I was working with a client who is a successful motivation speaker. He had an office in his home. It was stuffed with clutter. He knew it was disrupting his life. However he couldn't seem to let the clutter go.
There was a folding table set up to handle the extra paper that he had a hard time keeping up with. There were boxes of paper underneath the table. I started with these. They were papers that he put off taking care of. We went through each one. About 80% went into the trash. We then took care of the papers on top of the table. Most of them were tossed. I set the papers that he needed to keep in front of his filing cabinet. I suggested he get rid of the table, otherwise he would be tempted to pile things up on it when he felt overwhelmed again. He agreed.
We moved on to the bulletin board. It had so many papers that there were papers over other papers. This is common. Bulletin boards can seem like a good way to organize, but they aren't. They are usually used to put off taking care of things. Clutter Busting is about finishing things. I took down the bulletin board. We went through the papers and all but two were tossed. He got the idea and suggested tossing the bulletin board. Once you honestly see that something isn't working, it's easy to let it go.
We moved on to his files. We went through each one. I asked him, "Is this important for you to keep, or can we let it go?" He was surprised he let 3/4 of the papers go into the trash bag. He had two filing cabinets. He let one of them go because he didn't need the extra storage space. We took the papers that had been on the folding table and created new files for them and put them in the filing cabinet.
I noticed a pair of bronze baby shoes perched on the top of his shelves. They were pointed towards the corner of the room. I took them down. When he saw what I did he turned pale. I said, "What about these?" He said, "Those are my baby shoes." I said, "Can we let them go?" He made a grimace. He said, "But won't my grand kids want to see them? I mean I wish I could have seen my grandpa's baby shoes." I said, "You'd be excited to see them for two minutes and then you'd get bored." He laughed and said, "Yeah, you're right." He threw them out. He looked relieved.
It's great to be grown up. We get to make decisions for ourselves. It feels good to take care of ourselves. When we attend to what is important for us we grow. When we let something languish and grow stale we shrink. This brings sorrow and depression. But you get to make decisions about what's important in your life and what isn't and you grow. You feel better. You feel a freshness in your body and your thinking. Your environment responds and respects you. Opportunities open up and you delight in new choices. We're grown up and we keep growing at the same time. This fullness of feeling is what we are seeking in all our actions.