Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Clutter Busting Clothes

Today we're focusing on your clothes.

1. Comfort. I want you to take a look through the clothes in your closet and drawers with only your comfort in mind. Comfort is not just physical. It's also social and emotional. Some clothes make you feel comfortable at home, some make you comfortable at work. Take one item off a hanger, or out of a drawer, hold it in your hands and ask, "Do I feel good when I wear this? Does it make me feel beautiful or handsome or sexy or business like ? Would I buy this today?" You can try it on if you'd like. Ask, "Do I want to continue wearing this?" If you have any hesitation, that means it's not for you.

Your comfort can not be sacrificed. Your comfort keeps you connected with your well-being. Sometimes we sacrifice our comfort for style, or to protect our self-image. We wear something that is 'in' even though it feels physically or emotionally uncomfortable. Or we hang on to clothes that used to fit us when we weighed less, hoping to one day get back there, but these clothes end up becoming constant reminders that we are not happy with our bodies. The quicker they go, the sooner you'll feel free again.

Separate out the items that you want to keep from the ones you are letting go of. Put the clothes clutter in a bag for charity, and when you are done, load them up in your car and drop them off at a donation bin or charity store.

2. Shoes. Again, focus on comfort over what's in style. A pair of shoes may look beautiful, they may have cost a lot of money, you may tell yourself you need to wear them for a particular event, your friends may compliment you on them, but if they hurt you physically or emotionally, then you need to let them go. We suffer when we do something that knowingly hurts us. There's no allowable level of compromise in pain. You're starting a new tradition of taking care of yourself first. It's the key ingredient for a happy life.

3. Shopping. Clothes shopping is often used as a way to make ourselves feel better when we're feeling down. It's exciting to get the attention from the sales person, to be in a brightly lit space with exciting music, and to be offered so many choices. But then we end up purchasing clothes that we either don't wear, or that make us feel uncomfortable. If you are thinking of shopping for clothes, ask yourself, "How am I feeling now?" "Do I actually need to get some clothing for myself today?" If you are feeling low, or don't feel a particular clothing need, ask yourself, "What do I need to do to take care of myself right now?" Sometimes all we need is a nap or to eat something or get a hug.

Please write and tell me your experiences clearing clothing clutter; it helps inspire people when you share. Also, let me know if need assistance with clutter busting clothes. I can be reached at brooks@clutterbusting.com.

(This is a repost blast from the past.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Taking a Closer Look

When you are considering something during a clutter bust, there's just you and the thing, person, or activity in question.

You may have had particular feelings in the past about what you are considering, but this moment is new and fresh.

See what feelings come up. Be curious. You are different now than you were before. You have different needs, likes, and dislikes.

Are you feeling connected and uplifted, or conflicted and tired?

Do you feel like this thing is feeding you, or feeding off you?

Take the time to notice.

You are the source of knowing what fits your life now, and what doesn't.

You can't do this wrong.

You may think you should feel differently. That's worth noticing. That's the outside world telling you how to feel. But this isn't the outside world's life. It's yours.

It's okay to say, "No" to something that is no longer nurturing you. It's like tossing out moldy food from the fridge.

If you get a "Yes" great, you are being reminded of a piece of treasure in your life.

This looking is tending to yourself. You renew yourself by going within and asking. It brings you back to life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Need for Kindness

I encourage kindness during the letting go process because there is often a roughness that rears its head.

Clients will often blame themselves, saying, "I should have done this a long time ago," or, "Why did I let it get this bad?," or "I don't know why I have such a hard time letting go," or "I should be better at this."

It's harsh because there is an openness and vulnerability during a clutter bust. The criticism has a clear shot. It hits in a fragile and sensitive place, and causes damage.

I was working today with a client who was taking a lot of hard shots at herself. I asked her to stop. I said circumstances happened that lead to the clutter showing up. Some difficult events happened in her life that made her overwhelmed. Her energy had to go into taking care of herself, and other things had to be ignored.

I said now that her life was becoming more stable, she could attend to other things, like the stuff in her home. Compassion for herself would go a long way in the process.

I encourage you to be gentle and tender with yourself.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Notes from the Clutter Busting Front Lines

A client came across Christmas cards from three years ago. She scrunched up her face. She felt she should keep the cards.

I asked if she ever looked at the cards. She guiltily said no. 

I said things are only valuable if the enhance your life. The Christmas cards pained her, and made her feel like she should do something she didn't want to do. 

She got it and started letting go of the old Christmas cards. She had the hugest smile on her face. She happily said, "I can't believe I'm getting rid of these!"


My client stood amidst stacks of papers in her office. She said she had a tendency to keep absolutely everything. 

