There's a feeling of panic that comes from living with clutter. It's a feeling of being uncomfortable and not knowing what to do to feel better.
I sat with a client recently in her living room. We were surrounded by stacks and stacks of stuff. She expressed the frustration of living that way and not being able to help herself. I could feel the adrenalin rushing through her body with no place to go. I sensed it was taking a toll on her health.
I said, "This isn't your fault." It was hard for her to hear that. I said that the clutter situation is what happened to her. The stuff built up over time and as it increased, it took away her ability to think clearly. Now she wanted to do something about it, but the presence of the clutter had shut her down, and left her trapped in the panic.
She was starting to feel hopeful about her situation. I think it helped hearing that it wasn't her fault. Blame goes hand-in-hand with panic. "Why did I do this? I'm such an idiot!" When we're drowning in stuckness, Blame looks like a life preserver, but it's really the anchor that takes us to the bottom of the sea.
I said, "Let's unravel this so you can feel better again."
We picked one pile and began going through it. She was amazed that she was able to make decisions. She began to feel some relief. Often people think they'll only feel better when all the clutter's gone, but you start feeling better as you begin letting go of the things you no longer use and love.