Attention moms: Let’s talk dirty

When your brain is overloaded, a useful tool for remembering things is to write it all down.

Record what it is you have to get done randomly at first, then prioritize everything into a time frame. At least that’s what all six of my time-to-get-organized books suggest. They normally perch far above the ground gathering dust. This morning, I used the step ladder and pulled them all down just for fun, to read the titles:

• “How To Be Organized In Spite Of Yourself,” by Schlenger and Roesch

• “Talking Dirty With The Queen of Clean,” by Linda Cobb

• “A Queen For All Seasons,” by Linda Cobb

• “Too Busy To Clean?” by Patti Barrett

• “Is There Life After Housework?” by Don Aslett

• “Not For Packrats Only,” by Don Aslett (my personal favorite)

The universal theme in all of these books is uncomplicated: Get rid of everything but your toothbrush. Easier said than done — especially when the root of the problem isn’t the physical stuff. It’s the mental battle!

If the items on your list outnumber the hours in the day, welcome to a typical mom’s world.

I discovered that I have a list of lists: There’s the grocery list for breakfast/lunch/dinners/birthdays, the to-do-today/tomorrow/last week/next month list. The never done house/laundry/chores list, the bills-to-pay-on-time file, the art projects on my twelfth-of-never spare time list, the decorating inventory of things-to-do-someday-before-we-downsize, the teacher gifts-to-give-before-they-retire list, the yard work list of things that we should be doing but don’t have the time to do (except when the homeowner’s association is going to fine us), the carpool and kids’ activities list (which changes significantly on a daily basis). And I’m still working on the how-to-be-in-three-different-places-at-once list. Don’t forget the biggest, scariest list of all: The garage-to-do index. I won’t discuss that one now. It’s too overwhelming.

While channel surfing last week using our brand new clicker, I glimpsed two seconds of “Clean Sweep.” It was agonizing to look at this guy (they’re savers too) blubber over a sentimental item that was going to be tossed out. What kind of sick demented TV show is that? I’m sure it’s not the only one of its kind either. That’s entertainment to some, I suppose.

But what if there was a bizarre twist to the plot? How about a new form of local crime sentencing mixed with a resourceful reality TV show?

Develop teams of inmates, move them out of their boring non-productive holding cells, and lock them into ordinary packed-to-the-rafters American garages, then inform them of the timed rules: They can’t come out until everything is sorted by “to keep or to throw away,” organized, catalogued, labeled — and there is room to park all the cars the garage was meant to house.

That would truly be a hellish deterrent, which lawyers might claim is cruel and unusual punishment. The reality show would start out interviewing cellmates to determine who’s the cleanest and most organized — with Martha Stewart as one of the judges! The chosen contestants may redecorate their cells any way they want, using free Martha Stewart products.

One possible title could be “Jail House Clean Revolution.” Hey, all good ideas must start somewhere. Don’t worry, I’m not a producer. I’m just a stay-at-home mom brainstorming different ways to make the world a better place, one list at a time.

Federal Way resident Jan Hallahan is a writer and mom. Contact:

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates