When decluttering, everyone cuts down on their belongings but how many people think to cut down on their past images of themselves? Probably not too many. I remember at one point in the process, I asked myself, “if I don’t own this sweater, who am I?” It might sound like a really odd question, I know, but when you’re a fashion school dropout and you met all of your friends at fashion subculture events, giving up a style means giving up a part of who you are, a creative outlet and a bond you shared with certain people in your life. You probably have a hobby or habit that’s like this too. I had several I identified with: I was the gamer, the anime watcher, the crafter, the Hufflepuff, the nerd, the shopper, on and on. All of these hobbies and habits had a cost, both in my physical space and my mental space. I didn’t have time in the day for all of them so I developed habits, admittedly bad ones, and didn’t really reflect on them beyond “I wish I had time for…”
One day, I found myself sitting in bed, dressed to the nines. I’d spent weeks trying to figure out if I was going to move on from a certain style and it had consumed whole days to thinking and imagining who I’d be without it. I felt like I was locked in a vicious cycle of not wanting it (feeling like I’d moved on, not really loving all the clutter and things it required as well as the energy and hassle) to needing it (who was I without it? How would I dress in certain places? Would my friends feel I abandoned them because of this?) It was stressing me out and I couldn’t seem to move on from the question: was I going to give it up?
Suddenly, it hit me. I had to ask myself: what are my priorities? Where do I want my time to go? It was immediately obvious: crafting and fitness. These were the two things that I really enjoyed, that I wasn’t doing by default or because it’s what I’d always done. After looking at that, the answer became very clear. I had to move on. I had my husband move it all off to Goodwill so I couldn’t change my mind. You’re welcome, ladies of Los Angeles. I hope you wear it well and love it as much as I did.
Now I had a razor. Maybe it’s not as cute as Konmari’s “what sparks joy?” but really, you really just need something to help you make a decision, whether it’s your top three priorities or what sparks joy. You need to be able to ask yourself, “does this matter if X is one of my most important things?” If the answer is yes, it stays. If the answer is no, it goes. And once it’s on the go pile, get it out of the house. If you leave yourself an out, it’s probably ending up where it started since you were probably struggling with getting rid of it in the first place.
That razor is the version of you that exists after all of this. Maybe you’re not what you were when you came into this, but that person got you into this mess. If you want to move beyond it, you have to move beyond that person and embrace what you are afterward. This means you need to apply the razor to your habits as well. What do you do that feeds into these non-priority things that can be removed? What will feed these new priorities? If it would help, do an ideal day project focusing on your priorities being in the spotlight. From there, it’s just a matter of implementing the new habits one-by-one, hopefully replacing the old ones as you do.
Now it’s your turn: What are your priorities? What are you going to implement when you have space to? Leave it in the comments below!