Talking Tame Space at Word Up Community Bookstore
On March 15, I had my very first workshop in a local community bookstore three blocks from my apartment. It was so gratifying an experience that I was walking on air for 48 hours. As a person who has always felt more comfortable behind the scenes, being on a tiny platform with 15 people listening to me talk about the too much stuff problem was... well let's just say it was both really hard and really worth it.
Of course, when you talk about a subject you care about you can go on forever, but I wanted the workshop to focus on the attendees and what they had to say about the difficulties of managing their spaces. So when people started nodding as I moved through my simple slideshow and offering comments, I knew it was going great. When full conversations started to blossom, with questions flowing, I forgot about being nervous or not having an answer to one of their questions. Even the bookstore volunteers ended up joining in the workshop.
After the workshop, I had a chance to connect with people one on one. This was the most gratifying feeling of all, the way people shared their history and obstacles to enjoying their homes.
Many of them had the same issues, that they didn't know where to start. Or they had partners who were long time "collectors". They shared about how they overcame certain problems with paperwork (scanners!) and a love of objects that caused every surface in the home to be a collection holder.
One thing that kept coming up was the problem of letting go. This mystifying behavior we all have that keeps us from donating that old sweater we've had for 15 years and almost never wear. And the reasoning glitch behind it elicited a lot of nods in the group: "Well I've kept it this long, may as well hold on to it, might come in handy someday..." that glitch keeps us just a step or two away from the clinical hoarding definition.
In the end, giving the workshop is really about being able to connect to people who need help doing something that they find hard to accomplish and that gets in the way of their good time. And that makes my discomfort in public speaking well worth getting over.
So, here I am, self professed introvert, now busy planning my next talk, a series, where we tackle specific spaces in the home and one about overcoming those reasoning glitches that keep us holding on to stuff instead of wrapping our arms around our experiences and the people we love.