Fear of Flying

Christmas blows through our home with a whirlwind of wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, those annoying toy twist ties you need a machete to cut through, and enough dirty socks and dishes to make me want to sit in a corner and cry. Things about our house that usually don’t phase me grate on my nerves come January. Like why are these cheap McDonald’s Happy Meal toys breeding behind my back and why have I kept every issue of Southern Living published over the last six years and what in God’s name is that smell? (Turns out it was our old baby stroller that was left out in the rain one too many times that I happily sent to the curb on trash pickup day.)

I was having a bit of insomnia one night during Christmas break and made the mistake of clicking on the Flylady website. Trust me, nothing will throw you into a pit of former neat freak despair than reading Flylady’s site and realizing your house is being taken over by the powerful undertow of dirt and clutter created by two dogs and two kids. Just give me 40 lashes with a Swiffer and be done with it!

After reading Flylady’s archived daily e-mails about how I should swish my toilet, do a load of laundry, and shine my kitchen sink daily, I was suddenly really sleepy. I ate a few chocolate chip cookies, chased them with milk, left the dirty dish and glass on the counter and crawled back into bed, remembering I had intended to strip and wash our sheets that day but never got around to it. Take that Flylady! I may have also left the toilet unflushed and unswished!

I subscribed to Flylady’s e-mails several years ago and somewhere around assignment number 989 I wanted to rip her wings off. Apparently I am looking for a cleaning fairy that will actually do all the work for me while I kick back, watch reruns of Sex in the City, and enjoy the solitude while my children are at the playground with their au pair slash gourmet cook who is also a licensed massage therapist.

I know many people are trying Flylady, like MamaSeuss, but Flylady scares me. The website is information overload and the chubby bluehaired Flylady mascot that greets you from the home page is not really an image I embrace.

Flylady proposes you do something called a 27 fling boogie. Now I can handle that. Last week I purged our house of anything that came free with a carton of chicken nuggets or was a prize from one of those giant gumball machines and I took two large garbage bags and a box of stuff to Goodwill.

Flylady, my kitchen sink may not glisten and shine, but if I take out my contacts and squint it looks presentable.

Psst…I found some great de-cluttering tips at the Real Simple website as well as some cleaning and organizing tips at Better Homes & Gardens. ParentHacks also had a recent conquer the clutter post. And here’s another great website with organizing and cleaning tips.

Feel free to leave any cleaning, organizing, or de-cluttering tips in the comments. Not that I need help or anything. And I’m in good company. Lindsey at Suburban Turmoil admitted that she’s a FlyLady dropout, too.

UPDATED: I don’t normally read Dooce for organizational inspiration, but this post makes me want to set flame to my closet.

And how fun would these baskets on clearance at PB be for a kitchen or play room?

Keeping the Castle is a b5media blog focusing on housekeeping and homemaking tips. Although I tend to make fun of Martha Stewart types, I secretly want to be one. This recent post about January being get organized your shit together month includes some wonderful tips.


  1. malia says:

    A very wise woman at my church often chides us young mothers that it’s more important to be there for our kids and spend time with them rather than to be overly concerned about a clean house. Our kids are only young once. But I don’t think she meant that neglecting your home while you read blogs and watch your toddler tear up a cardbox was exactly what she had in mind! I think I have some priorities to staighten out!

  2. Suburban Turmoil says:

    What you need is a mouse. Let me send you one, or better yet, a whole nest of them. Trust me, you will scrub your house until it’s unrecognizable.

  3. Oh, The Joys says:

    Our strategy is to keep a “Goodwill” box on the back porch and sneak things into it (we don’t have to sneak our own things, but the toys require sneaking.)

  4. Charla says:

    Who isn’t a Flylady dropout? It doesn’t take long to realize that she has way more time on her hands than we do!

    Sadly, I have no de-cluttering tips for you, as my house is one giant ball of clutter, BUT deep down my house is clean. Thanks to Mrs. Linda who comes every Wednesday morning. I’ll gladly forego one trip to Target a month to keep her around!

    Where *does* all that clutter come from anyway? And? Why am I the only one in my family who collects it?

  5. Blonde Mom says:

    OK, I don’t know what’s up with the crazy italics.

    Charla, I would love, love to have a cleaning service but it’s not in our budget right now (damn you double daycare!!!…only 7 more months of that!) But I think I’m one of those crazy people who would clean before the cleaning service arrived.

    Yep, I’m crazy.

  6. Nicole says:

    I, too am a Flylady dropout, but I do admit that some of the hiabits have stuck. I try to do the dishes every night, and I clean paper, sippy cups, and the like out of my car every time I come home. Plus, the breakdown of rooms makes sense to me. As I declutter for selling our house and moving, I’m taking it one room/closet at a time.

    I’ll have to check out those other sites. It’ll let me put off the actual cleaning just that much longer!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I did the fly thing for about a day. I was overwhelmed with the sheer volume of e-mails I was getting. Not to mention part of it was so freaking weird. Where were the mans jobs? Sheesh!

  8. Library Mama says:

    I quite like FlyLady in the summertime when I’m at home, but once school starts again in the fall, I drop out.

    Like Nicole up above, there are a few things that have stuck: I do wipe my bathroom sink pretty much every morning, but considering the boys leave toothpaste in it every night, that’s pretty much compulsory. I try to do one load of laundry every day. That goes pretty well, actually. One load is manageable, and it keeps the mountains of dirty clothes pretty low.

