Friday 6 February 2015

Are You Ready for Unexpected Guests?

My Shiny Sink

I am no domestic goddess. It is a well known fact that I have struggled over the years with my lack of care and attention to housework. The thing is, there are 2 breeds of people. Ones who are organised and  great at running a house. They naturally run a well oiled machine of a household. Everything has a place and everything is in it's place. Then there is my breed. I am the type of person who can be sitting on an average Tuesday and see a relative coming to the door uninvited and feel the blood draining from me. You see I'm not comfortable with my lack of cleaning prowess. I want to have a drop in friendly home it's just that it's not my nature to think about cleaning and tidying in a planned way. I am a creative, free spirited person who is often out and about and using my home as a crash pad between adventures.

As I see that uninvited guest approaching or as I get the phone call to say I'll be round in 5 minutes, I find myself scrambling to hide dishes in the oven and ironing in car. Since becoming a mum 4 years ago, I knew things had to change. I couldn't continue my hide my mess lifestyle like a shameful overeater who eats in the wardrobe then hides sweetie wrappers in their knicker drawer (ahem, I mean, who does that?)

Last year I read a blog article by a woman who calls herself FLY Lady. I liked her ideas around creating schedules and thought that this was someone I could relate to. I got a bit sidetracked and ended up forgetting about the website. Over Christmas this year I started reading again and I now find myself transformed and amazed but how easy it can be. I thought I would share with you some of the little changes I have made in the past 4 weeks which led me to the wow moment today. I opened my door at 9am on my day off to an unexpected health visitor who had come to my house to give my youngest son a visual assessment. I hadn't followed my morning routine to the letter as Fridays are our lazy days but my house was clean and tidy enough for me to open my door in my dressing gown to a complete stranger and invite them in. I didn't have to hide anything and I wasn't embarrassed. What a feeling!

It is the key for me to have a set routine. A time to do things in a day rather than firefighting every corner of the house or dedicating full days to catch up cleaning. Fly lady suggests that you have a morning and evening routine. There are certain things she insists you include but the rest of the routine is decided by you. What I find is that by going through these routines, my kitchen, livingroom, dining area and bathrooms are always tidy and clean. My washing and ironing is kept up to date and I am (excluding Fridays) dressed and ready to start the day. The main take home message is to do as much as you can the night before to prepare for the next day.
Here is my evening routine . . .

  • Clean up dinner dishes straight after dinner
  • Kitchen - Shine my sink, clean surfaces, put out a fresh dish towel for tomorrow, switch on dishwasher, dash round the livingroom with the hoover (we have a dog and 2 boys so daily hoovering is a must for us.)
  • If Steven is home one of us will bath the boys and give the bathroom upstairs a Swish and Swipe round after the boys are out then collect the washing from upstairs and bring it downstairs. The other is doing the pick up and put away anything lying around the livingroom, dining room, conservatory, 
  • Clear any hotspots (bottom of our stairs, dining table)
  • Put a load of washing on (set the timer to come on so the washing is finished for getting up in the morning). Take washing off the screens or from the dryer and iron if needed (I practice not ironing if I don't think it really needs it)
Tomorrow, Tomorrow . . .
  • Check the diary for tomorrow, write a to do list for tomorrow, make tomorrows lunch. 
  • Layout clothes, bag, shoes and keys for tomorrow. Think about tomorrow's dinner (do I need to get anything from the shop or take anything out of the freezer?)
  • I like to have my shower at night as it's hard to fit this in with the boys in the morning. 
  • Have some chill out/downtime then get an early night (in bed no later than 10.30pm)
This takes me about an hour at a leisurely pace to complete this but I go to bed knowing that my house is ready for tomorrow and so am I. My morning routine is shorter as I am organised from the night before. 

My Morning Routine

  • Get up before the kids (this isn't always possible but I try and get up at least 15 mins before them) 
  • Make bed, this usually means with the dog still in it!
  • Go to the bathroom downstairs, get washed, brush teeth, fix hair and make up, give the bathroom a Swish and Swipe, check towels and replace with fresh towel if needed. 
  • Get dressed, put shoes on. 
  • Fetch washing from the machine, hang it up.
  • Empty dishwasher (while the kettle is boiling for my morning cuppa)
  • Feed the dog, Sort my breakfast and cup of tea. 
  • Get the boys up and let the chaos begin.
From here on the house will become messy with toys and I don't get hung up on that. I am a mother first and always before a housewife. Mess from toys is fine in my book. I know that underneath the toys my house is clean and a 15 mins pick up and put away will clear my floor from the toys madness that my 2 boys create. When/if I get time in a day I set my alarm for 15 mins and tackle a cupboard/drawer to declutter in the current zone I am working on. Over the course of the month the zones rotate around. So it is a little and often approach to decluttering. I have completely decluttered my livingroom and hall as these areas were pretty uncluttered anyway. My next mission is my kitchen and that is going to take more time. I am confident that even if I could squeeze in 15mins, 3 or 4 times a week I could still make a huge difference over time. 

At the weekend I give my house a 1 Hour Blessing where I properly clean my bathrooms, give a big hoover round, clean the floors, dust all rooms, polish my glass doors (although I don't know why I even bother) and change the sheets in the bedrooms. 

I am trying to build in routines to my week like always cleaning out my car on a Friday afternoon when I come back from Nursery and cleaning my fridge on a Thursday when I get my food delivery. I like that you can take baby steps and you can just start where you are. You don't need to over think it too much. 

There is much more than this on The FLY Lady website. I am only getting started. If you are interested in finding out more about Shining you sink, Dressing to your shoes, Swishing and Swiping and House Blessing then check out the links. I can honestly say it is making a huge difference to my wellbeing. I have been off sick from work for 2 weeks and even through illness I have managed to keep on top of things with my hubby following the routines when I was really unwell. I am now on the mend thankfully and looking forward to keeping up the Fly Lady Lifestyle. 

Keep me posted if you try out anything or have any further tips. 

Thanks for stopping by!
This is not a sponsored post. I am writing about this from personal experience and have not been paid for my endorsement of Fly Lady.   


  1. I would love a routine like that where the cleaner came and did my chores and I paid her on, say a Friday! It's just the monotony of it all.... urghhhh

  2. I did 3 hours of aerobic style cleaning and clearing, inspired by you Friday. It really set me thinking, so I have written about it too. Thanks for being an inspiration and kicking my butt

  3. I know I find it hard to keep it going but it like eating healthy and exercise. I know I feel better when I do it. I couldn't have a cleaner because I would clean for her coming lol! x

  4. Feel like I have being searching for this post all my life. I can very easily feel overwhelmed by the demands of the house. Better now on Prozac but this post will help me a lot - thank you


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