I said that's been her habit up till now. But it's been making her feel miserable in her space. 

I said what's going to make her feel better is to keep only the things that make her life a better place to be.

This gave her the courage to begin clutter busting the stacks of papers. Sometimes we need just a little permission to start doing what a quiet part of us is wanting to do. 


One of my clients had a banjo that she'd been holding on to for over ten years but hadn't been playing. She felt badly that she hadn't been learning how to play the instrument. 

I said it helps to look at how we actually live to see if something fits our life.

My client thought about it and realized that she loved listening to banjo music.  But there wasn't a part of her that deeply felt inclined to play the banjo. She decided to donate the banjo.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Creating Space for Something Supportive

When you let go of what's no longer serving your life, you create the space for something new and supportive to come on in.

I've seen this many, many times in my client's lives, and in my own.

Recently I worked with a client who is an actress. (I'll give more details than I usually do, with my client's permission.) She came across a file she hadn't looked at in over twenty years. It was filled with pay stubs from old acting jobs. She considered those her glory days. She was working non-stop and making a lot of money back then. The memories brought tears to her eyes.

She didn't want to let go of these pay stubs. She felt she didn't want to lose those memories. She was normally a strong and powerful women, but she seemed lost and afraid. I pointed out that she was clutching the pay stubs, looking pale, and diminished. I said it's hard to hold on to something out of fear. It keeps you in a distressed state. It makes your life a worse place to be.

She held on to the pay stubs, radiating fear.

I said that if she let go of being afraid of losing something, she would be open to possibilities. When we remove something that is emotionally chaotic and heavy, that takes up a lot of our mental and physical energy, we create openness. That allows the space for something to come into our lives that nurtures, feeds, and supports us. It's life giving, rather than life taking away.

I said that I thought  she would be more satisfied with be a working actress now. She relaxed and said that she would like that too. The fear was fading away. I could feel that she didn't want to hold on to that old way of living.

I worked with my client a week later. She told me a great story. Her family was a foster family for a dog. A woman came over to their home as a potential adapter of the dog. It turns out the dog wasn't the breed she was looking for. The great part about the story though was that this woman turned out to be the head of casting for Universal pictures. She ended up asking my client for her acting head shot.

This is just one of many stories I've experienced where letting go of clutter opened the doors for something that was life supporting.

I encourage you to let go of what's no longer supportive or life-giving, and experience the openness that comes with the letting go. Who knows what will take its place. It could be peace of mind, better health, a powerful insight, a supportive work opportunity, greater connection with people that matter in your life, a new positive friendship, self-acceptance...the list is endless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lettting Go of Other's Beliefs

Sometimes we hold on to things because we are holding on to someone else's beliefs about the things in our life.

One of my clients came across things that made her feel uncomfortable. She was aware of her discomfort, but she still didn't want to let the items go. I asked her what benefits she was getting by hanging on to these items. She thought about it and then got an "ah-ha" experience. She said, "When I was a little girl, I used to tell my parents I didn't like certain things, and they told me that I was wrong."

I said that it's natural for us to adopt our parent's beliefs about the world. Some of the them are beneficial. Some of them are not. As we get older, we learn to root out the beliefs that don't serve us. Believing that she was wrong about her feelings wasn't serving her. Her feelings were actually truthful indicators. They were her way of knowing what was right and wrong for her.

Because of the openness that came from her realization, she was able to start letting go of the clutter.

Another client came across old photographs and other family history heirlooms. She never looked at them, but she felt she should keep them. She said that's what you're supposed to do. I said there's no supposed tos, there's only what supports you and serves your nature, or not. There's no universal thing that works for everyone. The world is filled with people with different needs.

She thought about it and said that way of hanging on to heirlooms was her mother's style of living. Her mother was very into keeping items from the past and reminiscing about them. But that wasn't my client's style of living. She liked the things that made her feel present in what was happening in her life now.

This realization helped my client to let go of the heirlooms.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Home is Wherever You Are

I often write about clutter busting a person's living space. But I like to expand the boundaries of home to include wherever you are, not just necessarily where you live. Whether you're standing in line, driving in a car, being at work, or visiting a friend -- whatever you're doing outside of our home, I like to consider that your home.

I like to extend the boundaries because it allows you to consider how you're feeling in any situation. Am I comfortable here? Is there anything here that's making me feel uncomfortable? Is there something I can do to change it? Do I need to leave this space?

It's bringing in that clutter-busting curiosity to any situation that you're in. It's saying that your whole life is important, not just where you live. And it's considering your comfort, wherever you go.

(This is a reprint of a previous blog post.)