My client said, "I have a problem. I have more clothes than I have space for."
She said a similar thing about her books. "I love reading books, but there's no way I can read them all. I don't even know what books I've got, I have so many. At times I've bought the same book twice. "
I could tell she was feeling badly and alone about being in this situation. I told her that she's not alone. Many other people have these same clutter circumstances.
I said sometimes there's something you really like, but you have so much of it, that your experience is also unpleasant. You don't know where everything is. You get overwhelmed thinking about all the items. Sometimes you buy something twice because you didn't know you already had the thing.
The situation is a mixed bag. There's both pleasure and pain. It helps to be matter-of-fact about what's happening. There's too much of a good thing and you're suffering. It doesn't serve you.
I said that she could tell herself, "I love to read, but the amount I have makes it uncomfortable and painful for me. I don't like to feel that way about my books. So that means some of the books will have to go. So that I can have books to read and enjoy, but not so many books that it hurts me."
Then you go into the books, or clothes (or anything else you feel overwhelmed about), and ask, "Is this something I love and enjoy now, or not?" You're discriminating between what brings you joy, and what you are sort of okay about, or don't actually care for. The latter two are the things to begin to let go of.
Remind yourself again, "If I keep everything, I feel lousy and can't enjoy myself. To protect my peace of mind and my health, I'm going to use my discerning eye and ask, "Will keeping this add to my serenity, or will it be too much for me?"
The great thing about doing this process is it puts you in touch with yourself. You are considering yourself with each choice. Each time you make a decision, you create a stronger connection with your inner-knowingness. That experience alone brings greater joy. It makes you less dependent on your things to make you happy.
I told my client that the clutter busting takes the time it takes. I said at times she might feel like she'll never get through everything and she should give up. But I encouraged her to be patient with herself. Her endeavors will pay off.
We began the questioning of her things.