In one of my most popular posts (about cleaning when overwhelmed – you can find it here), I mentioned the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour. As promised, here’s a better explanation of the Flylady Home Blessing and how you can more easily keep your house clean every week.
First Off, Who Is This Flylady Person?
If you found this post on Pinterest or came here via the Great and Powerful Goog, you probably already know who the Flylady is.
But just in case:
The Flylady, aka Marla Cilley, is an organizing guru specializing in floating life rafts out to the organizationally-challenged.
She may not claim leadership among ADHD moms, but we’re probably her biggest fans.
Flylady’s official website is right here.
In a nutshell, I found Flylady 20 years ago when I was at rock bottom with my house.
Like, so rock bottom I was pretty much in a cave (a very messy, cluttered, and dirty cave) 50 feet underground.
Although I haven’t been an active “flybaby” (follower) in over 15 years, her system made it possible for me to dig out and climb back up.
And the principles behind the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour form the basis for most of the regular, surface-level cleaning in my house.
This post may contain affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here. As an Amazon Associate (and from other affiliates) I earn from qualifying purchases. This doesn’t cost you anything extra and means this blog may break even someday. Who knows? It could happen…
What Is the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour?
The Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour is Flylady’s recommended way for moms with motivational and perfectionism hang-ups to give our homes a once-over each week.
It’s an easy, quick way to keep our houses from crumbling down around us.
The official version of the Weekly Home Blessing Hour can be found on her website here.
The name, “blessing hour,” comes from Flylady’s philosophy:
In the official version of Flylady’s weekly home cleaning method, basically:
- You tackle seven different tasks each and every week.
- Using a timer, limit yourself to 10 minutes for each task and then move on.
It’s not exactly an hour, but it’s close.
What Makes the Flylady Cleaning Schedule Different?
What makes the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour different and doable (for even the most overwhelmed and least motivated among us) is the strong emphasis that any housework, however imperfectly accomplished, is better than no housework.
Flylady’s cleaning schedule is based on principles that look us scatterbrained or disorganized moms in the eyes and speak directly to our souls.
Here they are:
Principle #1: Clean Imperfectly
If you’re someone who won’t clean at all because you don’t have time / motivation / energy / ability to clean perfectly, this system grants permission to half-ass it.
As in, vacuum the middle of the rugs and call it done- especially if the alternative is not vacuuming anything.
Permission to clean imperfectly is what makes it possible for me to dust the living room bookshelves without pulling out every book to make sure there’s no dust underneath. Which I would totally never do and, therefore, I very rarely dusted them at all (pre-Flylady).
So yeah…Flylady’s cleaning system is way better than the Joni-perfectionism-avoidance-system.
Principle #2: Set Effort Goals, Not Outcome Goals
The Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour focuses on effort and input, not outcome.
When you clean according to effort, not outcome, results are a given.
If you put forth the effort and work the full amount of time you’ve declared as your goal, you’ve met your objective.
No white glove test necessary.
It’s kind of like a participation trophy only you’re also the winner cuz your house is cleaner!
To make this timer thing work, if there’s still dusting to be done when the timer goes off, start somewhere else next week.
The key is to dust as quickly as you can for the 10 minutes and not get so hung up on dusting perfectly that you never get past the first bookshelf you come to.
This is not deep cleaning or even great cleaning.
This is a flick-dust-off-the-picture-frames-and-move mission.
If you’re still stuck at the same end table where you started, carefully Q-tipping your ceramic cat collection, you’re doing it wrong (yeah, I know I said anything is better than nothing, but you’re gonna get super frustrated right out of the gate if all you have to show for your efforts are 9 shiny miniature Siamese kitty cats).
Principle #3: It’s Better to Be Consistent than Thorough
To keep from burning out, it’s better to work on a task for 10 minutes a week than it is to spend hours doing it perfectly one day and then not touch it again for 3 months.
Yeah, I thought so. I see you…
Trusting your unreliable, hyper-focus-happy self to limit task time now makes it easier to convince your stubborn, distractible brain to repeat the same task next week.
Principle #4: Weekly Cleaning Is Not Deep Cleaning
Each week, we’re focusing on basic, surface-level cleaning tasks.
If you follow the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour exactly, those tasks are:
- Changing sheets
- Purging magazines
- Emptying wastebaskets
You’ll notice there’s no mention of steam-cleaning rugs, hosing down window screens, or taking out refrigerator shelves to soak the gunk off.
