Accepting How I Learn – Why Flylady Didn’t Work for Me

First, let me clarify a few things. 

1. Flylady is awesome.  When people ask me for advice here, I try to make it clear that I’m no expert when it comes to cleaning, organizing, etc. and I generally send them her way.  If you want to know what it takes to get your house under control, she’s your woman.  And she’ll tell you exactly what to do.

2. When I talk about “how I learn” I automatically feel defensive.  One of the reasons that my own disorganization used to confuse and fluster me so much is that I am generally a very intelligent, competent person.  I’m a thinker, an analyzer.  I taught Theatre and literature, and absolutely loved analyzing the deep and symbolic meaning behind a poem or a play.  I even enjoyed doing proofs in geometry class.  Figuring out the whys and the logical steps was fun for me.  So why in the world, when I can think analytically, can’t I seem to notice one dirty towel on the floor until it becomes an entire bathroom covered a foot deep in dirty clothes?  This was mind-boggling and incredibly frustrating. 

Then today, I had another tap-dance inspired moment of realization. 

I pulled out my tap floor after several weeks of making excuses that I was too busy to use it.  I started going through my beloved DVD, and after the first few basic steps, I decided that I would skip that part and move on to the combinations portion.  This was big.  When I first started doing the DVD, I felt like an elephant.  Even though I knew that I used to be able to do the steps, my shuffles just weren’t happening.  But by practicing the basics, the feeling came back to me, and I got them. 

Skipping them today, I did okay.  The combinations section, which a few months ago felt completely awkward, was now simple to me.  And then . . . I moved on.  I went to the section where she teaches an actual dance.  You know, the fun part. 

And the elephant was back.  Really?  I know how to jump, and I know how to shuffle-ball-change, but trying to put them together made me feel like an idiot. 

Sooooo . . . . I stopped the DVD, and hoofed it out.  I jumped and I shuffled and I ball-changed.  Over and over and over and as ungracefully as possible.  I did it slowly and with very little rhythm.  I messed up again and again . . . but I kept going.  And after about 10 minutes, I had it.  Just that one little step, and far from perfect, but for me it was huge.  And the rhythm got a little better and started to sound like maybe, just maybe . . . I was actually tap-dancing

I turned the DVD back on, and tried it with her again.  And this time I got it!  I even went on with the next two steps, which were really easy, and felt like I had learned the first part of the routine.

See, I watch the video, and I get overwhelmed when I feel like I should have grasped that step by the time she finishes teaching it.  She teaches it, she practices it, and then she moves on.  But I’m not ready to move on.  I’m still tripping over myself, and if I do go on, it will be a complete train wreck . . . arms, legs and tap shoes everywhere. 

And this is when it hit me.  This is why Flylady didn’t work for me.  I needed the instruction on what was required to bring my home out of chaos and keep it in order, and she did that.  But I needed to build these skills at my own pace.  You could completely argue that it’s possible to do Flylady’s system at your own pace.  It definitely is possible.  But all of the emails, the sheer information overload was too much for me.  It overwhelmed me and made me feel like a failure, so I started ignoring the emails.  I set up a folder that they automatically went into (thinking I’d get to them eventually), and when I finally unsubscribed, I had over 6,000 unread emails in that folder. 

Again, let me say that Flylady is great.  She is big on saying that progress is more important than perfection.  She encourages you to just do things, and let go of your perfectionist tendencies.  But at the point when I became overwhelmed and stopped reading her emails, each one that came in (each 20-30 per day, really) made me feel like the class was moving on without me and I was falling behind.

This is why my own process, done at my own pace, is working better for me.  I’m taking it slowly, and although sometimes I marvel that even though I’ve been steadily decluttering and changing habits for almost 8 months now, I still am not done.  

I need to practice things until I get them right.  Until they no longer feel foreign.  And I need to practice them at my own pace.  That’s why, for now, re-learning tap by a DVD is working better for me.  I don’t have to feel like anyone’s watching me.  (Though, for the record, my 4yo daughter thinks I’m “doing great!”)  I don’t have to move on to the next skill before I master the last one, just because the rest of the class is ready.  I can practice until I get it right, without a teacher getting antsy that it’s taking me so long.  I have faith in myself that I CAN do this.  Some things come easily, and others take lots of practice, but I’ll take as long as I need, because that’s how I learn.  

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Comments

  1. Good for you! For recognizing how you learn and for accepting yourself as you are. That's HUGE! You ARE making great progress and again I have to say a grateful thank you for sharing.

  2. Wow – very logical, especially to be able to translate your tap dance experience to cleaning.

  3. I had the same experience with Flylady – at first it was great and really motivating but the emails became incredibly overwhelming…it's too bad they don't have a "Flylady Lite" version for those of us who need baby steps!

  4. YEA! Just found your blog…good to know I am not alone! And…flylady says you have to put on shoes in the morning…blech.lol.

