Here are some highlights from Saturday's clutter busting workshop.
There was a woman who brought a backpack that she took to work everyday. When I asked her to take a look at the things in the backpack, she groaned. She opened the bag, saw all the papers, and said she didn't want to go through it. I pointed out that this is the usual response when a person first considers letting go of clutter. I said that it helps to be very gentle with ourselves and just look at a few things at a time.
I took about five sheets of paper from the backpack and gave them to her. I asked her to look at each piece and ask, "Do I need this for my job, or can I let it go?" With a heavy sigh, she began. The amazing thing is, after a few minutes, she didn't need any more prompting. Her natural discriminating abilities kicked in. She looked, asked herself, and in the end about 70% went in recycling. She looked happy. She said she felt so much lighter. I pointed out to the group that it's all about getting over the initial resistance. Then momentum takes over.
There was a man who brought five expensive watches that he used to wear to his old high-powered Wall Street job. He'd hung onto them for ten years. He was feeling resistant to letting go of the watches. I asked if he still wore the watches. He said no. Then he realized that the watches were a status symbol that used to make him feel powerful and important. He said those feelings were no longer important to him and he decided to sell the watches on Craigslist.
Someone had a bunch of old family photos. I asked if they liked looking at pictures. He said he didn't and wanted to start letting them go. Another participant reacted strongly and said, "You can't get rid of those pictures! What if your kids want to look at them some day?" I told her that was her response, not his. It's important to respect what's clutter and not clutter for someone else. She said, "But isn't it important to have the pictures for the kids?" I asked her if she had kids. She said no. I asked if she was planning to have kids. She said no. I said then it's not an actual issue for her. We're better off considering what supports our life and leave it at that. She got it.