Lighten Up

It's impossible to relax in a room that is filled with clutter. No matter how nicely you arrange or hide things.

Saturday's client wanted help with her living room. I immediately checked out the closet. It was stuffed with her son's art supplies and toys. It was a jangly mess that was hard to dismantle. I brought out a handful of stuff at a time and went through piece by piece with her. It turned out that most of the stuff her son hadn't played with in years. Most of it went into donation bags.

The art supplies she kept didn't go back in the closet. It's good to see what doesn't work so it won't be repeated. The closet was out of sight, out of mind. I put the supplies in a pile on the floor until a better solution showed up.

Then there was the second closet that was filled with a sea Christmas paraphernalia. She blanched when she saw the chaos. Again I brought out a few things at a time. And again, she discovered most of it she wasn't using. So we pared those down too.

I try and find the clutter hiding places first because they cause so much psychic disruption, that if they are dealt with, the rest of the clutter goes quickly.

Next were the three towers of books, CDs, and DVDs. There was a heavy coating of dust on everything. Dust is another clutter red flag. It says, "Hey, we've got nothing to do. Can you find us a new home?"

I told my client to pretend she was at Barnes and Nobles and find the books she would want to buy today. She picked fifteen books. We packed up the remaining over 200 unwanted books in bags and boxes. It was easy for her because by picking what she wanted, she lost her connection to what she didn't want. We did the same thing with CDs and DVDs.

There's something interesting about nicely stacked things in bookshelves, cubby holes, and closets. The stuff often goes unnoticed because they visually fit in their space. That's why I encourage and push the closer look.

With all the extra space, she decided to let go of a bookcase and a CD tower. She dusted off the bookshelf she kept, arranged the books she wanted, and put the art supplies on the lower levels in a place her son could find and use them.

As we brought the boxes and bags of books, CDs, and DVDs to her car for a library donation, my client smiled and said, "I'm feeling so much lighter!"