The only one who matters
Here's the best piece of advice I can give you if you're hoping to declutter your home, your schedule, your brain, or anything else.
Deceptively simple, methinks. Here's how it works in real life.
In the Before Times, I fielded a bunch of invites every week. Popular? Well, not so much. A lot of them were less about spending time in the company of my sparkling wit and more about filling up a networking event. But still, in they flew.
I'm an enthusiastic and optimistic soul. Weird, right, considering the world we live in? But there it is. When I'm invited to a thing I tend to think it will be So Much Fun! And that I'll meet Cool People! Who will help me develop a Thriving Business! And a Robust Social Life!
So there I was, enthusiastically replying yes to these invitations. And forgetting a few key elements of my personality.
Like how much I hate driving around the city. And PARKING around the city. And dressing up after 6 pm. And LEAVING THE HOUSE after 6 pm. And having more than one appointment in the day.
Let's be honest, I actually hate having more than one appointment in the WEEK.
So as these events got closer, I'd start to experience the sort of existential dread one might encounter when recognizing that a narcissistic despot has won the national election.
The thing is, all the events, both personal and business-y, were fine. Fun, informative, connective; at the very least I interacted with at least a few interesting people. But I'm not an extrovert. I'm closer to the hermit on the mountain who grants interviews on the full moon.
I like to poke my head out of my burrow and scamper around, interacting and gobbling up the snacks, then scurry right back down into the ground, where I'll remain for the next week.
I KNOW this about myself. So why do I say yes to things I will ultimately want to skip? Because I want to be the kind of person who likes to be out and about all the time.
But I'm not.
Here's another way this plays out.
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the fact that I am a Collector. (Maybe you are too? You can take this quiz to find out your very own Clutter Archetype.) If I have two of a thing I suddenly find myself craving a third, and a fourth and before you know it I have a collection of ceramic owls taking up space on my otherwise tidy dresser.
I know this about myself, so I limit myself to one of everything. Pairs lead to collections, and I don't need any more collections. Rusty washers, miniature animals and tiny mugs are what I collect, and I refuse to engage with any other accretions of objects.
You may find it hard to say no to a bargain. So don't go to yard sales! Don't go into thrift stores. Stay away from the outlet mall.
Once you accept that you are what you are, you can arrange your life so that you make decisions that make you HAPPY, instead of making choices that lead to frustration, angst and cancelling plans at the last minute.
I tell my clients this all the time – know yourself. Understand your habits and your tendencies, and then just get on with it!
Don’t spend your life thinking that you’ll wake up tomorrow dying to rollerblade if you’ve had skates malingering in the garage for 15 years. You are who you are and being a person who prefers to walk is just fine.
Make decisions based on who you are, where you are and what you are right now, in this moment. I promise it will make your life so much easier.