The point is to keep your visible environment from falling apart around you.
As for the steam cleaning and the hosing and the soaking, if those make your heart happy, Flylady addresses those elsewhere.
Just not in this blessing hour.
How To Get Started With a Weekly Home Blessing Hour
To start on a Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour, follow the steps laid out on her website here.
As I said above, she recommends doing 7 specific tasks, each for 10 minutes.
You work hard to get done what you can in the time allotted, and then you move on.
When you first start doing a weekly home blessing, stay as close to her plan as possible. Don’t mess with the steps or the times right away.
Although I don’t know why a magazine purge is a weekly chore. She must subscribe to a bunch of magazines?
I hereby give you permission to substitute something else, like a good, thorough kitchen counter wipe-down, for the magazine-purging.
Once you get into the habit of giving your house some light attention every week, you can start adapting it to your own needs.
How to Adapt Flylady’s Weekly Home Blessing Hour to Your Life
If you’ve never done a Flylady Home Blessing and you’re overwhelmed by housecleaning, start with her official version.
Then once you’ve got it down, you can make the system your own.
Flylady’s style is to give exact, definite instructions. Which is super helpful to a mom looking for a life preserver. I can definitely understand this method.
However, once you’ve got the basics in hand, there’s no reason you can’t customize. Make it work for you – that’s kind of the point of not being perfect.
So here’s my take on how to adapt the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour.
Adapting the Time Constraints
Stick to about an hour, especially at first. She chose an hour because an hour is doable for almost everyone.
However, if your house is huge or you move really slowly due to chronic illness or something similar, you might start to get frustrated if your house never actually feels like you’re making real progress.
If that happens, you can extend the timeframes. Keeping it to an hour is important at first, but, honestly, if it’s between extending it a little and giving up, I say extend it.
You can always go back to that if you find anything more is too much.
Since my house is pretty big and I have a lot more free time than when I was a toddler mom or when I worked full-time, I can spend more than an hour each week accomplishing my surface cleaning.
But when I’m feeling overwhelmed or exhausted or just sick of cleaning, I dial it back.
Because I’d rather do something than give up and do nothing.
To adapt the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour to your needs, decide how much time you have (and can stand) doing regular surface cleaning each week.
It may be more than an hour.
It may even be less.
Choosing Different Cleaning Tasks
You can also adapt the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour to your own life by choosing different tasks than she lists.
For example, purging magazines is not something I particularly care about.
And sheets are part of my laundry process so I’ve axed them from my weekly home blessing hour.
What I do care about are my kitchen counters and my floors. Mostly because I waited a long time to get counters and floors I actually love…
love love love
…so they matter to me.
Maybe you have more or fewer weekly surface cleaning tasks you care about than the Flylady 7.
I say as long as you’re not trying to slip perfectionism past your brain by making a list of 15 different tasks each week, you’re fine adding or subtracting one or two.
If you start avoiding the blessing hour or procrastinating because it’s too much time or too many tasks, then go back to basics.
But if you want to make damp-cloth dusting separate from swiffering, or you feel the need to lint roll Fluffy’s 1-inch fur layer from the couches each week and want to add it, go ahead.
Just make your list of 6-8 tasks that’ll keep your house from falling off the rails so you can enjoy living in a fresh and clean home each week.
Break It Up Or Get It Over With
As for when to do the weekly home blessing, Flylady does hers all at once.
But if the thought of cleaning all at once exhausts you, spread it throughout the day or even the week.
When I worked full-time, I did one task a day before work.
This works well if you’re physically unable to work on cleaning for an entire hour at a time. When I was extremely overweight and had joint problems, doing a weekly home blessing all at once made my feet and knees hurt so much I couldn’t do anything else afterward.
Sad but true.
Adapt it to your physical capabilities or your own time limits.
You can even switch it up week-to-week, if you want to.
My Version of the Flylady Home Blessing Hour
After 20 years, my own blessing hour version’s been modified several times but still follows the Flylady fundamentals.
To “clean imperfectly,” I’m careful to stay away from adding unrealistic, fantasy chores to the task list.
There’s no way I’ll ever be the type of person who sweeps the front porch every week.
But to adapt the blessing hour version of cleaning to my own life, I’ve changed up some of the cleaning needs through the years.
Like when my house was stuffed to the brim with (usually grungy) plastic:
- Baby gates
- Plastic booster seats
- High chairs
- Potty chairs
- Baby swings
Because all of that plastic was in a perpetual state of grime, wiping down everything Little-Tike-esque made the list.
