A lot of you are probably aware of Flylady and her great program for de-cluttering our house and keeping it clean in 15 easy minutes a day. I discovered FlyLady several years ago, and really got into it. Then we made one of our many moves, and for some reason I stopped flying. After this last move, when we spent days cleaning and painting our house, and doing the yard work that was needed and all that, the first time one of my kids (I won’t say which but her nickname starts with a P and ends with utter) wrote on one of my freshly painted walls I freaked out! All that hard work, wiped out with one stripe of permanent marker… all.the.way.down.the.hallway! Not to mention my pretty entry way, covered in stinky smelly shoes, the mountain of laundry overtaking the again freshly painted hall, and the pile of dishes always in the dirty sink, and I was pulling my hair out! In just a few weeks, my 6 had turned my beautiful home into a war zone!! The outside yard that we had spent many hours sweating over, pulling out small plum trees, and clipping yards of bushes, pulling piles of weeds, was covered in bikes, helmets and numerous other outdoor toys. I felt like giving up, and did for awhile. I still had the entire side yard to clean up and landscape. My house was Mt. C.H.A.O.S. Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!!
So when a friend of mine asked me out of the blue if I was a flybaby, I suddenly remembered all about Flylady and this past month was spent de-cluttering the shoe pile and the school area. My entry way was now pretty again, with all the shoes in a big tub, and you could now walk from the living room to the kitchen and through the dining room (where all the school stuff is) without tempting an ER visit. The laundry pile was greatly reduced by a trip through the boys dressers and the removal of three full trash bags of clothes that are no longer needed. Which by the way caused hours of tears… not from me… but the ones loosing that precious t shirt that stopped fitting three years ago! I can’t believe we managed to move several times and still have these things! I think it was just easier to put it all in bags and throw it on the u-haul them sort through them all. I also bought an extra large laundry basket on wheels from Wal-mart. The cost was more then made up for by the fact that there are no longer clothes ALL over the hallway! And it rolls, so I can easily pull it into the laundry room, or behind me through the house to gather up dirty clothes from the bedrooms.
BUT… FlyLady for all her charm, simply does not tell you how to keep up with all this when you have more then the usual number of kids that are also home schooled! With 6 kids, 15 minutes of spot cleaning just does not cut it! I couldn’t get all the shoes picked up and put in the bucket in that amount of time! Not to mention that by the time I get done with my 15 minutes, the mess is already back! The whole de-cluttering, having focus spots is a great place to start with 6 kids. But I needed a little more. I needed something for a mom that was seriously outnumbered. At the moment it’s 7-1 in my house, when you add in our adult daughter who recently moved back in with us, and I am loosing the battle.
Enter what I call my Book In Shiny Armor, Large Family Logistics, written by author Kim Brenneman, and mother of nine children! She knows what she is talking about! Reading this book was like sitting down with a cup of coffee and having a chat with a friend about how to manage my home in a way that leaves me with the energy to still do everything else that needs to be done. I am so glad I was sent this book to review from Vision Forum. You will find numerous titles on homeschooling, theology, family devotions, the All American Boys Adventures, and the Beautiful Girlhood catalog collections, and more on this website. I hope you take the time to browse through their sections and discover for yourself some great books to add to your collection.
With my illness a few months ago, and following surgery, followed by moving twice, this book was pushed aside and forgotten about. I recently picked it back up and finished reading it. Boy, am I glad I did! I was able to set up a schedule for cleaning, home school and chores and everything else that needs to be done around here. I now get three loads of laundry a day done by 3 p.m. so it no longer takes over my entire day, or hall. My older children are helping out much more with the younger ones due to assigning a buddy system and our school day is much more organized and a little more stress free. I now know how to organize, schedule, clean, de-clutter and keep clean a house full and overflowing with children! Without it taking all day long to do! AND involving my children. Even Putters has simple chores to do every day, and she loves it! Her favorite is getting on the step ladder and washing all the plastic containers in the sink… then her older sister and buddy comes along and cleans the counters and cupboard doors with the “mess” Putter’s created while doing her chore. Putter also loves to get the dishes out of the dishwasher and hand them to the person putting them away. My older children helped paint, scrub walls, and repair holes, chores which I would never of thought of allowing them to help with, but that they loved and they actually help take care of messes without being asked to because they know the work that goes into repairing things now! In fact yesterday Knight got out the cleaners and cleaned the entry way walls, and door, all on his own, simply because they were dirty!
On another note, I was able to see that it is not all up to me, that I can ask for help, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about needing it or about delegating chores to others. That my kids NEED to be included in order to feel that they are part of the family, and that that are not only needed but useful! Before I tending to just do it all myself to make my life easier and avoid conflict. Kim helped me see that I was seriously damaging my kids and my relationship with them with this attitude. I have found that with a posted chore schedule I rarely have to bring up chores not being done, everyone is much happier to help out, because they KNOW what is expected of them, and my kids are a lot more likely to help out. I will share more about my chore schedule in a later post.
Kim uses a lot of the same strategies as FlyLady, which tells me right there that they work, but she rearranges things to make them work for large families. I recommend the book Large Family Logistics to any mother who feels a little overwhelmed and needs a little help. Kim starts at the beginning, with getting ME in order, before I can get my family in order. On a trip through Proverbs 31 she explains HOW we can be that woman that we have all fantasized of being, but never thought possible to be, and from there she takes us on a journey through every area of our home, teaching gently how to rearrange, plan, schedule and clean each area to make our lives more peaceful and un-cluttered.So grab yourself a copy, get a cup of your favorite hot drink, a notebook, and be prepared for your rescue from the chaos.
You can also find Large Family Logistics on Facebook , and her blog. I also JUST discovered that 4 Moms is going to posting about this book every Thursday of this month! You can see the first post here!
I received Large Family Logistics to review from Vision Forum, who has hundreds of other titles for home schoolers, theologians, and more. I can’t wait to try out a few more titles from them! There are so many to choose from though it makes it very hard to decide! I was not paid to review this product.