3 surprising decluttering lessons

client experience decluttering decluttering tips Sep 22, 2022

I was working with a lovely decluttering client last week and we were making excellent progress after about 1.5 hours together. I had a couple of my large bags filled with stuff to be donated, and our piles of things of things that had been sorted and required action were in excellent shape. (In case you are wondering, the sorted piles were called "Stuff to sell", "Offer to my sister", "Send to school", "Requires action", "Kids to decide", plus a few more.) We came to a stack of magazines, which had been kept for artistic inspiration, and I could immediately sense a shift; my client was apprehensive about this category. We made a start, and my client clipped through a dozen magazines without hesitation, putting them in the discard pile. 

Lesson #1: Sometimes just in making a start, we can surprise ourselves with what we can achieve. 

Then we reached a magazine that held some meaning, and there was a pause. My client guiltily ran her hand over the cover and explained the significance. I nodded, and gently reminded her that it was ok to keep it. She put it in the keep pile and carried on. 

Lesson #2: Decluttering isn't about ruthlessly getting rid of things, even if they mean something to us. It's ok to keep items that are important, for whatever personal reason you might have. 

More magazines were added to the discard pile; more were added to the keep pile. We finished the stack of magazines, and I could see my client was wrestling with something. She despairingly said "Oh no, look how many I'm keeping!" Very gently, I suggested she instead looked at how many she was getting rid of. The discard pile was at least 5x as big as the keep pile - that's a great result!

Lesson #3: Perspective is everything to stay motivated in the decluttering game. Celebrate your progress as you go, and you'll see your project through to the end. 

At the end of the session we spent a few minutes tidying the area we'd been working in, and clearly labelling the piles of things to keep that required action from my client. I always like to leave my clients' homes tidy enough that other members of the family can come home and see progress, but still live in the spaces without feeling overwhelmed. Leaving the room tidy and clearly labelling work-in-progress also means that we can pick up where we left off at the next session, without needing to re-trace our steps. When the session was over, I took away all of the things the client no longer wanted, including the pile of discarded magazines. 

If you're overwhelmed by the idea of decluttering on your own, consider engaging a professional organiser to keep you on track, celebrate your wins and take your unwanted stuff away at the end of your appointment. Book your free phone consultation now and let's get your project underway.  

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