Overwhelmed by Too Much!

I worked with a client who had over 2000 CDs and DVDs. He had to buy a special bookshelf type container to house them all. They were stacked two deep. His music and movies wouldn't all fit on there, so there was a big cardboard box full of more CDs and DVDs sitting on the floor in front of it. He hated standing near his music and movie wall. It made him feel very uncomfortable. He said he felt guilty about rarely watching the movies or listening to the music.

I think we don't do well with too many choices. A part of us shuts down. Yet, at the same time, we seem to want a lot of choices. But I think that wanting is trained and enhanced in us by businesses. They work really hard at creating our appetites. When I was a kid I had to get all the Topps Football Cards. They were advertised in the comic books I read. There were posters of them on the stores walls. They felt exciting! I spent my allowance money on getting all the football cards. I got so excited when I went to the store to buy them. I bought a special cardboard locker made to house the cards. When I got all the cards, I never looked at the cards nor opened the locker again. They weren't important to me anymore. Getting them was the compulsive motivator.

My client didn't want to have to make decisions about the CDs and DVDs. A good antidote for too much is very little. I had him sit on the couch and go through one item at a time. I handed him one CD and said, "Do you listen to this anymore or can we let it go?" If it was a movie, I'd hand him the movie and say, "Would you watch this again, or are you done with it?" Sometimes he'd go, "Oh my God, that's supposed to be a great movie!" I'd say, "Okay, but are you going to watch it?" It was amazing how easy he could say yes or no with one at a time. We filled up two big boxes of movies and music that he didn't care for anymore. He felt so much better that he wanted to go through the ones he said yes to again. He ended up getting rid of so much more.