    Anyway, thanks for the other organizing sites. They’ll make great reading, I’m sure. As I tell my Main Man, though, just because I know what to do doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll do it.

  9. Blonde Mom says:

    Library Mama:

    I have started doing a load of laundry nearly daily (sometimes, like this weekend, I do two as Amelia has lovely toxic waste diarrhea.) I try to wash my husband’s company logo shirts separately from everything since they are black.

    It does help!

    Today I got motivated, perhaps by this post, to really clean up our downstairs bonus room, which is where the dog door is and a lot of our “junk.”

    I also made homemade meat loaf last night and spaghetti sauce tonight.

    There might be something wrong with me. I’m not normally this domestic. 😉

  10. Charla says:

    Oh, as much as I love Wednesday when my house gets cleaned I lothe Tuesday night when it’s the “hide all of the clutter, laundry, and toys” race.

    I’ve just had her come since Claire was born, and it is a financial strain some months. But, like I said, I try to replace it with something I can technically do without.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one on the “just 7 more months” countdown. At least Claire’s daycare is cheaper than Chase’s preschool…and we’ll get a discount when we add baby #3 when I go back to school in the fall. It all makes my head swirl.

  11. Liza says:

    I’m another Flylady drop-out! Like you, I can handle the 27 boogie and that,s about it! My e-mail inbox was cluttered with all their e-mails, it was crazy!

    I still have a print out of some of the tip they have that I like and is feasible for me. One of this days I’ll pull it out and apply.

    In the meantime, I resorted to hiring a cleaning lady every other Tuesday. (yes, we’re out of 2 childcare payment..you too will be someday). I’d love for her to come every Tues but EVERY OTHER is all I can afford.

  12. Liza says:

    oh, I forgot to add the quote from sharkypants that I found the other day:

    “A clean house is a sign of a broken computer” 😉

  13. bobbarama says:

    Hey, BlondeMom … nice blog. Very funny stuff.

    I’m here to ask you to consider submitting something to my humor carnival … http://www.bobbarama.com/carnival/

    You’d be a wonderful contributor.

    The other thing you might like to try is the Take Two on my regular blog. That’s a regular feature in which I team up with another blogger for separate humorous takes on the same topic.

    If you’d like a peek at the Take Twos … click on my name and then click on Take Two in the sidebar when you get there.

    Anyway … I like your blog. I’ll visit often.

    Have a nice Sunday.


  14. Bluegrass Mama says:

    I don’t even qualify as a Flylady dropout. I visited the site once and flew out of there as fast as I could! My only helpful hint is only good for me–marry my husband, who hates clutter. Which means I try to keep it a tiny bit under control. I decided long ago that I don’t really want a cleaning service, because I’d have to make the house presentable for them.

  15. RichieAnn says:

    Yeah, FlyLady spends way too much time worrying what other people will think. I’ll admit my house isn’t perfect and by no means looks like a showroom. But I comfort myself knowing that there are messier and even DIRTIER people out there. That’s why architects invented closets and I use them to their fullest!

  16. Texasbelle says:

    I would like to personally invite flylady to kiss my enormous, jiggly, pockmarked, pregnant A-S-S.

  17. Blonde Mom says:


    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You’re too damn funny.

    Also, YOU, my dear, are an incredible cook and baker. I bow down to your culinary genius. My poor kids are going to think that cookies only come from pre-made tubes of refrigerated dough or Keebler.

    Ya’ll need to check out the beautiful pink cake Anne (Texasbelle) made for her daughter’s birthday party this weekend.

  18. Mrs. M says:

    i’m such a cleaning, neat freak, ocd, anal retentive, must have things tidy kinda girl. i’m sure i’ll leave all of that behind when i have kids! 🙂 but right now i’m perusing all of the wonderful websites above.

  19. Angel says:

    While I love flylady, I too am a cleaning freak, I agree that her site is way overwhelming. It has taken along time to begin to navigate her site. I told Ben, My hubby and web designer, that for someone who teaches others how to declutter their home, her site was awfully cluttered.

    I take what I can and work on one thing at the time. My favorite is the flinging boogies too. Went to my sisters house last week and helped her declutter her kids play room. Threw away 2 trashbags, and threw them in the can for on trash pick up day. So they were gone before hubby and kids could pitch a fit. 🙂

    My sister and I have taken a tag-team approach to house cleaning. Every week we alternate each others home and help the other clean the house. team work creates momentum, and at least I know my toilet gets cleaned every other week. (If I can not swish and swipe that is, :))

    Plus she doesn’t mind the tasks that I hate, like bathroom duty, anything that requires me to handle clorox, I ruin clothes everytime! And I love to vaccum and she hates it.

    I also love the Real Simple site, and it is my new favorite magazine! I can actually read it all the way through. January has great stuff in it.

  20. Turb Coriolis says:

    We’ve got some info for kids with Fear of Flying at Junior Flyer…
    drop in and pay us a visit. No need to dress up, come as you are.

    The specific Fear of Flying stuff is in the Aviation Medicine section
    on the site, but there is a range of other stuff scattered about that
    are good background for youngsters who want to learn more
    about the airlines and aviation. Knowledge will set them free.

    Come and visit us soon at http://www.juniorflyer.com

    Captain Turb Coriolis

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