A Gentle Approach to Clearing Clutter
(Online Self-Paced Course)

Carolyn Koehnline

If you have some clutter to confront, and you need to hang in there for the long haul, it can really help to have some support and structure.

Group classes aren’t always timed exactly when you need them. Self-paced courses may allow you the timing you need, but often don’t include the personal encouragement and guidance required to help you find your way through the material most effectively.

This online, self-paced course is meant to be an alternative model, allowing you to start when you’re ready, with personalized interactions throughout. It is designed to take between four and eight weeks to complete.
The course consists of four parts:

1. Preparing Yourself
Goal: To lay the groundwork for your clutter-clearing process to be kind and rewarding.
Tasks: Identifying the clutter that needs addressing; Locating and gathering internal and external resources; Practicing self-compassion; Setting realistic goals; Creating a container for your process.

2. Getting Started
Goal: To practice clutter-clearing, combining structure and flexibility, in kind and effective ways.
Tasks: Creating guidelines and criteria for your process; Intentionally building in self-care and mindfulness throughout the process; Planning, practicing, reviewing and personalizing a proposed method for clearing clutter.

3. Befriending Time
Goal: To increase your awareness of your interactions with time and support you in shifting to a more effective and amiable relationship.
Tasks: Reflecting on the places you get into trouble with time; Applying fresh perspectives to the ways you think about time; Practicing and adapting strategies for shifting your relationship with time; Applying what you’re learning about time to your clutter-clearing project.

4. Packing Light
Goal: To reflect on what you’ve learned and to prepare you for the time ahead.
Tasks: Reviewing, gathering, winnowing, and organizing class materials and your own writings; Envisioning how your process will continue, Identifying your next step; Reflecting on your class experience.

Plan to take between one and two weeks to complete each part, depending on the time you have available and how deep you are ready to go with the material. Each part has four assignments, and the assignments vary in complexity and length with options for keeping it simple or for going deeper. Each lesson invites you to do one or more of the components below:

  • Listen to brief recordings of different aspects of clutter-clearing, guided meditations to lead you into writing processes, songs, and guided visualizations.
  • Read essays, articles, poems.
  • Write using brief, focused processes to help you access inner wisdom, clarity, creative inspiration, and self-compassion. There will also be some options to at times do art in addition to or in place of the writing.
  • Practice various actions to help you apply what you are learning with your own belongings, space, and schedule.
  • Reflect what you experienced, what struck you, and any questions you have after engaging in any of the above processes.
Some questions you may have (Click each question for the answer):

What kind of contact would we be having with each other?

I’ll give you access to posted assignments. You’ll be encouraged to send me brief reflections and questions as you work your way through them. I’ll respond to your messages a minimum of twice a week, usually more, with encouragements, reflections, guidance, and additional resources. Throughout the week you are welcome to email me any questions you have about the assignments and I will respond in a timely way. You can send these easily right from the assignment posts.

What are the benefits of this format?

This is a helpful option for those who may feel more private about their process but still want some support and guidance. There is no need to coordinate with other people’s schedules or put time and energy into reading and responding to other people’s posts. You get to start when you’re ready, linger and deepen with parts of the course that are especially relevant, and skip or move quickly through assignments that don’t feel useful or timely. This format also allows for unpredictable situations that may throw off your schedule. And because you have unlimited access to the material, you can return later to sections you skipped or want to repeat.

What makes you a helpful guide for this territory?

Great question. My kind of guidance is not for those who really want a professional organizer, a home decorator, or a drill sergeant. I bring to this course:

  • A belief in expressive writing as a tool for addressing clutter of the head and heart, supported by my training and experience as a certified journal therapist, my years of training journal facilitators, and my lifelong experience as a journal keeper.
  • A gentle approach, a respect for pacing, and an understanding of the transition process, honed through my many years as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice.
  • Years of studying how to affect positive shifts in our inner lives, our behaviors, and our environments and belongings, deepened through more than two decades as a clutter coach and instructor.
  • My belief that you are capable, and that there are multiple ways for you to access helpful inner resources.

Here are some things others have to say about my teaching.

How much time is this likely to take per week?

That will vary depending on how in-depth you want to go. Many assignments will give you the choice of approaching the process quickly and simply, or going deeper. To determine whether to take this class you should plan on a minimum of two hours per week total for class assignments and written interactions.

What is the cost?

The class costs $300 but I am currently offering it for a special rate of $275 and you can pay by check or Paypal.  That gives you two months of written coaching exchanges with me and unlimited access to the course lessons for as long as you like. If within 48 hours after you receive access to the class you decide it’s not a good fit for you, I’ll refund your money in full.

What if I need more time to complete the course?

 If situations come up that keep you from being able to complete the course within two months and you want to continue getting my written support, the cost would be  $125 for each additional month of written coaching exchanges with me. You can also schedule additional phone coaching at a cost of $125 per hour. Click here to purchase a one-month extension.

What if I prefer to do this class with a partner, friend, or group?

If you have someone or a group of less than ten people who would like to take this course with you, that is an option. For details, email me here.

How do I register?

The first step is to Click here to complete a pre-registration questionnaire and submit it to me. That will help us both determine if this class will be a good fit for you. Filling out the form does not commit you to take this self-paced class.

I will review what you’ve written, and send you an email answering any questions you have. If I feel the class will be a good option for you, I’ll send information on how to pay. Once I’ve received your payment, I’ll give you access to the class and you can get started.