Taking Back Her Space

I worked with a client whose apartment's entire floor space was covered with stuff. There were chairs tipped on their sides, or stacked on top of one another. There were art sculptures she had bought off of e-bay. Unmarked boxes blocked the hallway. An array of various exercise weights filled the gaps between things. These were just a few of the many items. It was tricky and perilous for me to try and maneuver through her living space.

She had been doing it or years and moved swiftly and with dexterity. The only thing that was uncovered was her bed. The thing is her bed was surrounded by clothes stacked higher than her bed, and a multitude of boxes and framed paintings. I asked her how she was able to get to her bed. She happily showed me by standing at her bedroom door and then leaping onto her bed. It was an Olympian accomplishment.

She was smart and articulate, but stuck in this way of living for many years. She had gotten used to it. For some reason a part of her said, "Enough!" and she called me.

I found my way into the bedroom with a box of trash bags. I waded into the thick of it and found an box of old VHS tapes. I asked her calmly about each one. She ended up letting go of each of them. It's amazing how a person who is overwhelmed by the clutter as a whole, can make good decisions when asked about each piece individually. It took all day, but we eventually cleared out her bedroom. She couldn't believe that she could walk around her bed.

We spent the next few days clearing out clutter from the rest of her living space. We ended up with over fifty big bags for charity and we filled three dumpsters. She was filled with self-confidence. I ask good questions about the stuff, but my clients always make the decision. This allows them to be self-reliant again.