Sometimes the things that were once important to us live in our space as if they are still important.
This happened to a recent Skype client who had 27 binders in her home office. The binders were filled with class notes, essays and exams from when she attended college. It had been twelve years since she graduated.
She initially didn't want to let the binders go because she was feeling attached to all the time and work she had invested in her school work. She felt she would be losing something if she let them go.
I said that the 27 binders of school papers had once been a very important part of her life. They used to be essential for her. When we are invested in something that matters to us, we naturally do what we need to do to protect this thing.
What ends up happening is that after an important thing has served us, we forget about it as we focus on the next thing that becomes an important part of our life. Years can go by with the old thing being invisible to us, but still in our space.
When we clutter bust. we come across the once-important stuff, and we automatically feel like protecting it again. It is as if our old protective stance returns into the present moment. By asking if we love and use this thing, we see that we don't, and we can let it go.
Through this questioning process, my client realized that she hadn't looked at the school papers in twelve years. It was like a hypnotic spell had been broken. She let go of all of the binders, and kept a few essays that still felt important to her.