Even the Clutter Buster was Helped

Yesterday I worked with two clients and I'd like to share some of my favorite parts:

- One of my clients shared with me that her daughter helped prepare her for the clutter bust by saying, "If you don't notice something for a long, long, long time, you realize you don't need it anymore, and you can throw it out."

- While I was going through papers with my client, she began feeling tired and emotional. She said, "Going through all this stuff is time consuming." I could feel her saying underneath the words, "I don't like doing this, it's a waste of my time." Maybe she was feeling some pain and wanted to push it aside. I wanted to help her refocus, so I said, "Everything is time consuming. Whatever we do requires time." She paused and it felt like she got some clarity. She said, "It's time consuming not to be able to do anything because of all this clutter!" She kicked into some high gear tossing.

- The first client came across a piece of paper and she said, "I have to take care of this" and she put it in a very tall and wobbly to-do stack. When she did this she looked very weary. I got that the presence of so many things needing to be done was exhausting her. I got tired looking at the towering pile. I pointed out her reaction and got her to take care of that paper. She filed out the info, and put a stamp on the envelope. This made her feel very present. We came across another paper and she wanted to add it to the leaning tower again. I said, "I think that's in building code violation...You come to life when you take care of things, and you look sooooo tired when you put things off. I think it serves you to complete things. It gives you energy." She's a workout coach. She said the same thing happens to her clients. They don't want to work out, but when they start, they get the energy.

- There was another tower of paper in this client's home office. It was on the top of her filing cabinet next to her desk. It leaned perilously toward her chair. It was made up of art work done by her three kids. She said she hated even looking in the direction of the art edifice. She said,"It's like an anvil hanging over me, waiting to smash me." That must have been hard for her to be intimidated by something that she also associated with the love she felt for her kids. Clutter is often built with this dichotomy: there's something precious in it for us, and there's something abhorrent. This split shuts us down and we can't decide. I took a look around her space and found three long and empty and flat boxes. I asked her what they were for. She said she bought them for her kid's art work. She forgot she had them. I put them on the floor, opened the boxes, and brought the art work down to the floor. She told me she felt horrible about tossing any of the art. I told her that she felt horrible about the presence of the art in general. Too much of anything can be overwhelming. Maybe there was a better alternative. We went through one piece of art at a time. Suddenly she was able to think again. She could consider clearly with her heart whether a piece of art should stay or go. She was happy again.

- I worked with my second client in her home office too. She felt so uncomfortable in this room. She hated the couch and her desk. Then she told me about how she hated a bunch of furniture in other rooms of her home. She had been wanting to sell the furniture for a while, but she kept not getting around to it. I suggested having a charity come and get the stuff so she didn't have to suffer anymore. She was an accountant and said that it would be a financial mistake to not make the money from the sale of the furniture. I said there's no amount of money worth the pain she was enduring living like this. Because her situation was illuminated in this clear and open way, she understood and decided to donate the furniture.

- I wanted to get a chance to write my blog about this day and publish it yesterday, Friday. I usually write this blog daily Monday through Friday. But there wasn't time during the day. I felt the pressure though. I didn't like the feeling. I tried doing it around midnight last night. But I was so tired and knew it wouldn't be good. I realized there was a part of me that felt you might be disappointed. I couldn't believe I was feeling that way. "What, are you kidding me?" I found some of my own clutter! I realized this was a good opportunity to take care of myself. I went to bed. I waited till around noon today and wrote this. And it was fun!