FLYing Basics: Day 30 WFD?

Each day at the end of your Morning routine, you should get in the habit of asking yourself “What’s For Dinner” (WFD)?  Actually, it’s even more helpful if you ask yourself the night before, because you can look at your calendar and see what your day looks like!  The key is to think about your dinner early enough in the day (or the night before) that you can easily put your meal together.  When you wait too long to decide or plan, you may end up in line at the local Drive-thru at 7pm.

Planning Makes Dinner Time Easy

Planning doesn’t take long, and it will save you lots of time (and $$) later.  There are 3 things you can do to get a healthy dinner on the table each night:

1. Start Menu Planning.  The best way to ensure your family is eating healthy, is to set aside time to menu plan each week.  To review my menu planning time see Flying Basics Day 20 (  I plan 4-5 meals for the upcoming week, and leave a couple of days for leftovers or eating out.

2. Consider dinner ahead of time.  Good planning ideally begins the night before when you are doing your daily to-do list.  If you already are doing menu planning, you can just select a menu from your planned list after looking over the next days schedule. Thinking ahead gives you a chance to double-check you aren’t missing any ingredients and that you have adequate time in your schedule to cook your meal. I didn’t consider today’s dinner last night, and I almost pulled out fish from the freezer to defrost for tonight, when I realized I won’t even be home tonight!!  We’ll be going to the fireworks, and my mom is bringing chicken, so I don’t need to cook.  Lucky I remembered before I pulled out my fish.

3. Plan a time to start cooking.  If you think WFD? at the end or your morning routine, you can easily pull out meat to defrost, and set aside the necessary ingredients.  You can also figure out the best time to cook.  On days when I work in the evening, I either need to plan an early afternoon cook time, or I can cook it in the morning and reheat it later.

Flying is all about planning ahead and creating routines.  Getting into the routine of considering your dinner early will help you to get that dinner on the table right at dinner time!


FLYing Basics: Day 29 – Getting in the Zone

Now that we’ve gotten all of our routines thought out, we can start focusing on working in the zones of the house.  The only way to really reduce the chaos in your home is to systematically declutter anything you don’t love or need from your house.  Everything you own needs to have a home — no more shifting things from one room to another.  Once the decluttering is done, your cleaning and routines will be a breeze!!  Let’s look at the zones:

You can see that the whole house is broken into 5 zones, so you can move through the whole house in one month.  Now that doesn’t mean we are finishing the house in one month — it means we will be touring it each month.  Each of us has different rooms in the house, so you may need to adjust the zones a little bit to fit you.  Zone 3 allows you to tackle the guest bathroom along with a miscellaneous room each month, like kids room or office.  Just rotate them in.  The garage, shed or attic, is purposely left out because that is a big project that should be done separately in phases.

When you 1st start zone cleaning, you will be decluttering only (no detailed cleaning).  We’ll save cleaning for WHB hour.  Start at the doorway and work your way clockwise through the zone.  Your goal is to spend 15 min. a day decluttering in the week’s zone.  At the end of the week, we move to the next zone.  If you need a review of the decluttering process, go back to Flying Basics Day 9 in the archives.  Before you begin decluttering, make sure that your zone has at least had a general pick-up and then get right to your decluttering.

Once you have decluttered everything in one zone (it may take several months of repeated decluttering in that zone), you are free to start doing detailed cleaning.  Detailed cleaning lists for each zone can be found at  But remember, don’t race to this step.  Take it slow and steady.  We want to get the clutter out, so we can get out of chaos!  Let the zone decluttering begin!!  Happy Flying.

FLYing Basics: Day 28 – Success Begins The Night Before

About a month ago, I came home tired and decided not to shine my sink.  I left them piled up in the sink and went to bed.  What I did not know is that about 2 hours later, my son would wake up screaming with an earache, and would continue to wake once an hour until morning.  Ugh.  When I finally arose the next morning, I had to face a full sink of now icky, crusty dishes.  And then I had to add my breakfast dishes to them.  Double Ugh!  I also had neglected my full Before Bed Routine, so clothes were not set out, and I had no to-do list prepared for the day.  So now, with little energy left, I had to rush to find clothes for me and my son and leave the dishes to wait until mid-day so I could make it to the 1st available Doctor’s appointment.  I couldn’t have prepared for his ear-infection, but I life would have been just a little easier that morning, if I had done my routines the night before.

