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About Cecilia

I am a Life & Clutter Coach and IST Practitioner. I LOVE helping writers, creatives and entrepreneurs just like YOU, make their homes and lives into supportive containers for their creative AND personal lives.  

Cecilia's sharp, crystalline insight has kept me on track in my creative life, my business life, and my emotional life for the past six years: she's a triple threat!

 - Sarah Selecky, author of Giller Prize nominated This Cake is for the Party


Categorical Clutter - When it helps and when it hurts

Basements are fascinating bastions of clutter, so many things end up down there because we just don't know what to do with them.  They're too old, too ugly, too boring, too guilt inducing, too small, too big, too confusing or too emotionally charged to have in the spaces we use every day. 

What's great about basements, when it comes to clearing clutter, is that it's often very easy to see categories of stuff.  (This is true for most storage areas of your home so if you don't have a basement, look in your closets.)  For example:  Video Cassettes!  Audio Cassettes!  Vinyl!  8-tracks!  Reel to Reel!
  Sorry I got carried off on a wave of old technology, but that is just the sort of thing that you'll find "down there". 

All of the above are clear categories that can significantly simplify clearing clutter.  For example you can categorically say "I don't keep Video Cassettes!  Why?  Because, A - I no longer own a VCR and B, even if I did would I watch wobbly episodes of David Letterman from 1992?"  Wow, you've just made your life 17 swillion times easier!  (If you're not sure how many a swillion is, it's a lot.)  Instead of having to contemplate each and every Video Cassette you run across all you have to do is check your list of items that are categorically clutter and you're good to throw. 

Here are some things that make for good categorical clutter:

  • Clothes that are too big
  • Clothes that are too small
  • Socks or underwear with holes in them
  • Magazines more than 3 months old
  • National Geographic
  • Old media or ways to experience old media (tape player, VCR, tapes, video cassettes etc...)
  • Equipment connected to old sports of activities you no longer participate in
  • Etc...etc...etc...

Here are some things that do not make for good categorical clutter:

  • Items that belong to a relative who has passed away
  • Anything sentimental or emotionally charged

When we look at emotionally charged clutter categorically, it becomes almost impossible to deal with.  Trying to sort through items you've inherited from a parent who has passed away is hard enough without feeling like you have to make a decision on the whole lot.  It is imperative that you start dealing with these items individually.  You may find categories once you get started that will make things easier, just remember, "Mom's video cassettes" is a category but "Mom's treasures" is not. 

Have fun playing with categories and let me know how it goes.


Clearing Clutter - One Corner at a Time

When people find out that I’m a Clutter Coach, they often assume that I live in a minimalist heaven, with nothing more than a straw mat to lie on, a buckwheat pillow to rest my head upon, a simple cushion to sit on and one bowl to eat out of (with my bare hands of course).  Perhaps there’s one small decoration, such as a single orchid, rising like a ballerina out of its mossy bed.  I don’t mean to shatter any illusions, but this is not my reality and if you want to follow a clutter-free life, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be yours either. 


Clearing clutter is not about having nothing. Living clutter free is about surrounding yourself with things that you love and bringing a level of consciousness to the sleepy corners of your home and life.  I invite you to do a little exercise right now.  Close your eyes and mentally take a tour of your house or apartment.  Imagine you are walking through every room, looking in every closet and visiting every dark corner.  As you do this, are there areas that feel more present than others?  Which areas feel forgotten, cluttered or blank?  You can even do this exercise by walking through your space. You’ll notice the parts of your home that feel good, that feel warm, that feel like you and the parts that you gloss over, that leave you feeling tired or are forgotten as soon as you look away.  It’s almost as if there’s a mental whiteout when it comes to certain closets and corners in your home. 


It’s these blank, cluttered and sleepy areas that you really want to focus on when you engage the process of clearing clutter.  How can you bring a sense of YOU to the quiet corners of your home?  The first step, of course, is to clear your clutter.  Now listen very carefully, it’s important that you start this process with a small space, not your whole house.  Your perfectionist gremlin will try to convince you that it’s not worth starting if you can’t do it all (perfectly, right now), but I assure you it’s well worth starting small.  In fact, for most of us, it’s the only way it will happen.  I recommend choosing a specific area on which to work.  For example, I recently decided to just focus on the corner where my bedside table lives, which consists of one small surface, two small drawers and a floor space that’s 3 feet by 3 feet. 


