Sometimes life can pile up on you. Clutter can block you and depress you. This photo of my desk is a physical manifestation of exactly that. And it might offer hope to those of you who feel overwhelmed–you’re not alone. Even Feng Shui By Fishgirl lets clutter get out of control from time to time. Remember to breathe. Nobody’s perfect and you don’t have to be! But I know that I’m gonna feel a whole lot better when I straighten up and sort through this mess. Clearing out and organizing gives you breathing room and creates a subtle feng shui shift in energy. Take baby steps like starting with your desk one day, your closet another.
Tag Archives: clutter
What do you think of when you hear the term “junk in the trunk”? The phrase became popular with hip hoppers and rappers appreciatively referring to women with ample butts. (After watching the Olympics last summer, I think the term can also apply to some of our talented male athletes, too!) Our butts are behind us. Makes it somewhat hard to see what’s going on back there. What’s all this got to do with feng shui?
Just because I can’t see my butt doesn’t mean it isn’t getting bigger! It takes discipline and hard work to keep it in shape and that’s true of your feng shui, too. Practicing feng shui, we know that clutter drains us of chi (energy) and puts blocks us mentally from getting things done. Often we find a big “trunk” (drawer, bin, closet) and throw all the clutter and junk in there, close the lid, and forget about it. On the surface our desks and our living/ working space looks clutter-free so we get a temporary jolt of good feng shui. We’ve put the clutter problem behind us. Or have we?
Tossing all the clutter inside a storage unit of some kind does help a little bit. But eventually, we’re going to open that closet door or that drawer and see the jumbled mess contained within. That sinking feeling of “where do I begin to clear up this mess?” is a sign that your chi is being drained but the clutter. It’s much better to spend a few minutes each day putting away your stuff, organizing your desktop, and clearing the way for the next day than letting it pile up into a bigger problem to solve later on. If you’re trying to de-clutter an entire room or building, do it in smaller increments until you have the entire place under control so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the task.
It takes time to get into the daily organizational habit. One spring-cleaning per year is a good start, but does not yield results unless you keep up with the maintenance. You wouldn’t expect to reshape your gluts with only one hard workout, would you?
Take one tired employee (you), add one cluttered atmosphere (your work space), mix in working too many hours and no time for relaxation. What do you have? A recipe for burn out, low productivity, and no fun at work.
Here are some feng shui steps to bring you back your focus and drive.
1) TAKE INVENTORY The nine areas of your life according to feng shui principles are: Career, Wisdom & Knowledge, Family & Health, Wealth, Fame & Reputation, Love & Relationship, Creativity & Future Projects (this covers children, too), Travel & Helpful People, and, Tai Ch’I (which is your core being). Ask yourself what areas of your life are working for you and where do you feel blocked? Make a list. You’ll be able to see clearly where you need to give yourself some extra attention.
2) BABY STEPS Decide to address one of those blocked areas at a time. Most likely you won’t be blocked in every single area of your life…focus on the positive things going on first. Express gratitude for all the blessings you do have. Where there are problems, ask yourself what steps need to be taken to remove the obstacles to your success. If your health is suffering and that is on your list, you can implement the following solutions:get a physical, take vitamins, begin exercising and, if you’ve got time built up, take a much needed vacation so you can begin work again with a fresh attitude.
3) ME TIME Look at your busy calendar and set aside a little “me time”. IE, if you feel blocked creatively, take a break and put some ideas into your “creativity bank”. That may mean scheduling visits to museums, window shopping for fun, going to the movies, or even to an amusement park. Perhaps you’ve lost touch with mentors and colleagues? Taking time to make a few phone calls to reconnect you to those Helpful People might give you a mental boost as well as put you on to some hot leads. All of which can stimulate your Career ch’I (energy) and get your groove back on.
It’s sum-sum-summertime! Many of us will be taking our vacations soon. You might be traveling to an exotic island, to Europe, or simply relaxing in your back yard with a pina colada and a good novel in “staycation style”. Whatever you have planned, taking time off from the daily grind is good for your ch’i (energy) and that means it is good for your feng shui.
What’s happening to your space while you are on leave? If you’re lucky enough to have an office, most likely you shut the door to it until you return. Some feng shui tips before you leave town: empty the trash can,clear off the desk top, remove all clutter and sticky notes from your computer, lock away any personal items that you wouldn’t want people snooping into (or better yet, bring them home).
While you’re away the closed office ch’i may become stagnant the longer it is unused. Here’s what to do to revitalize the “dead zone” when you return from vacation. You’ll need a stick of incense. Light the incense and waft it about the space in a circular motion. While doing that, reclaim the space and rededicate yourself to being the best at whatever job it is that you do. There’s no need to use the entire stick of incense.If you work in a conservative office you may want to light a small aromatic candle instead while doing the reclaiming visualization. Snuff the candle after a few minutes whenyou feel you are ready to begin working again.
If you occupy a cubicle or open area you’ll still want to activate your feng shui when you come back from your trip. You might have other conditions to worry about: perhaps your desk was used by a co-worker or temp worker while you were out of town? This is all the more reason you need to clear out their energy and reclaim your space.
The final touch after you’ve smoked out the stale ch’i is to place some cut flowers in a vase on your desk. It can be a big bouquet or a tiny bud vase. Welcome back!
Why is removing clutter so important to good feng shui? Let me give you an example of how clearing space makes room for good things to happen. I have been feeling blocked lately (it happens to feng shui practitioners, too) I sat still with it and noticed that I had let a few things pile up on my desk, had a “to-do list” that was a couple pages–and a couple of months–long overdue, and I knew if I didn’t address all these things I would feel even less inclined to do them as time went on. I have a client project I need to complete on a tight deadline but couldn’t muster the energy or focus to do it. I have paintings I want to paint in time for the summer gallery season in Maine and I am only partly done.
