Kick the Clutter to the Curb with Liz Weiman


March 26, 2019

clutter imageWIH Reporter: Liz, in your upcoming class you will be tackling a subject that we all deal with—Clutter! What causes us to keep things that we don’t need?

Weiman: We can easily point to the lack of time, procrastination, and distractions inherent in modern life as reasons we keep things we don’t need. We can also look at all the items that we daily bring into our homes without looking at how little goes out. Additionally, there is a pervasive Great Depression-style mentality on the part of some that they “may need this someday.” However, I must mention a very powerful reason less looked at—which is our emotional/sentimental attachment to what an object represents to us. For example, Aunt Susie has died and left her unsightly couch to her niece who would never display it. However, it is as if this is “part” of her aunt, and somehow, even though it clutters up the garage, it feels impossible to get rid of. We will examine all of these issues in this class.

WIH Reporter: Marie Kondo is so popular right now. But, some of her methods seem over the top and maybe not totally practical. Is there a way to utilize some of her philosophy without becoming obsessive? Like maybe folding a shirt perfectly isn’t that important. Isn’t the idea of de-clutttering to find balance in your life?

Weiman: Kondo has touched a nerve with so many about how objects that no longer bring joy begin to weigh us down, and her techniques have proven a revelation for millions. Her techniques are powerful, and in our class we will go over many wonderful ideas and techniques from her and other clutter experts. Her folding methods are not necessary to follow her basic precepts, and I agree that the idea of  balance is the actual true goal. For some, the folding techniques represent a visual symbol of the idea of beauty and order where once there was only clutter. Even children love to fold, so why not teach them when they are young!

I feel it is important to note that in our society, we see so many clutter make-over shows in which an expert comes in and fixes a family’s clutter, teaches techniques, and leaves them with new hope and excitement for a changed life. However, when one checks back later on these families, one finds the rate of recidivism is high. There are reasons why they got to their cluttered place to begin with, and when these reasons are not addressed, there is the inevitable slide backwards. This is why, along with techniques, simple awareness of common reasons (often having to do with emotions and attachment) associated with objects can make all the difference in being able to keep the momentum going and truly leave a lifetime of clutter.

WIH Reporter: What is a good tip that you could give someone who wants to get started cleaning out their lives but doesn’t know where to begin?

Weiman: It is often overwhelming to think of trying to even start addressing the clutter, because it has grown to such daunting proportions over the years. Those going through boxes of clothes or papers often start out with lots of energy and then shortly become drained and defeated as they try to sort through it because of their ambivalence over what  they should keep or throw out. My suggestion to overcome the overwhelm is to use three paper grocery-style bags and label one bag “yes” , the next bag “no,” and the final bag as “‘maybe.” At this point, take each item out of the box and go as fast as possible, throwing items into the bags. We usually know what we DON’T want and what we DO want, but what slows us down and discourages us are the items we question. Having a “‘Maybe” bag to throw those items in delays the decision until a second pass is scheduled for another day. In my past classes, so many people have reported clutter-clearing successes using this process.

WIH Reporter: What is the one thing that you hope students who take your class will learn?

Weiman: In this class, we will learn so many effective techniques to help us clear clutter (both popular and lesser-known modalities). We will learn the very important Kondo system which brings a fresh point of view to the way we view the clutter in our life. Likewise, we will include the Western ideas from some of our top clutter experts in the US and Canada and also bring in the important 5,000-year old vision of Feng Shui in considering object placement. I will bring some wonderful ideas from my own system that has enabled countless people to address the clutter for the first time in their lives—even suggesting ways of using technology to address paper clutter.

By the end of the class, students will not only learn a multitude of techniques that they can apply immediately, but more importantly, learn perspectives on why we have clutter in the first place, so we can continue the “maintenance” processes that will allow us to remain truly clutter-free for the future!

Kick the Clutter to the Curb” begins Thursday, April 18 at 10:00 a.m.