I have a love-hate relationship with the FlyLady. I joined her Yahoo group a few years ago, and did some reading on her website. Home organization and management is something I have always struggled with…it’s not something I was especially attuned to when I was living with parents, and it wasn’t something I was really interested in learning more about until a few years into my marriage.

When I got married, I moved into this quaint, lovely, cluttered old farm house. It had been home to the entire Reinhard family at one point, and there are still some remnants here and there of someone else’s way of organizing. When I discovered FlyLady, I dug into her way of doing things, only to find out that it didn’t really work for me. The error of my ways, as is so often the case, is that I threw out the good with the bad and just moved back to my old work-in-spurts mentality.

I probably wouldn’t have read Sink Reflections, by Marla Cilley (The FlyLady), but a dear friend, who I had consulted for home management advice, recommended it. “It’s better than the website,” she assured me (before I even objected!), and we are enough alike – and she is far, far wiser than I am – that I reserved it at the library.

It was an easy read. (I skipped past all the testimonials. Maybe those would be helpful for you; I find them annoying.) I realized, as I was jetting through it, that Cilley had some great ideas. I also realized, as I thought about my home and my struggles, that she wrote the book she needed, the book for her. Knowing that, I was able to just fish through her ideas, adapt, and go forth with my own organizing talents. (I am a “Born Organized” (aka BO), I admit it. I’m not very fond of the acronym, but maybe it’s appropriate in an ironic sort of way.)

When I made a list, preparing for writing this review, I saw that my list of what I liked far surpassed my list of what I didn’t like in the book. Though I didn’t like the acronym craziness (waaaay too cutesy for me), I really appreciated the tone of encouragement. Though I didn’t really dig the assumption of bad esteem, I did take notes on the many tips she had for organizing and running a household. Cilley is a maker-of-lists, it turns out, and her ongoing reminder that getting started and taking small steps is more important than perfection is well-received from Madam If-it’s-not-just-so-why-should-I-do-it (yeah, that’s me).

After I finished the book and promptly found myself a three ring binder and some page protectors (and typed up some lists, glorious lists!), I realized what I most appreciated about Sink Reflections, the thing I must have missed earlier in my explorations online. I need a kick start, many times, and a motivation. Cilley reminded me of a Charlotte Mason principle: forming a habit. Said Charlotte Mason: “Strong as nature is, habit is not only as strong, but tenfold as strong” (Home Education, p. 105). So where Cilley talks about routines, Mason talks about habits.

And, suddenly, it all came together for me.

I had to look past a lot of the esteem-building things. I don’t need the reminder to love myself, and I disagree with her about how I should start my day. (For me, it must be with prayer – and yes, that has to come even before getting dressed.) But that’s OK. She wrote her book, and I took from it what I needed…and I will probably be buying a copy to reference. Her lists are good and her ideas are stellar…and why should I try to invent the wheel when there’s a big chunk of it already done?