When clearing clutter, the three most important questions to ask yourself are:


  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I use it?
  3. How does it make me feel?


Once your chosen area is clear of clutter, it’s time to show it a little love.  There’s something quite magical that can happen when you really take the time to clean a space that is usually forgotten.  First of all, get your trusty vacuum cleaner and get rid of the dust bunnies and dead flies.  Vacuuming is not just a chore when you really bring yourself along for the ride. Instead of blanking out, grumbling or thinking about what you’re going to do this weekend, see if you can really be present as you vacuum.  Before you start, close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths.  Feel your heart and feel your belly.  As you vacuum, imagine you’re sucking up all the sleepy, stale energy along with the toenail clippings and dog hair.  The vacuum cleaner is not just for floors: you can also use it to vacuum your bed, the curtains, the walls and pets.  (OK, maybe just some pets, vacuuming your pet mouse or baby hedgehog is not recommended.)  If you’ve never tried it before, it’s easier to start with just one small corner rather than doing the whole house.  As beautiful as it is, it’s often difficult to stay present for extended periods of time.


After you’ve vacuumed, it’s time to bust out the bucket and rag.  Note that I said rag, not mop.  Although it’s possible to presence a space while mopping, it’s much more powerful if you get down on your knees and tackle it with your hands.  Fill your bucket with warm water.  If the corner you’re working on is especially dirty, you can add a small amount of natural cleanser to the water, but, if not, just plain water is fine.  If you do use cleanser be sure to rinse it with plain water when you’re done.  Whereas the vacuuming was to clear out old sticky energy, cleaning the space with water is a way of really bringing a loving sense of self to your space.  As you wipe the floor/wall/bookcase, feel your heart and love your space.  Do it slowly and deliberately, really paying attention to the nooks and crannies, loving every floorboard and every book.


Now that your space is clean, it’s time to spice it up. But, before you do, there’s one more exercise for you to try.  As you’ll remember, clearing your clutter is not about living in an empty space.  However, you might like to try leaving the space clear and clean for a little while, just to see how it feels.  Does it make you feel uncomfortable?  Do you feel the impulse to dump something, anything there, just so it doesn’t feel empty?  As you sit with the space, rather than follow the instinct to either fill it up right away or become unconscious to the feelings it brings up, ask yourself what would feel good there.  There’s a real opportunity to consciously decide what will live here and what will make the space feel most like you.


When you put items back in the space, once again ask yourself how they make you feel.  You can consciously place items that not only make you feel warm and alive, but also items that represent the things that you want to cultivate in your life.  Perhaps you would really enjoy spending more time in nature.  Why not place something in your corner that reminds of the feeling you get when you’re standing in the middle of a forest?  Your space can become a touchstone for the life you want to live, so have fun with it.  And remember, you don’t have to do it all at once, just start one corner at a time.


If you would like to learn more about how to clear clutter and truly make your house a home, I invite you to attend a very special workshop that I will be facilitating on Sunday, October 16th at Queen Street Yoga in Kitchener.  It’s called Home is Where the Heart Is and, for more information, you can visit and go to the workshops page. 

This article was originally written for the Healing Path Centre newsletter.  To download the issue, visit their website here:


Video Blog - What's Underneath the Clutter? Part 2


Video Blog - What's Underneath the Clutter?


The 10 Best Clutter Clearing Questions

1.   Do I love it?
2.   Do I use it?
3.   Is it genuinely useful?
4.   How does it make me feel?  Does it bring my energy up or does it bring my energy down?
5.   Does it reflect who I am at this time in my life?  Or does it represent who I used to be?
6.   Does it reflect who I really am or does it represent the person I would like to imagine I am.
7.   Is it paying its rent?  It costs you money to keep clutter, is it paying you back in terms of how it makes you feel, it’s usability?
8.   Gifts - Am I holding onto this because of guilt?  How does this make me feel about the person who gave it to me?
9.   What do I want to make space for in my life?  Does this item support me in that?
10. Is holding onto this item more important that having the life I truly want?

Sometimes, asking the right question can make all the difference to how successful you are at letting go of clutter.  Ask the questions and then really listen to the answer, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what needs to stay and what needs to go.  Good luck!