Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Inheritance Clutter

At last week's clutter busting talk, a woman in the audience shared her clutter situation. She said some of her family members had died recently and she was feeling stuck amidst all the stuff she inherited. She felt that there was something wrong with her for not being able to let go of the inheritance items she didn't care for.

I said that it wasn't her fault. When someone close to us dies, we go into grief. It's naturally overwhelming. A big part of us shuts down. I said I had a friend whose sister died, who told me she regularly fell to the floor in tears. I've felt it myself. The sadness overtakes you for a while.

I said to the woman at the talk that the first thing for her to do was to accept what was happening to her, and forgive herself. As far as the inherited stuff goes, I recommended asking for help from her friends. I told her to ask her friends to be kind and gentle while going through the stuff.

I told her to keep in mind that when she lets something go that she doesn't care for, she's not letting go of the person who died. The association with the stuff and the person who previously owned it has caused a lot of people to hold on to things they don't like, and won't use.

I encourage you to look at what's in your life, and pare down to the things you like and use. It's important to do this so that when you pass on, you are not putting your loved ones in a similarly painful situation as this woman. I've worked with many people who have been put in this miserable experience. Often times they confess they are angry at the person who died and left them in this predicament. It's terrible to feel sad about someone's death, and at the same time angry.

By clutter busting now, you are giving out gifts. One, for the people who you love, who will have a smaller amount of things to deal with when you pass on. And the second gift is to yourself for removing the clutter from your life so you can enjoy the things you love.

This topic has been inspiring to me lately because one of my clients told me a story of how she recently ended up in the emergency room and almost died, and all she could think about at the time was, "I have too much shit! I'm going to die and people are going to be forced to go through my crap. That would be an act of cruelty." It bothered her greatly that those could have been her last thoughts. 
My client clutter busted through her stuff with great enthusiasm, and ruthlessly tossed anything that was insignificant and an un-enjoyable part of her life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tossing the Trophy

Someone who read my book, Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back, told me after reading it that she became curious what kind of clutter she had in her life. She decided to take a look. 

She told me she came upon a last place bowling trophy she had received eight years previously. When she won it way back when, she thought it was funny. But by taking a fresh look at the trophy, she felt crappy. It reminded her of a time when she felt badly about herself. 

She wanted to feel more positively about her life. So she let the trophy go. She instantly felt better. With the new openness, she began to notice a bunch of other things she no longer liked and used, and let them go. She told me she felt more alive than ever before.  

She was unemployed at the time she clutter busted.  The next day, someone called her out of the blue and offered her an excellent paying and fun job. This was someone who'd heard about her, and finally got the inspiration to call and offer her the job. 

I love this story because it shows how taking an honest look at your things, and seeing how they make you feel, can transform your life. I've heard many similar stories. I hope this story encourages you to take that curious look at what's in your life.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Getting Reaquainted with Space

One of my clients was clearing out clutter from her closet. When the space was cleared, she began to feel anxious. It was uncomfortable for her.

I told her that it was a normal reaction and that she would be okay. I said that clutter is very distracting. When it's around, we lose touch with our feelings. Clutter acts as a numbing device. Over time we can get used to being disconnected from our feelings and emotions.

When the clutter goes, we become much more aware. Our clarity returns. Our senses are clear. We are open.

This can be a surprising experience at first. We could get temporarily overwhelmed from our feelings. Things we weren't aware we were feeling can rise to the surface.

It helps to know that nothing is wrong. You're actually right on track. You're waking up. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly.

Watch what you're feeling. It may be loud, but bring in some curiosity about what's going on. The curiosity is about yourself. You're getting reacquainted with you. It's good to know what's going on inside of you.

Without the resistance, it becomes easier to listen, be aware of, and be okay with you and your inner life.

What you're experiencing is aliveness. The purpose of life is to be alive. To feel alive.

