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When clutter takes over your life…

For years my mother and sisters have called me up to say, “I just did a ‘Felice’ on my closet,” meaning they organized it. They then list how many sweaters or shoes or total bags they filled for donation, beaming with pride. I always respond, “I wish I could have been there to help.”

And it’s true.

I actually enjoy organizing a closet or any room, really, partly for the satisfaction, but also seeing the smiles when the task is done. My very first client in New York City was a single woman in her forties who lived on the Upper East Side in a cramped but spacious one-bedroom. Her dining room table was covered with tall stacks of papers and books from law school, her bedroom floor had piles of clothes and her closet was bursting for she had entire wardrobes ranging in size from 8-14 since she had lost weight and feared gaining it back, and her living room furniture was covered in more paper and books from another degree in social work. Luckily she was ready to purge and just needed someone to motivate her. Which is where I came in. We started with the clothes, which for me is always easier to tackle than paper. I asked how long she’d been a size 8 and when she said seven years, I convinced her that if for some reason she did regain the weight, the styles in her closet would be outdated. Buh-bye went the clothes. And as order and space started to appear in her room, it became easier for her to keep tossing.

I feared the books and the paper would be a struggle, but after I uttered, “Everything you learned is in your head and what you need to know you can always ask someone,” buh-bye went the books and the paper.  After three days we filled 20 large bags for donation and the garbage.

When I went to leave, the smile on her face made the back spasms I was having from all that work, worth it. Tearing up she hugged me and said, “Thank you. I finally have a life again!”

While it might just be stuff, sometimes it can take over our lives and keep us from living.  Are there three things you can get rid of today?

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