We never know what we will face the next day, so for the greatest success you should aim to prepare the night before.  You may be tired at the end of the day, but it soooo worth it the next day if you can awake to a clean kitchen, clothes ready to go, and your to-do list ready to go.  We’ve talked about our Before Bed Routine before, and hopefully, you have at least your Big 3 routine all set up.  But I want to focus a little more on the To-do list step.

Your Road Map For Tomorrow – Your To Do List

I didn’t always used to make a to-do list the night before; I used to wait until morning, and just think about what I needed to do then.  But I realized I could be much more effective if I thought my day through even earlier.  Towards the end of my Before Bed Routine, I sit down at my desk and take a look at my calendar.  Do I have any appointments for tomorrow?  Early morning appointments may mean I need to get up early and start my Morning Routine sooner.   I also need to see what my Weekly Focus task is for tomorrow, and see when I can fit them in.  For instance, today I had to work in the afternoon, so my Afternoon routine had to be done in the morning.  If I hadn’t planned that out the night before, my tasks would still be undone.  Without a plan, you are at the mercy of your day, instead of in charge (somewhat).

To plan my time, I like to use a sheet called the Daily Docket.  The one pictured is from the printables section at  This is one of 2 sheets I alternate between (the other is from  The one I used for today is perfect for days when I work, because I can make a time schedule alongside my to-do list.  I just plug-in my appointment times, then add in my routines and focus tasks.  All other things I hope to accomplish go on the to-do list section.  I was able to keep good track of my water today too!

If you are having a hard time keeping up with your routines and new weekly schedule, try to plan a little sooner.  Make every effort to complete your Before Bed routine each and every night.  Look over your schedule for the next day and really think about what you hope to accomplish on your focus tasks.  It takes work to get into a new schedule.  You don’t need to have it memorized–just look it over the night before.  When I wake up the next day, I can start right on my day.  You’ll find it so much easier to stay on track with your Weekly Cleaning schedule if you prepare this way.  So make a goal to think about tomorrow the night before — it only takes a couple of minutes, and could save you a lot of hassle in the morning!!

Get back to a consistent BBR and keep FLYing!

FLYing Basics: Day 27 – The Afternoon Routine

So far we have our Morning Routine and Evening Routine in place.  And now that we have set up our schedules, we also know which weekly tasks we want to focus on during the week.  But when do we do them?  We tackle our focus tasks during the Afternoon Routine.  You can call it an After-school, After-work, After-breakfast routine if that works better for you.  We just need a routine that will tackle our mid-day activities.

Creating Your Afternoon Routine

The 1st thing you will want to do is select your Big 3.  These are the 3 main tasks you want to tackle during the day.  One should be the daily focus task that you selected when you created your Weekly plan (pay bills, errands, menu-planning, etc.).  This is also the time you fit in your daily 15 min. declutter session.  So, that leaves you with one last task to pick.  You choose.  My Big 3 are:  (1) 15-min. Declutter  (2) Daily Focus task  (3) Prepare for Dinner.

Your longer AR list might include laundry, lunch clean-up or “Kelly’s Mission”.  “Kelly’s Missions” are short cleaning or organizing tasks for whatever zone of the house we are working in.  You can find these missions, Monday through Friday, at  They are located in the Launch Pad section on  Today’s example mission is a quick vacuum of your living room!  I like to add these simple missions whenever possible.

Have a Plan “B”

If you work or have a lot of outside commitments, your AR might not fit into the same time slot everyday.  It may not even end up in the afternoon!  It’s good to have a Plan B for those days.  On my own schedule, I have 3 days where I work in the afternoon or evening.  On those days, I do my AR in the morning, shortly after my Morning Routine, and I focus on my Big 3 only.  On the other days of the week, I can spread my AR out over the mid-day or focus on it in the Afternoon.  My week was a wreck before I realized that I needed to have a Plan B on work days.  Without paying attention, I would miss the time available on my work days, and important tasks were getting pushed onto different days.  The weekly plan only works if you use it, and use it daily.  A little forethought will keep you right on track.

Once you have set your Big 3, write it out on a 3×5 and post it where you can see it until you make this routine a habit.  Have you gotten a chance to start your daily decluttering yet?  Before you go to bed tonight, take a look at tomorrow’s schedule and see when the best time for your AR Big 3 will be.  If at all possible, make it your goal to fit in 15 min. of decluttering tomorrow.  We want to eventually make this a daily habit.  Decluttering once-a-day will keep your home chaos away! 


