Today I worked with a client in her living room closet. This space was densely packed. It was impossible to walk inside the closet and get things. She had been throwing things in there because she couldn't walk in to reach the shelves. Just thinking about this space sent her into a state of anxiety.
I figured it wouldn't help to pull out one item from the closet at a time and ask her about it because it was too much for her to be in the vicinity of the cluttered closet. So I took everything out and placed it on the floor. It took up all the floor space. I felt it would be easier for her to make decisions about these things if they were in a new configuration. Plus she could have a chance to see everything and it would make it easier for her to pick and choose what stays and what goes.
She responded well. Her anxiety went away. She was able to go through one item at a time. We filled up two trash bags and took them to the trash cans, and then we filled up her car with items for charity. I drove with her over to the charity place. I learned from experience this helps the clients complete the clutter bust. It can be easy to find the items that are clutter, but then not throw them out, or take them to the charity. My job is to help them see the job, do the job, and stay out of the misery.