Yesterday's client was in a funk. She was an entrepreneur who ran three separate businesses out of her house. But the clutter throughout her home made if difficult for her to move forward.
Mostly it was paper. The paper was like hay stacks. They were thick tall pillars. Some had hiding places. She quietly told me about one stack that was behind her easy chair in her living room. I moved the chair to the side and found the hidden stack. The clutter seemed shocked to be exposed. I think she regretted telling me about this clutter stash when I said that this stack was the first clutter that we would work with.
I sat on the floor with the papers but she didn't want to come near them. She stood back a few feet as I pulled out papers and asked, "Do you need this for your business or can you let it go?" I handed her the papers and she handled them like they were dirty. I get it. Clutter doesn't feel good. It's hard to know it's there. And it's less pleasant to deal with. But that uncomfortableness is an advantage in clutter busting. The more pungent the distaste of the clutter, the more likely the person is to get rid of the unneeded thing.
She let a lot of the papers go. She couldn't believe that most of the papers were useless to her. I pointed out that she was looking stronger as we went along. I said, "When I first got here, you looked so sad." She was oppressed by the things in her home. But the clutter is a squatter. It's not the clutter's home. It's hers.
Clutter is a mirage. It seems like something of substance and importance when it actually isn't. It takes meeting the clutter head-on to identify the illusion. That's primarily why clients hire me...it's difficult to see the illusion when you've spent a lot of time convincing yourself it's real. Another set of trained eyes does the trick.
My client and I went through the other paper stacks and tossed out 80% of unnecessary paper. We took the papers she needed and filed them. We also went through her vast library of books and did the same thing. It's amazing to me how quickly people get back on their feet when they start to question the importance of things in their space.