FLYing Basics: Day 26 Setting Your Weekly Schedule

For the last 7 days we have looked at the different themes of focus that we want to fit into our weekly schedule.  Today, we are going to put them on paper.  You may want to refer to Day 18 of the Basics, where I had you plug-in your regular appointments into a weekly time schedule.  We will now plug-in our focus days to create a Basic Weekly cleaning and home maintenance plan.

Setting Up Your Schedule

If you did Day 18, you should already have your appointments written onto your sheet in pencil. Now, we are going to start laying out the other pieces:

1. Pick a day for groceries, and select the time that you think you will go to the store  (errands will also fall on this day).  If you order groceries online, just plan a time to place your order.  If possible, the day before would be a great time for your menu planning, fridge clean-out and making a grocery list.

2. Select a day that you can tackle your bills, any paperwork filing or shredding, and budgeting.  This will be your desk day.

3.  Pick a time for Weekly Home Blessing Hour (see Basics Day 22 for all the details).  This can be done in just over an hour, one day a week, or you can spread it out over the week, one task per day.  The latter works well for those of you who work long work shifts and are gone most of the day.

4.  Add in time for you and your family.  Pencil in some room for exercise and pampering for yourself.  Also, set times for family play and Date night with your significant other.  You schedule should have a good mix between cleaning and family/friend time.

5. Plan in a 30 min. slot for weekly planning.  (The weekend may be a good time to think over the coming week).

6. Last, plan in time for the miscellaneous tasks like car and yard maintenance, ironing and purse clean out.

**Remember, this is not set in stone.  You can move things around whenever you want if your schedule isn’t working for you.  I tried out some new days last week, but didn’t like how it went, so I switched them around to better days for the upcoming week.  The idea is to give yourself set times for certain tasks, so you can focus on one thing at a time.  This should make you more efficient with your time.  And there is freedom in this plan.  If I missing mowing the lawn on Saturday, I don’t have to do it the next day when I have other stuff to do–-It waits until next week when yard maintenance rolls around again.

Your Week At A Glance

For years I have liked using 3×5 cards to organize my daily and weekly chores.  But now that I have my Home Management binder, I wanted a place where I could view each day at glance.  I had bought some baseball card sleeves to put my business cards in my contacts section, and I realized that I could easily use one of the sheets to create a quick view of my Weekly Focus Days.

I cut down 3×5 cards to fit, and then devoted one card to each Focus Day of the Week.  I had to extra slots — I used one for my WHB list that I can never remember when I go to do it!  The 2nd one is for a Bedroom Blessing I do earlier in the week, so that I can focus my WHB just on my main living areas.  Now, I can see my whole week, and can just flip to this page when I want to see my focus for the day.  I love how it turned out!

I hope you find a good way to make your schedule work for you!  Happy Flying!

FLYing Basics: Day 25 – Car and Purse Cleaning

1205_VIJC_Car_Wash_0002We only have a couple more items to fit into our weekly schedule.  It’s a good idea to have a set time each week for cleaning out the car (and possibly washing it) and cleaning out your purse.  When my kids were smaller, I had a set time to clean out the diaper bags too.

The Weekly Clean-out
I just bought a new car, and I have been making a major effort to keep it clean inside.  My previous car was not chaos-free!  Each and every time I get out of my new car, I gather any trash and bring all my belongings into the house.  If I follow this plan, then on “Car Clean-out day” I can focus on dusting it out and vacuuming my mats.  Every other week I wash my car, or take it to the car wash on my clean-out day.  Now, I don’t have to be embarrassed if someone wants a ride in my car!
Purse clean-out is also an important addition to your weekly schedule.  It only takes a few minutes to throw away the trash, put any notes on my calendar, and reorganize the contents.  This is an example of a small project that if done regularly is a breeze to complete.  When you postpone it, your bag gets heavier and heavier, and you end wading through a purse full of trash in the grocery line.
Making It Work For Your Family

Think of any other miscellaneous chores your family should include on your weekly list.  Do you have items that need to be ironed or mended regularly?  Do you need to plan for lawn-mowing or weeding in the yard each week?  Think about which days would be good for these tasks.  And don’t think you have to do it all — get your family involved.  Put everyone in charge of task to lighten your load.  My 4 year-old loves to take out the recycling and collects the garbage in each room during the week.  My 5-year-old is willing to unload the dishwasher for me.  And both of them are able to help with putting away laundry.  As you set up your new schedule, see where your family can lend a hand.  It takes everyone’s involvement to make a Happy Home!  Happy FLYing!

