfast. A girl's gotta have her priorities.
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I'm not yet jaded about the joy of waking up to a clean kitchen and a generally unfucked house. It's been four weeks, and some things still need work (my desk; the bathroom; the storeroom), but basically, we can move around and live in here without tripping over junk, and I can cook whenever I want without having to wash dishes and pots first. I will call that a win. The morning routines list is the cornerstone of this. I am happy with it.

If I don't take any breaks, day thirty-one will be on Monday, and I'm going to try to take the same photos I took at the beginning, to see the change.

Previous days )

Day Twenty-eight: Many times when we can’t seem to get going, it is because we are not taking care of ourselves by eating right, drinking our water, or getting enough sleep. As part of your routines, remind yourself to eat good food, drink your water, and get your rest.

I think that menu planning needs to return to my weekly routine. It fell by the wayside when I was on furlough, because if you have all day to figure out what's for dinner and cook it, planning isn't really that important.

And that brings me to a need I've already been sensing: a need for some kind of weekly plan. This will be especially helpful when school starts. If we can just plug away at a small weekly list of maintenance chores, I think the place will get better instead of worse while I'm spending most of my spare time studying.

Quick decluttering note: This past week, I've taken one paper grocery bag a day, stuffed full of clothes my mom bought me at a big yard sale, to a co-worker who is roughly my size. The ones she doesn't want, I'm donating to a nonprofit clothing sale here in town.So I've decluttered my closet by a big huge chunk this week, but I didn't take photos.
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Three things:

1) Thanks to [personal profile] hel for pointing out that my unfucking pictures are on boingboing today. Unattributed. By Cory Doctorow. Do I feel dissed or honored? (Neither, really. It's just fun.)

2) James looked around our place yesterday and said, "You know, I think we got our place unfucked." I still see stuff I need to do, but I think he's right. Our kitchen is clean; we ate at an already-cleared table; he scrubbed the living hell out of the floor, and it just feels more peaceful and ordered in here. In what, twenty-nine days, including two days off? Something like that. Not bad.

3) I was so tired yesterday that I didn't even notice I skipped a day. I did, however, sleep in, and then attempt to time my morning routine, but I got as far as the fifteen-minute decluttering session before it was time to go to work. I'm gonna try it on the weekend, though.

Previous days )

Day Twenty-seven: Today, think about what you are fixing for dinner before 6 p.m. rolls around. You can do it as part of your before-bed routine for tomorrow or as part of your morning routine for today. Write this in your Control Journal.

What’s for dinner tonight?

Hmm. I think I'm gonna do this as a morning thing, because I don't tend to even look at my evening list at this point. I'm still making the morning list a habit.

Tonight, James is making pizza. Last night, he made vegan tacos. Yumma.
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Last week, I started back to The Best Job Ever, but with full-time hours now (I was half-time before). When I get home, I eat dinner, stare into space for a while, and crash. I've been in bed by ten every night, and much earlier some nights. Last night, I managed to cook dinner, and clear a couple things off the table, but really, I wanted nothing more than to go to bed. Fortunately, I knew I'd have a couple hours to work on things in the morning.

One thing about getting up at 5 and starting my morning routines? It tells my brain that I'm making this important. (Not saying if you don't get up at 5, you're not making housework important. I'm talking about me me me here.) It feels like something inside me is on board with the idea that getting and keeping my house clean is going to take some actual time and thought. Ignoring it and hoping it will do itself is strangely ineffective!

Previous days )

Day Twenty-six: FlyLady says it takes us a month to establish a habit:

It takes us a month to establish a habit. I set it up this way because I knew that I would miss a day here and there and I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. That was how I had always done it with my perfectionism. If I missed a day I gave up; well I factored in this part of our personalities into our FlyLady system. This is why we take a whole month to establish one habit. –FlyLady


Today, go look at the bottom of any e-mail you’ve received from the FlyLady BigTent group. Read the first sentence and incorporate it into FLYing!

This is the first sentence: "You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?"

This honestly has helped me. Instead of starting the day with a pile of to-dos from yesterday, I start with a clean slate and just go to #1 on my morning routines list and work my way down. I don't always get to the end of the list, but I also don't start my day anxious and defeated.

Today, after I got up, I read the reminder on my bathroom mirror.

mirror

So I finished dressing (by which I mean washed my face, brushed my teeth, put lotion on) and headed to the kitchen to put away the dishes and clean out the sink. This is NOT the way I used to spend mornings, and I feel so responsible, and like I'm really taking care of myself and my family.
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I've been setting the alarm for 5am so that I have two full hours to get things done before I leave for The Best Job Ever. Today, that meant I sat around and goofed off on the internet for two hours. Well, no, I also made my breakfast, gathered stuff up for work, got dressed without rushing, etc. But still. Tomorrow, I'm gonna try to do my routine first thing so it gets done.

Previous days )

Day Twenty-five: Today, read FlyLady’s personal testimonial on how she started developing her routines one habit at a time. Just so you know, it took her several months to do this; nobody expects you to have your routines accomplished in just one month of BabySteps! Be nice to yourself and don’t beat yourself up. Your consistent BabySteps will get you there.
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I'm going to be gone for the weekend, so I'm going to pick up day 25 of the baby steps on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!
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Crashed out after work yesterday. It's going to take some time to get used to my new schedule.

