An Anti-Guru's Easy-Living, #NotSorry Version of the KonMari Method
Turning your home into a Zen retreat is as simple as deciding not to give a you-know-what. Seriously.
A funny thing happened when my friend Sarah Knight read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo's infamous ode to ultra-minimalism) and followed its advice. Like legions of #KonMari devotees, she and her husband Judd kissed their unloved clothing goodbye after thanking it for its service. They applied Kondo's signature vertical folding technique to the items that remained. Then they basked in the Zen-like serenity of their living space...and Sarah realized she wanted her headspace to feel that way, too.
That aha moment led to The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have With People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do, a gloriously profane parody of Kondo's book (and an international bestseller in its own right). Sarah's NotSorry method — in which you perform mental decluttering by deciding what you don't care about...and no longer giving a damn about those things — sparks joy every bit as effectively as building yourself a standing sock-army. (My mother texted me about Sarah's book after reading it on Mother's Day: "Hilarious! I might be able to get off half my blood pressure meds if I take the advice in it.") Moreover, her tongue-in-cheek self-help actually works as organizational advice, too. (Watch your back, Kondo.) I asked her to expand a bit on how she lives the good life.
Running low on storage? Toss out old versions of yourself.
"The biggest losers in the [KonMari] clothing giveaway game were my pants — part of my NotSorry philosophy is finally coming to terms with the body I have and the fact that I'm never going to be a size 4 ever again...so I purged a metric ton of pants and it felt good. Real good," Sarah noted. "The second runners-up were Judd's button-downs and neckties. How did he accumulate so many versions of a shirt and accessory he detests wearing?"
There's no shame in outsourcing chores.
"I felt a lot of guilt the first time we hired a cleaning lady," Sarah told me. "That was all tied up with my issues with money (not having a lot of it growing up) and the idea that it was far too extravagant to pay someone to do a job I could do myself. It just seemed like such a waste. But eventually there came a tipping point, where the amount of time it took me to thoroughly clean our apartment once a week — call it six hours or so every Saturday — was worth more to me than the money it would cost to pay someone else to do it. This is NotSorry in action, too — I chose to give my money to a cleaning lady to reserve my time for myself. And I think that line of reasoning works well for anyone who has the time, but would prefer to spend it on other things."
There's also no shame in outsourcing party prep.
"When I was in high school — AKA when I had very few f*cks that needed giving — I cooked up a storm. I baked bread, made soufflé, and tried my hand at Bon Appetit's Thanksgiving spread. My mother and I hosted a 'garden party' every summer where she did the shopping and the cleaning, and I personally handmade ten dishes from scratch, including any dressings, frostings, or fillings. I still love to cook, actually, but I'd rather do it for two people, not 20 or 30, and especially not if I want to enjoy my own party. Listen, one doesn't live within striking distance of innumerable Brooklyn specialty shops without learning to make use of prepared foods: cheese, charcuterie, nuts, jams, fancy crackers, gherkins, and the like. My go-to party trick is to unwrap and arrange all of those pre-made goodies artfully on a decorative serving tray, et voilà! Adulting at its finest. I tend to spend more time/energy/money on tjuzing (to borrow a word from Carson Kressley) my table with funny cocktail napkins and fresh flowers, and making the lighting and music do the rest. Also: drunk people love a peanut butter cookie, and I've got a guy for that."
"Brunch" is in the eye of the beholder.
A late-late morning person, Sarah rejects the contact sport that is bright-and-early brunch in New York City. "I just don't understand when 'brunch' became something that happens in the morning to begin with. Personally, I consider the act of 'brunching' to be 'eating breakfast foods at lunch times.' Like, not in the morning. I love brunch! But I only eat it after noon. There's something deliciously subversive about ordering pancakes at 2 pm."
...As is "casual."
"In New York, I will unabashedly wear my pajamas (variously: yoga pants, velour track suit bottoms, cotton shorts) and my sleeveless George Michael t-shirt to go to the bank, grocery store, or nail salon," Sarah reports.
Inspired by this next-level easy living — by contrast, I graduated from wearing eyeliner to the gym about a year ago — I asked Sarah to express the way her enlightened state has made her feel, in haiku form.
My headspace is feeling clearer already.