Creating a Friendly Room

It's natural for clutter to appear in our lives. Something that was important to us one day eventually stops serving us. That's why I encourage regularly assessing what's in your surroundings. It takes the extra effort to look around and see what no longer fits your life.

I remember working for a client who had a pristine living room. Everything was clean, neatly stacked, and had a place. I thought that her living room was posing for Better Homes and Gardens. Even though the room looked nice, my client complained that the room felt uncomfortable to her. I said that's a red flag that something is wrong. Our bodies don't lie. You wouldn't eat something that tasted bad, or pet a growling barking dog.

I started with the magazines she kept in holders and racks. She said she found them through Real Simple magazine. I've often thought that a magazine called Real Simple should just come out once every two years and have one article that says, "Do you really need this?"

My client said, "I feel weird about disrupting the order of the magazines." I said that whatever was feel uncomfortable about looking at is the first thing to consider when clutter busting. I asked her if she read the issues. She said a few but she felt there were a lot of good articles she wanted to get to. So I handed her a magazine and asked her to look for something that she would like to read. She looked but was surprised couldn't find anything. We put it in the recycling bag. We went through each magazine. She eventually found an article she was sort of interested in. I had her start reading it. She got bored after about about thirty seconds.

We continued the investigation and she ended up letting go of a sizable amount of magazines, books and papers, as well as display figures, a lamp, a chair and a sofa. She said the room now felt friendly to her. I suggested she could maintain this friendship by not filling the room up again. Enjoy the empty space feeling for a while and only add something if and when it feels right.