  5. EXACTLY! I found your blog yesterday, and have been yelling, 'YES! THAT'S EXACTLY HOW I FEEL! THAT'S ME!' Your posts make me smile, and cry. Thank you for your openness and honesty. It's encouraging me greatly! You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself – love it! Keep up the good work, keep on keeping on, and may the Lord continue to bless your efforts.
    I'm definitely going to be revisiting :')

  6. Wow – you taught Theatre?!? On my last comment (on the Frig cleaning), the ending was supposed to be "maybe after I finish rehearsals for this show" but then I thought that was too obtuse and look at that – you would have TOTALLY gotten it! :-) I love how with a play, you learn it, you work it, you perform it – and then *you move on* lol

    I am the exact same way with Flylady – I made the folder and I can't remember how many e-mails has been diverted there before I finally forgave myself for "not getting it" and then unsubscribed.

    I've also had to realize the whole thing about not moving on until we're ready to move on – with my kids, I get on this self made schedule for their school work – and moving ahead at a certain pace and recently I had to remind myself that this is *why* we homeschool – so that if we need to slow down to get something right then that's what we do – BEFORE we move on… it really is a hard but necessary concept to learn sometimes

  7. I made a flylady folder too! I think you might be my soul sister.

  8. Lacy @ Catholic Icing says:

    How often do you have your readers tell you that they are your slob-soul-mate? And what if I want to move on with the rest of the class and have a clean house TODAY?! ;-)

  9. DUH! Of course that’s why Flylady was frustrating! She was touting babysteps but you got several e-mails a day telling you where you should be when you’re done. I thought I was dumb for not getting the babysteps thing. I always started with 5 things on each routine and jumped in with that, even though she said not to, those e-mails got to me! You’re so smart. ;-)

  10. Again, for the bazillionth time I find myself thinking “We must be twins separated at birth!” Except the tap dancing. For me it is aerobics or zumba or whatever, I just can’t figure it out with the video. I might try your technique on that as well.

    I have 1/2 my kitchen under control for a week now, my hallway and living room were conquered (meaning to the point where I can begin to control them) this week. My bathroom is coming along. Still so overwhelmed but trying.

  11. I first attempted FlyLady in 1999. I go back to her time and again (and still get her emails), but I’m more like you, I think. I started reading your blog about 6 months ago, and it makes a lot more sense to me. Thank you and Happy New Year!

  12. I started with the flylady in 2000 and with baby steps I still flow with my schedule and cleaning habits… yep I agree it was overwhelming I did deleted ALOT of emails and did what I could.

  13. Huh… I’ve never heard of Fly Lady, but it sounds like maybe I should have?

  14. I AGREE 100%!!! ;)

  15. I don’t think many could really keep up with flylady! There’s lots of great info and great advice regarding attitude, I credit her with the housework skills I have, but she hasn’t applied her own stuff to her information. Which is fine, not everything has to be perfect and polished, the gems are still there.

  16. Michelle Hedge says:

    I too have tried Flylady and been oooovvvverwelmed! I found your blog a few months ago and have been following it since. I feel like we were separated at birth. And like you I also tap dance. This is my 7th year of dance and I love it. There is something about tap dancing that is just so cool. I am working on trying to do a stomp buck time step right now that I am having trouble with and I know about just taking it step by step practicing and I will eventually get it.
    Love your blog – keep up the good work!

  17. I totally agree. I have a full-time job and we share a washer with six other units on my floor and can only use the washer between 8am and 10pm. I cannot “reboot” the laundry every day before I go to work! I have to be more flexible than that.

    Not to mention, I got so tired of her mailing list that was stuffed full of more plugs for cleaning and organizing products than actual suggestions!

    • A_Struggling LegalUSCitizen says:

      I so agree~and if she got on her high horse one more time that the root cause of EVERYTHING was “perfectionism”–I’d scream!

      So instead of screaming I just unsubscribed, and have not missed the incessant ‘subliminal’ advertising; ok it was blatant – and the tips were just repetitious “testimonials”. I guess her style has been great for many, but not for me. I truly wish everyone well, no matter what system they choose; but F-L, for me, ended up doing more harm than good, because of the investments, only to make zero progress, even with compliance. I think of it this way: when my sources of inspiration end up having even more “issues” than I do, it’s clearly time to move on! LOL

      I’ve never been a ‘slob’, indeed was made fun of for a long time as being the Felix type rather than the Oscar. But I’m having extreme troubles keeping up for the first time; but it’s not from not knowing What to do, or When or How; but mult. physical disabilities [struck 3 diff. times over 20 yrs by "impaired" drivers], among other life-threatening incidents. The challenge to sit, stand, walk, and now see w/o special accommodation — is just the lesser of the 3 concurrent disabilities. I’m still looking for something “new under the sun” regarding managing the clutter & basic housekeeping chores when I cannot get any appropriate help to be my arms, legs, & eyes. So far, church home, local “friends”, neighbors & state agencies — have turned out to be a big bunch of abandoning do-nothings & caused deep wounds on top of all else; I think Users is the best descriptive. Paid contractors? Even more setbacks due to numerous damages to property that ,on below-poverty-level income, I cannot afford to replace, nor hire any others that might be an improvement. Any friends willing (but not able) to help are long distance. Ones that I helped for decades locally, only know my name or number when they want something. So I’m in this completely solo, hence the progress at the speed of a glacier.

