Today was my last day in Los Angeles for this month's clutter busting and book publicity tour. I worked with a new client who had a vast library. His bookcase couldn't contain all the books and magazines. There were more stacked up on shelves in the dining room. He told me how much this situation bothered him and that he wasn't able to let anything go on his own.
I asked him to tell me how he reads books. He said that he reads books and writes notes inside of them and he wants to hang onto the books after he's done so he can refer to the notes. I asked him how often he refers to the book notes when he's done. He said he'd never referred to the book notes. But then he said he wanted to.
I said that his nature is to read the books and make notes, but not to reread them. The hanging onto the books was thus a strain for him. It was clutter because it didn't serve him. He said, "But I want to look at the notes." I said, "And you don't...and that's the part that's bothering you, and you are reminded of it everyday when you walk in your front door and you feel this "should" that only serves to make you feel small and wrong. You got everything you need in the first read. You don't enjoy anything beyond that. It's okay to admit this. This is about seeing what makes you feel good, and eliminating the weeds of what don't."
He got it. We went through his books one at a time. He let go of 75%. It was easy for him. The pressure to be something other than what he was, was gone.