Yeah, I also wiped down high chairs and booster seats throughout the week…
Sure I did – at least I tell myself that when looking back through the mental filter that makes me feel better about my baby mom self
…but there still needed to be a general jelly-print-mac-and-cheese-smear removal session at least once a week for my house to feel somewhat clean.
As for setting effort goals instead of results goals, time limit is key. But not necessarily a specific time limit.
Like I said, I don’t always adhere to the hour limit. My house is larger than it was when I started blessing it weekly. So I spend more time on it.
There have also been times when even an hour was too much due to depression or illness or working long hours. When that happened, I still tried to spend a few minutes on each task when I could.
What I Clean
My current Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour takes about 70-75 minutes and looks like this:
- Countertops, sink, and microwave: 10 minutes
- Lint roll cat hair/Swiffer: 10 minutes
- Wipe down gross stuff (most of the kid-gross is gone but there’s still cat-gross to deal with): 5 minutes
- Empty wastebaskets: 5 minutes
- Windex appliances, mirrors, and the more obvious cat drool from the doors and windows: 5 minutes
- Bissell and mop the hardwood and tile: 20 minutes
- Vacuum rugs: 15 minutes
I also clean the bathrooms once a week, but since I wipe them down daily, that only takes a few minutes per bathroom and isn’t part of my blessing.
You can read about how I keep my bathrooms clean pretty much all the time in this post.
When I Clean
My current weekly surface cleaning schedule aka blessing (not including bathrooms) looks like this:
- Move countertop crap and clean well / Scrub out the sink and shine it / Wipe out the microwave and put the tray in the dishwasher (10 minutes for all)
- Lint roll the worst of the cat hair off couch arms and lamp shades / Swiffer without moving anything (10 minutes)
- Wipe off grime from the white banister, cat areas, and dining room chairs (5 minutes)
- Empty wastebaskets (5 minutes)
- Windex appliances, mirrors, back door, and anything else that looks yucky (5 minutes)
- Run electric sweeper over hard floors / Damp mop the hard floors (not including the bathrooms, which I do when I clean them) (20 minutes total)
- Vacuum the bedrooms, throw rugs, and living room rug (15 minutes)
Questions About the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour
Why Should I Do the Flylady Home Blessing?
Some reasons why a blessing hour may be what you need:
- Maybe your own mom had it 100% together and was born organized. Because you can’t measure up to her and do things “properly,” you don’t do them at all.
- Or maybe your mom was also disorganized so you just never learned how to keep your house clean.
- It’s possible you’ve been totally capable of keeping your house together in a previous life, a “born organized” person. Then you had kids or got sick or started suffering from depression or were otherwise trampled by life. So now you don’t know how to clean if you can’t do it the way you used to.
The Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour offers non-judgmental guidance if you’re paralyzed by perfectionism, lacking executive function skills, chronically ill, overwhelmed by life, or just inexperienced.
More Reasons To Do a Flylady Blessing:
- If you’re paralyzed by perfectionism, like thinking you can’t vacuum the living room without moving furniture, Flylady’s Weekly Home Blessing Hour gives you permission to clean imperfectly
- Cleaning for an hour is usually doable for anyone
- The Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour helps you become more intentional about cleaning and not as reactive
- Trying to beat the timer pushes you to move faster instead of stretching out cleaning for an entire day. Because who wants to clean for an entire day, am I right??
- Knowing you’re going to be cleaning at a certain time every week inspires you to get the house picked up beforehand (although you can also clean around stuff if you need to)
- Maybe you procrastinate on polishing glass because it feels unnecessary, or you don’t mop the floors until you can do them “right.” By making those part of the blessing and, therefore, no-brainers, you’ll get them done and then realize what a gigantic difference fingerprint-free storm doors and gunk-free traffic areas make!
Is the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour All the Cleaning I Ever Have To Do?
It depends. If you’re currently not cleaning anything, the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour is way way way better than not cleaning anything ever.
But the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour also relies on you keeping up with dishes and straightening and laundry.
The good news, is that, even if you have to shove piles of dirty clothes out of the way to vacuum, you’re still making progress.
As for deeper cleaning:
Once you have a weekly cleaning system in place to keep your house propped up, then you can delve into any deeper cleaning you care about. But if you get overwhelmed when your perfectionist self kicks in and you want to hide from any-and-all cleaning, go back to just doing the blessing.
