How clutter clearing your home can clear your mind

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By Henry Shires

Back in June, I dragged my wife Louise to a De-Clutter Workshop at St Kilda Library by NLP Practitioner and De-Clutter Guru Michele Tocci. As at all these things Michele’s succinct wisdom and obvious experience sounded great. But at $75 per hour for a subsequent home visit I filed it with much of the rest of my on-hold life under “too hard basket”.

Henry Shires

Henry Shires

However buoyed by an mentally and spiritually uplifting trip to my homeland of Europe (notice I specify Europe and not England, you Little Englanders). And vicariously inspired by the marbled minimalist interiors captured in Louise’s fabulous photographs of her subsequent solo trip to Morocco, I again persuaded my cent conscious spouse that we should commit to an initial consultation with Michele. Focussing only on the bombed-out bunker that looked a bit like what was once our lounge.

It was the best value three hours I have ever spent – with my clothes on.

Michele instantly diagnosed the dilemma. Lovely little lounge and truckloads of lovely things (and some perhaps not so lovely depending on your taste – family of shell animals anyone?). But not enough room to go round to put all the things in.

And she then got us to do the following:

  1. Ask ourselves what we really needed the space for (so the croquet set and Pot Bellied Vietnamese Pig had to go!)?
  2. Go through each single item one by one by one asking ourselves:

Do we really need this?

Have we used it in the last 6 months (if not, out with it)?

Where should it live/with what other species of objects could it happily and logically co-habit?

When you finish a section Michele gets you to check in with and acknowledge yourself and notice what insights might have come up.



For instance Michele flagged for me that though I perceive myself to be an indecisive procrastinator, when asked to actually make decisions on what and where, I was actually quite quick, decisive and effective.

We cleared about two thirds of this small but important centre home in the three hour consultation. But it then took me another week to build up enough psychological momentum to implement Michele advice on how to clear the final third of the garage sale type jumble that was our daily living space.



So, my advice would be to use as much time as you can afford with Michele overseeing you, if you are anything like me, because otherwise you might find it is a lot harder and less attractive a prospect to tackle on your own. Without Michele to hold your hand.

Finally what does the pay-off feel like?

Like you just opened all the painted shut windows in an old house. Or you managed to create a through breeze by opening back and front doors on a stinking hot day.

Or like, somehow, magically, a large part of the daily migraine that can be life just went away. For the first time in months. And like you love your wife, your dog, and even your messy, mixed up old self, significantly more than you did before.

Michele’s Top Clutter Clearing Tips.

  1.      Start with a vision for what you want the space to look/feel like
  2.      Focus on one room at a time
  3.      Work from one corner of the room and work around the room
  4.      Question every single item “Does this item meet the vision of the room?”
  5.      Think about to whom or where to sell or donate unwanted/unused items (Ebay/Garage Sale/Friends and Family/Op Shops)

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