She told me how angry she was about the things that her husband put in the crawl space. She said there were so many things in there that she wasn't sure what was in there.
I got down on my hands and knees and crawled through the space. I dragged out over fifty containers. We began to go through them.
A large amount of the bins and boxes contained Christmas items. Then there were boxes of things that belonged to her son and daughter. They contained things that were theirs when they were teenagers. There were also boxes of gifts that she bought to give to people on Christmas and birthdays. There was a lot of luggage. A lot more than two people would need. She was angry that they had purchased extra luggage because they didn't know what they had. There were boxes of course materials from classes that she and her husband had taken long ago. She looked at all these things and was agitated at her husband for "creating" this situation.
To get her out of that state of mind I started asking her questions. I asked about her kids' things. They were now adults, and living for a number of years on their own. She was uncertain what to do with their things. I had her call her kids and ask them about their old stuff. Her son was easy. He said toss everything except his Nintendo which he wanted to sell. The daughter was more difficult. I told her to tell her to come and take a look and decide what to keep and toss. She told her.
My client had a room in the basement that had closets that were filled with clothes no one had worn in a while. I suggested we go through those and toss and make space so certain items that she wanted could end up in the closets rather than go back into the crawl space and continue agitating her. She agreed. We went through the closets. She was surprised she let go about 80% of her clothes.
As we were finishing up, her husband showed up. He started telling her what to do. She got angry at him. The clutter busting came to a stand still. I tried to distract him from his wanting to control the letting go process by telling him all the great work his wife had done. He didn't want to hear it. So I tried a different tactic. I started asking him how they met. He instantly got softer and he smiled. I asked him to go into detail. His cheeks got rosy. He and his wife smiled at each other. He told their story. As he did, I got my client to continue going through and letting go or more clothes. I said, "That's great that you're both able to let go of a lot of things today. All this stuff you were holding onto kept you from appreciating each other. But now you get to see that you make each other happy."
They were much kinder to each other. Sometimes couples get used to being in an argumentative state. This becomes clutter for the relationship. But I figure at one time they liked each other all the time. I find it helps to be reminded.