Previous days )

Day Twenty-four: One of the things that make our home always ready for company is the fact that our main bathroom is clean. Each morning as part of the Morning Routine, FlyLady does something we call the “Swish and Swipe.” This means you swish the toilet with a toilet bowl brush and wipe down the counter tops and sink with a rag and put away all the things you have gotten out. This takes all of two minutes to keep our bathroom ready for anyone.

Make sure you add the Swish and Swipe to your Morning Routine.



I've been doing a half-assed job of this since I started the Baby Steps, but I'll try to make more of a point of it. I was noticing this morning that it's nice to be in a cleanish bathroom, but it could be better.

The washer/dryer guy came by yesterday and postponed the work until today, so I still have some furniture from the store room messing up the living room, but that's temporary. I'm really gonna try to finish my routines today. Wish me luck.
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Previous days )

Day Twenty-three: Today we are going to add another routine to our day. FlyLady likes to call this the “get home from work” or “get home from school” routine. Whatever you name it, it is your afternoon routine.

Make a new page in your Control Journal for your Afternoon Routine. As with any of your routines, you will have to adapt to fit your family. Your Control Journal is your guide for BabyStepping your way through you day.

Not sure what to include in your afternoon routine? Read the Control Journal step on routines.


I already started this page yesterday. And yesterday, after my first day back to work, we had to clean out the storeroom in preparation for getting a washer and dryer, so I didn't work on the control journal at all. I hope to have the energy to do it when I get home from work.
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It's my first day back to work after furlough. I leave around 7, so I set my alarm for 5, so that I have time for my morning routine and some writing before I have to get out the door. So far, so good. I'm hoping to do some of the quieter cleaning in the morning so James has less to do, and so I can start the day on a productive note. It'll be interesting to see if I'm able to do everything on the morning-routines list before I leave.

Yesterday was the worst pain day in recent memory, but I still managed to do the basics, which brings up this thought: apparently, to me, "the basics" means:

* getting dressed to street clothes
* feeding us real food
* doing at least some of the dishes (James and I have both been pretty good about this; could be better, but pretty good)
* picking up after myself
* keeping the Hot Spots from exploding
* making my lunch for the next day
* making sure the clean clothes are put away and the dirty clothes are in the hampers

I've been slacking on the decluttering for the past few days, but because I did so much of it for two weeks, the whole place is easier to keep clean. Still, I'm going to get back to the fifteen-minutes-a-day thing because the job is not yet done. Oh, Freecycle, how I love you. (And I have TONS of clothes to give away; starting today, I'll take a bag a day to my co-worker, and if she doesn't want them, I'll donate them.)

Previous days )

Day Twenty-two: [ad for her pre-fab Control Journal, and then] All the BabyStep directions are on the website, too, in the FLYing Lessons. Learn how to build your own control journal in 15 steps.

I'm going to work on this today. So far, it contains my morning and evening routines, a copy of the Amsler Grid I use to test my eyes, and that page of "inspiration". I'd like it to be more robust, because it really is helping me to have something tangible to look at when I need motivation to do the next thing.

Hmm. Making my bed will not work in the mornings, because there's someone in it. I'll have to put it on a new "getting home from work" routine checklist. I'll go do that now.

---

Okay, I did that and managed everything on my morning routines except the fifteen minutes of decluttering, which really makes more sense to do when everyone's awake. I think getting up early is going to work out. And I'm going to add "get some writing done" to my morning routines, because otherwise, I spend all this extra time in the morning goofing off and slowly working through the morning routines, when I would really like to get some work done on my writing.
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Three weeks, and we are company-ready at almost all times. This is big for me. Now I hope we (not I, we) can keep this up after I go to work. I figure I'll be here less to clean, but I'll also be here less to mess up.

Previous days )

Day Twenty-one: Here is something else on our website. Each day (Monday-Friday) we put up an Ask FlyLady Question, and FlyLady answers it. You can read this week’s questions at the Ask FlyLady page.

Meh. Fine. A lot of her website is basically testimonials and ads for her products. I mostly just ignore those parts.

So anyway, moving on. It's a high-pain day, but it's also the last day of my summer furlough (two unpaid months off from work), so I feel motivated to get things put away (laundry) and ready for tomorrow (clothes for work, lunch packed, etc.) May as well get to it.

If you're doing some decluttering and unfucking and stuff, how is it going for you?
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Got my eyes dilated today, so I won't be spending a lot of time on the computer for the next few hours. I was proud of myself (and James) when I awoke to a clean kitchen after yesterday's gnocchi mess. I didn't *want* to clean up after it, but I behaved like an adult and did it, with help. This is progress.

Previous days )

Day Twenty: Include laundry in your morning and evening routines; this makes getting up and getting dressed much easier. Laundry doesn’t take long to do when we don’t procrastinate one of the five steps: sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away. It only takes a few short minutes. When you include laundry in your routines everyone is blessed. Nothing says “I love you” more than clean underwear!

