I was hired by a couple to help prepare their home for sale. Their home had been on the real estate market for over six months and they had no takers. They were frustrated.
When I got there I could see why it hadn't been sold. There were stacks and piles of clutter throughout their home.
The woman's desk was completely covered with papers, files, mail and books. These items were also stacked to the side and underneath her desk. She showed me how she had to sit off to the side of her desk and lean on it in a contorted manner to get any work done.
The dining room table was also covered with similar mountains of clutter. The husband used this as his work station. It also extended onto the floor. The interesting thing was he was retiring so this wasn't even his current work load. The piles were remnants from his previous working days.
They had a guest room that looked like a warehouse for old clothes. They jaggedly adorned the bed, the chest of drawers, and the floor. The dust was pretty thick on all of it.
The rest of the house was in a similar state. I knew from past experience that even though someone wants to move they have an unconscious resistance to the moving process. It's hard for people to change. We get used to things being the way they are. Even though it's uncomfortable, it's familiar. We may really want to move, but a part of us is still attached to the past. Plus the future is unknown. We don't know what it will bring. The result is everything comes to a standstill.
I told them these things and then I started right in. I sat down with the woman at her desk. I had a huge recycling trash container right next to us. I quickly went through one paper after another. Most of it went right into recycling. Once she understood what was happening she started tossing the stuff without me asking.
I sat down with the man and talked with him about what it was like to do the job that he used to do. He was happy to tell me. I felt that he wanted proof from someone outside his world that what he had done mattered. Then I asked him about all the things he wanted to do when he was totally retired. He was excited about that. Then we tossed. He didn't need the questioning. It all went.
The rest of the rooms went quickly after that. There was a momentum from starting the clutter busting process that carried them through the rest of the house.
Two weeks after we were done the house sold.