Apartment coaching, not therapy

Doing a bit of rental renovation courtesy of Apartment Therapy: the eight step home cure.

This book is so smart. Working in a similar guise to Dog Whisperer on TV, the author leads readers through a series of activities and lessons to rid your apartment of clutter (or your dog of nasty habits) without realizing that it's YOU who's changing.

In other words, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan is a master life coach.

He begins by asking carefully selected questions about what actors you like, who you most admire and why...and my favorites "If your apartment could speak, what would it say is the problem?" and "Eight weeks from now, when this project is done, how would you like your friends to describe your home?"

Genius. These questions aren't about your home, they are about the person living in it: how you view yourself and how you want others to see you.

Learning to love your home—as you do over this eight week process—means learning to love and be with yourself in a new way. I mean come on, you get to buy yourself flowers every week with this book!

Another great example is an exercise from week two. You are to create an "Outbox," a weighstation for items that don't fit/have a function but you're not ready to part with.

I have a problem about getting rid of inanimate objects because I don't want to hurt their feelings. Turns out the author has come in contact with that before (a common clutterer syndrome) and created the Outbox to solve it.

First, you get to see what's taking up space in your home because you have to physically move it to the Outbox. Next, you get time apart without having to say goodbye right away. As the author says, "Separation anxiety is the far bigger problem." After a week in the Outbox, you may not remember you own your grandmother's vase anymore let alone want to keep it.

Coaching is a lot like the Outbox. You want to make a change, live life more fully, and together we break that goal down into weekly, manageable activities. When fear (aka life clutter) gets in the way, we look at it without judgement, figure out what purpose it's serving and decide what to do about it.

A belief you've carried around a long time, just like that vase, might not be something you get rid of overnight. However, you've created that belief, and the clutter, therefore you have a choice what you do about it.

Tonight's task is to lovingly cook dinner in my kitchen and enjoy the smell wafting through my apartment...appreciating tonight's chef in the process.