Clearing Clutter Support Group – Week 5

group support

Our group is two hours each week and participants soon figure out that we do have a set agenda that they can count on.  So each week we start with a Check in/Successes/Homework which means that everyone has the opportunity to talk about their challenges.  We then move on to some great topics where we might do an exercise or just have some discussion.   These groups are really hands on, not lecture style at all and we really feel that the participants are the experts in their own lives.

We have a break of either 10 or 15 minutes depending on a number of factors, how many smokers we have, washroom line up, how much people want to chat and/or browse and check out some of the books in the Library.  In fact, the librarian at this branch loves us and has put up a display of books on Clutter just for us and yes, we all sign out the books.  It’s a great way to keep the clutter out – borrow the book from the Library and see if you really want to own it and know that you can always get it again if needed.

After the break it is time for a grounding/meditation which helps to get everyone feeling calm, grounded and centered again and ready to take on the next segment of the work we are doing.   There is a lot of information given out weekly and people tend to have a lot going on in their heads as well.  This exercise really helps to get everyone back together.   This is intense work and we thoroughly honour the work that is being done.

So, this week was about letting go of sentimental items (something that everyone can relate to),  questions to ask yourself to help with motivation (this group is very motivated), a visualization exercise and dealing with paper ( it was either paper or clothing which are both hot topics).

There may be sentimental items that you have that are difficult to let go of but you know you should because there is too much, it is in your way or it just doesn’t fit with your values and lifestyle.   What are some examples and practical ways to do this?  Some examples could be baby clothes, clothing that no longer fits, items that remind us of happier times or perhaps items from someone who has passed.  So, we talk about how we can think of these things differently and what we can do to let go.

The questions to help with motivation are really great but it seemed that the group at this time are all feeling pretty motivated.  Maybe, we need to bring out those questions at an earlier session.

After our grounding/meditation today we moved right into a Clutter Visualization which can either be very enlightening or very overwhelming for individuals.  We ask that people think about a room that causes them a lot of stress and to look around and to imagine what they see and how they feel on a scale of 0 – 10.  We then ask them to think about that same space but to visualize that the clutter is not gone but everything is organized and put in its place.  Again, we ask how uncomfortable this makes you feel on a scale of 0 – 10.   This exercise brings up some great discussion on how people would like to see their space, what activities they could do there, goal setting and more awareness of how their space impacts on their everyday lives.

Now, on to my own challenge that I set for myself this week.  Maybe, I need to revisit those Motivation Questions or maybe it is a case of Time Management which is a topic for next week.  Stay tuned!!

I really hope you are enjoying these updates on our group.  Please pass this info on to those who you think could benefit from this info.  Thank you so much for following along.  Add your comments or questions below.

 

About Kimberley

I am a Case Manager at My Sisters' Place which is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association London Middlesex. My Sisters' Place is a program for vulnerable women. I love my job and all the wonderful women I work with. I am very honored to do this work with women who have been through so much and are so open in sharing their stories. I initiated and designed a Clearing Clutter Support Group which I have been facilitating since 2007 with a co-worker. I love running this group and learn so much from the participants. We offer this eight week program three or four times a year. I started my business Space For You in 2010 and work with individuals in their homes as well as offer some workshops in the community. I am available to speak to groups on "De-Cluttering Your Life", "The Magic of De-Cluttering", "Space Clearing" or really anything to do with clutter and hoarding.
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15 Responses to Clearing Clutter Support Group – Week 5

  1. This reminded me of a woman I was helping one time. When I mentioned that she didn’t need to keep ALL the toys her kids had played with, she said, “I don’t?” Perhaps she would have benefited from your group!

    • Kimberley says:

      So true Janet, sometimes we just need to know it is okay to let something go or maybe we need to give ourselves permission to let go. Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. Jill Robson says:

    I helped a client last year who had trouble letting go of baby clothes, by the end of the session, she was able to pare it down to just “special” pieces. Emotional clutter is one of the hardest parts for people with too much clutter.

  3. Kimberley says:

    Hi Jill, That was really great success with that client. What do you think it was that made the difference for her? I have a client I am currently working with who has two big bins of baby clothes (her son is now 15) and she really can’t even look at them. I like the idea of picking out a few “special pieces” but I am sure she will say they are all special in some way.

