Controlling Clutter the Feng Shui Way: Space Clearing in the New Year
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Controlling Clutter the Feng Shui Way: Space Clearing in the New Year

Okay, youÂ’ve bought a bunch of those under-the-counter organizers, a dozen of those neat stacking shelves, several plastic organizing bins, two sets of those tiered hanging racks, and just about every other organizational gizmo your local home improvement store has to offer, but still, the clutter keeps coming back. And you just canÂ’t figure out why. One day it seems you have things under control, but the next . . . clutter reappears. What are you doing wrong?

Okay, so you bought a bunch of those under-the-counter organizers, a dozen or so of those neat stacking shelves, a pile of plastic organizing bins, two sets of those tiered hanging racks, and just about every other organizational gizmo your local home improvement center has to offer, but still, the clutter in your house keeps coming back.   And you just can’t figure out why.

One day it seems you have things under control, but the next . . . clutter just reappears!   What are you doing wrong?   

You’re fully aware that clutter is directly related to a lack of proper utilization of space, but if it were as simple as that, wouldn’t your arsenal of organizers have already solved the problem? 

Well, maybe the problem isn’t your sense of organization, but the flow of energy within your home.  And perhaps the 4000 year-old Chinese art of feng shui can provide the solution you need to end clutter once and for all!

Historically, feng shui was used for thousands of years to position buildings—often spiritually-significant structures such as tombs and temples, but also personal dwellings—in a “positive” orientation. 

Depending on the particular method of feng shui used, (many different philosophies developed across Asia), a positive site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, celestial constellation, or sometimes by use of a compass.  In fact, a compass was often used to help orient many traditional structures

Feng Shui compass

But most essentially, the goal of feng shui  is to orient objects within a space according to the flow of qi (sometimes ch‘i), a movable positive or negative lifeforce within which all things exist.  To accomplish this in modern times, buildings themselves are sometimes designed to take advantage of particular energy flows.

Feng shui applied to HK Building in Honk Hong

In feng shui (and in Chinese martial arts as well) qi refers to energy in the sense of the vital life force

A traditional explanation of qi as it relates to feng shui would include not just the orientation of a structure, but its age, its history, and its interaction with the surrounding environment including local air currents, the slope of the land, vegetation, and even soil quality.  Thus, any manmade object must take into consideration all these surrounding factors before being constructed or set in place.

Feng shui fountain

And just as feng shui applies to structures within the landscape, so too does it apply to the flow of energy within a dwelling or home. 

Thus, the placement of objects within a dwelling can greatly encourage the flow of qi--or greatly inhibit it, creating dead zones.  And if clutter keeps returning to your home for no apparent reason, it may be that you need to shift the energetic matrix of your space, encouraging a positive flow of qi to replace the stagnant.

In feng shui, the concept of organizing objects within the home is called “space clearing.”  

The space clearing philosophy is based on the premise that our homes (just like outside spaces) reflect the vibrational imprints of all past events, which leave patterns of impeded or stagnant energy flow--created, perhaps, even before you became a resident.  This "history" requires that objects within it be arranged in a particular manner so as not to further impede the vital lifeforce

Additionally, the stagnant energy of a home it thought to alter the way in which its inhabitants perceive their space; unconsciously adding to the negative flow by placing objects where they will further block positive energy.  So, by simply changing the way your think and feel about your home, you may be able to break the pattern of behavior that has led to the cluttered results.

Here are the steps to space clearing via the feng shui way.

1. Start by Getting Rid of Concentrated Clutter

To the subconscious mind, clutter triggers impressions of stagnation; energy stuck such that life itself doesn’t move.

Emotionally, it can represent those things we subconsciously resist and places we don’t want to direct our attention. Simply put, when we see clutter--piles of laundry, stacks of papers or unread mail, empty boxes--our minds equate it with chaos and dead energy.  Thus, it seems appropriate to continue to contribute to this dead zone.  Rid your home of this clutter and the energy will begin to flow.

2. Clear the Corners:

Corners of our rooms are places where life energy (qi) comes to a stop.  It gets congested.  Dead-ended. 

Clear your corners of clutter and place a plant or corner shelf or even hang a wind chime there instead.  Once you do, acknowledge that corners need room for energy to flow.  To circulate.  Keep the corner from stagnating and you will stop keeping clutter there.  Soon, you will come to discover the proper places where these things actually belong.

3. Ritually Clean Out Your Closets:

Closets are perhaps the greatest centers of dead energy. 

Typically full of things we don’t need--and often, don’t want--closets become the black holes of stagnant qi.  And to make things worse, everything we store in and use from these stagnant spaces carries the sense and mindset of stagnant energy. 

So, pick a day and clean them out.  If you don’t use it or truly need it, get rid of it.  And once you clean them out, ceremoniously place a bouquet of fresh flowers or herbal sachet in them to commemorate your new attitude.  And once you experience the free flow of energy and how differently you feel when you open the closet doors, you’ll be hesitant to ever let them clutter-up again.

4. Daily Ceremony:

Once you have your home clutter-free once again and the qi energy flowing freely, burn a candle or stick of special incense each night for a week to reinforce the positive energy your home now enjoys.  Burning a candle will not only remind you of your accomplishment, it will reinforce the goal of maintaining positive energy from then on.

5: Reinforcement and Reaffirmation

The last step of the feng shui way is to revisit those once “dead zones” periodically (maybe once a week) to consciously reinforce the progress you and your home have made. 

Consciously inspect those once-cluttered places--that spot where the mail once lay in piles, the corners that were packed with clothes and shoes and random junk, the closets that were so disorganized you hated to even look inside. 

Consciously acknowledge how much differently not just your home feels, but you in it.  And take pleasure in knowing that by some unknown miracle, things now seem to automatically find their way to their rightful places rather than just set aside becoming clutter.

References:

http://fengshui.about.com/

http://www.fengshuicrazy.com/

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Feng_shui

The Do-It-Yourself Space Clearing Kit, by Christan Hummel

images via Wikipedia.org

Related Articles:

>  The Faces of Buddhism

>  Shinto Shrines

Principles of Acupunture

Principles of Reflexology

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Personal Sacred Space

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Comments (8)

I dont know if you wrote it or where I read it.. but I also remember reading that clutter contributes to people having migraine headaches.. which I am prone.. unfortunately hubby tends to "collect" things!

The problem's not in the "collecting," but in the not-knowing-what-to-do-with-it after you do!

nice, interesting and well written and illustrated.Thanks

Very helpful article. I started the year off with a commitment to throw out 50 things a day. It is not as hard as you think and I am not even all that cluttered. Yesterday I threw out more than ten pair of shoes as well as my old steel toe boots that I was hanging on to for sentimental reasons. It is so liberating!!! I love your point about the corners - a particular problem for me as I am always leaning things in corners and there they stay.

Thanks, Judith. What I found especially appealing about the Feng Shui way is the attitude and perception change that follows.

My creativity is returning! I felt so bogged down - I am ready to purge some of my artwork as well.

Great account, James. It's interesting that architecture and interior design are increasingly informed by Feng Shui.

Lois Koch

Nice article. I like the clear explanations about stacks of paperwork and stuff piled in corners.

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