I worked with my client via Skype in her office. My clutter radar went off when I saw a big stack of papers on top of the bookshelf where she kept her work related things. I suggested we go through the stack.
It turns out that a majority of the papers were articles that she had saved over the years in the hopes of reading them. One was a magazine from the year 2000. At first she got frustrated and had a hard time making decisions about the papers. Each one grabbed her in some way.
I pointed out that keeping all those papers in a stack wasn't serving her because it wasn't helping her read the articles. I said that there would be no difference between keeping the papers in a
stack and throwing them all away because either way she wasn't
reading them. She agreed and said that she was always intimidated by and avoided the pile.
I also said that a stack of papers she wasn't reading stuck amidst her work things would have a negative effect on her work. Clutter has a stagnant effect and negatively clouds the things that matter to us.
This matter-of-factness about the side-effects of the paper stack inspired her to honestly question each of the saved articles. She ended up tossing most of them in the recycling bin.