Just call me Flylady

I have a confession to make that may make me unpopular or perhaps even shunned from the community.  I’m going to take a deep breath and be out with it.  Here it is, my dirty little secret: my house is always clean, neat, and organized.  Now please stay with me a moment – this is not meant to make anyone feel bad or for me to boast about my superior housekeeping skills.  If THIS is what my life has come down to – boasting about superior housekeeping skills – then I may as well end it all right now.  Just writing superior housekeeping skills in relation to myself makes me want to stab myself and/or curl up in a corner and sob with the grimness of it all.

No, my clean, neat, and organized house is more of a function of a rigid, Type-A personality mixed with an extreme distaste for mess, with a side of minor germophobia.  I have never once left dirty dishes in the sink overnight.  I set out my outfit the night before I wear it, I write down the week’s menu and grocery requirements in my agenda.  The kids put away all their toys every night.  I do laundry every single day and I clean the bathroom three times a week.  If my mother-in-law was to show up on my doorstep unannounced, I would certainly have many emotions but shame about the state of my house would not be one of them.

Believe me, I would like to be less like this.  When I have people over for dinner, it’s all I can do to not jump up and start scraping plates and running hot water as soon as everyone is finished.  I have to make myself drink another glass of wine, just so I can relax and carry on a conversation like a normal person.  Tragic, no?  DRINK MORE WINE TO DULL THE CRAZY INTERNAL CLEANING LADY.

But it’s not like I have the kids’ toys alphabetized and on index cards, and it’s not like I’m making hospital corners when I make the bed.  Esthetically, I like things to be tidy, and so when my friend Hannah mentioned Flylady and sink-shining, I thought I should check it out.  After all, I DID have gross crusty stuff around the kitchen faucet, and there WERE some hard water deposits around the filter, and, to be honest, I kind of coveted her shiny sink (go read that link, and you will see why I love Hannah so much – her shiny shiny monument to her own insanity).  So I went over to Flylady to see what all the fuss was about – Flylady, who has this thirty-one day recipe to get one’s life in order.


It turns out that I have inadvertently been following the Flylady’s methodology for years.  Apparently I AM A FLYLADY, but without the housekeeping-tips blog.  Although I don’t leave little post-it notes full of positive affirmations around the house.  Who would do that?  If one is attempting to get control over household clutter, why would one clutter one’s house with post-it notes?  I can barely stand looking at my kids’ toys – little post-it notes all over the house proclaiming my awesomeness would be the death of my sanity, for real.  I also do not put on lace-up shoes in the house.  Who wears shoes in the house?  How do you curl up on the couch with shoes on?  Plus I don’t own a pair of lace-up shoes.  Other than that, though, I discovered, somewhat depressingly, that I am an unwitting Flylady.

I don’t feel fly, though.  I thought perhaps that if I had a shiny sink – as recommended by the Flylady as the first step to getting one’s life in order – then I would surely be fly as fly could be.  So I followed all the steps, hot water and bleach, scrubbing with a scouring pad and baking soda, using a toothbrush and a butter knife, then buffing and Windex-ing the whole thing.  I stepped back to survey the job.

Huh.  The sink was shinier, sure, but it wasn’t remarkable.  It wasn’t life-changing or transformative.  I could see my reflection, but in a fuzzy, warped, big-forehead kind of way.  I felt very let down.  FLYLADY FAIL.  For the amount of time and resources involved, I expected much, much better.  Flylady, you have disappointed me.  Or perhaps I have disappointed myself.  I do not feel that my shiny sink is a reflection of the love I have for myself.  I feel that it is a reflection of my own rigidity and craziness. 

But that didn’t stop me, today, from buffing it all over again.


  1. You’re just a BO. (That’s Flylady terminology for “Born Organized” or, in other words, the kind of person who doesn’t need Flylady’s help.)

  2. ” hard water deposits around the filter” I don’t even know what that means.

