In early 2019 I decided to start a journey of becoming a minimalist. I even filmed a short video about it on my YouTube channel. Check it out!
Why I’m Starting A Minimalist Lifestyle – Video
I had been researching the minimalist lifestyle for years, but was never able to come up with a why for pursuing it.
Then, I made one of the most epic decisions ever – paying off all of my student loan debt in one fell swoop at the end of 2018. After that happened, things shifted for me.
I wanted to get my time back, maintain my debt-free lifestyle, and have more freedom to pursue my passions.
Then, I started thinking about how I would begin the process of living as a minimalist. How would I rid my home of the clutter that slowly crept back into my life.
I’d previously tried the KonMari Method. It (almost) worked for the immediate goal I had then, which was to pare down my belongings to fit into a smaller apartment.
The fact that the KonMari Method was supposed to be a one-time cure to my clutter problem made me feel like I had failed in some way. Why had I fallen back into old habits?
That’s why I’m doing things differently on my minimalism journey. I’ve decided to revisit (yes, I’ve tried this before, too!) the FlyLady system to declutter my home.
Then I remembered the one thing that I often forget when I’m setting high standards for myself: I’m human.
The reality is that, sometimes, it takes more than one go at something to get it right. And that’s OK!
What Is FlyLady?
The first thing to know is that the FlyLady is actually a person.
Marla Cilley is The FlyLady (a nickname resulting from her love of flyfishing).
Years ago, she began mentoring and teaching people a revolutionary process, often called the FlyLady Method, for creating and maintaining a clutter-free, clean, and tidy home.
I learned about FlyLady the first time on YouTube. Just like KonMari Method fans, there are lots of die hard FlyLady followers who share their how-to videos with millions via video.
I’ve implemented FlyLady off and on over the past few years and always find it helpful. I am excited to pick it up again, this time to help me on my minimalism journey!
If you are interested in a very detailed description of FlyLady, I would strongly suggest you read her book, Sink Reflections. It’s an awesome book packed full of info and guidance for using the FlyLady system.
Here, we’ll explore FlyLady further, while discussing 5 reasons why you should try the FlyLady system for your minimalist lifestyle.
# 1 Routines Will Keep You Focused
I am a big believer in having routines for pretty much everything. I have a morning routine that I swear by to get my day started off right.
FlyLady encourages you to establish routines for your daily activities ,including keeping your home tidy. For example, FlyLady’s morning routine includes a swish and swipe in your bathroom, which involves a quick clean of your toilet and sink!
Examples of FlyLady Routines
Morning Routine – FlyLady’s morning routine focuses on getting your day started. You’ll start with making your bed, then you’ll move on to tasks such as making breakfast for your family (or yourself if single), quick clean of the bathroom and kitchen, and getting dressed. Then you’ll look over your planner and start your day.
Before Bed Routine – during the before bed routine, you’ll do a quick pick up around the house, putting things back where they belong. Then you’ll look over your planner (again!), before doing a bit of self-care before going to bed.
Basic Weekly Plan
In addition to routines, FlyLady also suggest creating a weekly plan, which she describes as an outline for all the tasks you need to accomplish in a week.
These include tasks such as grocery shopping and errands, zone cleaning (we’ll discuss that below!), paperwork and mail sorting, laundry, and other tasks.
I suggest using a planner for your weekly plan, and recommend the Clever Fox Planner. It is a compact, simplistic planner that is focused on productivity and reaching your goals.
FlyLady has shown me that minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of things. It is also about planning ahead, using your time wisely, without being bogged down with a long to-do list.
In my pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle, routines bring simplicity, peace, and order to my life.
# 2 You’ll Pace Yourself By Working In Zones
The FlyLady has divided the home into zones. Zones will vary depending on your home’s size and layout. Each week, you’ll work in a specific zone of your home.
- Zone 1: Entrance, Front Porch, & Dining Room
- Zone 2: Kitchen, Pantry
- Zone 3: Main Bathroom and One Extra Room
- Zone 4: Master Bedroom, Bath, Closet
- Zone 5: Living Room, Den, Family Room
You’ll spend only 15 minutes per day in that zone. Don’t worry about not finishing; you’ll come back to each zone every month.
An important point for your minimalism focus – the first thing you’ll do in your zone: declutter it! Spend that 15 minutes getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose in your space. After you’ve decluttered, you’ll start your detailed cleaning in the zone.
I love that FlyLady emphasizes the importance of decluttering before deep cleaning.
Think about it; how easy is it to really get to the dirt and grime that builds up in your home if everything is hidden by clutter?
Once you’ve removed the excess stuff, you’ll find that your home is much easier to keep clean. It’s a win-win; not only is your space decluttered; it’s also super clean!
# 3 There’s No Pressure To Do It All At Once
Your home did not get dirty in a day, and it will not get clean in a day, either.Flylady
I love this quote by FlyLady. And, note that you can definitely replace the words dirty and clean with cluttered and uncluttered, respectively.
If you’re new to FlyLady, she suggests starting with the 31 BabySteps before diving into the full system.
Check out the 31 BabySteps from the FlyLady herself!
Each day of the month, you’ll perform a small task that introduces you to the system and prepares you for success. I’ve already gone through the BabySteps and highly suggest you do the same.
What I love about this is that it encourages taking small steps that add up to big results. There is no rush, urgency, or pressure to get it all done at once.
Also, as mentioned above, you’re only spending 15 minutes a day in your zone, whether you’re decluttering or deep cleaning it. This reduces the likelihood of overwhelm.
While the KonMari Method ultimately helped me achieve my goal, it felt very one and done. Trying to get rid of massive amounts of clutter all at once was very overwhelming.
With FlyLady, decluttering and cleaning a little bit every day becomes a natural, unforced part of my daily life.
# 4 You’ll Develop Good Habits
You’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days, right? While, I don’t like to restrict myself to a certain number of days, I agree that it takes time.
A few minimalist habits I’ve picked up as a result of using the FlyLady system include:
- Washing dishes after a meal, or putting them in the dishwasher
- Clearing off counters of items I don’t use regularly
- Sorting through mail before bringing it into my home; junk mail goes in the trash immediately!
- Avoiding shopping without a list; if I don’t have a plan for it, I don’t bring it into my home
- Putting things back where they belong every night before bed
What I appreciate about FlyLady is that incorporating routines and zone decluttering and cleaning ultimately lead to good, positive life habits.
# 5 It’s About Progress, Not Perfection
Merriam Webster defines progress as
- a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal)
- to develop a higher, better, or more advanced stage
- gradual betterment (my favorite)
The great thing is that none of these definitions remotely implies perfection, or getting it right every time.
FlyLady is about making progress, particularly in the area of managing your home. Every day, you perform small tasks that will move you closer to your goal of living in a clutter-free (or minimally cluttered!) space.
Over time, as your clutter decreases, you’ll notice that your relationship with things will change. You’ll desire only the things that you truly need, use, and that add value to your home and life.