      Any suggestions that I haven’t already tried mult. times w/o success? I’m sincere in asking b/c I’m really at the end of my rope. I know improvement out of the huge backlog, to the point I might be able to maintain this on my own or w/minimal help, will not happen overnight. But it also won’t improve w/o appropriate help, & that has not been forthcoming for many years after numerous tries. Not a hoarding scenario, just a no-stamina situation.

      Prayers always thankfully appreciated, as are manifested miracles of all sizes!

      • You sound much like me. You might try local agencies that serve persons with disabilities such as Independent Living Centers and Area Agencies on Aging) . They may have or know of support groups or other resources that might have suggestions or even volunteers to help. I plan on going this route myself, although I am blessed with a truly loving, supportive church. I guess my problem is pride – not wanting to ask for help. So I am starting a type of support group. The plan is that members are asked to help others when they have a need. They contact me, and i arrange the people and coordinate dates etc. There are things I can do to help others and they in turn help me. My friend home schools, and I teach crafts to the younger children while she teaches the older (she has 8) And in turn, she sends me the older ones to help with my yard work. These are all my church friends and people i trust to be in my home, mind you.

  18. michelle says:

    I love Flylady like you , but like you it doesnt work . I feel like i am being micromanaged and then i get frustrated and rebel . Like AA …. LOL ! I will take a little and leave a little at the website . I am getting better at the disorder and CHAOS , but i am choosing what i want to do and going from there . I just wanted to say i think you are FUNNY on you vlobs , keep up being Nony ! Thankyou, Michelle

  19. Wow! I feel so much better just reading this one part of your blog. I found you today, but you know exactly my problems/issues. My mother has always said that I live in “happy clutter,” and while that’s nice, I’d like to have people over and no feel like I have to make an excuse for the “happy clutter.” Thank you for this blog and for being honest with your process.

  20. I did the same thing with FlyLady & unsubscribed after having 1,000s of unread e-mails.

  21. I think Flylady is great…if you don’t have a slob problem like us! I totally agree that I felt micromanaged. sadly the big thing I could not get over was to being all dressed and shoes tied..blah,blah blah. I WANT to be in my pajamas or other junky clothes and barefoot (unless hazardous to my health) when I clean .so when I am done I can shower and be rid of the dust and junk. I don’t want a perfect home . I want a happy home where people have matched socks and a clean fork. You, Nony have opened my eyes to MYSELF. I have felt what you have felt and you know what it makes me stronger. thank you.

  22. Yes, yes and YES! I was nodding my head the whole time I was reading this!

    I often felt with FlyLady as though it should be a simple concept so why wasn’t I able to grasp it? I think the idea is good but perhaps a few options as to how you can implement them would have been more helpful.

    Plus, you’re just much funnier!

  23. Carolina_D says:

    LOL! You seem to have ALL the FlyLady dropouts here! I, too, found it overwhelming, ESPECIALLY all of the emails. I just ended up feeling like even MORE of a failure. I love your ideas a LOT more. Thanks for being here for us.

  24. well, in the 90’s I was overwhelmed with the emails, but for years now I have opted out of those emails and just visit the site and the facebook page, just say no when you feel you are being ‘pestered”

  25. Hi!
    I so agree with you. Flylady is great, but the emails are awful. I can’t stand getting so many emails every day; it makes me crazy. It may just be me, but it begins to feel a lot like nagging. I hear my Mom’s voice telling me to clean my room every time I get an email (and I’m middle aged, lol). I just changed my subscription to Flylady lite in hopes that the messages will slow down to maybe one a day. It’s too bad she can’t just do a daily digest thing like on yahoo groups.
    Good luck with your place.
    Kat (buried in stuff, lol)

    • She used to do a Flylady daily summary and it was perfect! All the e-mails summarized into one big, long e-mail. I used to look forward to them every day. Then, I think because she wanted more advertising opportunity, she stopped the daily summaries. All you can get now is the crappy Flylady Lite or the big flood of e-mails she sends daily. No thanks, I unsubscribed.

  26. YES! I realize this is an old post, but I love it! People who recommend Flylady to me just don’t understand. I can’t keep caught up with her, even when I plan to jump in like she says. The emails make me feel so behind, and really, for me, focusing on one room a week is asking for a tornado in the other rooms. 4 tiny tornadoes, to be exact :)

  27. re flylady…add me to the long list. I started with flylady VERY early on…more than 10 years ago, just before the first international flyfest (where we all tried to get together with any local flybabies…).