    I tried Flylady once about 10 years ago. The first tip she emailed was to recycle all my old magazines. My magazines come from the public library so that seemed like a bad idea. On the second day she told me to toss out all the makeup I hadn’t used in the last 6 months. I don’t wear makeup. I’m not sure what happened on the third day since I was so full of smugness that I was ahead of her game, that I unsubscribed.

  3. Aw, I love you too. 🙂

    The funny thing is that if I lived alone, my house would be Flylady-clean. My standards, they have dropped. *sadpanda*

    This post made me giggle a whole bunch.

  4. I was intrigued by this post b/c I am so totally at the opposite end of the Flylady spectrum. And yet, my sister, Eleanor, was more like you. I want to be slightly more clean and organized but I can’t even conceive of how people do it. How? How do you do it? I can spend all day Saturday and Sunday clearing away clutter and still there seems to be no end to the clutter. Bathrooms cleaned 3 times a week? I often don’t find time to shower 3 times a week. I know that you pathologize your level of neatness and I can see why, but my level of messiness is similarly unnerving. I sure wish there was a way we could meet in the middle for both our sakes. Then we could drink wine together while feeling totally relaxed.

  5. I am most emphatically not Flylady. My house is usually clean, but not tidy or organized. Mostly because we don’t actually have a place for everything, mostly because I have too many books. I’ve become sort of okay with that. But if I ever come to your house, I will look around admiringly and sigh a touch enviously.

  6. Living in Saskatchewan says

    I have been reading your blog for a couple months now. I found it through a friend. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your writing and look forward to reading your posts.

    My Mom is a Flylady to the extreme! She practically followed us with a sponge when we were growing up.I myself, am not a Flylady but can definitely appreciate some of her obsessive habits when it comes to having a clean, tidy and very well organized house. If you want your sink to show your reflection like a mirror, use vinegar. My Mom swears by it.

    • Since you wrote this, I tried vinegar and now I’m converted. I love vinegar for cleaning but had no idea how great it was for the sink. And now I kind of want to slap myself.

  7. Sigh I used to be a flylady when I lived alone. My husband and kids plus my job have conspired to break me. I have cleaners who come every other week and basically I just tidy in between and call it good, but sometimes I look back fondly on the days when the house stayed clean. That said, I am a dishes fanatic. I was raised with a dishes fanatic and had dishes duty every night (am an only child so there was no sharing that chore) so dishes don’t soak over night, all dishes are done before we go to bed, and I also “must” drink an extra glass of wine to keep from starting dishes as soon as people stop eating when we have company (my husband cooks dinner for company so by our agreement that means I do the dishes – Ye who cookith the dinner, shall not also have to cleanith the dishes).

  8. Me too.
    I am.
    It’s true.
    My house has to be clean. Or I get all sorts of flustered. My organization is a little scary…so says everyone. I mean aren’t you supposed to hang clothes in the closet according to colour and all the DVD’s are in alphabetical order?

  9. I wish I could be like that.

  10. I am nothing like this. Laundry gets done only when needed and I have a housekeeper that comes every 2 weeks. It’s rare that I pull out the Windex or the 409.

  11. Rachelradiostar says

    Somedays I aspire to be houseproud, most days I do what I can! It only gets messed up again. Dishwashing wise I HATE that job. On Monday nay TOMORROW I have a man coming round to FIX MY DISHWASHER! Then all I have to do is make my teenagers fill it n empty it!

  12. I followed you from your comment on my blog (Planet Nomad) and I was reading down and thinking you were my new BFF (in which B is either best or bloggy, which doesn’t really work) and then I came to this post. Sigh. Can friendship transcend opposites? On the other hand, my BFF IRL (apparently I am addicted to jr hi acronyms now) is a FlyLady herself, plus 7 kids, which is truly remarkable. Also, all of her children seem to have inherited her personality.
    I don’t want to be more organized. I want a housecleaning service.
    (this doesn’t seem to be posting but sometimes when this happens I inadvertently post 6 times, so sorry in advance just in case)

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