Tonight I gave a Clutter Busting talk at the Skokie Public Library. It was a packed house. They were very open to hearing about new ways of letting go of their clutter. Here were some of the highlights:
A frustrated woman in the audience asked, "What do you do if you know that something's clutter and your family talks you out of letting it go?" I asked her what was the object that she was talking about. She said, "I want to get rid of my bedroom set. It's just sitting in the garage, taking up space, and my parents won't let it go." She said that she had the bedroom furniture since she was five. I said that her parents were probably emotionally attached to the furniture because it reminded them of when she was a little girl. A lot of parents have a hard time letting go of artifacts from when their children were very young. It's often the time they feel closest to their children. The kids grow up and become independent, and the parents often miss the deep connection. They hang onto things from that time to keep the remembrance feeling of connection going. The woman in the audience decided it was important to make a decision. She said she was going to call a charity to come and pick up the furniture.
Someone else in the audience related the story of how she tried to clutter bust the papers in her home office. The papers would be spread out all over the office, and her kids would come home from school and play on and around the papers, causing them to be messed up, and this would make her frantic and miserable. I suggest she set a timer that would go off a half hour before the kids came home. When we clutter bust, we often lose track of time. The alarm would allow her to take the time to put away the papers she was going to keep and toss the ones she didn't need anymore.
A guy said that he was very good at letting go of clutter, but that his wife and kids were pack rats. He wanted to know what he could do to make them clutter bust. I said there was nothing he could do. If someone is not open to letting go of their clutter, there's nothing we can say to make them let go. Change is am inner process. Something has to happen inside of someone that goes, "I'm don't like living this way anymore, I want to take better care of myself." That person can't be pushed into that state of mind by anyone. The best we can do is take care of our own lives, and either the other person gets inspired by what we do, or we feel satisfied by taking care of ourselves and the desire to change someone else falls away.