Overcoming Opposition

I worked with a woman whose basement was filled with stacks of clothes, books, and boxes of papers. Her husband came by as we began to work. He said in strong and mean words that she wouldn't be able to let anything go. She shrunk in his disapproval. I asked him to leave so we could work. Sometimes a spouse is threatened by their partner's letting go process. They may try and derail the work. It's easiest to get them out of the room.

The woman and I worked diligently at the clutter busting. I encouraged her to be relentless in her tossing. I told her that the piles of clutter were holding her back. It was as if they had possessed her husband to put a stop to the letting go. She thought that was funny and true.

She had lots of clothes that she no longer wore. Initially she wanted to hang onto them. I kept asking her if she liked each one. I asked her if she would buy it if we were in a store today. It became obvious to her that she didn't care for most of the stuff down there. Pretty much all of it went into charity bags. I found that by keeping the questions simple and matter-of-fact people end of getting rid of a lot of things they once thought were important. It becomes obvious. Most of the papers and books went too.

When we were done her husband came back downstairs. He saw what she had done. He didn't say anything. He looked pale. His mouth actually hung open and appeared defeated. He was expecting to humiliate her and was stunned. I think it gave his heart a chance to come to the forefront because he came over to her and put his arm around her and said that she had done great.