Your First BabyStep-Where to Begin
I was tempted to start by explaining why this book is different from all the other cleaning and organizing books that are now cluttering your bookshelves, being used to level the dining room table, or holding down a pile of clutter! But I won't; the FlyLady program is not about cleaning. It is about changing your life to make it more rewarding and leading to a more important goal, to FLY, or Finally Loving Yourself. This is a concept we will talk about throughout this book.
I started helping others through mentoring on the Internet and that help evolved into the FlyLady system. I am an avid fly fisherman and instructor. When I first started going online I needed a name, so I chose FlyLady. Since then FlyLady has taken on so many different forms. People ask me, "Are you THE FlyLady?" Friends ask each other, "Do you do FlyLady?" and on the Internet there are groups of FlyBabies that gather and chat with each other.
This book begins where anyone who becomes a member of FlyLady starts: with a BabyStep. We call this becoming a FlyBaby. And as you use this book, each of your BabySteps will add up. You will lose the feelings of guilt and failure that you've been nurturing. Your clutter will vanish and your life will change forever. I can hear you now, "What do I do first? Where do I start? My home is a total disaster and there is no way it is ever going to get clean!" Before you start, pencil in today's date on the inside of the back cover. This is the day you are beginning to FLY. You will know why soon enough. I know you are ready to get started, but hold your horses, because I don't want you to crash and burn. We ARE going to begin with a cleaning task. You just have to have faith that this is the best way to start. Your home did not get dirty in a day and it is not going to get clean overnight. With that warning to be kind to yourself, here is your very first assignment. It all starts with a shiny sink.
First BabyStep: shine your sink
I know that you don't understand why I want you to empty your sink of dirty dishes and clean and shine it when there is so much more to do. It is so simple. I want you to have a sense of accomplishment. You have struggled for years with a cluttered home and you are so beaten down. I just want to put a smile on your face. When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you and a smile will come across your lovely face. I can't be there to give you a big hug, but I know how good it feels to see yourself reflected in your kitchen sink. So each morning this is my gift to you. Even though I can't be there to pat you on the back, I want you to know that I am very proud of you.
This is how to shine your sink; we like to call it Shiny Sink 101:(Note: If you have a special colored or decorative sink, check on your warranty for specific cleaning instructions.) With ceramic sinks you may not be able to see your reflection, but your heart will be shining because it's clean! You will still smile!
Do not complain or whine that you can't do this because it is full of dirty dishes and nasty water. I am not telling you to wash the dishes; all I want is for you to set the dirty dishes on the counter so you can get to the bottom of your sink. With an empty kitchen sink before you, I know you don't know what to do or where to start so I am going to give you specific instructions on this. You should also know that I have heard every excuse in the world when it comes to sinks, and I know that you may be a bit doubtful about this. Just trust. Even old sinks can look new again with a little elbow grease. BE SURE AND RINSE WELL BETWEEN EACH STEP since mixing chlorine-based products with household ammonia-based products can be toxic!
1. Take all the dishes out of your sink.
2. Then run some very hot water in the sink, to the rim. Pour a cup of household bleach (e.g. Clorox) in the hot water. Let it sit for 1 hour. Wear gloves and don't get it on your clothes.
3. Rinse your sink well.
4. Get some cleanser: Comet, Ajax, or Baking Soda and scrub your sink. Do not use ammonia-based products such as Windex with these.
5. Take a sharp edge and clean around the rim of the sink, just like you would clean dirt out from under your fingernails.
6. Clean around the faucets too. You may need an old toothbrush or dental floss.
7. Now get out your window cleaner (I use Windex) and give it a good shine.
8. If you still don't like the way it looks, then you could try some car wax. Just know in your heart that you have cleaned it very well and know it doesn't have to be perfect. Our perfectionism is what got us in this situation.
9. Every time you run water in your sink take your clean dishtowel and dry it. I lay out a clean one every night with my bedtime routine. Before you know it you will be doing this every time you leave your kitchen. The rest of the family will too. No more water spots. You will have a clean and shiny sink.
10. Don't be upset if someone doesn't take as much pride in your sink as you do. You have done the hard part. You will never have to go through this process again. Daily maintenance will keep it looking this way. Just be sure and tell your family what you are doing, otherwise they will think you have gone crazy. Your family cannot read your mind!
11. If you don't have a dishwasher, don't worry. A dishwasher is just a dirty dish disposal. Clean out a place under your sink and put a dishpan in there. Teach your family that instead of putting their dirty dishes and glasses in the sink, to place them in the dishpan. Get into the habit of putting your dishes away as soon as they have been washed and dried. No more leaving the dish drying rack on the counter or in the sink. Put it away under the sink when you have finished. If your old ones are nasty, you may want to soak them in the sink full of bleach water at the same time you soak the sink, or go buy yourself a new set. You deserve it as a reward for shining your sink. You are worth a couple of bucks.
12. To ensure that your family remembers this, put a note in the sink. It will get their attention and remind them where to put the dishes. Be patient! They have never been taught either. It is going to take some practice.
Now, if you have a stainless steel sink, I recommend all of the above directions with one added. After you soak it, rinse well and use a steel wool pad to scrub it. This will buff the finish. It will look like new. If you still can't get it to shine after the Windex, then put a light coat of wax, lemon oil, or olive oil on it. I mean just a tiny bit on a cloth and rub it. This will make you smile. Some people have had very good results from cleaning solutions used to keep bar tops clean.
This is your very first BabyStep-to keep your sink clean and shiny on a continual basis.
Excerpted from Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley--The FlyLady. Copyright © 2002 by Marla Cilley--The FlyLady. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.