My client was feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff stored in her attic. It had been a long time since she'd ventured up there. She stood amidst all her stuff and didn't know where to begin.
I said as a whole it was too much to deal with, so I suggested the approach of going through one small area at a time.
We went through a bookshelf holding her old college books and notes. Initially she wanted to hang onto these things because she felt they proved to herself that she was educated. But then she saw that the proof was in the work she was doing professionally. So she let them go.
Then we came upon her doll and toy collection from when she was a little girl. At first she thought it was wrong to throw any of it out. But then she realized they'd just stay in the box, smelling like mildew, unlooked at for another couple of years, taking up space in her home. She let them go.
Then she got reflective. She told me about two of her friends who had died of cancer in the past few years. She spent time with both of them in their last few months.
She said, "Neither of them were looking at their books and things. I saw first hand that none of this matters. In the end, the only thing that matters are the people who are loving on you."