Meet the man behind a morbid new craze

The Reaper in the Room: Nick Deth relaxes, fully prepped for the after-life.

Nick Deth peruses his meticulously-compiled list of possessions - Credit: Si Barber

January is a time when many of us try to get our lives in order and organise our affairs a little better.

But Nick Copeman has gone a bit further than that.

Despite being in rude health, the 43-year-old copywriter from Sheringham has decided to pare back his life and declutter, to prepare his affairs for after his death.

He has even cut his worldly possessions down to just 406 items, meticulously listing every one in a database with categories for forms of transport, clothes, admin and technology.

It is a bizarre extension of another craze - Swedish death cleansing, or döstädning - which has spread from the Scandinavian country.

It involves organising your life and getting your affairs in order to such an extent that your relatives are able to smoothly deal with your death and - so proponents say - allows you live a happy, contented life before you reach that point. 

Mr Copeman has launched a new website,, to chronicle his activities and encourage others to follow his example.

Read the Small Print": Equipment Manifest featuring unique four-character identifier codes.

Mr Copeman's inventory, on which every item has its own individual code - Credit: Si Barber

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The site features a three-step guide to preparing for death. It involves not only creating detailed instructions for your funeral and completing a will, but getting all your financial affairs in order, reducing your possessions, itemising what remains, and working out precisely who will get what after your death.

While neighbours have dubbed him "Nick Deth", he's not expecting to shuffle off this mortal coil soon.

Despite his ashen-face, cadaverous body and all-black attire – his demeanour is more get-up-and-go than curl-up-and-die.

"I'm a motivator, not an undertaker" he said. "But you can't master life until you confront death.

"There's a risk of it coming across as a bit laddish but the underlying point it it's serious.

"It's gallows humour, you have to have a sense of humour to deal with it. I know families who've fallen out after people haven't made their wishes clear."

Living Dead: day-to-day items including toiletries and vitamins.

Day-to-day items including toiletries and vitamins on Mr Copeman's inventory - Credit: Si Barber

Mr Copeman has not revealed who he intends leaving his Ford Focus and other worldly goods to. He said his obsession for being organised began after his father and uncle passed away in quick succession, leaving him to manage their affairs. 

He said up to half of us die without leaving a will, while his techniques are also suitable for those looking to downsize or de-clutter their lives.

His inventory includes every single sock, toiletry and toothbrush he owns - along with meticulously dated receipts for everything he has ever bought.

Beeston Regis Caravan Park, Nick Copeman alias King Nicholas (Changed his name by deed poll) has sta

Nick Copeman alias King Nicholas pictured in 2005 - Credit: Archant © 2004

In 2003, the then unemployed Mr Copeman declared a two berth caravan at Beeston Bump an empire and crowned himself king of it, changing his name by deed poll to King Nicholas I.

In 2005, he wrote a book about his reign but said his life had now moved on from its regal phase and offers of a film about his experiences had failed to materialise.

Keeping track

Mr Copeman 's inventory features:

Ford Focus (1.6 TDCi)

Flip flops (one pair)

Spare straps for flip flops (two)

Bicycle (21" frame)

Underpants (14 pairs)

Fire extinguisher (one, in car)

Cufflinks (one pair)

Drinks coaster (one) 

Socks (14 pairs)

Ear Plugs (six pairs, with shortened stems)

Spare tops for toiletry bottles