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Portland consultant Jane Green encourages people to 'Say Yes to Less' in 2016.



SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jane Green.Is old stuff dragging you down in the New Year?

Jane Green wants to help. A self-described “clear-space consultant” and author of A Clear Place, Green provides consultations and leads workshops on how to “declutter” and get rid of unused items that have accumulated over the years.

Next Tuesday, Jan. 19, Green will have her first workshop of the New Year at the Tualatin Public Library.

“It's a very light-hearted approach to this, and what I call a 'no-blame, no-shame' approach. What I find is … a lot of people really feel guilty about stuff they have,” said Green, who lives in Portland.

She explained, “This is kind of trying to lighten the conversation, if you will, and show them some practical steps and where to really start.”

Green encourages people not to wait until they need to downsize.

“We all do that,” she said. “We kind of get stuck in that mode of, 'Well, I'll take care of it later.'”

Green uses the word “stuff” a lot. For her, it's a catchall term for anything that has built up in a person's home — or in storage units, which she considers a waste of space and money — that is not needed or used often.

“I have lots of pictures in my presentation of actual rooms, homes that I've worked on,” she said, listing the kinds of stuff she sees the most of: “There are some things that are recurring. Books — huge. Shelves and shelves and shelves of books. People love their books. Photographs, that's another one. Boxes and boxes and frames and frames of photographs. Clothes, of course … that's another big one. Gosh, so many things. Work spaces tend to really get bogged down. We're in information overload, so people hang onto all kinds of computer apparatus, manuals, catalogs. Paperwork is huge also. … Toys, oh my gosh. … When you start seeing toys in every room of the house, that's a red flag right there.”

Some stuff is harder to part with than others. Green said people tend to hang onto items to which they have a sentimental attachment, or things they worry they would feel guilty about throwing away — keepsakes and other things passed down or left behind by loved ones.

That's where Green's described “light-hearted approach” comes in.

“I try to make it fun for people, because this can get very serious,” she said. “I think anyone who is involved with helping people downsize realize that it's a lot of hand-holding and shoulder-support in addition to just telling them how to do it.”

But Green said that in her experience, “I find that people are really open to this once you lay out that it's not rocket science.”

Green previously led a series of workshops throughout the Portland area called “STUFFication.” She described her “Say Yes to Less” workshop next week as a kind of “sequel,” building off the same themes of trying to clear up space and lighten the load.

The workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. in the library community room, located at 18878 S.W. Martinazzi Ave., Tualatin. It is free and open to the public.

Green also provides in-person and phone consultations. Her business phone is 503-263-5229.

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