Banish the junk, reclaim your space

Our article in The Citizen Times on 9/28/12

Do you ever feel stuck? Dissatisfied or uncertain? I know the answer is yes. We all do.

Some of us let it go or move through it in moments, and others of us can take a really long time to get moving again — days, months or sometimes even years.

As organizers, we have found a tool that can help you get unstuck and invite a flow into your life. It is a simple external rearrangement of energy. Clean “it” up, clear “it” out or simplify “it.”

“It” can be a counter, a drawer or a room.

My personal realization of this truth was pretty extreme. I was living in a large, two-story Tudor home with a full basement, three younger children, my husband and all the attendant stuff. I was stuck in all directions — finances, life direction and family relationships. I returned home from a week of solitude knowing all this inert energy was mine to deal with. As soon as I walked in the house, I knew where to start. The junk room in the basement.

It was a nitty-gritty time. I needed to clear out the most jammed-up room in the house. There was broken furniture, unused furniture, abandoned toys, my files dating back 20 years, my mother’s files dating back 50 years. It wasn’t dirty so much as it was packed in. Talk about unattractive. No one said, hey, let’s go down to the junk room and hang out. The whole family avoided it.

I was determined. It took two weeks and three large truckloads to the dump. When the kids felt it was really happening, they jumped in, too. I remember standing in the empty room as the last truck left for the dump sweeping the tile floor. During the tossing, sorting and saving process, it came clear that this could be a meditation room — an open space reserved for calm and clear thinking.

It didn’t take long. My husband and I painted the walls a pretty turquoise and hung pictures that inspired us. I bought a thick, soft carpet that was pricey for me at the time, but we sat on it gratefully for years. We filled the room with music and comfortable pillows. The space welcomed the whole family. We spent many hours in the former junk room sitting quietly, listening to music, playing games and having conversation. Cleaning out that room created change in all aspects of my life.

Change doesn’t have to be that exaggerated. My business partner, Robert, clears off surfaces when he is stuck. Recently, he was looking for an answer to a business question. He sat thinking at his desk. Finally he got up and cleared off the top of his bathroom vanity put everything away, wiped down the counter and nicely arranged what was left. The answer arrived as he was folding the hand towel.

We have found that shifting external energy can create internal shifts. When things are stuck, jammed, or not clear — move something. Open it up and let the inspiration flow.

Julia Gunnels, of Asheville, is the owner of Simply Change, a professional organizing service. Robert Uherka is her business partner. For services, portfolio and other information, visit, call 230-2802 or email

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