(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.
Also published on Medium.