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Take the Stress Out of Mess with the ‘FlyLady’ Cleaning Method

A woman mopping next to a bucket filled with cleaning supplies.
Krasula/Shutterstock

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve likely noticed a boom in lifestyle and cleaning influencers. From YouTube videos meant to motivate, to before and after Instagram posts, there’s a lot out there. But the FlyLady Cleaning Method (developed 20 years ago) is making a major comeback.

So, what is it? Started by Marla Cilley, who’s basically the OG of cleaning bloggers, the method is predicated on the idea that cleaning shouldn’t be a stressful, time-consuming task. Rather, it should be a ritual, split into 15-minute increments. According to Cilley, over the course of 28 days, these rituals will become a habit, and you’ll be left with a spick-and-span home.

You begin the process in “baby steps”—a series of small tasks that build upon each other as time goes on. But you don’t select these tasks on your own. For those who want to try the FlyLady Cleaning Method, Cilley has a 31-day schedule of baby steps listed on her website to start you on your cleaning journey.

The tasks for each day include simple things, like shining your sink, organizing bills, or picking out your clothes for the next day. They help you avoid any overwhelming feelings.

Once you’ve conquered the baby steps and established a routine, you’ll move on to the next step, which involves separating your home into five zones. Like her baby steps, Cilley’s already established the zones for you, but you can modify them to fit your space. Once that’s done, Cilley recommends focusing on one of the five zones each week and doing short 15-minute bursts of cleaning and decluttering as the days progress.

Once you’re out of the baby steps and have zoned your home, you can dig a little deeper and form your own custom routine. The best place to get ideas is, of course, FlyLady.net. It’s a treasure trove of routines you can try (filed under the Flying Lessons section). It also features recommended daily tasks and tips and tricks for keeping your home clean in a manageable way.

If you want more, you can download FlyLadyPlus, a free iOS app (sorry, Android folks) that allows you to see more sample routines and cleaning tasks. If you need more consistent communication, you can use the FlyLady Messenger App ($9.95 for three months/$17.95 for six months/$29.95 per year), which sends daily tasks, messages, reminders, and testimonials to your phone. It also works on any mobile device.

If you don’t want to download yet another app, you can sign up to receive e-mails from Cilley that will help you stay on track.

If you’ve been searching for a way to balance your life with what seems like a mountain of cleaning, give the FlyLady a shot.

[Via Better Homes & Gardens]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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