Often times when I work with clients, their clutter is stored in piles.
I remember one of my first clients. In her living room were about seven big piles of stuff. It reminded me of when you sweep your floor and when you're done you have a pile of dirt nicely corralled in a sort of dome shape. I walked around the piles. I was fascinated with how precise they felt. I wanted to wade into them and see what they contained.
I started in on the first pile and asked her questions about each item. What I quickly discovered about piles is most of the items are clutter. They are the dirt piled up, but not yet swept in the dust pan and dumped in the trash can.
She hadn't been able to dump the items in the piles because she still had some kind of emotional attachment to them which had a dulling effect. The person becomes overwhelmed by unresolved emotions that they associate with each thing and it's more feelings than they can handle and parts of them shut down and they don't have it in them to continue.
I have a playful approach as I fish through the piles. I'm curious. There's an openness in curiosity that is enlivening. My clients become curious along with me. The openness gives them clarity and they see, "Oh, I really don't need that. I'm going to let it go."
As we got down to the bottom of the first pile, she discovered a book about how to get rid of clutter. She said, "Have you read this book? It's great!" I said, "This particular book doesn't seem to have helped you very much. But your clutter busting through things and making good decisions like you are doing today does help. So maybe we can let the book go." She got it and agreed.