The Overflow:  Ridiculous Things That Don’t Even Make It onto My ‘To Do’ List


It started with the ‘H’ key. Years ago, it somehow broke off the computer keyboard and went missing. After that, in order to make an ‘H’ appear on the screen, I had to forcibly press on the uneven metal parts that became exposed in its absence.  It irritated my fingers and slowed my typing.

My husband said it wasn’t a big deal.  Sure.  No problem at all.  After all it’s only in those minor words like ‘the’ or my name.  Barely used at all!

Of course, I did little to fix this problem.  Every day on my way home from work I passed a sign that boldly proclaimed WE FIX COMPUTERS – CHEAP! I never wrote down the number. Months passed and the ‘H’ key remained missing.

This was the start of what I like to call my “Overflow List.”  These are the things in my household that are just left hanging. These aren’t just items that I didn’t get to check off the “To Do” list. These poor things never even make it onto the “To Do” list.

See that pile of papers on my dresser? Yes, that was previously the pile of papers from the kitchen counter. It just gets moved around when we have visitors.

Hear that random beeping noise coming from somewhere near my bedroom?  Or maybe it’s in the attic?  It sounds like a truck, or maybe the Little People school bus. It usually startles me awake right as I’m drifting off to sleep. I have made some lame attempts to find this toy, but have been unsuccessful. Instead, my husband and I lie in bed at night and talk about finding it. It has been at least a month. It must stop at some point, right?

Oh, don’t mind the vacuum in the corner of the room.  Ever since we did a bit of a house renovation (oh, two years ago!) and got rid of one of our closets, my vacuum has not had a permanent place to be stored.  I usually just leave it in the last room I vacuum. When company comes over, I roll it into the room I think that will be visited least.

Impressed that I run on an incline on the treadmill?  Don’t be. I’m only doing it because ever since we moved the treadmill into the corner of the playroom it shakes terribly if not on an incline. I keep saying I’ll try to fix it, but it is usually after my workout when I don’t want to do anything but plop down on the floor and let my kids climb all over me since they are outraged that they have not been the center of my attention for thirty minutes. So, I run on … with an incline. I suppose this will create a healthier me, but it is really annoying to have to work out harder than I want to!

Oh, you like the handmade Easter egg decoration hanging off of our closet door? It’s so cute. My daughter made it in preschool – eight months ago! You know, when it was actually Easter.

Of course, you are completely correct, I should definitely just do these things instead of writing about them!  I will admit that part of the reason there are so many neglected items in my house is laziness. I see that Easter egg every time I sit down to watch television after the kids go to bed. I could easily get up and put it away, but I really just want to watch a show that is not a cartoon.

And, where would I put it anyway? All of the other Easter decorations are safely stored in the attic, and I can’t just throw it away. If I took it off the door, it would likely just be placed on the kitchen counter, where all other miscellaneous items seem to find their way.

So, I let it hang there.

There are quite a few things left hanging around here – literally and figuratively.  I am constantly battling the feeling of being overwhelmed with the mundane tasks of parenthood. To combat this, I make lists and lists of things I think I should do:  Organize closets. Clean under bed. Weed garden.

However, I often lose these lists before I can even finish making them – never mind actually completing the tasks on the lists. Sometimes, my daughter will find a list and practice  drawing purple cats on it, or my son will unearth a list and use it to wrap up a dinosaur toy. He presents this gift to me as if saying, Isn’t this a far better use of your time? Dinosaurs. Playing. Imagination.

So, I abandon list after list. I never add those things like Fix treadmill.   Instead, after completing the necessities – grocery shopping, cooking, laundry – I play Candyland with my daughter (again!), and I read a dinosaur book to my son that I can recite line by line.keyboardFor months, I used the missing ‘H’ key as an excuse not to write.  However, at some point I started to realize that not only was the ‘H’ important to my typed name, but it was also important to my Happiness. It certainly was NOT an item to forget about like the pile of papers on my counter.

So, we eventually replaced the keyboard, and I could no longer use the missing key as an excuse not to write.  With full access to all letters of the alphabet, anything is possible. So, now, instead of adding unnecessary items to my “To Do” list, I will write about them instead.

 Of course, I’m curious. What is on your “overflow” list?


11 thoughts on “The Overflow:  Ridiculous Things That Don’t Even Make It onto My ‘To Do’ List

  1. Hhhhha! I liked it. Sounds like I better visit ya and hhhhey, I could bring back that Easter decoration keep it safely and proudly on the wall by my bureau and bring it back to you next Easter. I love you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My overflow list is to get a new car, but darn “ol Ellie” now has over 360,000 and keeps running great, gets over 35 mpg and is just making it tough. Of course, I am retired and every day find something new to work on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love love love this Sarah!!
    Some items on my overflow list:
    1. Clean and organize garage
    2. Organize tools
    3. Pull out that elliptical left by the previous homeowners and actually see if it works!!! (This should have done on day two of moving in!!)
    4. Make an overflow list
    Thanks for sharing your words Sarah!!
    So proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When something needs to be put away, like the fan when winter comes, it just moves from where it was to some place closer to where it should be. My husband calls it migrating. I’ve had a paint can and a paint brush on my kitchen counter for months. It’s there to patch the paint that’s been rubbed off certain places on the cabinets. I don’t know when I’ll finally do it, but I know it will feel SO good when I finally do. I find that having company over inspires me to get cleaning-type projects done, so maybe I just need to throw a party.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my word, YES! I can SO relate to all these. Currently, I have a high school senior, so anything that is not related to college applications, college scholarships, college visits, or her graduation party may as well forget about being on The List. 😉 Tweeting! Stopping by from Happiest Mama Bloggers on Facebook!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, senior year! That’s a hard one. I used to teach senior English before staying home with the kids … so much to think about and decide that year. And, so much fun stuff going on, too! As a parent, I’m sure it is overwhelming. Geez, and I feel like figuring out my preschooler’s snack schedule is hard! 🙂 Thanks for reading!


  6. I can TOTALLY relate to this! I will take your Easter Egg ornament and I will raise you a Christmas figure that has been sitting on the shelf in my family room. I noticed it a few weeks after we put all the decorations away and couldn’t bring myself to lug the boxes out of our storage room again! So there it stayed on the shelf. At least it’s almost Christmas again!
    Things also migrate in my house, never getting put away just getting new homes. There are constantly new things to do coming up and the older items on the to do list will get forgotten. It’s never ending! But I pick my battles and prioritize. Yes, I would like a much tidier house, but what’s more important? Sorting through that ever growing stack of old, already opened mail that we haven’t filed yet or recycled, or playing or reading with my kids? I pick the kids 🙂


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