  4. Hi Kimberly,

    This is very interesting! I too am running a clutter support (type) group, but it never occured to me to write about it. I find that success for attendees is due to its structured curriculum, creating a non-judgemental (safe) environment for sharing and exchanging ideas/fears/failures/successes, and because everyone knows beforehand what will be expected of them. I’m sure you also enjoy watching the changes that occur when those ‘ah-ha’ moments pop up – so encouraging for the entire group. Thank you for sharing your own support group stories and updates…very inspiring for me as well!

    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Sheila,
      Thank you so much for responding to my post. I love facilitating this group and would love to hear more about your group as well. It is so great to see people make progress and everyone does. I see you commented on LinkedIn so maybe we can chat some more. Thanks again.

  5. Hi Kimberly,
    Great topi this week. I know this one was probably very hard for some of your attendees. I have had difficulties with this in the past myself. I wrote a blog post about it while back when I first started blogging. http://smarthappyorganized.com/its-ok-to-let-go/ Mine was also about giving away baby clothes and items once we realize w wouldn’t be having more than one child. For me I finally made myself do it after five years. Once I started I couldn’t stop purging! I only let myself keep what I felt an immediate emotional response to. If I thought something was cute or had a good memory that was okay to give away, but if I felt a pang in my heart it was a keeper. Luckily I only ended up with one small bin. I got rid of things my brain had told me I probably wouldn’t but my heart said it was okay in the end. Hope this helps give you some ideas! 🙂

    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Autumn,
      Yes, it is such a challenging issue for many who struggle with clutter and even for those of us who don’t. We just want to hang on to that happy time or maybe its that we want to hang on to the dream of possibilities. I bet some moms keep baby clothes for their own kids for when they have grandchildren.
      And then maybe the kids really want new stuff or maybe they don’t even want kids. It is such a complex issue sometimes.

    • Kimberley says:

      Autumn, That is a really great post. I am going to share it with my clients. thanks so much 🙂

  6. Seana Turner says:

    I imagine just hearing others talk about their anxiety of getting rid of things helps the whole group feel that they are in a common struggle. Hopefully, this removes some of the “shame” that people heap on themselves when they have a hard time clearing clutter.

    • Kimberley says:

      Thanks Seana, Yes, there is a lot of anxiety about letting go of items and often people need a lot of encouragement and support. The group is amazing in this way.

  7. Deborah Bates says:

    I was going through my email when I ran across your Clutter Support Group. I am working with a client and have worked with other clients who have varying degrees of clutter emotion.

    I keep notes about each client and feel in a way I am doing field research. I have had great success with my clients but we still get to a point where once we confront their emotion room, they tend to be excited at first then I notice they need a period of time to recover after confronting the area.

    I am very intuitive and encourage my clients who are not in counseling for these issues to seek guidance for their grief, trauma or what ever trigger they have. My approach is to build a rapport and establish trust.

    We work through process together. I ask them to tell me about their space and they clue me into how I need to direct my work. I do not make them get rid of anything they are not ready to.

    First I ask them to tell me about how the room got that way and a lot comes out. Usually they are hard on self. These people are intelligent but have been overcome at one point in their life with a trigger then things spiral down and it is not that they don’t know how to do it but rather they are emotional.

    I ask them to tell me how they envision their space and work toward that goal. I do not attempt to rid unless they themselves wish to purge. Merely what I do is facilitate the process. I explain what my process is and help to sort and create a place for purpose and function. As we go through this they tell me their stories and it helps them to grieve. In ideal situations I work with the client and their therapist toward healing.

    I often thought to my self that I have my own issues with letting go of emotional attachments to objects and thought that I may not be the person to help these individuals part with their items.

    What I do offer is a valuable service by empatheticly helping to sort and find a place for them to see and acknowledge, to have a place for each item that makes sense and is not burried among other things so they can be relieved that they found item and can process through. At that point I may refer them to professional counsel for the next level.

    What I offer that some organizers don’t is a way to help them do what can not do on own. I do not just rid without regard for their precious memories. I do employ visualization and get my clients to think about their things and we talk about their anxiety level. As we move through and when anxiety is high and move to something else less emotional. We still make strides but I let them lead me by recognizing their body language, breathing and discussion through out.

    I am there to help make their life easier not to criticize or tell them what to do but do create a path to move past the block.

    In addition, I do go over safety for their self and family or pets my first goal is to make sure space is relatively safe and if not address that first before process.

    I appreciate being able to comment and participate in this discussion. I love this platform to collaborate and learn.

    I enjoy reading your thoughts too.

    Deborah

  8. Anne DeCocco says:

    Great topic. And great comments!

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