When this happens with clients, I tell them avoid the impulse to fill the space up with new things. The space is a valuable thing. As you get used to the open space, you like and want to protect it. You want to stay awake to you.


There are ten days left for the fall clutter busting sale. Between now and October 31st, you can get four 50-minute Skype, facetime, or phone clutter busting sessions for the price of three. That's only $285, a savings of $95 dollars! The sessions must be paid for by October 31st, but they can be scheduled for anytime before or after. Contact me at

Monday, October 20, 2014

Growing Back Up

My client told me she didn't like her business webpage. But she didn't want to do the work needed to make it a webpage she liked. She complained that it would be too hard. She sulked and felt badly about the situation.

In a kind and sweet way, I told her, she sounded like a little kid in a tantrum. I said she wasn't alone. This comes up sometimes for clients. They feel overwhelmed by what's happening and a child part of them takes over and refuses to move forward. In some ways, being in this state feels safe from the daunting outside world.

At times there's a part of all of us that doesn't want to be a grown up. I know I've felt it. Not the childlike wonder part, but the part of us that in the overwhelming moment doesn't want to be an adult and make decisions to take care of ourselves.

I told my client that sometimes things become too much and we go into an emotional shut down state and give up. But it helps to notice that the not doing something actually makes us feel worse. We grow back up into ourselves when we see that taking the action will make our lives a much better place to be.

These words sank in and my client decided to revamp her website into something that she felt good about.

She sent me her website a few days later and it looked amazing. She was very happy with the changes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Clutter Busting the Linen Closet

The linen closet is a funny place. Old sheets, towels, blankets, pillow cases and comforters have a way of retiring in this space. I remember one client being astounded at the layers of old linens she kept finding under the new stuff.

What I'll need you to do is take everything out of the linen closet and put it on the floor. Take a few seconds to gaze at the open space in the closet. There's a peacefulness about open space. It can make your breath relax.

Pick up the first item and ask yourself, "Do I love this sheet?" "Is this towel comfortable?" "Does this blanket feel old?" "Am I holding onto this quilt because my grandmother made it even though I don't like or use it?" "Am I actually using this pillow case?" You're looking for the first feeling that comes to you. "Does this make me feel good, or can I let it go?"

I had one client who had brand new sheets and pillowcases that were still in their plastic container. She was hesitant to make a decision about them. Then she admitted that she didn't like the sheet set and she felt badly that she'd spent the money. I said that hanging onto the sheets would be a constant reminder of the situation. There would be more relief in giving the sheet set to charity. She liked that idea and went with it.

I worked with another client who discovered that all her towels were old and tattered and didn't feel good on her body. She got rid of them and went shopping later that day for new towels.

Non-linen stuff often gets discovered in the linen closet. Sometimes long forgotten extraneous items show up. Don't put anything that doesn't fit the linen, towel, sheet grouping (or associated items) back in the closet. It helps to keep similar items together. It's easier on the heart and mind.

You can donate sheets, towels, pillow cases, blankets and comforters. It will be a relief to get them out of your house, and it will feel good to give them to a charity.

You're learning to take an honest inventory of your home. You're home has a profound effect on how you feel. Finding and letting go of the things that are no longer a part of your life will make you feel good.

If you need some help with this work, you can contact me to set up an Skype or facetime clutter bust. It goes quicker than you imagined. I'm at

(This has been a revamped clutter busting blog post blast from the past!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recording Clutter Busting

Here's a picture of me in the studio recording the audio version of my book, Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back. Believe it or not, that microphone was once used by Frank Sinatra!

It was exciting to re-discover my book by hearing it out loud. I forgot how powerful it is.

I finished the recording a few days ago. I'm guessing it will be available for download in about three weeks. I'll let you know!


I added to the side bar a clutter busting talk I'm giving at East-West bookstore in Mountain View on the 26th of this month. I also added a clutter busting workshop I'll be doing in Evanston, IL at Urban Yoga on January 18th, 2015.