    I think all the concepts are sound,and I still refer to them (and refer other to them, too!!) but I’m still (as flybabies say) bumping my butt on the tarmac! Your description sounds soooo much like me. I was surprised to find out at 40 that I have ADD…..when suddenly, it all made sense. Hyperfocussing on the wrong thing. Ability/necessity to block things out when they were too overwhelming. Always gravitating to something more interesting, and wondering where the time went. (witness: me on pinterest surrounded by chaos…unnaviable chaos throughout the house!

    Even with meds, I’m like a wind up toy. Once you set me down, you better make sure I’m going the right direction!!

    I think a lot more of “us” have ADD and don’t realize it!!

    • I definitely think I have ADD tendencies. There are good things and bad things about that!

    • Oh god, so me. I’ve never considered myself to really have ADD (I don’t have “Look! Shiny!” syndome) though I do agree with the possible tendencies… I will completely hyperfocus. I can be reading and you can walk in and talk to me and I will answer and remember none of it. I get overwhelmed or distracted and fritter away all the time. I can’t multi-task though, not too well. My husband, on the other hand, can watch TV and read a book at the same time and pay attention to both. He’s actually diagnosed…. Maybe it’s just different forms.

  28. oops..that should read “unnavigable” chaos…., not “unnaviable” whatever THAT is! (doesn’t look like I can edit my post…

  29. I love this! Since I have been a stay-at-home for nearly 30 years now, and have spent the vast majority of that time trying to “get organized,” I hear you loud and clear~! I do feel like I have made a lot of progress over the years, (I have read ALL the books!) and know pretty much what is vital to keep things livable, but it is a continual process, and always needs tweaking. I actually knew Marla (online) when she first began her FlyLady journey, before she had her own website, and I was a guinea pig for some of her first experiments. I always felt bad that her stuff simply didn’t work for me. Parts of it did, but I was just too rebellious/lazy/something to ever really make a go of it. I tried again several years back, but was immediately overwhelmed by the emails and gave it up. She says baby steps…but her baby steps are pretty big for me!

    Btw, I think you and I have a lot of the same interests and issues. I love dancing and love geometry. :) I just found your site, and I’m enjoying what I’ve read.

  30. Lothelena says:

    I thought I was the only person who is such a failure at homemaking that Flylady didn’t work for them. You simply can’t jump into the Flylady system, although I really admire it and wish I could. All that you are expected to accomplish in a day, fifteen minutes at a time, takes me hours. I’ve been trying to fly for more than 10 years, it was hard to throw in the towel on it since I really felt that if that didn’t work for me there was literally no hope. Now, I feel like this blog is HOME! It’s also kind of spooky since I also used to tap dance, tried to take it up again but quit because I feel like an elephant. Maybe I need to pull out my tap shoes again…

  31. Jessica says:

    Hi! I just started reading your blog. How I love this posting. We have a special needs son, and this post means the world to me. I am going to start being very vigilant in encouraging him and giving him support when “the rest of the class is moving forward.” Being unique and having the ability to accept yourself is such a blessing :) Thank you for your post!

  32. Thank you for washing away the guilt I felt for my response to flylady! I read your blog, and kept thinking “me too, me too”. I’m so very analytical…, people I only talk to, or that I interact with on specific projects think I’m very organized. HA! Heaven forbid they ever show up at my door. (or that I don’t realize they’re at my door, and my son gets to the door and opens it before I can explain to him that we’re pretending not to be home…) I think it is S.H.E. that references CHAOS (can’t have anyone over syndrome), and that is what I’ve been living in for many years. I’ve managed to ‘take off’ from normal life for a couple of months, and I’ve focused on cleaning, donating, and trashing. My home looks better, a couple rooms even look good, but in a few weeks I start classes again, my 83 yr old mother needs more of my time, and regular life keeps banging on my door. After reading a few of your blogs I’m very hopeful that you can help me make know how to make the changes I need in order to maintain order…. I don’t need perfection, I just need to be able to open the door, or tell a visitor where the bathroom is, without dying of humiliation…

  33. Catherine says:

    I’m glad to find this crowd you’ve attracted, Nony. I feel like I fit right in! Flylady lost me at what I perceived as her rigidity (clean sink every night, make up/shoes/etc., every morning).

    I’m much more project oriented and less routine or habit focused, so OF COURSE I love sorting/storing the winter clothes when spring comes, but keeping things washed and folded and put away Every Week? Kinda tricky.

    I hear you on the ADD front, I may have developed some of that or it may be that I just like to follow my own lead. I think holding job outside the home, being responsible for others, making do w/less, etc., all contribute to the pile up, too. I love how you’re fitting in hobbies (tap) too!

    I think it all comes down to taking actions to balance life priorities and self acceptance, perfection is not one of my goals here. Happiness and contentment, knowing what is enough, and taking the necessary steps in the right direction, these are my goals.

