Knowing When Something is Part of Your Life

One of my clients emailed me after we worked together and told me she liked my easy going approach. She said she felt that if during the clutter bust we found a jar of dirt and she wanted to keep it, I would say that it would be okay as long as she put the jar of dirt out where she could see it so she could enjoy it.

I've never had a client with a jar of dirt, but I've seen a lot of amazing things and I never feel that any particular item is clutter. It's the person's lack of connection with the thing that makes it clutter and not part of their life.

I've seen people pull something out of a box that they hadn't seen for eight years, and they get excited, and they want to keep it and put it back in the box. I'll say that if they want to keep it they need to put it somewhere where it's actually a part of their life. If it goes back in the box, it disappears again for another eight years. That's not part of their life.

Sometimes it's a little frustrating for them in that moment. Their habit has been to store things that are not a part of their life. That way of living has caused them a lot of pain. It's why they hired me. They look at this thing and think, "What am I going to do with this?" Since it's usually not a part of their life right now, they can't come up with an answer. It's the emotional attachment that makes them want to hang onto it, put it in a box, and not do anything with it. They feel if they let it go, they lose something that's important. But it's the having to think about what they're going to do with it, and not coming up with an answer that allows the emotional attachment to fall away. At this point they usually sigh and let the thing go. The great thing is, they go from looking stressed and worried, to being relaxed and free.

Sometimes people do find something and they put it out so they can see it. They enjoy the interactive connection they get from having it out in view. This works as long as the thing has some space around it. If there are lots of things lying out, its distressing for the eye to see, and those things get ignored. This clutter busting process that I use is about doing things that make you feel right sided. You feel good. You're not fighting your space. You're doing things that make you feel aware and at home in your living space.