The Hot Decluttering Trend for 2018: American Apocalypse Purging

Posted on
Jan 3, 2018

(Above: Trouble throwing out clothes? Try a signature look, like Aunty Entity’s all-season chainmail frock.)

It’s 2018. Time to start the new year off right by finally paring down your possessions, throwing out excess, and living simply. Because society as we know it might be over by March.

The Swedes have a practice that they refer to as “death cleaning.” They purge clutter regularly so that they will not burden their survivors with it in the event of their deaths. The Swedes understand that life is as fleeting as daylight in the winter months. They know that possessions mean nothing to a corpse. But the Swedes also are led by a prime minister with a steady gaze, a firm commitment to human rights, and only 36 thousand Twitter followers. So it’s safe to say that their home organization techniques don’t go far enough.

You’re an American living through the second year of a Trump administration. You need a home organization technique that acknowledges every second of this Presidency brings us closer to the brink of nuclear annihilation. You don’t need Swedish Death Cleaning. You need American Apocalypse Purging.

Face it: your democracy is in peril, your empire is crumbling, and your Beanie Babies aren’t going to appreciate in value. Wasn’t one of your resolutions to work out more this year? Ideally, transforming your body into a fighting machine that will survive a nuclear winter and the inevitable cannibal uprising? You can’t invest more time in you if you’re still trying to make jeggings work.

Sure, you could just throw everything in the basement, like you’ve been doing for decades, but the walls down there are at least 14-inches thick and far more resistant to radiation that the rest of your home. When you’re stuck in that subterranean shelter with your family members and a dwindling supply of canned goods, you’ll be kicking yourself for not having more storage space.

Remember, you can’t spell “we are the sole survivors of nuclear destruction” without “declutter”. And let’s be real: when did you last use that waffle iron?

The KonMari method was fine back in 2015 when we all thought we’d expire of natural causes. But the President has 280 characters now, so you don’t have the luxury of asking if an item brings you joy. Instead, look at the sum total of your possessions and ask yourself: Which of these items would cause the most damage to a healthy, 180-pound opponent? Begin training with it immediately.

Start separating your items into three piles labeled “Donate”, “Keep”, and “What is the Point of a Tax Cut When We’ve Turned All of North America Into a Hellscape?” Remember: once you’ve placed something in the “Donate” pile, you can’t take it back!

Don’t worry – it’s tough to start, but it’ll get easier as you go. Keep the things that are truly important to you. At the back of a closet, you find your wedding dress. You remember the joy you felt on that day. When the time comes, are you willing to eat your husband’s flesh in order to survive? You know the answer. You’ve always known. Once you’ve decided what you want to keep, treat yourself with fun but practical storage containers for your possessions (but don’t go overboard! We’re giving away stuff, remember?)

The trips to the Goodwill donation center have become so plentiful that the sorters have started to recognize you. They ask if you want a receipt. You nod. What value do you assign to your belongings? To your memories? To your own dwindling humanity? You write in $75. Be sure to save that receipt – it’s tax deductible! (Note: U.S. currency by the end of 2018 will likely be quaaludes and dried cat meat. Plan accordingly.)

Imagine the hours you’ve spent sifting through overstuffed drawers trying to find what you need. Now you can use that reclaimed time to contemplate your wasted existence. You were once nothing but potential. Here is the sewing machine; you were going to learn to sew. Here is your photography equipment; you were going to learn to take a decent picture. Here is the traditional French cookbook full of elaborate recipes that are well beyond your capabilities to recreate. That was a gift.

You should have spent that time training your body for the upcoming power grid wars. Your flesh is soft and weak. You are probably delicious. This will be your undoing. A friend expresses interest in the French cookbook, and you eye her suspiciously.

What the fuck, Carol.

If you are feeling truly inspired, trying putting your seldom-used possessions into a box with the date on it. After six months, if you haven’t opened it, just toss out the whole box! (Note: this technique is for the optimistic declutterer who thinks that something resembling society as we know it will exist in June.)

Look how much space you now have! How unburdened you feel! Isn’t is wonderful? Take a moment for yourself. Relax.

Your phone is buzzing. It’s probably just Carol, asking about that French cookbook again.

Fucking Carol.

Also published on Medium.

Leave a Comment

  • The Purge occurs at my house every January, and I still have way too much crap!