  34. I love Flylady too and use some of her routines. Routines do work for me since I lose time. Hours will go by and I don’t notice. If I have a set routine, I will actually get something done. Getting the motivation to do it is another thing entirely! I can do some daily routines but I have a tough time keeping up with weekly routines other than the quick whole house vacuuming/dusting. Feeling guilty right now that my bathroom floor has only been vacuumed but not washed in over a month! Clutter is still getting to me too. My attic is full of stuff I NEED to get rid of. It’s literally hanging over my head.

    I used to get the Flylady e-mails when she did a daily summary. I think because she wanted more advertising opportunity, they took away the daily summary. Flylady e-mails started to flood my e-mail daily! So, I unsubscribed. The Flylady Light e-mail has nothing in them except the basic stuff. It’s a shame because I used to read those summaries every day and they motivated me.

  35. I have Flylady light… and yeah once a day emails… I delete them every so often but that said I didn’t read them. I felt that I couldn’t keep up… Got my 3 ring binder and skipped the journal. Sticky notes all over will just totally overwhelm me so I never did that. And I have issues with the constant “commercials” for her products. Which I wouldn’t mind but there are only great reviews on them so that tells me they are not so great. There is always someone somewhere that will tell the truth. LOL… I fell behind… I stopped the learning of everything… I got super depressed for months… I really hurt my body in the process… being 42 and depressed is NOT ok. So I found you… and wow… I’m not that bad of a person. I can do this.. .and I can do this for me. I have what I learned from Flylady and I’m putting into use with your help. Thank you so much!!!!!!!! Truly a life saver. Also for whatever reason, I am doing it for us… the family! That has made a huge difference and it was your videos that made me think this way. For the family…yes others see things but we need to do it for us.

  36. Dana Neubrand says:

    YES YES YES!!!
    Dana I just finished this and you are so right as to how some people (you and I included) learn and the tap dancing example is perfect!!!
    What kills me though is I have been paying a psychologist to learn “how I am” when I only wish I had found this blog two years ago and saved myself a lot of money!! Bottom line is I need baby steps which I must practice over and over and sometimes the two steps forward is then one back and so on. And its OKAY!!!
    I was feeling a bit guilty for unsubscribing to Flylady yesterday but within two days I had 13 emails and I knew from experience I, like you, did not need another thing to overwhelm me. Not knocking her website at all!! I totally see it being of some use for me but not at this point.
    Thanks for your honesty. It is refreshing and comforting :)
    Dana

  37. Exactly! Thank you so much!
    Seriously… Tonight I picked up about ten books that were on my floor and vacuumed up the dust alpacas (bunnies is an understatement) that were surrounding them. I was inspired by the fact that I actually but eight into a bag for the Goodwill… The two i kept are my dear grown child’s and are in a bag by my door to take to her on Monday. I followed by donating two throw pillows! Then I threw out the dead flowers a friend gave me two weeks ago … Yes two WEEKS ago…
    I am so glad I am not alone and can feel like those were a highly productive ten minutes!

  38. I had the same experience with Flylady, complete with an over stuffed Flylady folder in my email account. I found the Flylady emails excessive and the site (ironically) incredibly cluttered. It got somewhat better when they redesigned their format, but for me it was still too much stimulation. I got distracted too easily and before I knew it I’d spent my cleaning time on navigating the site. So I guess I don’t do well with information overload. I’m far more likely to get something done if I can force myself to only work on one skill or habit at the same time.

  39. I love your blog. :) Good insight about learning. Flylady has always outpaced me.

    But I am a long-time Flybaby, and I have a lot of Flybaby friends. The Flylady emails were quite different in the deep past. It’s not just delivery speed — it’s figuring out systems, methods, environments that work for us. (For example, I saw your post about why you run your d/w every day. In a similar way, I found I have to banish laundry baskets and fold out of the dryer and put away clothes immediately or laundry stops flowing thru the system. )

    Most of the “Flybabies” I know have each adapted some of the concepts to our houses and lives in ways that really work. We all want to “fly” in our own way. Most of us agree we just can’t handle the current emails.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The “delivery method” has to be right for our different learning styles. We each need to be in charge of the content, the style, format and the pace of info coming toward us, even the time of day to fit our lives. But with Flylady nowadays, it’s like being bombarded with an all-in-one and having a normal and a “lite” version doesn’t fit the bill.

    And there’s a lot of marketing to filter thru now. Overload. That’s analogous to some kids needing worksheets with only the bare basic problems on them in black and white, while others do well with a colorful, busy, friendly doodled page of problems to keep them interested…

    When I was giving my kid todo lists as he grew, he was very sensitive to the number of tasks on the list and even to the way I delivered them — a few magnets on the fridge worked for awhile; an index card he could carry around worked at an older age, with only 3 “mom-written tasks” — seems printed lists wouldn’t do at that age; a list on a whiteboard worked for awhile; a paper list he could highlight. Somewhere along the way, we went to a weekly calendar but he was sensitive to the size. There have been so many different delivery methods that fit his development levels, I can’t think of them all.

    One reason I homeschool is that I realized most of us don’t learn best the way schools try to teach.

