Insights from the Clutter Busting Workshop

I facilitated a clutter busting workshop this past weekend. This time it was in someone's home. It was an intimate setting. I think it made everyone more comfortable and open. I liked how everyone sat close and in a circle. I felt very connected to the group.

I love doing the workshops because they allow people to see how clutter has such a strong, hypnotic effect. It's one thing to hear the concept that clutter is anything in our lives that is no longer serving us, but it has a lasting and profound effect to see someone be aware that something is clutter, but not be able to let it go. It's something that everyone can recognize. Plus it helps for everyone to see me question the person about the item in a gentle manner. They see there is kind way to let go that is more effective than force or intimidation. It's soft and profound change.

Here are some highlights:

There was a guy who brought in a box of book and paper clutter. He reached in and pulled out a paperback. I asked him if he wanted it or could he let it go. He talked about how the book belonged to an ex-girlfriend. He said she really liked it. He was in a happy time trance. Sometimes we want to hang onto the thing because of what our memories are making us feel. We are overtaken by our associations with the thing. The thing itself becomes a vehicle for those feelings. I pointed out that he wanted to hang onto it for those reasons. He was holding onto his feelings for his ex. He didn't care about the actual book. I said by letting it go, he'll feel more present in his home. This feeling would be more peaceful and satisfying. He got it. The spell was broken. He let it go.

A woman brought in a clear plastic drinking glass that had liquid and confetti floating in the sides. When she shook it up, the confetti sparkled. I asked if she liked it. She said she didn't care for it at all, but she couldn't let it go because it originally came from her dad who really liked sparkly things. The woman felt if she let it go, her father would be upset at her. Her father had passed away a while back. But she was swayed by fear of his imagined reaction. I pointed out to her and the group how agitated the presence of the cup made her feel. It was loaded. The cup made her discombobulated. That's how the hypnosis of emotional clutter effects us. The thing is, when we are under it's influence, we are overwhelmed. There's too much to feel and we shut down. Because we are less present, we can't see that we are diminished. We are in the midst of it. It's like being caught in a storm inside of us. Because I talked about the effect in an easy, kind matter of fact manner, she saw what was happening and started to laugh. She agreed to let it go.

There was a couple that talked about the cluttered state of their driveway and garage. They'd been stuck and frustrated in that clutter situation for a while. The woman said that the way they approached trying to clutter bust the garage in the past was by saying that they were going to finish it all in two days. They tried pushing themselves to get it done, but then they'd get a few hours into it and get overwhelmed and stop. This left them discouraged and they wouldn't continue. They were left with a bad feeling. The clutter wasn't as much the stuff in their garage as it was their approach to the clutter situation. I said that there isn't a time limit on a clutter bust. The main thing is to start and to be kind to yourself in the process. Continue until you feel tired. Then stop. Take a break and come back to it later when you feel ready. We can't force ourselves to get rid of things. We are delicate emotional creatures. We need to take the time with ourselves. It will encourage us to keep going.

I really love doing these workshops. It's a fun way to help people learn how to become self-reliant in the clutter busting of their living spaces. I've had some people advise me to create a clutter busting franchise where I'd train people to be clutter busters for other people. But I have no interest. I'd rather train people to clutter bust for themselves. It's exciting for me to know that people are becoming more sensitive to their environments.

I'm planning on doing more clutter busting workshops this year. I'm putting together some for the spring in Berkeley, San Diego, Los Angeles and Tucson. I'll advertise them in this blog. Stay tuned!