If you’ve been talking to your clothes while folding them lovingly in an attempt to make your life more “tidy,” you should take a long, hard look at yourself, according to author Jennifer McCartney. Her new book, The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place: The Art of Being Messy (Countryman, May 24, 2016) is the perfect guide to free yourself from the shackles of over-organization. McCartney encourages you to give in to your messier urges because being too clean is a sure sign of a dreadfully boring and uncreative personality.
This book is a too-real parody of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which encourages readers to throw out old belongings to help declutter their homes (and, consequently, their brains). However, McCartney completely balks at the prospect of throwing your stuff out just because, rather, she advocates buying even more stuff and leaving it anywhere and everywhere.
McCartney, who also writes for The Atlantic, Vice Magazine and others, uses rampant expletives, doodles and real-talk language to great effect, essentially tearing down the idea that somehow having an immaculate house means that you have an immaculately clear head. Almost every page of this book has a laugh-out-loud moment, not just at the expense of the clutter-free movement. Nearly every giggle comes from recognizing your own mindlessly messy habits as McCartney sarcastically lauds them as the key to having a stress-free existence. The tongue-in-cheek tone is somewhat ironic, but McCartney’s dedication to just accepting messiness as an everyday element of life is actually really convincing. Basically, this hilarious, quick read is the perfect self-help book for people who hate self-help books.
So, this summer, instead of struggling to keep your environment cleaner than you are actually capable of, just accept your inner hot mess and leave your sheets rumpled, your clothes on the floor of your closet, and your desk a necessary jumble. As McCartney writes, “Mess cannot be contained. It wants to be free. Embrace it.”