FLYing Basics: Day 24 – Plan and Play

Today we have 2 important activities to add to our weekly schedule: (1) a time to plan for our coming week and (2) a time to play, or pamper ourselves.  These activities can share a day or you can separate them.  Sundays are my day to do both.  After some relaxing time with family in the afternoon, I take a short time to plan for my coming week and tweak my Home Management binder.  Sunday night is my time to pamper and take some time for myself.

Its Planning Time!

Every Sunday afternoon I set aside 30 min. to plan for my upcoming week, and to tweak and play with my Home Management Binder.  My favorite planning tool is the “Peek at the Week” form from the free printables at  I start by writing in my weekly focus days in the Day of the Week squares, along with any important events from my calendar.  In the to-do section I often list a short task I would like to accomplish for each day of the week (like decluttering).  The sheet also has a place for my week’s dinner menus and any ingredients I need to add to my grocery list.  At the bottom I can put an inspiring quote or personal goal to focus on for the week.  I hang it on the corkboard above my desk, so I can refer to it each evening as I make my to-do list for the next day.  In just a few minutes, I have a good plan going for my week.

Tweaking My Home Management Binder

For the remainder of my planning time, I play with my Home Management Binder.  I evaluate the previous week —  Did I plan well?  What days seemed out of control and why?  What could I have done better?  I look at my routine lists and see if they need to be simplified or if any thing needs to be added.

Since I am a perfectionist at heart, I decided not to make my Home Management Binder all in one shot.  I decided to work on it a little each week, and that way I wouldn’t get frustrated or stop using it.  I just continue to add or adjust it so it works for me.  Sundays is the day I set aside for that purpose.  If you have not yet created a home management binder (Flylady calls it a Control Journal), consider building it over time by setting aside a day especially for that purpose each week.  For instructions on creating a simple notebook or binder for your home routines check out Flylady’s instructions at  If you split it up into weekly baby steps, you’ll have it done in no time!

A woman in a bubble bath (Berlin, February 1930).Make time to Pamper Yourself

To keep your sanity, it is important to add in some weekly time for yourself into your schedule.  Every Wednesday night I spend time working on my scrapbooks for a fun ME time with friends.  It gives me a little adult time away from the kids, and I make progress on a fun project at the same time.  Sunday nights are reserved for pampering.  I make it a special “spa” time.  After the kids are in bed, I retreat to my master bathroom for a bubble bath by candlelight.  I often will add a face mask, and some time for a pedicure after my bath.  This time is set aside just for me, and my husband has strict instructions to not disturb my “spa time”.  This is the perfect way to relax before another busy week.

How can you fit in some time for yourself this week?  Do you have a fun hobby you would like to dedicate some time to?  Or how about taking a nice walk after dinner? Explore some ways you can add some fun and relaxation into your week.  All work and no play makes a grouchy mom!  Be sure to make some playtime, so you can be recharged and ready for what your week has in store.  Happy Flying!

FLYing Basics: Day 23 – Family Fun Day

Mormon Family FunWe’ve been working on our basic home routines for 3 full weeks now!  How are doing?  Are you starting to build some consistency?  If you haven’t been able to keep up everyday, don’t fret or beat yourself up.  This is a journey, not a race.  Our housework will be there, day in and day out.  Just keep jumping back in.  When life gets hectic, stick to your Big 3 Morning routine (1. Make bed, 2. Dress to shoes, 3. Shine your sink) and your Big 3 Before Bed Routine (1. Shine Sink, 2. Set out clothes for tomorrow, 3. Check your calendar for tomorrow).  The more consistent you get, the more freedom you will have to play with your family and do things that you love.

Family Fun Day

The whole point of creating habits in your home, is to make more time for family fun.  Life should be more than just chores!  On Saturdays, your main focus should be quality time with your family and friends.  After a week of work and activities, its good to have a set time where you can relax and enjoy the important people in your life.  If you make time for your cleaning activities during the week, you no longer need to spend all day cleaning on the weekend.  On the weekend, get your Morning routine done early, so you can take the rest of the day off.  Put your family and friends 1st.  Go on a family bike ride, relax in the park, or take a trip to the ice cream parlor.  Take some time to relax — you’ve earned it!  Have fun and enjoy.


