Works for me: Spring cleaning (in baby steps)

In honor of my rampant case of spring fever, I have been dejunking our house. Last week it was the linen closet, my little girls’ room, and the pantry. Over the last few weeks I’ve also worked over my closet, the laundry room, and my bathroom. I did my little girls’ bedroom all in one long morning, but the other projects all got done a bit at a time over several days’ time.

My secret weapon is the ’27-thing-fling’, which is actually a FlyLady idea. I can’t totally jump on her bandwagon –she tells people to wear SHOES all day, people! But the fling is fabulous busy-mom tool for dejunking.

I pick one area to work on gradually over a few days’ time. I stick a trash can and a giveaway box near it, and once or twice a day until the job is done, I spend a few minutes sorting things to give away or throw away. I quit when I hit 27. Usually I can find 27 things to toss in just 10 or 15 minutes, which is a small enough bit of time to be doable even on school days.

Once I’ve pared things down, it is a lot easier to do the actual cleanup. Sometimes I get inspired and do a whole project in a morning. But most days it is much easier on everyone if I tackle big projects a bit at a time over several days’ time.

Visit Shannon’s place to find moreWorks for Me ideas!

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  1. We have been flinging things right and left for weeks and I still haven’t decluttered the kids rooms–5 huge garbage bags already and I am still going! There is hope at least. 🙂

  2. I love this idea! Thanks!

  3. Mary, I just love your blog. I don’t get here often enough, but I am going to make time to visit more often!

    I think the fling idea is great! Who can’t find 27 things to get rid of? I have been on a huge decluttering binge for about a month. Four huge bags of ‘stuff’ have left my house. Where does all this junk come from? haha

    We are getting ready to welcome three more children into our family, so I am sure I will be scouring your blogs to glean as much info as I can on managing a larger family. 🙂

  4. I really need to stop making excuses and do this. Thanks 🙂

  5. I just started FlyLady yesterday… meaning today is my 1st shoe day. Here’s hoping it goes well. My dad laughed when I told him about dressing to shoes daily. I was that kid that took off her shoes as soon as I could – home, church, friends, car, sandbox…

    I been flinging lately as well. I just want to simplify and getting rid of all the “stuff” seems the easiest way to do that. Thanks for sharing. I’m so encouraged by your blog!

  6. Wow 10 Kids? Ur own or adopted?? Just curious ..no offence.. Likeed ur header…Fantastic

  7. I so need to get on the decluttering bandwagon. The school corner is threatening to overtake my house!

  8. This is one of the reasons I love moving so much – I have to get rid of a whole lot of stuff! With moving every few years due to the military life I hope to never accumulate too much stuff. I hate stuff 🙂
    The twenty-seven things is a great idea! That would help me to de-clutter before I really de-clutter!

    And there isa NO way I could wear shoes all day. Never. I wear them only when I MUST. As in the: no shoes, no shirt, no service, kind of must 🙂

  9. Why do people always focus on the shoes or some other thing they don’t like about flylady? Fling the shoes and read the rest of the stuff. Delete or ignore the spiritual/religious comments if you’re not of that mindset. She offers lots of motivation, all for free…so don’t let the negatives in your mind clutter your progress.

  10. The trouble I have in trying to do things a little at a time like this is that the piles/containers left out will be scattered back around the house by the time I get back to them– if not the whole pile, then at least a “treasured item” or two. I find that he toddler/ pre-school set excels in this form of subterfuge.

    When we go on a trip and I start the pile of stuff to pack, I have to make death threats about touching the pile. Grand scale cleaning out requires daily death threats, I guess.

  11. I’ve been doing Flylady for about four years. I don’t follow everything to the letter (I wear slip on shoes, but at least I wear something on my feet) but I do what I can. My house is uncluttered, sometimes tidy and my sink is empty every night. I also do daily routines.
    It isn’t as hard as it sounds. Trust me, if I can become organized, anyone can.