    Guess what? I and my flybaby friends have discussed the subject and we are also all sensitive to planners and systems and types of lists and reminders as we try to get organized. It’s a lifelong journey to find a system that works for us, whether it’s with lists or with keeping our houses functional.

    So it’s not surprising one size doesn’t fit all with the Flylady emails or with her system.

  40. I have to agree about Flylady as well. Oh, I’ve tried a couple of times. I can keep up for maybe a week, but then I think “I am not going to have lists all over my house.” And “Why are you sending me an email at 10 am to wash dishes? I am at work.” I felt like her methods just didn’t work for somebody who worked full time.

    That said, I refer to her for decluttering tips and her packing tips saved my butt in the past.

    I am ashamed to say that we just moved and created some hard feelings with the way we left the house (it belonged to family). We tried to clean, but didn’t have time to finish. We came back and cleaned but still didn’t finish and we (my husband and I) are not skilled at housekeeping. At all. It was disgusting. We’ve both vowed to be different this time. Maybe starting over in a new house that’s already clean can help us. We’re slowly getting unpacked, determined to not leave things in boxes this time. But I’m already seeing our different styles even now: my husband wallows for a bit, I solve problems with enthusiasm then fade.

  41. I love your honesty, I’m procrastinating getting back into my daily routine after having my husband home ALL day for 4 1/2 days, so I’ve read a few things on your site today. I had to comment on this one though, I agree, I had to stop the emails, they were overwhelming, I spent more time reading about getting it together than I actually did doing something about it. But, somewhere along the way I learned to glean. I glean a bit here, a bit there, and some from over there, I’m easily distracted, so I have to work with it. Once I’ve got something though, I’ve got it. FLYLady did help me, but in bits, or as she says,. baby steps, I’d go get one or two things from her, one or two from another place, use what worked toss what didn’t. It’s still a work in progress, I’ve been serious about this for 15 years now. What have I accomplished? I’m never more than 20 minutes from company ready, and yes, occasionally that does mean move things from one spot to another instead of putting it in it’s “home”, but it’s my home, not theirs, they don’t have to come back. I have also learned I do like things where I can get them when I need them, but I don’t always return them to their home, and the people I live with never do. What to do? Do what I can, when I can, as I can. Thanks so much for your honesty, it’s refreshing. Now, I’ve got two more articles of yours to read, and then I really am going to do my work out and finish laundry, really I am.

  42. “can’t I seem to notice one dirty towel on the floor until it becomes an entire bathroom covered a foot deep in dirty clothes? This was mind-boggling and incredibly frustrating. ”

    EXACTLY!!!!

  43. “So why in the world, when I can think analytically, can’t I seem to notice one dirty towel on the floor until it becomes an entire bathroom covered a foot deep in dirty clothes? This was mind-boggling and incredibly frustrating.” OMG! You mean there is someone else on this planet that thinks the way I do?! Seriously? I grew up with clean freak parents that punished me because I couldn’t keep my room spotless. I didn’t see the world the way they did and they thought I was lying just to get out of it! I’m nearly in tears for the joy of finding someone that sees the world as I do! Thank you so much for giving me the one important thing I have been missing ….hope!

  44. Thank you! After reading your blog I finally unsubscribed from FlyLady e-mails… There are 17300 UNREAD FlyLady e-mails in my folder… I like her system, use many of her tips, but these e-mails were a heavy burden on my analytic-slob mind :))

  45. I love the Flylady too… but I also couldn’t keep up and it got very overwhelming for me too. Like you, I work at my own pace now. I do the same things every night and when there’s extra time, I toss in another task. The other day I had worked through my daily chores and then thought – well, now what. I was off work that day and was in the mood to do some cleaning, so I thought hard about it and then looked up. The molding atop my cabinets was horribly dust, so I climbed up and cleaned that and the top surface of the cabinets. Then I swept the floor. I felt accomplished (that task hadn’t been done in the 7 years we’ve lived in that house and you could so tell it! It took me an hour and a half to clean it up!) I didn’t need an email to tell me that it needed done. I KNOW what needs to be done in my house. It felt very liberating to do it at my pace and get to it when I had the time, and desire. Thanks for making me not feel like a failure. :)

  46. Same experience with fly lady emails and quit 5 years ago. Never could get her system going too stressful. Tried to like on Facebook and in 5 hours had over a dozen posts! Unliked real fast! Not going to get that clutter on my newsfeed. I’d be wasting all kinds of hours trying to read that. Seems like deslobifacation is less stressful.

  47. Wow – it’s been such a wonderfully “freeing” experience to stumble across your website, and this post is just one of the reasons why. I’ve been carrying SO much guilt for the shape my house is in, and I joined Flylady too – only to feel exactly as you’ve posted above. I’ve had it pounded into my head (by my Mom, who else??) that there’s something wrong with me … she assumes I like my house this way. Of course I don’t!! But I look at the houses of “normal” people out there, and wonder how they do it! I just feel so overwhelmed, and want to just throw a match on my house and burn it down …… feeling, of course, that if I had a bigger house with more closets (we’ve only got two!!!!) and storage, I’d do a MUCH better job. But reality is, I think like you …. I don’t “see” the mess until it’s too big to not see. And then I don’t know where to start. Or I start, and stall. I’m expecting our second child in three months, and I desperately need to get my house in order – for him, for my three year old, my husband AND for me. I’m so thankful to have stumbled across your website. Thanks for being so open and honest – I don’t feel so alone!

