When I gave my talk on clutter busting this week a woman in the audience raised her hand and told about some spinach in her refrigerator that she couldn't get herself to throw out. It was turning dark colors yet she couldn't toss it. She said when she read the words, "Baby Spinach" she would cry. Her tone of voice expressed she was being hard on herself. I could tell people in the audience were thinking, "Why don't you just toss it out?" But it was a good example of how strong the hold of clutter can be. You can see it and know that you don't like or need it anymore, yet you can't get yourself to toss it out. It can be frustrating.
The main first thing I do with people when I work with them is not push them. I don't make them feel badly for being in that circumstance. My clients often will verbally berate themselves right in front of me for not being able to toss the clutter. That kind of mistreatment is clutter. It doesn't serve the person. It actually makes them shut down even more.
The first step to reverse that is compassion. It's a recognition of being stuck. Sometimes things flow, sometimes they come to a stand still. Seeing that creates a little space of understanding. That can create some relaxation. The nature of clutter is strain, congestion, and tension. A little bit of a change can go a long way. I mentioned this to the woman in the audience. I could see her her harshness towards herself began to diminish. A calm began to come over her.