Flying Past the Lure of Cleaning the Toilet

Moonday Mania


This is the second in a four part series about how organization has saved me. Click HERE for part one, Goal Setting Survival.


There are many pitfalls in staying home and trying to work. Resisting the insistent ring of my parent’s cell phones, the list of to-do’s that my husband thinks I can do since I’m home, and the lure of my unread books from Rom Con. But the most insidious is the lure of that evil siren, housework.

I am a clean person. At least I used to be, before falling in love with writing. When writing was just a hobby and I was thrilled to get 500 words on the page, my house was clean. People would ask me, how I did it. How did I get so much done and have my house look great every time they dropped by. The secret was simple.

I really did little else.

Now I am jealous about the time spent on my keyboard. If I don’t want to leave my computer to spend time with my family, why would I want to leave the keyboard to scrub toilets?

The answer is I am an amazingly complex person and I desire both. I desire a clean house so I can write. Something that I don’t have to worry about and doesn’t call to me when I’m sitting down to my keyboard. Something that doesn’t shout: “You lazy bum! You should be able to do it all!”

So you would think I would have been jumping for joy when my sister in law kept telling me I should try the Fly Lady. But I didn’t. I felt I didn’t need anyone helping me with silly strategies for housecleaning. I’d always kept my house up, I knew how to do it and I had my methods and I was sticking to ’em!

But that was before. Before I found that I want to write full time. And I mean spend 24/7 writing, reading about writing and schmoozing about writing. Leaving no time for running errands, clean underwear or stocking food in the refrigerator.

That was when our then CRW President Tiffany James (read about Tiffany’s upcoming book HERE) wrote a column about the Fly Lady. And I gave in and checked it out. If Tiffany, superwoman extrodinaire could admit she looked at the Fly Lady site, then so could I. So I peeked.

I started with keeping my kitchen sink clean and moved on through the swish and swipe.

I became a Fly Lady Fan! View picture of Fly Lady Here that I was afraid to Paste due to copyright!

I’m imperfect. Sometimes the Fly Lady’s schedule doesn’t fit mine, but she’d be the first to say that I should do what works for me. And mostly, flying and being a flybaby works for me. By spending small amounts of time on the house and rotating areas on a regular basis I’m able to keep the house on an even keel.

Bathrooms clean, floors vacuumed and sometimes even with food in the refrigerator. And I can spend my days at home focusing on the writing, and not what I haven’t done. Because I did my flying for the day, got it out of the way and that is all I need to do for now. Fly Lady has freed me for guilt free writing!

With the Fly Lady everything is broken down into small jobs that are spread out over time. What strategies do you use to balance your need to write or work at home and the needs that call you to stray into time wasting other activities? Do you Fly?

Find out more about simplifying your life with the Fly Lady at


Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, writing organization

12 responses to “Flying Past the Lure of Cleaning the Toilet

  1. I do like a clean house too, Jessica, but I’ll admit I can put writing first and not hear one whisper from the toilet. I have all my kids plus one living back at home now, so we are full to the brim. It’s fun, but it’s messy. The house had gotten out of hand, so before the weekend I warned the troops that I needed their time for cleanup. I need to ask to help more often! The kids do a great job when asked, but rarely do it without the prompt.

    • I’m pretty impressed your kids all clean, but then again they are older. Mine are at that stage where even asking them is a chore. But ask I do! This summer we got out of the chore habit due to summer camp, but school has started and I’m back on track. They will be soon too!

  2. I am a neat freak, too, Jessie. I used to be worse, but had to relax my standards when “a man” moved into my tidy abode 27 years ago. I “solve” my yebbit-I-should-be-doing problem by running away from home — to Starbucks.

    I had some success with a strategy using the timer and a list of tasks around the house. 45/15. Timer was set for 45 minutes to write. I set the oven timer for 15 minutes to complete a task on my housekeeping list. Write and repeat. Hmmm. Why didn’t I continue that practice? Maybe b/c it’s easier to run away from home. Thanks for the reminder about the Fly Lady. I accessed her site once and adopted ONE of her techniques. My kitchen is always (okay, usually) happy and my sinks and clean when I go to bed. Happy writing!

    • I love the 45 minute writing idea! When we started doing that this spring, I too use the spare 15 minutes to do my daily FlyLady tasks. It fits in nicely because usually the Fly Lady sets up everything in short bursts. Perfect for the writing break! I wish I was better at running away from home, but I really like the quiet at the house and the free snacks!

  3. Are you in my back pocket? Or my linen closet? Do you jump inside my head and see what I’m thinking before you post? Oh, Jessica, I so loved this article. And I have gone from a once-a-week-do-everything-in-one-fell-swoop kind of person to I’ve got five minutes, what can I do to keep up my house? It’s so freeing, isn’t it?
    Thanks for writing about things that touch my life and my guilt!

    • I can’t wait to actually meet you Elaine, because we always seem to be in sync. I feel the same way about your blog. I never thought I’d make friends over the internet like this! :))

  4. Ah, the irresistible call of a dirty commode. Shutting the bathroom door helps. Unmade bed? Shut the door. Littered linen closet? Shut the door. Messy mud room? You got it! shut the door.

    Unfortunately, the kitchen doesn’t have a door. Note to self: Buy blinders.

    But, try Fly Lady first.

  5. I should check Fly Lady. My house is always a wreck. Thanks for the tip.

    • At first it seems odd to do some of these things every day and some only once every 5 weeks. And I still need to spot clean. But now I spend a few minutes a day and then I can check it off my list. What I love best about her is she is this darling southern lady who seems a bit discombobulated. You can tell, she needed help organizing despite the fact that she is a very smart lady who had a high powered job. everyone needs some help!

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