Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Playing Through

Mini Golf at the Library (not kidding!) for their Annual Love Your Library celebration

Ridgefield Out & About - Sept/Oct

2017

Armed & Gorgeous

Keeler Tavern Museum’s Cannonball Gala

Taco Talk

Restaurants dedicated to Tacos coming Ridgefield

’Za, Down Low

Top notch Italian food and pizza at Romolo Gastro-Pizza

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2017

The 30th Annual Bigelow Tea, 5K Run, 2 Mile Fitness Walk and Kid's Fun Run will take place at Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, Southport on Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 9:00 to noon,...

Cost: $10, $15, $25

Where:
BTCC @ Wakeman Boys & Girls Club
385 Center Street
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Bigelow Tea
Telephone: 203-330-2530
Contact Name: Elaine Gavoli
Website »

More information

The Somers Women's Club, a not-for-profit community service organization, will hold its major fundraiser on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Reis Park on Route 139 in Somers. There will be a...

Cost: free

Where:
Reis Park
182 Primrose St
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Somers Womens Club
Telephone: 914-302-7231
Contact Name: Beth Ryzyk
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and the Connecticut Giant Pumpkin Growers Club will host the 5th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off on Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 10 am to 3 pm in Ballard Park,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballard Park
Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jen Mulhern
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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
View map »


Website »

More information

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Presented by Louise Baranger Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series Classic pop hits from the 60s and 70s with a dash of jazz.  Come dance, sing and groove with us! Ticket...

Cost: $39.50

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

193 Danbury Road, Ridgefield; 203-431-7000. founders-hall.org SEPT 27 @ 6 PM.  Wine, Cheese & Accessories, a Ladies Night Out; a fun evening of fine wine, food, fellowship,...

Cost: $20

Where:
Founders Hall
193 Danbury Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Founders Hall
Telephone: 203-431-7000
Contact Name: Laurie Christiansen
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Does speaking before a group make you totally anxiety ridden?  Whether for business or volunteer work, Whether you have to speak in front of large groups for work or you have a big event...

Cost: $240

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this day of watered down comedy, Nick Di Paolo’s brutally honest performances remind us of what great stand up should be: funny, socially relevant and a little bit reckless. With Boston...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Barts Tree Service Comedy Series
Website »

More information

In this day of watered down comedy, Nick Di Paolo’s brutally honest performances remind us of what great stand up should be: funny, socially relevant and a little bit reckless. With Boston...

Cost: $35

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Barts Tree Service Comedy Series
Website »

More information

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

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Larry Gatlin is the oldest of the three Gatlin brothers. By age seven, he was already accompanying younger brothers, Steve and Rudy in signing at family and church events.  On the strength of...

Cost: $37.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Mountain Dew Country & Bluegrass Series
Website »

More information

Larry Gatlin is the oldest of the three Gatlin brothers. By age seven, he was already accompanying younger brothers, Steve and Rudy in singing at family and church events....

Cost: $37.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags