A French Singer, a Wedding Dress, and Clutter as a Guest

Some highlights from today's clutter busting workshop:

One of the participants brought in about thirty records of the French singer, Charles Aznavour. She'd owned them for twenty years and had not listened to them in long while, but she couldn't let the records go. Upon some questioning, she realized she was hanging onto the records because they reminded her of a French teacher she had fallen in love with many years ago. She associated the records with her love for the teacher. When this became clear she let go of the records and felt a great relief.

Another person revealed that she kept her wedding dress in the trunk of her car. She'd gotten married fifteen years ago and was happily married, but for some reason the dress ended up in the car's trunk. And not just in her current car. It used to be in her previous car's trunk. I asked her if she'd go out to her car and get the wedding dress. She did. When she came back with the dress, I asked if she would be okay about letting it go. She felt sad thinking about it. She said she feared her husband would be upset at her if she donated the wedding dress. I asked if that was true. She surprised herself by saying no. She'd forgotten he'd actually told her a ways back that it was okay by him if she let go of the dress. She put it in the donation pile.

Someone brought in photos of the clutter in the guest room of her home. Clutter had taken over the space. Clutter was a guest in her home. She hated going into the guest room because of all the crap in there. The stuff intimidated her and kept her from clutter busting that space. She grimaced, groaned and sadly complained as she showed us many photos of the clutter. The chaos from the clutter was causing her pain. I said the clutter was a toxic presence in her home. It was physically debilitating and emotionally crippling. If she had a gas leak in her home, she would immediately call the gas company to come on over and fix the leak. Because of the harsh effect of the clutter on her, it was important for her to treat the clutter as toxic as a gas leak. She got the immediacy of the situation. She understood that she had to boot the clutter from her guest room when she got home.