I worked over the phone with another client in their closet recently. Closets are like spider webs for clutter. Stuff ventures into closets and sticks and stays. They are often clutter burial grounds.
My client told me that she had gone through a divorce three years ago and put all the things she couldn't deal with at the time into her closet. She had a bunch of portable file containers in their. We joked that they were clutter tombs.
I had her go through one file at a time so she wouldn't get overwhelmed. Lo and behold she came across her marriage license. She froze. I asked if she wanted to get remarried to her ex. She tossed the license. Then we came across her divorce papers. She'd been looking for them for the past three years. She needed them so she could change back to her previous single name.
Then we came across a bunch of 3 x 5 cards that she used to use as records of her clients. There were over 5,000. She didn't want to get rid of them even though all the client info had been painstakingly transferred to her computer. She felt she would be losing something if she let go of the cards, even though she never referred to them anymore. She felt that a lot of her was invested in the cards. They were a tangible representative of a great amount of the work she had done.
I pointed out that she sounded tired as she defended the cards. It's exhausting trying to prove our worth from the past. The things we are doing now that excite us are more fulfilling. Plus everything we've done in the past lives in the present through the skills and insights we've gained. That's the most useful way the past serves us. The artifacts from the past don't support us. That's why these 3 x 5 cards ended up in my client's closet and stayed there for so long.
My client saw that the cards were in the way of having a healthy business. She lost her grip on the 3 x 5s and happily dumped them in three trash bags.