The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up After Your Breakup with Trevor, by Erica Lies
There’s no better time to implement Marie Kondo’s tidying and organizing system than after a breakup. Tidying begins with discarding. It’s difficult to let go of things that are no longer useful, but you’re a step ahead because Trevor chose to discard himself from your life and your apartment. Now you have more room without Trevor or Lucy, his rescue Saint Bernard who slobbered everywhere and showed more interest in licking your mouth than Trevor ever did.
Make tidying up after Trevor’s abrupt departure a special event. Do it all at once and do it perfectly, for this is how you purge your life and memory of Trevor. You will Eternal Sunshine this shit! But call it something else, because Trevor worshipped Charlie Kaufman and nicknamed you Clementine, which, looking back, was the first red flag.
Gather all the things that remind you of Trevor, and put them in a pile on the floor.
Start with clothes, because beginning with mementos will launch you down a rabbit hole of pain where you absolutely must play the mixtape Trevor made you on a vintage mint green Casio boombox. Actually, this mix makes a great tidying soundtrack and it’s right here in your Trevor pile. Might as well play it one last time.
As you groove to Trevor’s selections from the Lumineers, hold each Trevor item and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If not, toss it. Like the Nalgene bottle he bought you hoping it would turn you into someone who loves seven-mile hikes and REI gift cards. Though all this tidying is making you thirsty. Give that Nalgene one final spin.
If a Trevor item brings you joy, throw it out anyhow because keeping it will make you miserable. Yes, even those adorable heart-shaped Bakelite earrings he gave you on your birthday. Sure, they’re the only thing that goes with your polka-dotted ’50s-style housedress, but Trevor loved polka dots, so you’re throwing that out, too. But, it’s perfect for the farmers market, and you might run into Trevor there by the radicchio. He’ll look up from his contemplation of which greens are best for digestion and remember what a demure vision of idealized femininity you are in those polka dots. Maybe you should keep it. And the earrings. They highlight your cheekbones. Why not put them on now?
Move on to Trevor’s checkered button-down Penguin shirt that made him look all-American preppy with just a hint of sensitive artiste writing in a Moleskine. You put it on one morning in your best impression of a sex kitten, but instead you looked like a small child who raided their androgynous father’s closet. It still smells like Trevor’s Old Spice deodorant and it looks great tied over your farmers market dress. Plus it was Trevor’s favorite and surely he wants it back? Joy pile, definitely. Actually, put it on, too.
Next are the argyle socks you’d custom ordered him for his birthday just before he dumped you via text message while you binge-watched Grace & Frankie alone with a bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. If Trevor could see how thoughtfully you’d chosen the purple hues, he’d question his decision to date Lindsey from his improv group. That was before he dumped her for Willow, his French tutor, who’s basically a human Instagram filter. Well, Lindsey got what she deserved and now she’s alone. Maybe you should call her. You have a lot in common.
Moving on to books and media, it’s okay to discard items that were gifts because they served their purpose and now their shelf life is over, just like your relationship and your fragile sense of self. This brings us to Trevor’s Criterion Collection Blu-Ray of Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard wrote Jean Seberg’s character like an ethereal woman of infinite mystery who only exists in the minds of early-career male filmmakers. But, Breathless is a classic! And the Criterion insert has some good essays. Maybe you should cut your hair like Jean Seberg. Trevor would see you anew and regret calling your anxiety a turnoff. You have styling shears in the bathroom and this will really only take a minute.
Congratulations on discarding your hair, although now it looks less “mysterious pixie,” and more “Little Dutch Boy.” Time for kitchen items. Trevor left behind the cast iron skillet he used to sauté your farmers market asparagus, and cooking brings you no joy. But you do have some extra free range eggs, and Lindsey’s coming over now. And it would take five minutes to make Trevor’s favorite spinach omelette.
Actually, that asparagus would make the perfect filler…and the farmers market by Trevor’s apartment is open right now. If you hurry, you can get there by 11 a.m., which is when Trevor likes to take Lucy out for a stroll. You still have a key to his place — joy pile! — so just slip in after you’ve distracted the doorman who was given specific instructions never to let you in the building, and set up your surprise brunch. Trevor will be so excited he’ll unblock you on Facebook.
Erica Lies is a writer and comedian in Austin, Texas. Her non-fiction work has appeared in Splitsider, Bitch, Rookie Mag, and The Hairpin.
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