    • You’re definitely not alone, Kirsten! Welcome!

    • Kirsten,
      My mom has always thought that I love living in clutter. She has come over and helped me organize. It never stayed neat and tidy. My mom stopped trying to help me and I felt like a failure. When my mom sees my house, she just gives me a look like you are a totally slob. Then she talks to my sister behind my back and tells her, she really thought I would change once such and such happened. I continually felt worse about myself. I am glad I found this website. I think Dana is what I needed. I needed to know that I am not a freak of nature:) When I read your comment and you mentioned your mom, I felt like I could relate.

  48. I love FlyLady, too. I truly felt like she saved my life a few years ago, when I was getting terribly depressed about my inability to keep the house clean. She encouraged me to love myself even if no one else did, helped me to see that blessing the house was blessing myself as well as my family, and that you don’t have to do it all– just jump in where you are, and remember– babysteps!! Thanks to her, I do have better standards and better habits than I did pre-FlyLady. AND a better attitude. :)

    However, when I discovered you about a month ago, and read your 28 Days to… It was like turning on a light where there had been only a candle in the darkness before. I had never really conquered the shine your sink habit… I guess because I thought I had a whole month to learn such a simple thing, and so I… procrastinated, of course!! And never learned it. I LOVE how you broke it down into simple weekly steps that are about KEEPING your kitchen clean, and even gave us a day-to-day process of teeny-tiny babysteps. Just my size! ;) Thanks for all you have done to help your fellow man (and women). God bless you!

  49. Thank you! Oh my gosh! Thank you! I might just make it after all :)

  50. I tried fly lady several times and made another attempt tonight. I can (humbly) say I’m a pretty intelligent person but i do have challenging ways of learning and she is just all over the map for me. I know she has helped many & i commend her but I don’t think she fits all learning styles. I made an honest effort once again to grasp it all and ended up making a spread sheet because the terms bounce all over the place – fly lessons, fly baby, fly steps, control journal, hot spots… the list goes on on & on & i just kept bouncing around from different links. I just wanted a big, clear picture. I attempted to decipher with a spreadsheet lol but google’d to see if anyone else was as nutso & confused as me. :-) I have looked so long for something clear, concise – a road map for all of us ADD and/or OCD cleaning strugglers out here. Thankful to find this site!! :-)

  51. I’m having so much fun reading through these comments! I love your blog Nony. I finally feel at home after searching in vain through blogs called I heart Organizing, I’m an Organizing Junkie, Clean Mama, yes they are nice women but they just don’t get it. I loved you when you said us slobs are creative types.
    I’ve tried Fly Lady a couple of times. I do like some of the things she says but couldn’t stand the emails. I tried her before facebook and unsubscribed within days. I tried her again recently, unsubscribed again and still visit her facebook page occasionally but I do find that she’s too rigid for me. But at least her message was more accepting and flexible and creative and appealing than any other left brain organizing types I’d come across! I’ve been listening to your podcasts all day Noni and they are a balm to the soul. Messages from a long lost friend. You’re doing great work.
    Hugs from a very grateful fellow slob

  52. I learned about you because of Flylady. Somehow I linked to the best organizing sites and yours had lots of votes as being the best. What I liked about Flylady was that, she chose one thing to keep clean, the kitchen sink, but then to do that, I decided to wash dishes too. Anyway, I felt like I was getting behind because after several months, I was still mastering the shiny sink and she had already moved way beyond. So far, I like your podcasts. I started on number one and I listened up to number 7 yesterday. One thing that has really helped me is that I used to feel so bad about myself that I couldn’t be neat. My mom was super neat, but I never learned from her, I just knew I felt good at home. It seems like every relative I have is neat. I say this because they all have open door policies and I have visited many times without calling and there house is always tidy. As a teacher, my classroom was a disaster. I was always embarrassed. I tried so hard to keep it clean. I would go weekends, but never get there. Even if I did get in clean, the next day it would be messy. I could not ever figure why this was so. I felt something was really wrong with me and I felt like a failure in this area. It is good to know that I am good company with you and some of your followers. Even though, I am not the neat gal, I don’t feel depressed and odd because I cannot arrive at neatness automatically. Thank you for your honesty.

