I like to find the place that my clients least want to work in. That’s a guaranteed high-flying red flag of clutter.

Today’s client was standing in her kitchen and said, “Agghhh, I hate my counters!” They were piled high with stuff. I suggested we start there. She said, “Oh, my God, I can’t do that. It’ll kill me.”

I pointed out the drawbacks to living with something that could kill her. She said okay.

With trash bag out, I had her go through each item. There was her kid’s art and school work, which they didn’t need or want and which she thought she had to hang on to. I told her there’s nothing she has to keep. She let those papers go. There was some old stale food in open plastic bags and boxes. Those went.

We weeded piece by piece till eventually we got down to a wooden container. It looked like a heavy in-box. She made a groan. It was made by and given to her by her ex who use to physically and mentally abuse her. She didn’t like the in-box, but was worried that her ex might be upset if she let it go.

I said hanging on to the ex-box would be like having a mini him living with and intimidating and harassing her. I said it was no wonder she covered it up with all the crap, and that she was afraid it was going to kill her.

She picked up the ex-box and brought it outside and tossed it. She came back and fell in love with the open space of the counter.