The Attachment to Things

Things in and of themselves aren't bad. They can make our lives easier and more fun. The problem that I see when clutter busting with clients is the attachment to things. There are things that are no longer serving their lives, but they can't let go of them because of emotional attachment.

I was working with a client yesterday. She had large stacks of books on the floor around her bed. They were an actual wall of books. They had the stagnant and dulling feeling that made me aware that they were clutter. I suggested we go through the books. She was resistant. I asked her how she slept. She said she had a lot of difficulty in staying asleep at night.

I sat her down. I said, "This will be good to do, because when you go to sleep at night, you take all these books with you. The things in your bedroom have a great effect on your sleep. They resonate and influence you. We're going to see which books are actually a part of your life now, and take them to another area of your home, so we can make sure you get a deeper sleep. And we'll let go of the ones that are no longer feeding you."

It turned out a lot of the books were ones she had read. The thing is, she didn't want to let them go. She became emotional and had an inner tantrum going on. Her attachment was activated. I asked her if she re-reads books. She said she didn't. She said she didn't want to talk about it. I asked her what she wanted in her life. She said she wanted to feel peaceful in her home. I said the books that she's read and won't read again are in the way of her peace of mind. I said, "The intensity of emotions that you are feeling now are keeping you from what matters most to you. If you let these go, you'll sleep better at night, you'll be refreshed, you'll feel more open, you'll feel at home in your home."

She was quiet. She opened up. She let them go. She seemed relieved. It's great to watch the attachment fall away. We packed up the books she no longer wanted and got them out the room. She agreed to donate them to the library. We took the books she was keeping and put them on some open shelves she had in her walk in closet.