Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Like the Hurricane Classification System, But for Household Messes

Every mom knows that there are messes, and then there are messes. Am I the only one who thinks there should be a standard classification system for them, just like there is for hurricanes?

All I'm saying is that when I'm calling in reinforcements to help with a clean-up effort, it would be way more efficient to yell, "We've got a Category 4 in here!" 

Then everybody would know exactly what we're dealing with.

If parents ranked household messes like meteorologists ranked hurricanes, our standard system would look something like this.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Here's what the Mess Classification System might look like, for the layperson.

Category 1: Minor Damage

These are your run-of-the-mill, everyday messes. Most often scattered toys or average-sized juice spills. They require little to nothing in the way of cleaning materials, other than possibly a paper towel. Most of the time, you can simply instruct your child to pick it up or clean it up by himself.

Category 2: Moderate Damage

These cause a small hiccup in your day, mildly irritating because you have to drop whatever you're doing to spend 8-10 minutes cleaning it up. You'll need to get cleaning supplies that are out of reach and beyond your child's capability to use safely. The mess may be spread over multiple surfaces and cleaning it up may be a multi-step process.

On the plus side, Category 2 messes may become amusing anecdotes later on.

Category 3: Significant Damage

Category 3 messes are easy to identify because of their frequent appearances on Facebook and Instagram. The three stages of encountering this type of mess are:
  1. Anger
  2. Expressing disapproval while photographing the mess for social media
  3. Googling how to clean it up
In addition to the basic cleaning supplies, you'll need assorted random substances from your kitchen cupboards that some mom on a BabyCenter message board claimed worked for her. These messes take considerable time and usually multiple attempts to clean up, but rarely result in lasting destruction.

Category 4: Extensive Damage

These messes take a fair amount of time to create, so they're usually found after you realize your child has been very, very quiet for a long time. S/he may have collaborated with a sibling or friend to make this mess, which generally involves one or more of the following:
  • permanent markers
  • nail polish
  • scissors
  • flour and/or baking cocoa
  • copious amounts of styrofoam
  • economy-sized tubs of Vaseline
Unfortunately, something is usually broken, stained, or vandalized beyond repair with a Category 4 mess, making it potentially costly in addition to time-consuming. Your child will also need a bath.

Category 5: Catastrophic Damage

Upon finding a Category 5 mess in their home, many people report having an out-of-body experience, losing feeling in their extremities, or the sensation that their stomach has fallen into their shoes. They cannot fathom what possessed their child to do this, and most in fact wonder if their child is actually possessed.

Very little can be salvaged, and clean-up might include throwing away ruined linens, patching drywall, replacing carpets, or renting a dumpster. It would be much easier to abandon the entire house and live in your car from now on. You will have a mental/emotional, if not a physical, need to shower afterward. In a few years, this will become a story that is told at family events for the rest of the child's life.

It's my hope that implementing the Mess Classification System in your home can help you keep things running smoothly. And now I need to go, because while I've been writing this my kids are somewhere out of sight being very, very quiet. Which we all know is a Category 4 waiting to happen.

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Unknown said...

I love your household disaster rating scale!
#4 Epic disaster-bright red nail polish in big red blobs right in the middle of the living room carpet. Culprit was my 3 three year old granddaughter who wanted to paint her nails. With such an EPA rated disaster, she couldn't even help clean it up. All my polish remover hardly made an impact. Had to buy a bottle of pure acetone at the beauty supply. Red not totally gone, carpet not totally destroyed, but livable. It is good the carpet is a multi shade brown with random uneven pile. Aw good times.

PurpleSlob said...

Jenny, I think you're onto something here! We parents need to band together, and get this thing going!! We can call it "The Jenny Evans Disaster Meter"!!

mom jeans said...

Thank you for the information you provided.

Jenny Evans said...

I like the sound of it.

Jenny Evans said...

At least you got it clean enough! I know people who had to replace their carpet after that happened to them.