Do You Have to Do the Exact Cleaning Tasks Recommended by Flylady?
I suggest doing it her way (other than the magazine thing) at first. But later, you can substitute.
As long as substituting isn’t your way of trying to clean perfectly and you stick with basics.
That sneaky perfectionist side will still try to come out now and again – slap her hands or bribe her with a cookie (depending on your mom-style – I’d probably slap her hands and eat the cookie myself, but that’s just me)
Does the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour Have to Take Exactly an Hour?
The reason Flylady chose an hour is because it’s a length of time that fits right between “doable” and “making a difference.”
I wouldn’t extend the Flylady Blessing Hour by much more than that, especially at first.
That said, my own Weekly Home Blessing Hour is a little more than an hour, and that’s without changing the sheets.
You can also change it to less than an hour if you need to.
If you physically or mentally can’t handle an hour, or you just don’t have an hour to devote to weekly cleaning, then try 45 minutes or even 30.
You can split it up evenly by the number of chores OR, alternately, do half the chores one week in the 30 minute timeframe, and half the next.
The point is that it’s better than not cleaning at all, so make it work however you need to to get it done.
Will My House Really Get Totally Clean in Only an Hour?
Short answer – no.
Your house won’t be spotlessly, Christmas-visit-from-your-mother-in-law clean in an hour a week.
Not even if you’re childless.
Well, maybe if you’re super strict about cleaning up after yourself religiously on a daily basis?
Never mind, my answer is still no.
Plus, I’m thinking you’re not a big “clean as you go” person anyway.
However, the basic cleaning will be done. So maybe not holiday clean, but definitely neighbor-stops-in-to-drop-off-your-mail clean.
You’ll know that, at least once a week, teenager crumbs and toddler fingerprints and doggy-paw mud and drippy-cat-eye gunk will be mostly vanquished.
And that the layer of dust in your living room won’t turn into a hard, impenetrable shell you have to soak off.
Chances are, only some (if any) of that is happening regularly now.
The point is to start doing an imperfect cleaning regularly.
And you can add the other stuff in during deep cleaning (Flylady calls this zone cleaning).
What If I Can’t Clean for an Entire Hour at One Time?
If you’re tired, sick, have a demanding schedule with work or a newborn, or your kids just plain won’t give you an hour to get stuff done, it’s fine to split it.
When I worked full-time, I spent 10-15 minutes each day on a specific task before work – dusting one day, vacuuming another.
Tips & Warnings
Some final notes about following Flyady’s version of a weekly home cleaning schedule:
- Don’t try to straighten or organize or deep clean or declutter during a Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour session.
- Stick with visible spots only so you can knock out all or most of the house in 10 minutes.
- Don’t skip the polishing/Windexing step. It might sound pointless and froufrou, but it makes a bigger impact than you’d think.
- If you need to work around clutter, work around clutter. Don’t give up on cleaning because you weren’t able to pick stuff up.
- Change it up if you get bored. Do it in a different order or split the tasks up throughout the week.
- Know that if you live in a 5-bedroom, 3.5 bath house with 3 dogs and 4 kids, your timing is probably going to be different than someone who lives alone with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
Recap of the Flylady Home Blessing
If life has you overwhelmed, or you just don’t know how to get a decent basic cleaning done each week, the Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour could be the answer.
The Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour follows 4 principles
- Clean imperfectly: It’s what permits me to shake the throw rugs instead of vacuuming if they’re not horrible or I just don’t feel like doing them.
- Set input-based goals so you control the outcome
- Regular cleaning is better than careful cleaning
- Deep cleaning is lower priority: stop before you’re worn out
Start off with the “official” blessing hour, but then adapt it to your lifestyle, time constraints, family needs, and energy levels.
The Flylady Weekly Home Blessing Hour isn’t a substitute for daily picking up, dishes, laundry etc. It works better if you’re keeping up with the everyday stuff.
But even if you aren’t managing those things, you can still do what you can each week.
You can do your home blessing hour all at once or split it up any way you wish.
Again, anything is better than nothing.
My Flylady Disclaimer: It’s been a very long time since I religiously followed Flylady. While I credit her with launching this baby bird from the nest, I haven’t been on her site much in years. Since my memory sucks and I’ve found help from many gurus through the years, it’s possible I’m putting my own spin on her work and attributing principles to her that aren’t 100% hers. But if they’re not her exact thoughts, I think they mesh pretty well with her teachings, so I’m going with it.