When I first picked up this book, I was a little skeptical. I was afraid that it was just going to be a total waste of my time and leave me feeling icky. Since finishing it, I have been overcome by a wave of sadness that this book isn’t going to reach certain people due to its use of language.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why it won’t appeal to everybody – I was reluctant to read it myself, but there’s so much valuable information within its pages that’s going to go unrealised due to some poor language choices.
So, to help you all out, I’m going to walk you through the steps I took after reading this book and some of the things it led me to realise I can discard, without using a single swear word. You’re welcome.
The fundamental message of the book can be divided into two steps:
1. You must decide what you no longer want to care about (be it something you’d waste money, time or energy on).
2. To simply stop caring about it, and putting your time/energy/money to better use.
Although in theory, this sounds very simple, I’m sure you’re going to need a bit of a helping hand, so let’s break it down some more.
1. Deciding what to stop caring about.
For this step, you’re going to need a notebook and a pen – that’s it. All the stuff floating around in your head can be divided into the following 3 categories:
Friends, acquaintances, and strangers
Under these headings, create an exhaustive list of everything you spend your time/money/energy on.
If you need a little bit of inspiration, I’ll leave a link to a video by muchelleb who, at 1:45, gives a pretty comprehensive list of prompts.
The point of this list is to be realistic, not aspirational. Even if you know you give time to something you don’t value (for example, how many likes your most recent Instagram photo got) write it down anyway, you’re the only one who’s ever going to see it!
2. Actually not caring.
This is the fun bit! Get yourself a big, black sharpie (or another pen of choice) and start going through your list. If there’s something you no longer wish to devote yourself to, use your marker of doom and cross/scribble/stab it off, whichever brings you the most satisfaction.
You may need to go through the lists a couple of times, the whole thing becomes a whole lot easier once you’re decluttering skills have been tuned.
I wish crossing it off the list was the end of the road, but unfortunately, you then have to actively stop caring.
The book (and I) recommend that you stop caring about things that affect only you first (for example, rushing home from your parent’s house to watch Strictly Come Dancing live – it’s the same show on BBC iPlayer, just an hour later). From there, you’ll work up the motivation to discard the things that require a little bit more explanation to friends or family.
When it comes to explaining Knight suggests to make it a difference of opinion, rather than making it personal. For example, ‘sorry I can’t come to your karaoke party, it’s just not my scene, but I’m free to have a movie night sometime next week’.
Or, for a more delicate matter, create a personal policy – ‘sorry, I can’t sponsor your marathon because I have a personal policy against individual donations. Since I can’t possibly support everyone and I never want someone I love to feel better or worse than someone else. But good luck, I really hope it goes well.’
In a last ditch effort to convince you to go through your mental clutter, here’s a list of 3 things I have stopped caring about since reading this book…
- Waking up at 6AM. For the past few years I, have been unbelievably ashamed that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a morning person. However, since reading this book, I’ve decided that my time should go towards making sure I have enough sleep and get up for work/uni on time. I’m a night owl, and I’m owning it!
- Responding to blog comments. Apologies to all those who are awaiting a response to a comment here on Miss Abigail, but this is one thing I’m no longer going to stress about. As a general rule, I schedule blog posts at least a week in advance, meaning that I actually only check this blog once a week. By that stage, I usually have a dozen-or-so comments to be answered. I’d been feeling an immense sense of duty to respond to every single comment, but it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t really gaining anything from it. I’m more than willing to answer a question or contribute to a debate, but no longer will I waste my time saying ‘Thanks! xx’ or ‘so glad you liked it’ – simply liking the comment will suffice surely!
- Gossiping at work. I just started a new job and have been privy to the idle gossip that’s present in any workplace. At first, I felt uncomfortable, trying to think of something to contribute to the conversation without inadvertently offending anyone. Now, I choose to focus on my work, and let the gossip wash over me. I have no desire to contribute and so I don’t – that feels great.
I really hope you found this useful and that it has inspired you to declutter all the junk that’s floating around in that big ol’ brain of yours. Obviously, despite this post, I still recommend you read the book (you can check out my review if you’re still unsure about it) but I understand if you’re not comfortable doing so. Happy decluttering everyone!