  12. I am a FlyLady follower too! Her ideas (well, some of them!) are genius…
    I love the SuperFlingBoogies, too, but don’t miss this very important aspect of the 27-thing fling, ….and that is, that you are supposed to set a timer and “fling” for 5 minutes and 5 minutes *ONLY*….No longer than that.
    Even if you need to do a 5-minute fling every single day.

    Then you are to CLOSE up the bag that is trash and PUT it in the outside trashcan, and you are to put the Salvation Army bag right in your trunk and take it to the SA on your NEXT trip outside the home.
    AND…you’re not allowed to think of those things, take them out, regret getting rid of them, etc. They’re GONE from your home.

    After flying for a few years now, here are the 2 best pieces of advice I have culled from reading everything she’s written:

    1) You can’t clean clutter and you can’t organize it. You must get rid of it.

    2) Housework, even done incorrectly, still blesses your family.

  13. multi-taskingmom says:

    Why must you wear shoes? Just curious.

  14. We have only one child – still a lot of cleaning every weekend – when we have absolutely no time we do the same thing – do a little at a time

  15. I like many of FlyLady’s ideas but some are very hard to stick to (or I just don’t want to). I do like this one. My other favorites are cleaning up the kitchen before going to bed and the 15-minute timer!

  16. To answer #13’s question, one of FlyLady’s basic suggestions is that you put on “lace-up” shoes every morning and you don’t kick them off, and then have to find them when you go somewhere, etc. She tries to make it seem sensible, as though it’s a very important part of her program. And I think, for her, it is.

    HOWEVER, I see it as one of her blind spots. Her reasoning makes perfect sense for her, as she is a woman of a certain age, who also happens to carry a lot of extra, shall we say, heft….So, for her, when she puts shoes on, she means business. She can comfortably go to work.
    For many of the rest of us, however, slip-ons work fine, sandals are fine, furthermore we can work as hard as we please while we’re still barefoot! I think for her, she can’t get much done until she has one some “lace-up” shoes (i.e. sneakers or tennies) and that’s why it’s such a significant part of her “reminders.”

  17. What a great idea! I think I am going to try it today! Thanks!

  18. I can’t get the motivation to even do a 5 item fling LOL! Maybe one of these days….

  19. Having just found out that our “7” year old soon to be adopted Ethiopian daughter is probably really 9 1/2 I am reeling today. We have a bio 17 year old son and 5 year old daughter and our thought originally was to bring home a daughter closer in age to our 5 year old. The agency said we don’t have to continue with this referral. But – my dh and I both believe the Lord led our family to these siblings (there is a 3 year old brother too.) so I am spending today just letting her age settle in to my heart. If you have any thoughts on a 9 year old daughter, would you share them with me? Will she still cuddle with us? She has never been to school – will I be able to help her learn?

    I know that God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle and that he makes all things good for those that love Him. The peace from this Truth passes all understanding.

    Oh – 15 minutes today – playing ping pong with my 5 year old. It’s a fast, fun way to get your heart rate up (you know funning all over and climbing under furniture to recover failed shots), relax and laugh. There are always some unbelievably funny shots! It can really chase away tension and boredom.

  20. I am a no shoes girl too. I love the 27 thing fling and 7 bags have left my house in the past week. Yippie!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  21. haha-my kids are pros at flinging things, LOTS more than 27 PER MINUTE some days, which is WHY my house is such a mess! but i know what you mean and i love getting things cleaned/cleared out-but sometimes the death threat thing has to come into play in our house too :)!

  22. O.k. I did the FlyLady thing last year – or at least tried to. I really really struggled with the “lace-up shoes” thing – love the earlier comment about “fling the shoes” if you must! I personally clean much better in bare feet or my moccasins if it’s cold – probably something to do with living in Africa for most of my first 18 years. My favorite two FlyLady things are the 15 min. timer and her advice to strive for “progress not perfection”.

    Have a blessed day.

  23. This is absolutely a great idea. Anyone can tackle this task, and get so much cleaning accomplished in a short span of time! Thanks for sharing!