  • Sybille Sterk

    Couldn’t agree more with you. Until last year I thought it would be the Zombie Apocalypse that would get us but you are correct, it’s the Cheeto Apocalypse that will get us long before then….

    • Natalia

      Watch Brad’s Status only on this web site :

  • Jane Klein

    You KNOW I love this post. Happy New Year to you and Rand!

  • Sue Woollatt

    Great post! Decluttering is an ongoing thing in our house, given that it’s too small to hoard stuff (except dust bunnies). We usually end up freecycling surplus items; don’t know if you have Freecycle over there. It’s basically a website/email list where you post your unwanted items on the local site to you and anyone can email you back and ask to come and fetch it. I have given away loads over the years, secure in the knowledge that my unwanted stuff id someone else’s 180lb opponent- vanquisher 🙂

  • Thank you for the laugh-because-it’s-true kind of laugh where you’re also kind of wincing. I’m kind of intrigued by the Swedish death-cleaning practice and placed the book on my holds list at the local library. Looks like eleven people are in front of me, but probably not any of my relatives :/

  • Kristiin

    Fucking Carol hahah Amazing and such a good way of looking at things. Please hold while I throw everything I own away 🙂

  • Yikes! you’re way ahead of me. If the apocalypse comes sooner than predicted, you may be eating me!

  • Jessica J.

    Hilarious! Thanks.

  • AnnaRaven

    Watch out for Carol! Especially if she offers you cookies…

  • Kathleen Guff Guffey

    I thoroughly enjoyed your humor, and –while she was not Swedish–my grandmother taught a similar “Death Purge.”
    Just one thing, editors are good things to employ before clicking “send.” This is a common issue amongst bloggers.

  • Chandra Winata

    Let’s stop by to see Bright >>>>>>>

  • lyone

    Armageddon is the best reason for NOT decluttering. You have no idea when you are going to need that stuff to build a coat of armor, green house, chicken coop, personal flying machine, self-powered electric generator, etc. Keep your books–you can always use them as cooking fuel or toilet paper in case of a nuclear apocalypse!!

  • Tom Clement

    Just make sure you’re not throwing out an old hard drive with the 100 bitcoin you bought at 2 cents each back in 2009.

  • act_on_love

    I guess we’re keeping the bowling pin. Sigh.

  • Strangeshapes

    “To Serve Man” … it’s a cookbook!

  • Judith Houlding

    I’m a professional organizer (and ex-editor), and (almost) peed my pants laughing at this. Great parody of every dang organizing advice column I’ve ever read. Fucking Carol!!!

  • Suzanne Stenson O’Brien

    Funny not funny.

  • Chris Neumann

    This is the best thing I’ve read in a while. Thank you!!!! I just love it and yes, I have decluttered!!

  • RiRi Granger

    Love this!!! Needed this laugh!

  • David Riley

    This article was nothing more than a not so subtle veiled excuse to take shots at Trump. It actually gives NO hints about de-cluttering at all. Al it does is make cheap jokes and whine about an administration that the author doesn’t like. WAH!!

    • Everywhereist

      David, please tell me you don’t think your comment is a revelation.

      • David Riley

        No. just a comment. It has become so much the norm I guess I don’t really even have to point it out anymore.

  • Cecilia


  • David Riley

    It is not that I can’t handle jokes at all, if they are relevant. It is that the article purported to be about something possibly useful or even entertaining, when all it really was, was a way to take cheap shots at Donald Trump. Like I said, the article had absolutely no hints about the so called “trend”, all it did was create an excuse for the author to trash the President. And by the way, no matter how often you lelfties try it, you cannot hijack the term “snowflakes”. It was originally coined by conservatives as a term to describe crybaby leftist millenials and politically correct liberal whiners….and it still means that. You cannot hide behind our terminology, no matter how hard you try. Go back to your mommie’s basement and play WoW, leave the politics to us grownups.

    • Nikki

      I do not live in mommies basement, nor do I play WoW. I am left leaning, liberal, and…well what do you know, I’m a grown up! Huh, I guess stereotypes don’t always work do they? Kind of like how snowflakes are actually unique and beautiful…which means trying to use them to put someone down is actually doing the opposite. So I reclaim snowflake as a term of praise, and there’s nothing you can ever do about that. I mean, except grow up.

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