Overwhelmed by clutter? Free workshop can offer solutions

WESTFIELD-A free virtual workshop is being offered Jan. 13 to assist those who wish to clear the clutter in their lives – for good – and create a sanctuary in their home that provides peace as well as energizes one to tackle life’s biggest challenges.

“This workshop is intended as a deep dive into our stuff, what we can let go of, what we keep, and how to create a space that is welcoming and calm,” said Becky Blackburn, public services librarian, Westfield Athenaeum.

The workshop, titled “Clean Your Closets and Find Inner Peace! With the KonMari Method,” is planned from 6:30 – 8 p.m. and features guest speaker Maile Shoul, owner of Cloud Eleven Organizing. There are spaces for 100 participants and registration can be done at www.westath.org or by calling (413) 568-7833. Participants will need an email address in order to receive the login to the Zoom meeting.

Maile Shoul, owner of Cloud Eleven Organizing, will present an informative virtual program on Jan. 13, sponsored by the Westfield Athenaeum, to help participants clear the clutter in their homes – for good. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

“We are offering this because people have been spending a lot more time at home than they normally do and that means they are noticing their surroundings for longer periods of every day,” said Blackburn. “Especially for people who are working from home and students doing remote learning – more stuff can equal more stress.”

For Blackburn, who also plans to attend the session, she said when she finds her home is “messy or disorganized,” the atmosphere can feel “chaotic.”

“Many times when I am experiencing stress I will organize a closet or two to feel I have control over something,” said Blackburn. “However, those closets tend to revert back to close-the-door-quickly-so-nothing-falls-out, so I am very much looking forward to this workshop on solutions that last.”

Blackburn explained that Shoul will discuss the KonMari Method, which was created by Japanese organizing guru, Marie Kondo.

“Millions of people have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking,” said Blackburn.

Shoul worked in health care and public health sectors for many years until she discovered the KonMari system and because of the impact it had on her, she became a certified KonMari consultant and now offers interactive, judgement-free workshops to teach others how this method can change their life. In her spare time, she also performs improv comedy – a hobby she has had since she was 18.

“I understand the battle against clutter because I’ve fought it myself, while working full time and raising a family,” notes Shoul. “I always thought I was ‘naturally messy’ until I invested the time to apply the KonMari Method™ to my home. It worked for me, and I can show you how it can work for you.”

Shoul added that the workshop will teach people how to apply the KonMari Method, which, in her opinion, is the most effective way to declutter one’s home.

“It will also help address some of the emotional roadblocks that can make decluttering so difficult in the first place,” said Shoul. “Clutter is a physical manifestation of deferred decision making and we will talk about why it can be so hard to make those decisions about what objects to keep in our homes.”


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