Clutter Burial Ground

"Change is like a dog that is utterly enthusiastic to see you the moment you decide to greet it."

I was working with someone in the basement of her family's home. The family hated going down there because of the tremendous amounts of stuff they had stored there over the years. Stuff went down and never came back up. It was like a clutter burial ground.

There were board games the family no longer played. There were some sleeping bags that were waiting for a camping trip that no one wanted to go on. There was lumber for some unknown project. And then there were all the unmarked, musty boxes that were like unmarked clutter graves. Not to mention that it was musty and damp and most of the stuff down there was ruined by this environment.

I could understand why she hated coming down to her basement. I also knew that she was resisting helpful and necessary change that if taken would immediately make her feel better. I told her at some point everything we own will break, we'll outgrow it, or it will wear out. When things out grow our use, it feels good to let them go. Whether that's to a charity, freecycle, the trash or recycling.

She was hesitant. I told her when things are no longer a part of our life they are trash to us. To hang onto them would be like never removing the trash from our home. It would be uncomfortable and make our homes a terrible place to live. I said, "That's why you feel so badly being down here. It's like this is landfill."

She started coming out of the clutter trance. She now felt inspired to clutter bust the things in her basement. It's the direct matter-of-factness with kindness supporting it that motivates people. It works for me when I have to do my own clutter busting. It's sobering.