Earlier this week I wrote about a couple that was unhappy with the clutter in their driveway and home. They had tried to clutter bust in two days, but gave up after a few hours. It created some stress in their relationship. They were frustrated and stuck. I encouraged them to not set an end point and to approach the clutter bust in a way that didn't overwhelm them. I suggested they be kind to each other in the letting go process and watch out for each others backs. This made them relax and feel that it was possible. They wrote back and told me about their experiences:
"We talked about the driveway and picked out the big items to donate or for trash pick up. It was an easy conversation. There are several items that belong to my husband and he will be going through them slowly. I had my assistant here yesterday to go over billing issues for my office and she happened to take care of my son for an hour and just in the one hour I cleared under my desk area, easily discarded papers and cards, gave away a few things to her, and transferred everything else to my office. So now I'm writing you at my desk which has space for me to rest my feet which in turn helps me not to have knee and back pain as I usually do when sitting here! A weight has really been lifted so thank you. I didn't realize that your workshop would help to this degree the night we left and here we are feeling so much better already. The overwhelm feeling seems to have been greatly diminished."
I think we are amazing creatures when we give ourselves the time and encouragement. I thrive when I'm not rushed or pushing myself. At first it seemed weird to not be on top of myself about things. I thought, "There's no way this is going to work. I've got to crack the whip and put my nose to the grindstone." I sounded like a villain in a movie from the 1940s. The thing I noticed is I have natural rhythms for activity. There are times when I feel the current to do things. There are other times when it feels like take it easy time. I can get a lot done when I feel naturally inclined to action. Plus I need the take it easy times so I get some rest for the next action. Dogs and cats are like that. They sit around and then they do stuff.
Sometimes it can be hard to stop and take a rest because our minds are constantly telling us the things we need to get done. If there are a lot of things to do, all the voices combine and create a big roar. Then we end up going all the time and get burned out. I think when we live amidst a lot of clutter, we hear, "I got to take care of this, I got to take care of this, I got to take care of this." I think the reason some of my clients feel the impulse to clutter bust all at once is they are so tired of hearing the voices. But like with the couple that I encouraged to work at their own rate and speed, it's best to work with our natural rhythms. That's why I say start when you are ready, and stop when you feel tired. It's kinder to our bodies and minds. Plus things can be taken care of in smaller doses.