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Spring Fling

Decluttering your life for a refreshed you



Illustration by Carole Hénaff

If you’re like me, along with the stirring of springtime comes the urge to open up the windows and clear out the clutter that’s accumulated over the winter. Make that over the past year—or over the course of many winters, many years. 

Wandering into my home office, I get an instant headache as I survey the bursting bookshelves, overstuffed file cabinets, and piles of folders and papers on every available surface. I’ll deal with it another day.

But that day would never come without the compassionate guidance of master organizer Carole Cline, who looked at my office recently. Her first comment immediately makes me feel better about its sorry, cluttered state. “It’s not so much that your office is messy,” she says. “It’s that your life is bigger than that. You’ve got more creative energy than the space can hold.”

So you mean it’s not my fault that I can’t stay organized? I can stop beating myself up about that?

Yes, Cline assures me. The trick is to clear out old stuff so that you can make room for what’s “hot”—what’s alive and growing right now. 

“First of all, start with the trash, the stuff you’re not attached to. Put that in a pile for the dump. Then look at what you have that might go into recycling, or be taken to Goodwill for someone else to use. Make another pile of that stuff. And then you get into the stuff that you have some attachment to. That’s harder, but I go by the ten-percent philosophy,” she says. “Everyone can give up ten percent, or one in ten, of any category of stuff they have.”

De-cluttering is really about making decisions, Cline says, which can be especially hard when you’re stressed (on deadline to vacate a home, for instance) or going through an emotional transition (after a divorce, say, or going through the accumulated possessions of a deceased parent). “Making decisions is like exercising a muscle,” she says. “The more decisions you make, the more actions you take, the more you start to get into a flow and it becomes less painful, less emotional.”

“The letting go is the hard part,” says Lori Plager. Plager hired Cline to help her pare down the belongings in her four-bedroom house, including two attics, a basement, and a shed filled with all the “stuff” of her now-grown three children. “We worked for two hours once a week for three or four months,” Plager says. “Carole was so good at helping me prioritize what I really needed without getting overwhelmed. Like who really needs ten pairs of black pants when you probably only wear three of them? I was able to give things away to people who could really use them. And when it was all done, I felt so much better.”

It turns out that de-cluttering one’s physical space has a very positive effect on one’s mental space, too. Cline applies her background in the healing arts to her role as an organizer. “After I work with someone—never more than two hours at a time—I have them lie down with an eye pillow, put their feet up, relax, and energetically let go of whatever stuff we’ve begun to purge,” she says. “When we let go of things that are not working for us, our environments will start to nurture us and make vibrant, new creative energy available to us.” 

Sudha Carolyn Lundeen, a wellness coach and yoga teacher who offers workshops at Kripalu in the Berkshires and around the country, agrees. “Carole came in, not judging me but supporting me in sorting through years’ worth of stuff that I had accumulated, in order to make space to create the mental clarity that I needed to work with clients here at home,” she says. “It was miraculous. Once we had cleared up the clutter, it gave me a new sense of grounded spaciousness that allowed me to be more effective in my work.”

Cline was in the process of packing up her own life to move from here to the West Coast. She and her new husband are thinking of joining the tiny-house movement, where her talent for keeping clutter to a minimum will surely come in handy. 

Staying organized is a never-ending project, so I ask Cline: How do you keep stuff from accumulating again?

“Once you start to have more space, you develop a different attitude toward stuff,” she says. “You realize what’s important to you. It doesn’t matter if things are beautiful or full of sentimental value or even if they’re made of gold, they still take up space and prevent us from trying something different, something new.” 


Tips to Stay Organized

  • The 10% rule: Eliminate one item in ten.
  • Start with a half-hour a week of decluttering one small area, like a closet shelf. 
  • Start by getting rid of trash—broken things, stained clothing, old receipts. As you exercise your decision-making muscle, it will become easier to purge stuff.
  • Think altruistically: What might someone else enjoy? 

As you continue to purge in small increments, notice the resulting mental clarity and energetic boost that decluttering gives you. It’s not just about a clearer home, but a clearer mind as well.

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September 2017

 The Litchfield Historical Society and the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy invite you for a book talk and reception on Sunday, September 24 at 3 p.m. with Roger D. Stone, author of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society and Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
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Cost: varies but mostly free

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Bank Street Theater
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CT Largest Agricultural Fair has pretty much everything! Performances by Brothers Osborne, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Military appreciation Day with USO Show, new this year a Lumberjack...

Cost: Free-$35 (not including rides)

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Cost: Free!

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Litchfield History Museum
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
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Cost: Free

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Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
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The Smithy Loft Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibit featuring infrared photography by Litchfield, CT photographer, Wendy Costa, and contemporary drawings and paintings by Stony Creek, CT...

