My client came across two boxes that she hadn't looked in for years. I suggested we take a look in the boxes. She said the boxes hadn't been opened in over three moves. She was scared to take a look.
I said it's worth looking at anything in your home or life that intimidates you because it's your life, not the thing in question's life. This thing stands in the way of you enjoying your life.
My client reluctantly opened a box. It was filled with a multitude of papers. She said she was afraid to go through them. I promised that by going through them, she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. She took my word for it and we went through one piece of paper at a time.
There were manila folders stuffed with papers, bags with receipts, bank account statements and insurance papers from over ten years ago, notes to herself, unopened mail, and flyers. I kept asking her, "Do you need that piece of paper for your records, does it require any action on your part, or can you let it go?" This kept her focused on what was in front of her, and she surprised herself by being able to continually make many good decisions.
My client said, "Why did this feel so odious? It's actually easy to do."
I said that when you think about doing something that seems difficult, it tends to make it hard to take action. It seems like it's going to be overwhelming and painful. This keep a lot of people from clutter busting. But my experience is that when someone begins to take action, the momentum kicks in, and it's often easier than they thought.
In the midst of tossing, my client said, "I can't believe I moved this crap so many times."