Humor Fiction posted February 13, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
Faux feng shui: the magic of decluttering

Disappearing Act

by Elizabeth Emerald

I weigh 100 pounds on a fat day I don't even have. Yet I feel so heavy always. I'm not speaking of a warped body image. I'm not bulimic; I don't binge-and-purge food. I binge (and not nearly often enough) purge stuff. I'm weighed down with stuff. Tons (not quite yet literally so) of stuff.
I have read many de-cluttering books and have picked up much excellent

advice that I rarely follow. For instance:

If you need to lose only five easy pounds to fit into it: OUT
If the shoes will fit perfectly as soon as they're broken in: OUT
If it needs only a simple, minor repair that you'll definitely do: OUT
If you could easily get at least two bucks for it: OUT
If it would be wise to keep it as a spare, just in case: OUT
If your son could use it if he ever gets his own place: OUT
If your mother would die/turn-in-her-grave to see you pitch it: OUT
If your kid made it from Play-Doh in preschool 'specially for you: OUT
If your husband would be pissed if he found out you'd tossed it: OUT

If you ignore any or all of the above, there are still several helpful damage-control techniques, any or all of which may also be duly ignored. For instance: One In, One Out (mnemonic OI-OO, a la Old MacDonald). I've (not) done this bit of advice one better; i.e. One In, Two Out, which is even easier to ignore.

Thus encouraged by my cleverness, I came up with this brilliant cheat: Don't fret about clutter; just make things look organized. This also has a cute mnemonic, RDCT, which stands for Re-arranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic (credit to source unknown).

Further emboldened by getting away with that one, I've pulled off a double cheat: Why bother to take the trouble to look organized when you can simply dump all the contents of drawers, closets, and cabinets into bins and stash them in the basement. Your living space will be the epitome of feng shui, albeit in the basement lurks the moldering picture of Dorian Gray.

Admittedly, there are a couple of drawbacks to this plan: You need a big bank balance and a big basement. At 20 bucks per 50-gallon bin, of which you'll need a hundred (plus-or-minus ten) the math. (Hint: think down payment on a gently-used Jaguar.) As for storage space: 50 X 100 is 5000 gallons, which in cubic feet the math (yes, YOU do the math).

But cheer up. There is a perfect alternative: Hefty bags. Yes, at a mere $20 per box of 50, big black trash bags are the white-trash solution. And no need to worry about storage space, either--simply stow them outside. Are you thinking that they might get ruined in the rain? Not a chance--the bags are waterproof.

Well, actually, there is a chance. A very good chance, in fact--the trick is to tie them a tiny bit loosely, then water is guaranteed to get in the top and your stuff will definitely get ruined. What could be more perfect than that! And it's already in trash bags to boot--just haul 'em to the curb.

If you don't want to wait a whole week for rain, no need. Most likely your trash bags will be mistaken for actual trash and accordingly get hauled to the curb. Should such an accident, alas, be averted, at most you'll incur a buck-a-bag fee, payable to your kid, to haul the trash to the curb. Such a small price to pay to get rid of all that stuff.


Thanks to MoonWillow for artwork: Brace Yourself

I wrote this five years ago. Things sure have not changed--Hefty bags still rule!
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by MoonWillow at

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