  53. unmowngrass says:

    I, too, have only been about 50/50 with the whole FlyLady thing. I, too, had the emails in a separate folder. It didn’t work, I set them to come back to my main inbox, but I give myself permission to delete-without-reading if I need to. Thank you for sharing your story though. You are giving me permission to build my own system form the ground up. I am starting with, “If I see a piece of trash, put it in the bin” and “if I see dirty dishes, take them to the kitchen” :-D

  54. unmowngrass says:

    I’ve been thinking about this again (as I took the leap and unsubscribed today!). I think it would have worked great to have signed up in one of the early days, whilst she was still “in progress” as it were. But she started her journey New Years Day 1999. Over 15 years ago. Whist she wasn’t perfect immediately, it has now been a LONG time since she’s had a really dirty and/or really cluttered house, I guess. Which, from the perspective of someone who is still struggling to take their first baby steps… kinda makes her look like a BO? ;-)

  55. I love you so much. :)

  56. Teresa Moraca says:

    I, too, knew Marla when she was still on the S.H.E. boards! I was actually one of her first followers! I find her site and emails to be too distracting these days. I did, however, find an app that helps ALOT: it’s called ‘Home Routines’. Very uncluttered, with checklists that are customizable, but not too complicated.

    I just want to say that I’m really enjoying your blog!!

  57. Yep. Exactly. Same for me. I am way too A.D.D. for the Flylady (God love her) I had the same problem with the wonderful Messies No More lady. I learn a lot but still can’t get my brain to do it. Also overwhelmed by emails. Now that I know we are such kindred spirits (or at least brain buddies) I will pay better attention to what you are doing. :) I also cannot see the mess happening until I am buried. :(

  58. I love FlyLady. Really and truly. You want to know what KILLED me? Why I just couldn’t do FlyLady? The insistence on laced up shoes. I couldn’t get past it. I would bleach my sink feeling like a failure. Do a 27 fling boogie feeling like a failure. All because I am a barefoot girl through and through. (Gross but true fact: I step on glass and then just pick it off the soles of my feet because the soles of my feet are, LEGIT, soles) So I could not do the system without feeling like a failure because I couldn’t do step 1. So now I am trying to work on a modified approach but really right now it’s, “Make it look better before my husband gets home and thinks I’ve done nothing all day.” which works but isn’t really sustainable!

  59. I found just reading Flylady too much as there was a huge fear and shame factor sending me into a frozen limbo. After many years of trial and error, mostly getting nothing done, I developed my own system and somehow seem to have overcome many barriers and thrown out heaps. The more I get done, the easier it gets. The shoes got to me, all the emails and many other “musts”. But that made me more determined to find my own way. So thanks Flylady for the motivation. And thanks to A Slob Comes Clean, I now have someone to follow who is similar to me, has lots of great ideas and doesn’t leave me feeling guilty. I take what works and figure out the rest. Slow and steady is winning the race.

  60. Jen in MN says:

    THANK YOU!!! You have just given me permission to release the guilt and shame that I’ve been feeling for years because I try but can’t get the FlyLady routines. I love her plan and the idea of it all, but it’s just not reality for me. I keep thinking, “why can’t I get this?” Then I would just feel like a failure because I couldn’t even get the baby steps working.

    I have been working hard on decluttering and re-decluttering, releasing the things that were given to me by my mother that had significant meaning to her, but not so much for me.

    I’m so glad I found your blog, website and ebooks. You speak to the core of my being and now I believe I CAN change my habits a little at a time.

    THANK YOU!!!!

  61. Hi, I recently found your blog and podcasts through Pinterest. I am an old flybaby; I joined in January 2002, about 4 months before her book came out, while she was still on Yahoo.

    I have heard the complaint often from many flybabies, that I have met through facebook, who have struggled with keeping up with her and falling off the wagon. Her website and system was really set up different back in the day and was easier to follow. She also frequently said feel free to delete emails, go on digest, whatever. Now it does seem like one long commercial and her website is really cluttered. I quit getting her notifications years ago since I no longer found them to be helpful.

    I took what worked for me and left the rest. I think one reason why I was able to stay with it was because I was actually without internet for about 6 weeks due to a move and I had to figure it out on my own. I moved about a month after joining, but I was happy that I found her when I did! Over the past 12 1/2 years I have had struggles and have morphed about 3 or 4 different approaches into one that works for me. I love flylady but she was a starting-off point for me way back when there were very few organizational sites on the internet.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and I appreciate your honesty. It is very refreshing!

  62. I think I love all of you! I tried the fly lady thin back in 1999-2000 and have been off the list for some time, not until I had 15 000 + emails! I’ve sorted a lot of these things out on my own, And have defiantly made progress, but have consistently felt like something was wrong with me cause I just didn’t get it, or how to be “normal”. So many of the thing you are saying like contemplating the spinach can, or stepping over the shoes sound like they are coming out of my head. That makes me happy!

  63. Thank you! I found this site by accident and all I can says is, thanks! I have spent my entire adult life trying to get decluttered and organized.
    Nothing worked for me. I love Flylady, but I could never fit in there. I feel like I have come home and actually can accomplish something.
    I am off to fill a trashbag.

    Sharon

  64. Oh My goodness! I always wanted to do her system but I got tired of baby steps and e-mails.

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