I’ve been an early adopter a few times in this life (brown nail polish and Tae Bo come to mind), but nothing has ever made me feel as ‘on trend’ as North America’s current obsession with decluttering.
As someone who has spent her adult life avoiding the accumulation of clothes I don’t wear and stuff I don’t use, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with a sage smile. Her two-step KonMari Method involves discarding items that do not ‘spark joy’ and organizing the ones left. For Ms. Kondo, a build-up of material clutter is a sure sign of a muddled, unhappy mind. Approach your possessions in a more attentive way, says she, and you’ll liberate more than closet space. Her philosophy (with the possible exception of talking to your clothes before discarding them) makes perfect sense to a minimalist like me.
And yet, it was in reading Sarah Knight’s volume, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck) that I recognized a true kindred sprit.
For Knight, f*cks are a finite and precious commodity. Give too many f*cks about too many things and you’ll be left feeling anxious, stressed and as depleted as a suburbanite’s bank account on Boxing Day. But: eliminate all effort motivated by shame, guilt and unwanted obligation (i.e. pursuit of bikini body, attendance at co-worker’s baby shower), and you’ll bulldoze space in your life for people and things that spark joy.
TLCMONGAF schools you on how to determine whether something falls into your ‘joy’ or ‘annoy’ bucket, how to stop giving a f*ck about what people think, and how to create a F*ck Budget that leaves you with inner resources to spare.
Like The KonMari Method, Knight’s NotSorry Method has two steps: 1. Deciding what you don’t give a f*ck about 2. Not giving a f*ck about those things.
While TLCMONGAF is billed as a ‘practical parody’, there is truth in jest. Knight’s advice on how to pull off this life-changing trick without being an a**hole is certainly actionable (think: politeness first, honesty second). And her tutelage on how to use the phrase ‘it’s my personal policy’ to Houdini your way out of places you don’t want to go and conversations you don’t want to have is nothing short of….magical.
Seen through the lens of TLCMONGAF, my longstanding personal policies – ‘don’t complain, don’t explain’, ‘suffering is overrated’ and ‘free is too expensive’ – have taken on new dimension. Like a drawer of KonMari’d socks, they exist, not in and of themselves, but as part of a larger philosophy towards living my best life.