Posts tagged with "Pinterest"

Dirt, be gone: Clean your home in short, productive spurts with the Flylady Technique

June 9, 2020

Many of us wouldn’t necessarily choose to organize, even with Marie Kondo; or to use the white-glove method to test our dusting skills. And, even during the pandemic, we will sheepishly admit that we’re not disinfecting all of our food purchases or our delivery boxes. In fact—dare we say it?—the less time spent cleaning, the better.

But now, there’s a daily cleaning and organizing method that seems to be just for us—and it’s called the FlyLady Technique, according to a report by Better Homes and Gardens.

In fact, between January 2019 and January 2020, Pinterest searches for “fly lady cleaning schedule” have surged 40%, while queries for “Marie Kondo” have plummeted 80%.

Marla Cilley, a cleaning and organizing specialist from North Carolina, started the FlyLady mentoring group more than 20 years ago (the name FlyLady was inspired by her love of fly-fishing). Her aim was to offer a practical approach to organizing that prevents homeowners from feeling overwhelmed.

The FlyLady system breaks down household cleaning and organizing projects into focused 15-minute increments. The easiest way to follow the method is to sign up for Cilley’s emails, which you can do for free on the FlyLady website. You’ll receive daily messages—including a checklist for the day, suggested cleaning routines, projects to tackle for the week, and testimonials from other FlyLady users.

Otherwise,  Better Homes and Gardens suggests, you can access FlyLady’s content via FlyLadyPlus, a free app for iOS devices that gives users access to her basic routines and cleaning tasks. Cilley also offers a subscription-based app called FlyLady Messenger, which sends her daily messages, testimonials, and “behavior modification reminders,” such as to drink water or start a load of laundry, as push notifications instead of emails and costs $29.95 per year (available only for iOS devices).

Based on Cilley’s observation that it takes 28 days to form a habit, the FlyLady cleaning schedule begins with four weeks of small, daily tasks that she calls BabySteps. (One example is to shine your sink, a simple cleaning task that Cilley says kicked off her own process of whipping her home into shape and later led her to create FlyLady.) For the remaining 27 days, subscribers receive daily emails to help them establish consistent routines for cleaning and organizing.

The next phase in the FlyLady schedule is decluttering. Dividing the home’s major living areas into five areas, Cilley focuses on one zone per week for 15 minutes a day, then rotates through all the areas each month:

  • Zone 1: Front porch, entryway, dining room
  • Zone 2: Kitchen
  • Zone 3: Master bathroom, plus one other room (home office, kids’ playroom, guest bedroom, or craft area)
  • Zone 4: Master bedroom, bathrooms, and closets
  • Zone 5: Living room

Zone one always starts on the first of the month and you move on to another space every Sunday. (Depending on how the dates fall on the calendar, zones one and five might not always receive a full seven days’ worth of cleaning and organizing.) Every month, you repeat the schedule, which should become more manageable over time. “As one area gets cleaned, it will become easier to do, and you will have more time to face those areas that don’t seem to fit in any zone,” Cilley writes on her website.

Within those daily 15-minute periods, FlyLady recommends rapid-fire organizing projects such as the “27 Fling Boogie,” which involves gathering 27 household items to throw away as quickly as possible; and the “Hot Spot Fire Drill,” a strategy for tackling a specific area that attracts clutter, such as the dining room table. These short spurts are designed to divide an out-of-control mess into bite-sized tasks you can tackle over time.

And, at least according to her half-million-plus followers on Facebook, the FlyLady method works. One Facebook reviewer writes, “Flylady helped me get a handle on home maintenance and decluttering when I was overwhelmed with homeschooling and part-time work. She has great, supportive and wise counsel. She freed me from thinking I had to do things perfectly and taught me I can do anything for 15 minutes.”

That’s the idea: Making your impossibly long to-do list more manageable through short bursts of activity.

Research contact: @BHG

Try Good Housekeeping’s 30-day mental health challenge!

April 15, 2019

You’ve heard of ice-water challenges, dietary challenges, and social media challenges—but the most popular competition right now is all about your mind and stress. Searches for 30-day mental health challenges have increased by by 668% over the past year, Pinterest recently revealed.

Do these mini, month-long resets actually work? They can, but you have to approach them the right way, Helen L. Coons,  clinical director of the Women’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Line at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, recently told Good Housekeeping magazine.

“We know that small, realistic, and attainable steps help us sustain good health behavior,” she said. “So if we think that we’re going to lose 50 pounds this week, we tend not to do it, but if we think … ‘I’m going to skip the cookie today,’ that’s a good start. Same thing in mental health.”

The magazine’s editors teamed up with Dr. Coons to create a 30-day mental health challenge that aims to help you leave you feeling calmer and happier at the end of the month. Even better: You don’t need to spend a lot of money or have tons of free time to participate.

Before starting the challenge, GH recommends that participants position themselves for the best results by following four core guidelines:

  • Don’t think it’s selfish: “When we’ve taken good care of ourselves, not only do we have more energy for others, but we tend to be more focused and more present,” Dr. Coons advises.
  • Tap a friend:When we share our goals, we do better. Get a group of two, three, or four friends, for added accountability.
  • If you miss a day, don’t give up:The goal isn’t to be perfect. Even if you just do 25 or 15 days, that’s still an improvement from the previous month.
  • Keep it up afterward:Improving your well-being is an ongoing process, so adopt one or two new habits that changed your mood for the better.

