Living Without the Things that Don't Make a Difference in Your Life

I want to share a few highlights from my week of clutter busting.

I was working with a client who was going through a box and came across newspapers from when Obama won the election two years ago. She got excited. Then she wanted to keep the newspapers and put them back in the box and put the box back under her desk. I said that putting the newspapers back in the box is the same as throwing them out. They'll be out of her awareness and she'll forget about it. She stayed intent on hanging onto the papers.

I said sometimes we hang onto something as a way of trapping joy. We associate such strong feelings of happiness from an event that we want to capture it as if it's a rare thing. But then we end up believing that joy is rare and life is bleak. It's easier on us to experience something joyful in the moment and let it pass. This leaves us open and surprised by the next joy which is often right around the corner. My client sat with this. I think it must have sank in because she let go of the newspapers.

Another client found a bunch books on simplicity. There was Simplicity Parenting, Simple Christmas, a book on the Amish. She was very intent on simplifying her life. But she had only read a few pages of each book and lost interest. She said she tried following some of the examples in the books but they didn't work for her. Plus the presence of the books was making her feel badly that she wasn't living simply enough. Even though she wasn't happy with the books, she didn't want to let them go.

I said that there's not much you can say about simplicity. Essentially it's living without things that don't make a difference in your life. Life is simpler without the distractions. Based on her reaction to the books, they were not making her life simpler. They were adding unnecessary complexity. There's no room in our life for things that don't bring joy, assistance and peace of mind. She said she had already been feeling that way, but she needed permission to let the books go. I said that was something she could give herself. She put the books in the donation box.

Thanks to everyone who sent me very kind emails about my ten year clutter busting anniversary! Your support means a lot to me.

I've set up few more Clutter Busting workshops. There's one December 5th in Chicago. Another one in LA on January 16th. There will be one in Seattle on March 5th. These are very powerful workshops where you get a hands-on approach to letting go. The info is on the right side of this blog page. If you can come, it will be great to have you there.

I also included a donate button to this page. One of my readers suggested it as a way of giving back.