My house would be a disaster without the help of ideas from two women–FlyLady (Marla Cilley) and Maria Montessori. FlyLady talks about people who are Born Organized. Well, I’m the other kind, the kind FlyLady describes as a SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive). As much as I love places that are neat and organized, my natural tendency is to get lost in a world of ideas, letting messes pile up around me.
But, thanks to the help of concepts from FlyLady and Montessori, I’m able to maintain a semblance of organization and tidiness in my home. Following are the main ways Montessori and FlyLady have helped me keep my house clean.
1. They both emphasize preparing an orderly and attractive environment.
This is a primary concept of Montessori education. I fell in love with the beauty of a classroom in which everything is clean, orderly, and in its place. In Montessori education, the children are taught to take care of their environment so that it stays neat and attractive. The external order helps them achieve a sense of internal order and self-discipline. I couldn’t help but think, “If preschoolers can do this, so can I.”
FlyLady also teaches the importance of an orderly environment. She emphasizes the benefits of washing the dishes and shining the sink every night before bed so that we’re greeted each morning with a clean, shiny kitchen.
FlyLady has helpful sayings encouraging us to keep things neat. When I get home from grocery shopping, for instance, FlyLady’s saying, “Right away is the easy way,” helps me put the groceries away immediately rather than procrastinating.
FlyLady emphasizes decluttering and places importance on clearing “hot spots” (places in our houses where messes tend to accumulate) at specific times during the day. She sets certain days for tasks like cleaning the refrigerator so that I’m able to maintain a clean refrigerator without thinking about it.
2. They both break tasks down into steps.
In Montessori education, the teacher demonstrates an activity by breaking it down into distinct steps. This helps isolate the difficulty of the activity and makes it much easier for the child to learn a new skill. Seeing how well this works with children has helped me realize that any task I have will be more manageable if I break it down into distinct steps.
FlyLady emphasizes BabySteps. Not only does she break tasks down into manageable steps, but she promotes being happy with who we are and gradually taking BabySteps to start new habits, declutter, and clean our homes.
3. They both help me develop positive habits.
In Montessori schools, children are taught to put away the activity they’re working on before getting out something new. Early on, they develop the habit of putting their work away before getting out new work. I think this is a great concept to apply in my life as well.
FlyLady teaches the same thing. She often talks about setting a timer for 15 minutes to do a task, such as decluttering. She reminds us to only get out what we can put away at the end of 15 minutes.
When I only work on one project at a time, I find I’m more focused in addition to keeping a cleaner environment around me. And, when I work toward developing positive habits, keeping a clean house feels natural.
Even with Montessori and FlyLady, I’m not perfect at keeping my house clean. But I’m certainly much better than I would have been otherwise.
Have you used Maria Montessori’s or FlyLady’s ideas to help keep your house clean?