A November decluttering project

With politics dominating the headlines, I am consciously - but maybe not subconsciously - steering well clear of any partisan chatter. You'll get your share of that during Thanksgiving with the crazy relative who's convinced there is still a path to victory in a race already declared lost. Instead, this commentary is on a fall decluttering project.

Recently, I elected to make a change and began a task of discarding things that I desperately wanted gone from the House. Back in July, the idea of delaying this was brought up, but ultimately it was decided to proceed this month, on Nov. 3, to be exact.

It started in the crawlspace going through junk gathering dust since 2016. A box full of wild conspiracy theories (bin Laden's body double was instead killed!) was removed. Another box contained documents that were shredded - tax returns which no one will ever see, but trust that the tax bills paid were less than yours. A stack of science books that had not been cracked open in the past four years were also discarded. Surprisingly, the prior house occupant left a "pandemic playbook," which no one realized was down there.

Moving to the closet, long thick red ties that fell well below the belt buckle were thrown out. I also discarded some suits that looked cheap but cost thousands of dollars. The suits were cut too big with absurdly wide pant legs and sleeves too long. These suits and ties, popular in the decade of '80s greed, were meant to convey confidence and power; but, as the adage goes, clothes don't make the man. Some red baseball caps were also given away. Very generous considering they were sold for $30 a piece online. Nobody is more generous than me, that I can tell you.

On to the bathroom, where I donated styling products used to control elaborate hair. I was mindful to file the donation receipt in case the IRS audits my $70,000 personal deduction for "hairstyling expenses." I also threw out bronzers, spray tanners, and makeup.

Next was the pantry where I discarded cases of Diet Coke. Goya beans were purged, along with loads of junk food including a stale jumbo-sized bag of orange Cheetos, although the expiration date wasn't until Jan. 20.

In the kitchen, a cabinet was dismantled, but everything else remained. Not a lot of kitchen changes are needed when you order in McDonald's and KFC for most meals.

Finally, on to the garage where frequently used golf clubs are now gone (though cheating on golf scores will continue). Packages of unused face masks were also donated. Thinking back, those masks should have been worn much earlier considering an unfortunate diagnosis received in early October resulting in a three-day hospital stay at Walter Reed. All these items were loaded into an unmarked minivan and hauled away.

Now that the decluttering is complete, future planned projects include removing a wall, redecorating some gaudy gold interiors, getting a dog, subscribing to the New York Times and repairing damaged relationships with neighbors. I'd love to delete a twitter account that divides and incites, but continuing falsehoods will likely get it banned anyhow.

To clarify, this November "decluttering" project was done not at my house, but at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Getting the White House cleared out feels like a new beginning ("it just won't be so exhausting"), and for that, there is reason to be thankful.

- Bret Conway of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].