When we clutter bust, it helps to bring compassion and patience with us. It's easy to be critical, "How did I let this happen?", or discouraging, "I'm never going to get through all this." However, it did get like this, and looking for reasons or blame won't help. We show up to clutter bust with trash bags and love to take care of a situation that's causing us pain. We do ourselves a service by removing the things that are no longer a part of our lives.
I recently worked with a client who told me he was years behind in his paperwork. He was overwhelmed even before we started. He said, "This is going to be impossible. I can't believe I let myself get this far behind. I don't see how we're going to get through all this." He was sighing and groaning a lot. He was angry at himself and the situation.
I told my client that it didn't matter what happened up till this moment. It helps to think and act from what can we do now. He put himself down some more. I said, "Your self-criticisms don't seem to inspire you to fix this." I said it reminded me of a person riding a horse across the desert and the horse has collapsed from exhaustion and the person is whipping and yelling at the horse.
I gave my client one piece of paper that was the top sheet from a stack on the floor. I was curious if he needed it or could he let it go. He groaned and said it was for taxes that he needed to file from three years ago. I said, "Great, let's create a file for tax papers from that time period. He got out a manila envelope, labeled it, and put the paper in the file. I picked up another sheet of paper. He read it. He crumpled it and tossed it in the recycling bag. He picked up the next sheet of paper. He said it was a paper he'd been looking for regarding a current client. We found the file that the paper belonged in. We kept going piece by piece.
Initially it helped to have me tell my client to stop driving into the ditch of self-loathing. But he quickly began thinking kindly for himself and he was able to take care of his clutter situation. That's why I encourage you to be kind and forgiving to yourselves when you begin to clutter bust. You need the support and sometimes, in the moment, we are the only ones who can provide it for ourselves.