In the late summer of 2015 I went back to a city where I had lived for a few years. I only had 5 days and a lot of people to see, but I set aside a whole day to spend with a very special friend, whom I love very much.
My plan was that we would do something fun in the morning, eat out, then do something fun in the afternoon. Finally, go to her beautiful home, and get the kids set up with a movie, so that we could have a long talk and catch up.
I Was Secretly Hoping She’d Have Us Over for Dinner
I will tell you this now: I was secretly hoping she would have us over for dinner. My friend says that she doesn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen or make very elaborate dishes all the time, but I can tell you that she puts together amazing meals. I was specifically dreaming of a spinach and mushroom quesadilla she had once made for us.
Imagine how heartbroken I felt (and how disappointed my tummy was) when my friend told me that she could not invite us over to her home, because she was embarrassed about how much clutter she had amassed in the years since I had left town.
I reminded her that there is no amount of clutter that scares me, and I offered my help. She refused.
We ended up having a wonderful day at the country club, which included a crazy fun golf cart ride up and down the hills (what a thrill!), pool time, games, and chef-made pizza. Then we had dinner at a restaurant.
I Was Thinking of Her when I Designed the Program
I was thinking about my friend when I created my decluttering program in early 2016. I knew that if I could help her, this program would benefit many people who feel stuck in their clutter. (You will understand better in the next couple of paragraphs.)
I was hoping she would register. Fortunately, she did, and she is doing great. She has shared great before and after photos in our Facebook support group. She tells me that she has a long way to go, but I suspect that the next time I visit her, I will get my delicious meal at her place. 😊
I wanted to share this story about my friend with you today, because she is the most talented declutterer and home organizer that I have met IN MY WHOLE LIFE.
I have seen her go into someone’s home and in three days help them clear clutter that had accumulated for over eight years!
My friend obviously knew how to declutter a home. Yet, when it came to her own home, she needed a little external help. Her heart was not aligned with her desire to live in a tidy, beautiful home, because of grief she had experienced. The grief had paralyzed her. No one can effectively do anything, if their heart is not in it.
Online Programs Many Times are Better than In-Home Help
Because she was embarrassed and felt her home was getting out of control, an online course, where she did not have to admit anyone physically into her home, was the best option for her.
My friend had a great loss shortly after we had moved away from that town. Someone she loved very much passed on. At the time, I did not understand the impact that this loss had for her, because I lacked the experience to understand. Now that my grandmother passed on earlier this year, I can relate better to what she must have gone through. Before, I couldn’t quite understand that a person who could so easily help other people with their clutter, would not find a way to make progress in her own home. Now, as I navigate the feelings of grief and loss myself, I can understand how easy it could be for someone to lose their grip over their spaces.
Clutter Element Types
My clutter element type is the least likely to accumulate clutter, but my friend has a different element type, and she processes emotions in a different way than me. To find out your clutter element type, make sure to register for the upcoming webinar below. After your register with your name and email address, you will get a link to download the document “The Good Reasons You Don’t Declutter,” which will help you find out your type. Knowing your type can help you declutter from a place of joy, instead of from a place of challenge.
Many people find it hard to manage their home after a loss — it is only natural, but it is even worse for certain personality types, which in Feng Shui we identify with the five elements.
There Is No “Getting Over” Grief
In the Feng Shui world, we would never tell anyone to “get over grief.” Rather, we assist students and clients to transition from grief into nostalgia. It’s a process of transmutation, and the only true way to resolve grief.
I know with time, my mind and my heart will be filled with memories of my grandmother that bring a smile to my face. Right now, some days I am still hit with unexpected sadness and sorrow, thinking about her last days. On those days, I do paperwork, because decluttering paperwork is in fact an effective way to transmute grief into nostalgia. Paperwork is one area where new clutter is always appearing, as old files and bills are no longer necessary to keep after a certain period of time. No one can completely get rid of clutter, forever, because some clutter is a consequence of living. Everyone needs to learn to manage and minimize clutter.
A More Comprehensive Program on Decluttering
This year, I am adding resources to my decluttering program that will assist people with the emotional challenges that decluttering may stir up.
There are 2 morals to this story:
1 – It is a lot easier to deal with someone else’s clutter, because you do not have any emotional connection to their stuff.
2 – You may need a little help to deal with your own clutter, especially if your clutter started or worsened after a major life change. Loss of someone you loved, or a pet, divorce, being fired, etc. Decluttering is an effective way to heal.
Take a Free Mini-Course on Decluttering: