My first introduction to Feng Shui was over 12 years ago, because I was stressed and frustrated. I always figured my life was chaotic because of my Type A personality – my mind was always going in 5 different directions, and always thinking 3 steps ahead (OK, so I still do that on occasion). It wasn’t until I read an article about Feng Shui in a local paper that I understood the real reason for my stressful lifestyle. My mind and physical surroundings were full of clutter, which caused me to have chaotic life energy (ch’i). My personal ch’i and the ch’i in my physical environment needed help. We can discuss mental clutter another time, but this post addresses the physical clutter.
Living with clutter was costing me time, money and peace of mind. I was always searching for the car keys, getting angry when I had to pay a late fee on a bill I had misplaced, or purchasing a duplicate of something because I couldn’t find it when I needed it. When we had company over, I would have the whole family scrambling to pick up and hide all the stuff lying around. We used to joke that having people over was the only time the house ever looked clean. In reality, it was no laughing matter.
Feng Shui is all about consciously arranging your physical environment to enhance the quality of your life. I came to the realization that I couldn’t arrange all of the stuff we had because we had too much! My urge to purge was awakened. The process became less painful and more enlightening when I learned to ask some basic Feng Shui questions as I held or looked at each item.
1. Do I love it?
2. Do I need it?
3. Does it reflect who I am now in my life?
4. Does it act as an environmental affirmation to me?
5. What positive and/or negative thoughts, memories, or emotions do I associate with it?
6. Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now?
7. If I moved tomorrow, would I choose to take it with me?
8. If it is time to let it go, am I going to sell, lend or give it away, and when?
As my husband, two kids and I went through our stuff, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to sell, donate or toss the things that no longer worked or served a purpose in our current lives – old dishes given to us by my husband’s late mother (we never used them and never would, so why not give someone else a chance to enjoy them?); the entire set of our wedding glassware (it was too ornate for our current tastes); broken items that could not be repaired; clothes that were outdated or didn’t fit anymore; craft supplies for projects that would never be completed; furniture we didn’t have room for; kids’ clothes and toys that weren’t used – the list went on and on.
After going through this process, what remained were the items we really loved and wanted. Clearing out the clutter really did re-energize my spirit. I felt lighter and happier immediately! We loved and used what we kept and could now honor it in our home. Everything in the kitchen had its own spot where it could be found when needed, and returned after using. Our decor was simplified, calming and beautiful now. Stuff was no longer crammed into our small 1200 sq.ft. home. We finally had some breathing room. When friends came over, they would comment on how relaxing the house felt and asked me to help them with their homes. That was the beginning of my Feng Shui career and I now look at spaces all the time through Feng Shui eyes.
We now live in Georgia and what an adventure it has been moving across the country and setting up another home. We just recently moved again, so I am still re-arranging. Each house has its own energy and special challenges, but we take our time and see what works and feels right, then go through our evaluation questions again. We’ve released older furniture and purchased new pieces that are a better fit. We always keep in mind that everything should be honored and have its own place.
Now, I’m not saying that we always have a well-organized and calming home (paper clutter is still my challenge), but I can say that I love living in an energetically uplifting house. That energy comes from letting go of the things that no longer work, consciously decorating with things that do, and staying on top of the accumulation of more stuff.
Life is good when you love what surrounds you!