Now, take a look at the activities below—one for each day of the next month, no matter when you start.

The upcoming month is all about focusing on self-care and finding ways to make physical and mental health a bigger part of your life, which may sound like a lot but in practice is pretty simple. The editors have designated one easy task per day, so that participants won’t feel too overwhelmed.

1. Do a deep breathing exercise: Count backwards from ten, breathing low and slow. Try it before a meeting, in the car, or before you greet your kids or partner after a long day.

2. Catch up with a good friend: Having a strong social support system is linked with a reduced risk of depression and high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

3. Schedule something to look forward to: Plan a fun day later this month, whether you sign up for a cooking class, plan a mother-daughter movie marathon, or use the weekend to go on a mini road trip.

4. Donate or recycle something you never use: Visit to download a free USPS shipping label, pack up your donations in an empty Amazon box, and it will go directly to Goodwill.

5. Do 30 minutes of yoga: Women who took twice-weekly yoga classes experienced a bigger decrease in chronic stress compared to a control group put on a wait-list, found a 2016 study published in the journal Cogent Psychology.

6. Plan a healthy meal: It’s no secret if you eat well, you feel well.

7. Ask for help with something: Tap into that support system for some assistance where you feel spread thin. After all, it takes a village.

8. Listen to your favorite happy music: In the car, in your home, in the shower…. Bonus points if you sing along.

9. Take 10 minutes to read: Either good stuff or junk! 

10. Go for a walk at lunch: Walking for 30 minutes in a natural or urban environment is linked with reducing stress hormone levels and improving mood, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

11. Budget 20 minutes of spa time: Whether it’s a manicure or a blowout, do whatever makes you feel good. “Not because of the superficial nature of it,” says Dr. Coons, “but when we tend to feel good about how we look, that also helps our well-being.”

12. Practice a favorite hobby: Coloring, doodling, and drawing all increase blood flow to the reward circuit in the brain, according to a 2017 study out of George Washington University, but do whatever creative activity brings you joy—knitting, jewelry making, you name it.

13. Let yourself get distracted by a movie: Go out or queue something up at home.

14. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier: Getting enough sleep can improve your mood, memory, and immune system, according to the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine.

\15. Drink water instead of alcohol or soda today: You’ll save money and avoid empty calories. Win-win.

16. Schedule a game night: Enjoy some friendly competition around a game board.

17. Set a mini goal: Make sure you eat breakfast every day this week, or find a friend sign up for a 5K with you.

18. Cross a lingering item off your to-do list: You know that doctor’s appointment you’ve been meaning to make for months?

19. Compliment someone: Put a little good karma into the world.

20. Plan a night in with friends: Gossip, laugh, eat, drink.

21. Try a 5-minute meditation: Download a free mindfulness app like Headspace and you can do it anywhere when you have a spare moment.

22. FaceTime with a family member: Just seeing Grandma happy will probably make you happy.

23. Do something outside: Walk the dog or find an empty bench to soak up some sun. Or look at the moon and stars before bedtime.

24. Book a date night with your partner: If you’re single, no problem. Call up a friend who appreciates you and plan something fun instead.

25. Unfollow negative people on social media: Those influencer accounts who make you feel any bit less-than? See ya, won’t miss ya.

26. Say no to something: Take a task off your calendar or move it to a more convenient or less stressful time.

27. Have a phone-free night at home: The blue light emitted by your screen can mess your with sleep hormones, so putting the tech away early will not only let you catch up on a new book, but also help you fall asleep faster.

28. Watch a silly video that makes you laugh: Remember, it’s the best medicine.

29. Write down something good that happened today: Even if you’ve just had the worst day, jot down what you’re grateful for instead.

30. Adopt a new habit: Reflect back on the past 30 days and think about making a change. Should game night become a weekly occurrence? Did going to a walk at lunch make feel that much ready to take on the rest of day? The month may be over, but you can make your favorite activities a regular, lifelong thing.

Research contact: @goodhousemag

Among social media users, Facebook rules

March 14, 2018

Facebook remains America’s most popular social media platform, with roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) self-identifying as users and about 75% of them catching up with their “friends” at least once a day, based on findings of a poll by The Pew Research Center released on March 1.

With the exception of those 65 and older, most Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook, the poll of 2,002 Americans over the age of 18 concluded.

Only YouTube gets more traffic, with 73% of respondents noting that they visit the site regularly. The video-sharing site—which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform—is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

In line with that trend, some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat—whether or not Kylie Jenner loves it anymore—and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.

Of course, that’s not counting President Donald Trump, whom Fox News says has given Twitter “a big boost.” He even fires his high-level employees via the platform—which he used on March 13 to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and install CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his place.

Several other platforms are popular among special interest groups, including:

  • Pinterest, which remains substantially more popular among women (41% of whom say they use the site) than men (16%).
  • LinkedIn, which continues to be especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • WhatsApp, a messaging service that is particularly popular in Latin America, and this following extends to Latinos in the United States—with 49% of Hispanics reporting that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.

Finally, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites—including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Research contact: