Zones – Cleaning out the Clutter

The Flylady has broken our homes down to 5 manageable zones to help us keep our homes clean and clutter free.  You may ask – why do you need someone to break your home into zones?  just clean it when it’s messy.  Yes – this sounds like it would work but it doesn’t.  There are those people in this world who are organized.  They pay bills before they are due.  They have a planner that makes sense to them.  They arrive on time and they know where to find their things.  Followers of Flylady call these people the BOs of the world or the born organized.  I am a SHE – Sidetracked Home Executive.  a payroll SHE no less since I work outside of the home.  The executive functioning part of my brain does not work as well as it should (ADHD) so Flylady helps me out.

As part of my resolution for this year I’ve been working on the flylady zones

  1. Zone 1: Entrance/front porch/dining room – First few days of the month until the next Sunday
  2. Zone 2: Kitchen/ back porch/laundry room/pantry – First full week of the month
  3. Zone 3: Main bathroom/extra bedroom/kids’ rooms/craft room – Second full week of the month
  4. Zone 4: Master bedroom/bath/closet – Third full week of the month
  5. Zone 5: Living room/den/TV room – Last few days of the month from Monday until the first of the next month

Here is my update.  All but zone 5 have had two times in it so far this year.

Zone 1 – The entrance has definitely improved.  We’ve torn apart and cleaned out the dryer.  This was a huge fire hazard but it’s now safe for awhile.  My husband and I found a sense of accomplishment as we fixed our dryer ourselves.  It broke a few weeks ago.  My husbands first thoughts were that we needed to buy a new dryer.  I refused stating that we could fix it ourselves.  He reminded me that we were not mechanically inclined people.  I stated that there are tutorial videos online that walk you through the process.  He stated that we could have someone come in and fix it for us.  I refused stating that it would cost at least $50 just to have someone come out.  Finally this past weekend he agreed that we should try to fix it ourselves.  I went to

(so I’m feeling very sad right now – just finished writing a beautiful and long post and then posted it and this is all there is.  will rewrite later when I’m not feeling discouraged 😦 )

and we watched the videos and tore apart our dryer, cleaned it out real well and then fixed it.  The thermal fuse was bad.  It cost us less than $20 to fix our dryer and we gained a sense of accomplishment that the other two options would have never been able to give us.  I was so proud of us.

Our entrance outside has definately improved.  I’ve raked and fixed up the yard next to the house.  I’ve removed some of the clutter from outside and the beast of a table that was right next to our door is gone.

The inside entrance is improved.  We can actually hang our coats up now when we enter the house.  the summer items were moved out to the shed.  Cobwebs and grime were removed.

Our dining area rarely needs any extra help.  This one area we typically keep clean and clutter free.  We make it a habit to eat all our meals together as a family at the table.

Zone 2 – Our kitchen has definately improved but is still an area of need.  I could complain about our cabinets but I won’t.  We need to get on a daily routine to keep on top of the dishes.  There is some clutter but it’s not too bad in here.  My wish list for this area definately includes new cabinets and a paint job.  A pantry would be nice but we don’t have the room.  What would be helpful is a master list of what food items we typically use so that our cabinets are stocked and meal planning is made easier.

Zone 3 – The bathrooms have gotten better.  The main bathroom has been scrubbed and cleaned.  This was especially helpful as we were all sick last weekend.  It was easy to keep it clean and sanitized as the hard part was already done.  The large bathroom is another story – its part storage and full of pet stuff.

My daughter’s room desperately needed help the first time I wrote this – it was cluttered and a total nightmare.  I pulled everything out and put back only the items she loves the most.  Two and 1/2 totes full of items that will go into the shed until she is ready to get rid of them.  She was very happy when she saw her room.  There is a lot more space for her to play and to relax.   We bought her new sheets because as she has gotten older her interests have changed.  Her bed is now covered in monkeys and she is so excited.

Zone 4 – Our bedroom is better but needs more work.  Our bedding is all washed and smelling fresh.  I bought Purex lavendar laundry crystals that you add to the wash and the fragrance is long lasting.  It’s nice that all my blankets smell like my favorite scent.

