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Oh my friends. Who can believe we’re still relying so much on Zoom? Everybody, that’s who. 

Last Sunday I went to a giant—and I mean hundreds of people (all masked) giant—memorial service. Three hours. Indoors. 

Of course my seatmate tested positive for Covid the following day. Now I am in quarantine until my own testing will be meaningful. So once again, I am thankful for Zoom and everyone who’s not too weary to meet me there.

I hope that includes you! For it is time to throw the Second Annual MDK Odious Tasks Party, wherein self-care means taking care of those things that, unlike us, simply will not take care of themselves.

If you joined last year, you’ll know we got a logic-defying number of things done. That’s the power of powering through in a group. Things we can’t face alone—whether that seems logical or not; no judgement and I mean that so seriously—are easily dispatched when we have reinforcements. Examples:

  • calling creditors
  • making medical appointments
  • finding the paperwork for that will you’ve been meaning to write since you turned 40
  • reading the fine manual for that tool you can’t figure out (which I agree should be figureoutable without a manual)
  • Kondoing your social media and email lists or decluttering your desktop
  • really reading financial statements
  • cleaning behind those difficult things
  • finding out where on earth you can donate the white elephant
  • anything else you’ve been dreading, for whatever reason

There are so many things we can feel good about just taking the first step on! There is no need to start and finished a baker’s dozen of avoidances in one hour.

Bonus: Fellow MDKers are a treasure house of smart hacks! If you need help just thinking about how to proceed, Odious Taskmistresses are the ones to ask. Last year I had been despairing about a musty coat closet. Again, no earthly reason that should have paralyzed me, but it totally had me. Even after that closet ruined my Nicholas Kirkwood Chelsea boots! (Irreplaceable!) 

Guess what there’s a fix for that, and the folks in the party gave it to me. No more ruined shoes. I also got through some tricky mending. While meeting people I’d only known through the comments, which: delightful.

And we all heard some good stories.

So if you’ve got anything in your to-do stack that you can’t do alone, let’s get you some backup.

In the MDK Shop
Gorgeous accoutrements for girding up to complete odious tasks.
By Leuchtturm1917


Date: Saturday June 18, 2022

Time: 11am-noon Eastern. We can do almost anything for 60 minutes, right?

Place: Here is the Zoom link.

Video on if you can! Mute for making odious calls.

If you can’t join us, you can participate in the comments. Tell us about your odious tasks below! We will cheer each other on.


More ideas here, especially for anyone wanting to host their own party: Barn-raising in the 21st Century

Bookmark it! Here’s how to save this article and event link in your MDK account with one click.
image CREDIT:  Old Woman Spinning, Nicolaes Maes, 1650–1660, Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

About The Author

Max Daniels is a research-based life coach whose weekly emails make us laugh with recognition and rethink everything we thought we knew. Her new book is Meals at Mealtimes. What a concept!


  • I won’t be able to participate with the group but I will set aside an hour on the 18th to begin the process of cleaning up and organizing my digital photos. I’ve attempted numerous times, get overwhelmed at not knowing where to start and put it off until another time.

  • I’ll join to go through shoeboxes of old old photos of family, from my grandmother—ancestors who I may or may not know. Labeling names, dates, places for my niece and nephew who want to know their ancestry.

  • I got one odious task done last week, scheduling a multitude of appointments that needed doing. Car service, doctors, chimney cleaning, heater service, etc. Finishing up with an acupuncture appointment, that’s my reward. But I’m sure I can think of another one (at least!) that needs doing. Rearranging the pots and pans in my tiny kitchen for one…
    I hope your Covid is not too bad and leaves no trace when it goes. Did I spot you in the one yard shirt class last week? That is definitely not odious!

    • I spotted a cool pot rack in a catalog and ordered it. Once I got it set up and all the pots on it, that meant I really needed to clean the entire stovetop. That has now led to pulling out the pot drawers in my tiny kitchen and completely re organizing them. Funny how one task always leads to several more!!

      • If you give a mouse a cookie…

        It’s the way of the world

      • projects beget projects — for sure!!!

        • Yup, always one more chore

  • Just what I need, a boost to get at those messy window sills. Every time I clean them it rains and they are an awful mess again. While at the windows I should clean them too. So, maybe, room by room I can start on these tasks with joy.

  • Plowing through ancient emails and digital photos is my odious task. Both are in desperate need of streamlining because, while they do not take up any physical space, knowing that they are out of control makes me feel stressed.

  • At that time I’ll be at an (outdoor) celebration of life party for a beloved uncle. But my odious tasks are many. If I could join you I wouldn’t even know where to begin! Godspeed to you all!

    • Anne, I will be attending a celebration of life for MY beloved uncle on the 30th. He was a wonderful man, as it sounds that yours was. May it be a blessing for you.

  • I will try to make the zoom but even if I don’t, just knowing that a bunch of other people will be doing their odious tasks at the same time could be the boost I need to at least get started. I’ve got the whole house to declutter and clean. It’s pretty much an entire HGTV series in itself, lol.

    • Ckeck out! I love the combo of her system plus Marie Kondo!