Cost: Free

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Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
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Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
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Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
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The WCSU Alumni Association will host The Neil Wagner Golf Outing with a 10 a.m. shotgun start at the Richter Park Golf Club, 100 Aunt Hack Road in Danbury. Proceeds from the annual event will...

Cost: $175

Where:
Richter Park Golf Club
100 Aunt Hack Road
Danbury, CT  06810
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Painter Stanley Lewis will discuss his work at 11 a.m. in Room 144 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The event will...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
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Cost: varies but mostly free

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Bank Street Theater
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Join us as we welcome Mark Scarbrough, a scholar on 19th Century American literature, as he leads a five week session exploring literature, politics and culture in the United States through the...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
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The Smithy Loft Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibit featuring infrared photography by Litchfield, CT photographer, Wendy Costa, and contemporary drawings and paintings by Stony Creek, CT...

Cost: Free

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Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
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Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
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Author, Filmmaker and Educator, Tom Shachtman, will offer a visual presentation followed by a signing on his recently published book, How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors Diplomats, Luis...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
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Website »

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This festival aims to serve as a creative outlet to residents of greater New Milford by providing them with the opportunity to show their work on the big screen, all while raising money for a...

Cost: varies but mostly free

Where:
Bank Street Theater
46 Bank St
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Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
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The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
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 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
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Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
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For over 30 years, Green Chimneys has been opening its doors to the community for Little Folk Farm Day, welcoming scores of young people to explore our bustling Brewster campus. Play groups,...

Cost: infants under 2 - Free; Adults - Free; Children 2 & older -@ $10

Where:
Green Chimneys
400 Doansburg Rd.
Brewster, NY  10509
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Sponsor: Green Chimneys
Telephone: 845-279-2995 ext 307
Contact Name: Gail Dickerman
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This festival aims to serve as a creative outlet to residents of greater New Milford by providing them with the opportunity to show their work on the big screen, all while raising money for a...

Cost: varies but mostly free

Where:
Bank Street Theater
46 Bank St
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View map »


Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
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View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
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The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

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The Smithy Loft Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibit featuring infrared photography by Litchfield, CT photographer, Wendy Costa, and contemporary drawings and paintings by Stony Creek, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
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Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
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Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
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The White Hart Speaker Series is presented in collaboration with Oblong Books & Music & Scoville Memorial Library ADMISSION IS FREE.  THE PURCHASE OF A BOOK AT THE EVENT SUPPORTS...

Cost: Free

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White Hart Inn
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Salisbury, CT
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Website »

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This festival aims to serve as a creative outlet to residents of greater New Milford by providing them with the opportunity to show their work on the big screen, all while raising money for a...

Cost: varies but mostly free

Where:
Bank Street Theater
46 Bank St
New Milford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Bridge Healing Arts Center Hosts an open house for practitioners of the healing arts to explore Connecticut’s first synergistic wellness community. Providers will now be able to refer...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bridge Healing Arts Center
304 Main Street
Farmington, CT  06032
View map »


Sponsor: Bridge Healing Arts Center
Telephone: 860-710-5504
Contact Name: Vera Halina
Website »

More information

The Smithy Loft Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibit featuring infrared photography by Litchfield, CT photographer, Wendy Costa, and contemporary drawings and paintings by Stony Creek, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

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WCSU will present the "Best Darn Jazz Club in Danbury" at 8 p.m. in the Colonial Corner in the Student Center on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

This festival aims to serve as a creative outlet to residents of greater New Milford by providing them with the opportunity to show their work on the big screen, all while raising money for a...

Cost: varies but mostly free

Where:
Bank Street Theater
46 Bank St
New Milford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Smithy Loft Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibit featuring infrared photography by Litchfield, CT photographer, Wendy Costa, and contemporary drawings and paintings by Stony Creek, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Little Free Library Stewards Rose Buckens and Jo Ann Jaacks will host a combined indoor tag sale fundraiser and informational gathering at St. Michael’s Community House, 23 South Street, just...

Cost: Free

Where:
St. Michael's Community House
23 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Little Free Library at StoneHill
Telephone: 203-770-4156
Contact Name: Rose Buckens
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society’s Saturday morning walking tours are exploring new sites in town. Each tour lasts about an hour—make sure to bring a bottle of water and wear...

Cost: Free for members; $5 non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan
Website »

More information

This festival aims to serve as a creative outlet to residents of greater New Milford by providing them with the opportunity to show their work on the big screen, all while raising money for a...

Cost: varies but mostly free

Where:
Bank Street Theater
46 Bank St
New Milford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Smithy Loft Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibit featuring infrared photography by Litchfield, CT photographer, Wendy Costa, and contemporary drawings and paintings by Stony Creek, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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