Taking An Easier Approach to Something that Sucks

Last night's Clutter Busting talk at the Prospect Heights library was fun. The audience had a good sense of humor. It helps to look at clutter when we can laugh at how it has temporarily tangled us up. Sometimes my phone's ear buds get tangled up from being in my pocket. If I'm feeling frustrated, and I try and detangle, the tangles get tighter. But when I look away and relax, my fingers seem to know what to do to loosen up the wires.

I do the same thing at these talks, I stay really loose and (hopefully) the right words come out of my mouth and help simplify the audiences' clutter situations. My goal is that it becomes an easy going model for people to take home with them and try out on their living spaces. People often describe the clutter in their life with a lot of disappointment and frustration. Clutter can definitely suck, but I think with an, "Oh, well, let's see what we can do with this" approach, some letting go and positive change can happen.

There was a woman at the talk who had inherited a lot of stuff from her mother-in-law. She and her husband had been hanging onto the bulk of it for a couple of years with the hopes of selling some of it. They were holding off because there was no market for the stuff. I asked her some questions, and it turns out the presence of this stuff was hard on her. It exhausted her and made her sad.

I said it's worth looking at the toll the stuff was taking on her and asking herself if it's worth the possible money in the future. When something has a negative effect on us, it wears us down and reduces our awareness. Over time it erodes our well-being. That's a pretty high cost. I said that I understood it can be hard to see clearly in a situation like this because when someone dies and we get their stuff, it's hard to let the stuff go because we feel like we are letting them go.

That's why it's worth taking an honest look at the effect the things are having on us. Our mind can try and interfere with rationalizations for keeping the stuff, but it's good to keep coming back to, "How does this make me feel?" That's the easier approach because it's simple and direct. All of us have this capacity. It's using a gentler side of ourselves. I use the word gentle because it takes our feelings into consideration. It's okay to say, "I don't like this. It doesn't make me feel good."