Wow, we are on the home stretch now – Week 6 Woohoo!! We have had really consistent attendance in this group. It is small which is nice, about 8 participants and one member was off sick this week. We really prefer that people don’t miss but if they do we certainly do give them the handouts from the previous week. So yes, there are handouts each week and people are given a binder on week 2, and they are also given the choice of bringing their own in as well, (less clutter) and then handouts can go right into the binder.
So, I am noticing on this week that people are not doing their homework. I mean we do take it up in class, and people are able to discuss it but I am looking around and seeing mostly blank papers. Ugh!! I know, this is a struggle for individuals in this group. Maybe, they are more focused on their challenge which they know they will have to report on and then they can wing it on the other homework. Maybe we, as facilitators, need to be tougher on this as I really believe that the more you can put into this the more you will be able to get out of it and move forward. It is a tough journey for sure but there is support.
This week our focus was on problem solving, time management, how to make decisions, questions about possessions, where to start, how to organize, set up, sort and store. I know, it is a lot of information to process and it can be a tad overwhelming.
The best way to look at Problem Solving is to do an actual exercise. Most of you likely know about this standard Problem Solving Method. Basically, these are the steps:
- Define the problem and contributing factors.
- Generate as many solutions as possible.
- Evaluate the solutions and select one or two that seem feasible.
- Break the solution down into manageable steps.
- Implement the steps.
- Evaluate the outcome.
- If necessary, repeat the process until a good solution is found.
The group came up with this scenario “they have started the organizing process and are getting things into piles and now they have created a bigger mess than they thought and now what”?
- Collect the mess and create another pile
- Avoid it
- Burn it in the backyard
- Sell stuff
- Potlatch – Definition: among North American Indian peoples of the northwest coast an opulent ceremonial feast at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige. (The things we learn from group participants)
- Plan and schedule a time to clean up
- Be patient, a little at a time, baby steps
- Set up, sort and store (next on the agenda)
- Create categories for storing
- Increase frequency of vacuuming
Next you would look at what from this list is realistic to do, etc. It was a really fun exercise and got a really great discussion going.
One woman who is really stuggling with letting go talked about her fears and feelings around some fabric that she has and how she would feel like a failure if she got rid of it. She said it matches her couch, was given to her by a sister (who has a “perfect” place) and she knows she will not get around to making cushions or whatever with it. These feelings of fear and failure are so ingrained and challenging for so many. Other group members thanked her for bringing this up because it is such a common feeling.
You might wonder “what the connection is between time management and clutter?” I am asked this frequently when I do a talk. We do an exercise around factors that affect our time.
Some questions we ask: What things waste your time? What makes good use of your time? What things give you good results for a small time investment? What are the influences that continually persuade you to spend time when you don’t want to? and……. There are a few more questions and then we do a go around with participants picking one of the questions to share. Homework for this week is to look at your own weekly schedule and to really think about where those hours go. Sometimes, we are not aware of how much time we are wasting doing something mindless and unproductive which is really not helping us to achieve our goals.
As I said this week is jam packed with information and things to think about. We move on to Decision Making about items and look at the Decision Tree which helps us to decide about whether to keep or remove an item and what to do from there. Where do we start with getting organized? It can all be so overwhelming so we work on breaking this down a bit and help individuals to think about what they might need (we never suggest getting more storage bins as usually they already have enough of those), but even making a space for sorting is helpful, thinking about categories for stuff and possible locations, finding a home for items and choosing a time of day when you are at your best to de-clutter.
I love the list of Sorting Questions or General Questions about our stuff. This is a great brainstorming exercise as well.
So, onto the homework for the week ugh!! We will see what happens this week!! And the challenges for all of us for the week??? My challenge at this point is half done which is pretty good as I really had to push myself to do it.
Week 7 we will be getting a visit from the Clutter Clearers Peer Support Group facilitators who meet weekly in a local coffee shop. They will be coming to talk about their group and to invite this group of graduates to join them when they are finished after Week 8.
Can’t wait to tell you all about it as they have made some amazing progress. Peer Support Rocks!!!
Thank you so much for following along and please pass on this info to anyone who you think would benefit.
I welcome your comments or questions below.