So…I began one night this weekend with clearing off my desk, slowly working through the piles of bills and filing work. Checked it off my list. Took out the list. Ordered a new cheaper mobile phone service from Virgin Mobile that will cost me $60 less per month than my original provider (check!). Scanned artwork in to upload to my facebook page (check!). Filled out an online survey that earned me a free tall sized drink at Starbuck’s (check!). Gathered up stuff to donate to Goodwill (check!). Worked on some press releases for an upcoming art event (check!). Followed up with my blog (check!). I won’t bore you with the rest of my list.
Today I went to Starbuck’s to redeem the free tall drink–the barrista gave me a free venti frappucino (triple the size of the original free offer) with an extra shot of coffee (score!). The facebook upload of my art resulted in one painting selling immediately (score!). Later that afternoon I had to appear in court for two traffic violations that happened under extenuating circumstances; I had to sit and wait patiently for 2 hours until my case was called and then the DA dismissed my $380 charges with only a warning (score!). I visited Williams-Sonoma to return a broken two year old $200 blender for which I had no receipt as I had always been under the assumption that Williams-Sonoma had a lifetime warranty on their products. I’d had this blender boxed up for 9 months meaning to return it (building up negative ch’i on my to-do list). After a little hassle and listening to the manager explaining to me why they no longer have that lifetime warranty policy in place I was given a brand new blender from a better brand with equivalent value (score again!). Do I feel lucky? YES! I feel like the way was cleared for me to benefit from good luck. I also applied the intention of positive action—deciding to clear the decks of my to-do list is setting intention to make room for auspiciousness, making time to act on things you need to do sets other things in motion (ie: my art work was painted but I still had to take steps to scan and upload it in order to expose it to potential buyers). By reviewing my bills and seeing that my mobile phone was costing me too much, I consciously took action to switch providers saving me a great deal of money that sends a message to the universe: I respect money and I deserve more to come my way.
This is what it feels like to be “in the flow”. I did have one negative today…my windshield has a crack on it that will need an expensive repair. But I’m taking it in stride and taking care of this maintenance right away instead of letting it pile up a ton of negative energy. Keeping your life clutter free really does attract abundance. Try it! And please share YOUR stories of clearing out the clutter in your life.
Feng Shui By Fishgirl believes that you should only surround yourself with stuff you love, especially in your own home sanctuary. Often, though, someone we love may give us a gift that we don’t share enthusiasm for. Should we keep it in order to protect their feelings? No. That’s not good feng shui. Give yourself permission to choose not to keep the gift out of guilt or obligation. Here are some alternative ideas:
*Exchange the gift at the original retailer for something you really want.
*Give the gift to a charity organization such as Salvation Army.
*Give the gift to a friend that you know would like it.
*Transform the gift into something else you like (ie: if it is a skirt but you love the fabric, cut it up and make it into a pillow or incorporate it into a quilt—get creative!).
Having stuff around your space that you don’t love has a negative impact on your feng shui. If an item is unused it becomes a part of clutter and resentment builds up. It’s much better to let it go. Is that ungrateful? No. Be thankful for the thought and the person behind the gift—give them a sincere thank you for their generosity. And don’t think twice about letting go of gifts you don’t love.
I was at somebody’s house the other day and guess what I found? Numerous items that were either unused, still in the box, or broken and discarded. Here’s the inventory:
1 portable d/w (unused)
1 portable a/c (used once, 3 years ago)
1 mosquito repellent machine (with new battery, still not working)
1 invisible dog fence (still in box)
1 ping pong replacement table (still in box)
4 older computers (no longer used)
2 bicycles (with flat tires)
1 Xacti camera (new in box, unable to figure out how to work it)
1 apple airport connector (new in box, unable to figure how to work)
4 extra internet routers
3 dogloos (for 2 dogs)
3 closets full of no longer worn clothing (circa 1972-1999)
10 boxes of old furniture showroom catalogs
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. No, I wasn’t at Cybernet headquarters…but the shocker was, it was all found in my own home! Am I a hoarder? Nope. But my mate is on his way to being classified as one. So you see, clutter is an ongoing struggle and needs to be addressed on a regular basis. Especially if your mate lives by a philosophy opposite to feng shui! We’ll begin spring cleaning for the new year soon. What’s hiding in plain sight in your house?
Here’s an example of “organized clutter”. The room is filled to the brim but the feng shui is still very good. There is great natural light, room to breathe, a good mix of elements, the room holds the owner’s textile collection, the colors used are vibrant and warm, the view to the park brings the outdoors in…all in all, a successful eclecticism that works. Message? You don’t have to be a “neat freak” to have good feng shui. Nor do you have to “follow rules” set down by home furnishings magazines. What you do need to bring on is your own personality and sense of adventure applied with some common sense. Let your room tell you what it wants!
Feng shui is about Qi/chi (energy) being able to flow and circulate freely. Storing anything under your bed blocks this process. But if you’re limited in space, underbed storage may be necessary. What to do? Feng Shui By Fishgirl recommends your optimum feng shui is to keep the underside of your bed clean and clutterfree. But if you must store something there…..
DO store soft items (ie: more bedding, linens, comforters, soft clothing) in organized containers or drawer systems under your bed.
DON’T store electrical items and appliances, negatively charged items (weapons, for example), sharp items, things that don’t belong in bedrooms, items associated with past love relationships (photo albums of exes).
What’s under your bed? Do tell!
Check out A.G. Sulzberger’s article in the NYT today about the dwindling number of affordable housing units and the contrast in one building between the tenants above and the clientele at the restaurant below. How would you decorate and manage your possessions if you lived in a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) in NYC?