"I can't die, I've got too much stuff"

I got an email from someone who wrote, "I was recently diagnosed with cancer, and a close friend and I discussed the possibilities of my death. My immediate reaction was - 'I can't die, I've got too much stuff''. That was when I realized something was seriously wrong. After accumulating a lifetime of 'things', I have always planned on purging, but it has never really happened."

We met in person over coffee and she told me about the state of her home. She lives in a tiny studio apartment that she's outgrown. She had to loft her bed for more storage. The picture at the beginning of this post is a photo she gave me of her desk. There were so many layers of papers and stuff that she was intimidated to venture in. She was overwhelmed about her health, her life, and her career. She desperately wanted to make a change, but she couldn't start.

In response to her reaction to her cancer diagnosis, "I can't die because I have too much stuff", I said she couldn't live because she has too much stuff. We can't possibly function well living under a barrage of an overwhelming amount of stuff. We become buried alive in our homes. It frustrates us because we want to help ourselves but can't.

Her reaction to her health diagnosis was a helpful red flag. Sometimes our perspective on things is so outrageous that we catch ourselves. This awareness of our beliefs can lessen our attachment from living in a way that only serves to hurt us.

I asked about the stuff on her desk from a curious place. I wanted to help her step out of judgment. Curiosity gives us some distance and can help usher in intuition. She began to see that the majority of her stuff was from her past. It didn't represent what was important to her now. When we live chiefly amongst the past, it's like living with ghosts. It takes away our vital essence. This leaves us lethargic and we lose the inspiration to change.

I encouraged her to go home and begin the clutter bust by tossing everything on her desk that wasn't part of her life now. She did. Then she sent me this photo:

She wrote that she was encouraged to continue the clutter bust of the rest of her apartment.


I'm offering a special for these last two weeks of December. My normal rate for a clutter busting phone session is $95/hour, but if you do a phone session before Dec. 31, you'll get a half hour free, so you'll pay $95 for 90 minutes. The phone sessions are a powerful focus on the most troublesome clutter situation in your home. I take you step-by-step through the clutter. It helps to have my insight and encouragement. Finally, my sessions are confidential and will only appear in the blog (without identifying characteristics) if you're open to it. If you're interested, contact me at brooks@clutterbusting.com.