Shifting Perspectives to Create Space

SharbBookshelfThis is the bookshelf in my office.  Over the years, I’ve accumulated lots of books on myriad topics such as Home Staging, Feng Shui, Psychology, Hoarding, Coaching, ADHD and surprise, Organizing. The top four shelves house reference materials while the bottom shelf holds reference materials and project materials.

Over the years I’ve become more selective about what resides on the shelf.  The shelf only contains materials I consider to be of value at any point in time. Materials no longer of value are jettisoned into the void, as I like to say.  The other day though I noticed, as you can see from the photo, that my shelf had begun to get very full.

In addition, my husband had begun commenting on piles of my projects popping up around the house:  Materials for a class I’m creating piled on the table in the sunroom and materials for a coaching class I’ll be teaching taking up permanent residence on the dining room table.  With my kids off at college and their clutter corralled in their rooms or at school with them, my clutter was becoming more noticeable.  Busted!   Instead of reducing the contents of my shelf to make room for my most current work, it looked like spreading the mess was how I was choosing to deal with having too much.

That changed this week.  As I brought my materials back to my office and began to re-shelve them I found I was either going to need a bigger shelf (not going to happen!) or some tough decisions would need to be made about what was worthy of my limited shelf space.  I say tough because as mentioned above, I’ve historically done a good job of purging the chaff.

That perspective of “tough decisions” changed dramatically though when I read through my best practices one morning this week and was able view the bookshelf situation in a new light.

One of my commitments to myself included in my Best Practices is:

“I am the commitment to creating space for the practice of presence based ADHD coaching and for expanding this segment of my coaching business.”

Though I had begun to create the space in my days for focusing on this commitment there was another component to this space creation I hadn’t addressed – the physical one.


Now you think I would notice this, having racked up thousands of hours helping people in their cluttered spaces.  But, in this situation, I didn’t –  sort of like the cobbler’s kids being the last to get shoes I guess.   By keeping less relevant materials on my shelf, I wasn’t creating the physical space necessary to support my commitment.  This shift in perspective changed everything.  Yesterday’s daunting task of making space on the shelf was now a task I was excited about, because it would support a major commitment of mine.  Operating from this perspective, I was able to clear over 18 linear inches of material from my shelves in about 15 minutes.  The change in perspective made all the difference.

What kind a difference  might a change in perspective make for you?


6 Responses to “Shifting Perspectives to Create Space”

  1. Ellen Delap September 3, 2013 8:17 am #

    I love how you are translating your physical space to represent your focus. Kudos on the clearing out!

    • Andrea Sharb September 3, 2013 4:22 pm #

      Thanks Ellen. The translation has made all the difference. It is amazing how much additional paper I was also able to release this past weekend keeping this perspective front and center. Best, A

  2. Janet September 3, 2013 11:56 am #

    Like your blog. And, what did you do with the 18 linear inches of books that you removed from the shelf? Did you dispose of the books or move them to another location?

    • Andrea Sharb September 3, 2013 4:31 pm #

      Hi Janet,

      Thank you for commenting. As for the 18 linear inches of books, about 8 inches of them ended up in the donation bag. The other 10 inches were moved to a bookshelf in my guest room. The books that I moved to that bookshelf fell into three categories: 1) a couple of feng shui books, a topic that I am still curious about but not actively pursuing the study of 2) two books on home staging that I may reference from time to time or lend out to friends, and 3)four organizing books I’m somewhat indifferent about but that I need to allow to incubate for a period of time before disposing of. I typically give books like this six months – if I don’t look for them in six months, they’re out the door.

  3. Loy September 4, 2013 9:13 am #

    Even the tone of your writing changed when you talked about your recognition that what seemed like a chore was a way to support your commitment to your professional future. What a great model that is!

    • Andrea Sharb September 4, 2013 2:25 pm #

      Thanks for pointing that out Loy. Very interesting how the lightness I felt after clearing the space on the shelf translated into my writing. As always, I appreciate your creative commentary.

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