  • Oh Snap — I guess I can finish up moving all my password info to a new app — since my old tried and true is end of life, hopefully it’s not so end of life as to not let me in there to get my info out 🙂 then that will be extraordinary odious

  • It is reassuring in that odd way to just know others struggle with the same odious tasks as I do. I think the list above is my exact list! My thought on a way to tackle it: using a journal (bullet journal for the win) I will assign myself one odious task a week, along with one fun task. The weekly task might just be one piece of a big task – like, I will clean up digital photos from 2022 and 2021, rather than all the way back. That same week, I will meet a friend for coffee.

  • What was the fix for the musty closet? I have one in dire need of clearing out.

    • It’s a thing called DampRid moisture absorber. MIRACLE!

    • I’ve lost boots to a musty closet, too. What was the solution?

    • Me too!!!

  • I need help organising my hefty pile of cook books. Part of me thinks I just need a sharp kick in the shins and told to get on with it. The rest of me would like to know how the odious taskmasters have organised theirs. I’ll be wearing my ‘Nonna’ hat that Saturday; sole minder of a toddler and a 6 year old, thus unable to join the group.

  • What a great idea! Knitters are the best. I cannot do that day but I am hoping it becomes a biannual event.

  • Oh wow – perfect timing! THANK YOU! I LOVE external accountability! I’ve got two on my mind: general email cleanup and submitting copyright registration for an embarrassing number of my kids’ books (but, hey I already own the copyrights, right?). I’m in California and it’s farmers market day, so if I’m not there, I promise to devote an hour to these tasks.

    Here’s hoping for a quick negative test for you, my dear. If it isn’t too late, ask your MD for a Paxlovid prescription. From family experience, I can tell you it does work fast. xo

  • Such a smart idea!!

  • My odious task (well, semi-odious really) is sitting down and dealing with the oddments of tupperware, pyrex, and bowls in the kitchen. There is one large plastic tupperware in particular that I believe is a relic of the pre-911 era.

    • I’m terribly curious about your Tupperware!! I still have lots of bowls and two canister sets!! The canisters are great for storage of pasta, cereal, etc. why did you mention pre-911? As in the date or in calling for help? I’m a retired nurse so nothing much grosses me out…but wiggly loose teeth in a grandchild’s mouth…who knows why that gets me and they know it and wiggle it more!,….but I digress from my thought here…pre-911 made me think of a time my mother injured her hand very seriously and we got her to hold her hand down in a big yellow Tupperware bowl of ice and sped off for the hospital…we’ll sort of sped as Dad had to stop for gas!!! We forgot the bowl when we checked her out of the hospital the next day and she made me go back for it!!! With a reprimand NOT to use her good bowls just should have wrapped it in a towel. That woman loved Tupperware parties!!! Thank goodness she could still knit after her hand injury. Love you Mom!! Knitting in heaven or fishing with Dad or maybe throwing Tupperware parties?

      • I might join and deal with the coat closet. It isn’t awful, just needs cleaning and a little organizing. But I was inspired and with coffee this morning finally researched new doctors, wrote down the info so I can call for appointments on Monday. I’ve bern procrastinating on that one for way too long.

      • You can still get it, and replacements, online! I have some from last century.

  • Oh I wish this were semi-annual or quarterly, I’m visiting my son in LA that weekend …

  • I will almost certainly do some dishes (my most hated chore) but I will sit and have a think about whether there are other long term items that I should really see to.

  • Bought a new sweater today and told my husband that I was going through the cabinet the sweater will live in and getting rid of at least 5 things. Done and then some. Shirts I don’t wear (don’t even remember when I last wore them). And a couple of others that I don’t know why I bought them. Off to GoodWill or someone. They’re already clean, so bagged up. Hubby did the same with his shelves. If I did 5 every time I bought one there might be less for someone to deal with when I die (not planning it anytime soon, but you never know.)

  • This is always a glorious idea. I like to schedule my odious tasks but one per weekend. For this weekend I’ll try to spend an hour cleaning up my Gmail inbox. The promotions tab is overwhelming and I try to pretend that it doesn’t exist but the email count grows larger every day 🙁

  • Oh, this sounds so wonderful!

  • Our state rep is having a shredding event at his local office on 6/18. Planning to take at least 2 grocery bags of stuff

  • Garage….

  • Hmmm. The odious task call sounds great! It will be at 9 am in my time zone, so maybe I can grab a cuppa and join in as I think about how I need to attack the odious grass-from-hell that is strangling my flower beds.

    • I have one of those flowerbeds but I can only see if if I walk down the outside edge so I just make sure not to do that… alas, my toaster caught on fire last Monday and as a result I have many many odious tasks left to accomplish, none of which can really wait another week. But this is great! Odious solidarity!

  • I will finish up some terrible forms for Medicare to PROVE that my income is in a lower tax bracket. UGH! Procrastination out the kazoo!

  • What a great idea! I have a hall closet that hasn’t been sorted in 25 years. I’ve been meaning for months to see what’s in there. But how do I sort closets and zoom at the same time?

  • I’m a day late reading this but I did just add three items to my to-do list that I have never specifically out on that list before. All three have a basic location in my computer/fiber room which seems to be a resting place for things I will do later. Everything for the new window treatment in that room has been laid out and ready for about two years, but that is not one of the three things.

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