We don't have a washer and dryer, but we may soon, according to our landlady. At any rate, I've been making sure the laundry ends up in one of the two hampers (one in the bedroom, one outside the bathroom), and I'll put that in my routines.

As soon as my vision returns to normal, I'm gonna attack the kitchen cupboards.
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Previous days )

Day Nineteen: There's no task today; just an essay about making your home into your own personal B&B: http://www.flylady.net/d/getting-started/31-beginner-babysteps/day-19/

Today, I'm making gnocchi for a Facebook rec.food.cooking cookalong. But first, I'm going to do the few dishes in the sink and put out the Hot Spots, etc. No sense trying to cook if everything's not clean!

Yesterday was a super-low-energy day, so I did the very basics, but I didn't do a round of decluttering. I think I'll be up for it today, though. Pics later.

High pain day, but the kitchen is staying clean even with the messy gnocchi thing. I'm doing cleaning a few minutes at a time, because that's all I can do, and that's enough. It's such a great joy to look around my house and see it getting more comfortable, WITHOUT being all worn out. Anyway, have some gnocchi pics!

rope

plated
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Previous days )

Day Eighteen: Did you know that we have Eleven Commandments? Read them today. You may want to print these out or write them in your Control Journal.

It's not that I disagree with the "commandments," but they're an example of why I feel more at home on UfYH. So, I don't know, sappy's not quite the word...
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Previous days )

Day Seventeen: Today, think about what time you are going to bed each night. Set a specific bed time and stick to it. You need your rest. Put this on your Before-Bed Routine.

Since work starts up again in a few days, I'm going to start going to bed at my work-night time, 10pm, and see how that goes. I've been needing less sleep lately, so if I wind up waking up at 4 a lot, I'll switch it to 11.

Today starts the FlyLady's clutter "olympics" thing, so I may do more decluttering than just one fifteen-minute session, but we'll see. It's kind of fun, now that the obvious surfaces are decluttered, to get into drawers and cupboards. This is the stuff that will make it easier to keep everything tidy, because there will be free space for storing things without cramming stuff into whatever space I can find.

Decluttered the closet for 15 minutes. Filled one kitchen garbage bag with stained clothes that I don't wear, and another bag with clothes that are fine, but I don't wear them, so they'll go to my next-cube-neighbor at work, who is my size and is looking forward to seeing if any of it will suit her. The remainders will go to cupcakes and muffintops.

Did all 5 of the FlyLady games things, and the best part was when there was a task I didn't have to do, because it was done already.

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Woke up, made the bed, got dressed to shoes, cleaned the sink, made breakfast, and headed out for a date with [personal profile] stonebender and a shopping trip. I'm only just getting around to the rest of my routine, but that's okay. There's so much less stress around it because I'm doing a little every day, rather than trying to get it all done at once.

Previous days )

Day Sixteen: Today, look in your inbox for an e-mail from FlyLady. It can be a Morning Musing, a testimonial, or an essay. Just take a few minutes and read over it. You never know what she is going to discuss. You can also go directly to the FlyLady BigTent group and read the messages.

Reading the emails is already part of my daily routine, but hey, whatever. Today's is telling about the FlyLady "De-clutter Games" that start tomorrow. The baby steps take priority, but if I have extra oomph, I'll do the De-clutter Games challenges, as well.

Off to do the rest of the list and make dinner. Pics in a bit.

I was gonna declutter my closet, but James picked the Mackenzie table. We call it the Mackenzie table because our friend Mackenzie is storing it here, and we're using it in the meantime. I've wanted to make a proper tea cart out of it for a while, so I worked on that while I decluttered.

Here it is before (the whole thing and the drawers), and the after will be under the cut tag.

tea-cart-before

decaf-drawer-beforecaf-drawer-before

Read more... )
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Previous days )

Day Fifteen: On our new week of FLYing, you are going to add making your bed to your morning routine. If you will do this as soon as your feet hit the floor, you are less likely to forget it!

Okay, done. Kind of makes me want a nicer summer blanket, though. Ours is kind of college-aged-kid-ish.

I had a low-energy day today, but I did everything on my list anyway. I didn't take photos, and I stopped the SECOND the timer went off, but hey, good enough. My house looks so good that I didn't want to take a "day off" because hey, it's less than an hour's work, and it keeps things in order. Who am I these days? I don't even recognize myself! :-)
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Yesterday, after getting home from hanging with the kid, I had NO energy left, and it was nice to say Okay, I can just rest, because my house may not be perfect, but it's in control, and I had already completed all my to-dos except the 15 minutes of decluttering before I left. Today, I'll get back on the decluttering wagon.

Previous days )

Day Fourteen: Today, go read the essay that Kelly wrote about using a calendar.

As it happens, my work calendar, which is the online calendar I use for scheduling doctor visits, etc. (since I have to use the darn thing anyway) just got switched over to Google calendars. I don't have a personal Google account, for a few reasons, and I have been missing how easy that calendar is to use, so I'll actually have a little fun today putting all my reminders in there.

For decluttering, I had choice paralysis, so I asked James to pick something. He pointed out this box...

box-before

cut for length and photos )

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