I’ve gone through my clothing and pull out clothes for the yard sale.  My room still needs help though as the mound of clutter on top of my dresser is calling my name but it can wait.  I would love to paint my walls and add some artwork to this room.  I sold some of my books to buy my husband a television for the bedroom as his Valentine’s gift.  I’m trying to convince him though that it needs to be mounted to the wall so it’s not overwhelming the dresser.

Zone 5 – The living room this morning was easily my most favorite room in the house.  We removed a couch which freed up space.  We also removed the coffee table.  My husband mounted the television to the wall and we removed almost all the clutter.  We rearranged, we washed the walls and removed the cobwebs.  My husband and I fixed this room together and it was fantastic working with him on this task.  It was real nice.  We still need to rehang our pictures but the room is nice and comfortable.

We use this room frequently as a family and now there is much more space.  I don’t know yet what I’m going to use the space for.  My daughter has used the extra space to play.  She pulls out the folding table and sets up her toys and plays.  She then picks up and the table goes away.  She dances and puts on shows with the extra space.  My husband stretches out and relaxes with the extra space.  I don’t know – maybe I’ll use the Wii Fit now that I have the space.  Maybe not.

This room went from being my favorite to being a hot mess today.  At several points I just sat and stared at my daughter’s enourmous amount of clutter.  I wanted to shove it all away and be done with it but I stuck it out and put away most of everything.  There is one tote left to put away or store.  The living room has an extra piece of furniture now that it didn’t have this morning.  A 2-drawer night stand that has resided in my daughter’s room for years.  It has had a fish tank on it for years.  The fish tank is now on top of her dresser and the stand is in my living room – at least until I find a better home for it.  Also out of place in our living room is a black stand with a printer on top.  It belongs in the family room but that is not going to happen any time soon.

There is also a dragon hanging from the ceiling now.  It went from the family room to my daughter’s room.  Today it went from my daughter’s room to the living room.

Working through the zones has definately helped.  I need to start working on daily routines to make my life calmer and run smoother.

Flylady encourages people to blessed others with our abundance.  When I first discovered Flylady last January I purged tons of garbage bags full of stuff we didn’t love or need.  Purging since then has gotten easier in some ways and harder in others.  There is the “I may need it someday” and the “it’s still good” and then the “we just need to organize better” excuses to hold onto things we don’t need.

To get my husband to buy into it and purge some of the better items we had to have an incentive.  To get my daughter to buy into purging items I definately needed an incentive.  a yard sale seemed like a great way for us to have a major purge.  Last summer my husband and I picked out new items we wanted for our house and used this as our incentive to sell!  We chose to buy a new set of silverware and if we made enough lawn furniture with our yard sale earnings.    We sold enough that we were able to buy a decent set of silverware in a pattern that I love and a table and chair set with umbrella for outside.  My daughter wanted a game and a toy that totaled $50.  She had to sell her items so that she could purchase this.  It worked.

Our second major purge happened this Christmas.  My husband and daughter really wanted a PS3.  I told them that we could buy it if we sold things around the house to do so.  I opened up a photo album on a facebook rummage sale and we were able to purge and buy our family gift.  We also got rid of all our old systems and games (except for the Wii) and traded them in for games to go with our new system.

We are working towards our third major purge and I believe this one will probably be the last major purge we will have to do in a long time.  We are planning a yard sale in May.  My husband and I are working towards a fire pit and a screened pavillion tent for outside.  My daughter is working towards a game she really wants for the new system.  Our family room is a hot mess right now and there is a large section of it full of items for the yard sale.  I am hoping that once we have the yard sale that we can actually use our family room for what it’s intended for – a game room and a play room.  It will be a place where our daughter can do arts and crafts and that we can have board games accessible and game nights.

The purging is freeing up space.  Less clutter means less cleaning.  Less clutter means that it will be easier for us to paint our walls to make our house fresher and brighter.  Less clutter means that it will be easier to install new comfy carpet.  Less clutter means there will be more room to live, to relax, to play and to grow.  There will be more space to spend time with family.  There will be more time to spend with family.

Zone cleaning and removing clutter turns a house into a home.




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