The Space Has a Value of Its Own

Today I worked with a client in her basement. There was a small room down there that was filled with so many things that it was hard to walk around. I could sense that it was uncomfortable for her to be in that room. When a room gets overstuffed and stays that way for a while there's going to be resistance to going in. It's overwhelming. There are a lot of things calling out, wanting to be resolved. There isn't one clear thing to fix.

I waded right in and opened up some cupboards. It was filled with old art supplies, trophies and plaques, kids' sipping cups and bowls, and other various things. I opened up a trash bag and then reached into the cupboard and pulled out some old paints. They had gotten hard and were unusable. She said they could be tossed. Then I got out the kids' things and started asking her questions about them. Her kids didn't use them anymore. The ones that were chipped we tossed out, and the things in good condition were put in a charity bag.

We came to the trophies and plaques. They were hers. She wanted to keep them but felt weird about it. She showed me an area in another room in the basement that had a bunch of awards she'd won. But they were covered up with her kids' things, and some of her husband's stuff. I got the sense that she was used to putting her family first and it felt awkward to think of herself. I got a feeling the awards meant a lot to her, so I took off the families things that were covering hers. I said, "It's okay for you to use the space too. If you keep contracting to make room for others, eventually you'll disappear. You're important too." She added the trophies from the other room. She made the area look nice. She looked happy.

We went back to the first room. We cleared out the rest of the cupboards. Then we started clearing out the areas near this space. She was operating with more confidence now. I think taking care of herself and creating open space and getting rid of things that no longer mattered was giving her strength. We continued finding things, and tossing what no longer served her or her family. Soon there was open floor space, and soon after that there was open counter space. She said, "The space itself has a higher value. I'm noticing the space has a value of its own."