While I was walking along the beach yesterday I was relishing the big open space. I loved the big blue and cloudy sky, the vast and mighty ocean, and the endless warm sand. I love open space because it allows me to appreciate the things in the space.
One of the reasons I think clutter makes people so unhappy is it won't allow them to enjoy their space. The presence of too many things and the things that no longer serve them distract people from the presence of the space. The space is still there. But it goes unnoticed because of the visual and psychic noise of the stuff. As the clients get rid of the things they no longer need, they start to feel better because they become aware of the space itself again. Open space has a calming and peaceful effect.
At my clutter busting workshop last week, one of the participants said he'd been living with clutter for years and he felt too overwhelmed by its presence to approach it. The lack of open space made him tense, exhausted and intimidated. He was feeling badly about the situation. I thought it would help for him to see it in a different more matter of fact light. This would give him the inner space of awareness to see the situation, without being overwhelmed, and he would be able to take care of it.
I said, "If you spilled soup on your floor, you'd clean it up. You might be upset that you spilled it, but your impulse would be to clean it up. You'd get out paper towels and all-purpose cleaner and wipe it up. The clutter is stuff that has been spilled throughout your home. It's a bigger spill. But it's still been spilled. And so there's a part of you that naturally cleans up a spill or mess that now helps inspire you to clutter bust your living space."
As we clean up our clutter spill, we begin to feel better because a little open space goes a long way. It's a healing balm for our agitated mind. When I was writing my clutter book last month, I got a little behind in some other things. There was a pile of various papers on my kitchen table. When I'd go into the kitchen, I'd feel very uncomfortable. After feeling this a couple of times, my mind goes, "What the...? This doesn't feel good." I looked around and saw the papers. I went over and took care of them. I instantly felt better. I've gotten used to open space and feeling good in my home and so I notice when something is off.
"Hi, this is the space in your home. I just wanted you to know that I'm here and that it would be great if we could get together some time. I'd really like to spend some time with you. Let's see what we can do!"