I was talking with someone yesterday who said she was tentative about clutter busting because she felt it meant living a spartan lifestyle. She thought she would eliminate everything but just a few of the most basic and absolute necessities. She felt it would be a life devoid of feeling and joy.

I said that's a normal reaction. The part of us that gets invested in our clutter finds reasons to not let go. We're afraid and it makes sense that we get defensive. We can be compassionate with ourselves and be aware of this inner tension. That tension is the emotional grip that makes us hold on and feel stuck in our stuff.

We can tell ourselves that the only things that we're considering letting go of are what we no longer care about anymore. The stuff that no longer sparks our interest. These are clothes we no longer wear, CDs we don't like listening to anymore, papers we don't need, furniture we don't like sitting on, art that doesn't ring our bell, shoes we used to like but now don't, food we don't eat or that makes us feel sick, people who irritate us or make us tired, activities that drain us, and anything else we don't love.

What we're left with are all the things that we feel a connection with. It's like a fridge full of food that we love to eat. Our living space won't be an empty space of lack, but a living space that contains our toys. I like the word toys because it means we associate a playfulness with our things. We love being with and using what's in our life.