Over the last few years I’ve signed up to quite a few online mailings and networks. About four years ago my sister pointed me in the direction of the Flylady, an online support and advice network for domestically challenged persons. I took one look at the introductory video, laughed myself senseless, and moved on to other matters. About a year later, in desperation at the sight of my daily domestic chaos, I remembered the hilarious sink video and decided to have a proper look.
This time I was not so fast to chortle. I actually got up and ‘shined’ my sink that very evening. I felt good. I felt clean. I felt empowered. I did day 2. And 3. And a few more until I got distracted/ busy/ overloaded beyond redemption. But the shiny sink habit lasted a good few months, and I found myself much better at decluttering hotspots.
I kept receiving the daily emails, but in time got out of the habit of reading them, and went straight to delete. But I didn’t unsubscribe. However cluttered my inbox became, I continued to receive (if not read) the Flylady daily missive.
Two days ago with all art deadlines met and behind me, I opened up the Flylady daily. It was about procrastination. It was karma, kismet, beschwert. I got up, set the cooker timer for seven minutes (just think, 21 minutes a day is over two hours a week of pure tidying/decluttering!) and grabbed the pile of mail creating a fetching contemporary art installation reminiscent of a waterfall covering half the kitchen top and flowing down onto the kitchen table.
Three and a half HOURS later I was still going with the filing, having expanded my efforts into two other rooms and a number of cupboards. This of course is not quite what Flylady intends to happen. I’m supposed to be building up in baby steps, but I feel like a baby who’s starting running down a hill and can’t stop.
After the filing was up to date, I tore into other areas with the ardour of an archaeologist encountering a new dig. No pile was too much of an obstacle. I began making diagonal runs throughout the house connecting the pile of clean towels with the bottom of the stairs with the bathroom with a pile of novels with a bedroom with ancient underwear with a bin bag with the drawer of binbags with a pile of DVDs…
I was flying as if I were on something seriously illegal. When the girls came in from school I whipped their bags off the floor onto a freshly emptied shelf before they could remove their coats. I hovered cloth in hand as they made tea. I scurried behind as they moved to do homework to pick up the rubbish of the day from their files. In short, I was a right pain. If I could have closed and barricaded the doors of the house against the whole lot of them, I would have happily done so.
Nor am I finished. No, sir. I have only just got going. I have 20 years of rubbish to get rid of. I have been putting this off for years, and it’s blindingly obvious: it just gets worse and worse.
So will I succeed or will they plot to overthrow me? How long can I keep this up for? What about all my plans for great art? Will I ever be able to make a mess again?
And just in case you are wondering about the title, I have autocorrect on my phone to thank. If you have an iPhone, try tapping in Flylady and see what happens.