Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Overwhelmed cleaning up? Follow my three tips!

Three cabinets of books. Two closets of clothes. Earth ware scattered through the kitchen. Bins full with unfinished projects. And lots and lots of stuff from your childhood, your parents.

You want to clean up and you feel overwhelmed.

Image courtesy to this stuff you stored away in the nooks of your home, your garage, your shed. Things that carry emotional value. Things you might use later. Things that are worth dollars, maybe many.

How do you clean up without regrets, loss, pain? Without connecting to the dreams you never pursued, the friends you lost with time, the death of loved ones?

Cleaning up is reviewing your life. It is about cutting to the essence of what your life is about. The books you want to read, the clothes you want to wear, the projects you want to engage in. It is about creating clarity who you are and who you want to be. It is about what your life is meant to be.

It is also about planning your cleaning process, and accepting that it is both a journey and a result. That it might take long, and that that is fine. That every shelf you organize is one step closer to your goal. That you might not reach the top in one day, and that you can just as well enjoy the process while you are at it.

I have just finished cleaning up my home, and I want to share what worked for me:

  1. Work solidly for 25 minutes. Then take a five minute break. Remove yourself physically from your cleaning area. Go pee. Drink your tea mindfully. Do some T’ai Chi. Anything to refresh yourself. After four slots of 25 minutes working, take a half hour break to empty your mind and replenish your energy. Go for a walk, have lunch, do some yoga. Something to nurture yourself and reconnect to the joy of life.
  2. Connect to your breath with every object you pick up. One deep breath in, one deep breath out. What are you feeling? Joyful, excited, energized holding this object in your hand? Are you feeling tired, drained, depleted? When positive feelings come up, keep it. When negative feelings come up, either give it away (or sell it, if that is your thing) or put it in the “Not Sure Yet” bin, and review it next year.
  3. Get help from a friend, a sibling. Make it a fun, social event. You can also engage me to help you clean up and organize the process. I have helped myself and others, and I love it! You can read some of the testimonials here. You will be surprised how efficient and fun the process is when you hire me! Contact me 512-589-0482.

Cleaning up and letting go

I’m sorting through my stuff. We might have to move. To a much smaller place. I couldn’t take much with me.

I’m holding all the books, all the shirts, all the letters, all my small boxes in my hands, and I am choosing which ones I can take, which ones I have to let go. I’m crying. I’m feeling a sadness and a sense of loss as I see the little book on love, hope, and faith my mother gave me years ago to encourage me through my divorce. The poetry a colleague gave me as a farewell gift when I left my job. The tap dancing shoes I bought for my new-found and never-pursued hobby. The plastic eggs I wanted to reuse with Easter. The left-over wool to knit Christmas decoration with.

Image courtesy to these projects I never finished. These books I never read. These clothes I never wore. These gifts of love I had forgot about.

I sort through them. Keep. Go. Keep. Go. Go. Go. Keep.

I bring two bags of clothes to Buffalo Exchange. They offer $12.50 store credit for one pair of shorts. They’ll donate the rest to local charity. I bring 12 books to Half Prize Books. They offer $11. A friend will pick up kitchen utensils and a food processor tomorrow.

I’m sorting through my stuff and I’m getting a sense of freedom. Spaciousness. Clarity.

These are the values I use as my selection criteria. This is what I want my loved ones to find if I die today. This is what I want to leave behind.

The rest is ballast, burden, attachment.

I’m sorting through my stuff and are getting to the bone of who I am and want to be. Light in body, spirit, and mind.

I’m sorting through my stuff and get to the essence of my life. This is what I want to do, read, wear. This is how I want to be. I am feeling a sense of deep peace arise in me. Life is not difficult. Life is not about having, keeping, planning. Life is about being open, loving, joyful. Life is about enjoying each and every moment, and give the best of yourself.

My favorite artist Ramses Shaffy has this fantastic song:

“De wereld heeft my failliet verklaard, ik heb me nog nooit zo goed en licht gevoeld als nu. Ik heb me nog nooit zo schoon en bevrijd gevoeld als nu.”

Listen to it. Even if you don’t understand the words, you’ll get the jubilant energy of dropping all your luggage and walking light and free. Bankruptcy is a gift of God, not of society. Gosh, I love cleaning up and letting go!


You want help to sort through your stuff, mourn and letting go? Read testimonials of people who hired me as their personal organizer. I would love to help you too! Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a free, discovery session.