FLYing Basics: Day 22 The Weekly Home Blessing

TV stoffen met plumeau / Dusting the televisio...Today’s Focus will be the Weekly Home Blessing Hour (WHB).  The Flylady does hers on Mondays, but I prefer to do mine on Fridays.  It works best for my schedule and I like having the house spruced up for the weekend.  Pick a day that works best for you.  The WHB is 7 cleaning activities done every week that make your home sparkle:

Throw away old magazines

Empty Trash

Change sheets on your beds

Dusting furniture

Cleaning mirrors and door handles


Mopping your floors

Feel free to adapt your list too!  I don’t buy magazines and I choose to do my bedding on another day so my list looks like this:  (1)  Empty all trash(2) Wash bathroom rugs and stock new towels  (3) Clean mirrors and dust (4) Mop linoleum in bathrooms and laundry (5) Dust mop wood floors (6) Vacuum area rugs (7) Damp mop wood floors.  The idea is not to clean all day long….you are going to spend 10 min. per task (yes, just 10 min.)  This is not deep-cleaning,  it is “just the middles” cleaning.  To stay on track it is critical to use your timer and race it.  WHB hour also doubles as a great workout!!  I’m always sweating by the end of it.  Just work fast and have fun.  As Flylady would say “This is progress, not perfection”

Having Fun with your WHB

(1) Prepare.  I do a quick pick up of my rooms beforehand, so everything is off the floor in preparation for my WHB.  I also get all my tools out — vacuum, bucket and soap, dust mop and duster.  Having it all out and ready lets you fly right through each mission.

(2) Use the Flylady podcasts.  Follow along at   I love cleaning along with Marla (the real “Flylady”) and it motivates me to move quickly.  She also has a popular crisis cleaning podcast for when you need to a quick 45 min. cleaning before company arrives  (  You can also download both on iTunes.

(3) Grab a buddy.  I meet online with friends every Friday morning to do my WHB over chat on Facebook.  We set our timers for 10 minutes per task, and then come back to the chat to post our “Ta Da” and congratulate each other on our good work.  Why clean alone when you can chat with a friend at the same time?  This is such a fun way to get the job done.

(4) Play with it.  You can change your categories over time, or spread them out over the week by doing one each day.  It’s important to make this work for you.  Each week just reevaluate your list and make sure it is appropriate for that week.  Just fit in your hour and make your home sparkle!

Happy Flying!

FLYing Basics: Day 21 – Errand Day

pdx grocery shopThursday is the new dedicated Errand and Grocery Day in my Basic Weekly Plan.  When planning your week, it is really important to plan your Grocery time in 1st because it determines when other activities like menu planning or budgeting should take place.  It is really helpful to have just one day a week to plan your main errands and shopping trips if it is possible.  It saves you a lot of time and gasoline.  Try to limit your errand runs to one or two days of the week maximum — that gives you time to focus on other things.

Tips for Smooth Errand Days

(1) Don’t forget your list.  Prepare beforehand with a complete grocery list.  This keeps you from over buying at the store and you can just zip in and out of the store.   On my Menu Day, I prepare my grocery list after I have made up my menus for the week.  Since, I also cleaned out my fridge that day, I know what other items I might need.  I bring a little list of the other places I need to go on errands as well, and the items I need to pick up or take care of while I am there.

(2) Bring your own bags.  Reusable bags benefit the environment and keep your home more clutter-free.  In my town, reusable bags are now mandatory or you have to pay for paper bags at the checkout.  I keep my reusable bags in the trunk of my car, so I don’t forget them.  My favorite reusable bags can be found in the FlyShop at

(3) Use a Launch Pad.  You can prepare for your errands the night before by putting everything you need in your launchpad.  A Launch pad is just a place where you put the things you will need for the next day, like your keys and purse.  The night before errand day I make sure my grocery list and my errand itinerary are written out and set in my launch pad.  I also set out any library books that need to be returned, any packages for postage, or other items that need to be taken care of during my errands.  Last I check that my reusable bags have made it out to the car from my last store trip.

Hope these tips help you have a more successful and productive Errand Day.  Happy Flying!