Kindly Ruthless

I just finished working on the phone with a client and, with her permission, I'd like to share the highlights with you.

She told me at the beginning of the call, "I'm well organized, but I have a house full of clutter. People don't see it. But it's there. I have stuff hidden away that distracts me subconsciously. I'm haunted by all this stuff sitting here. I can't relax at night in my bed because of all the crap in my bedroom!"

I said that whatever's no longer a part of our life, no matter how nice it looks, or how well stacked it is, or how much we paid for it, this stuff intrudes into our personal boundaries. It's as if we are being attacked by our stuff. The antidote, the thing we can do for ourselves now, is to be kindly ruthless. We go through our things, one by one and one-pointedly decide, "Am I using and enjoying you in my life, or can I let you go?"

All my client needed was the permission. I listened to her toss with glee. She was picking up things and tossing them in either a trash, recycling or thrift store bag. Here are some of my favorite things she said:

"For too long I've been a caretaker for this stuff."

"These things have been bugging me for four years and I'm throwing them out!"

"I'm going through a stack of books people gave me that aren't interesting to me at all. I used to feel like if I threw them out, I'd be giving away their friendship. Isn't that crazy?!"

"I'm going on, if I haven't looked at it for a while, I can let it go."

"It's time to clean out these damn papers!"

"It's a bunch of bullshit anyway!"