Spring Cleaning – Clutter

The Annual Spring Cleaning with Feng Shui

Spring Cleaning 101

Clutter: Any open flat surface has a way of accumulating whatever is in your hands that you need to set down. The design rule is that no more than one third of this surface – a dresser, a chest, a table – should have anything on it for any prolonged amount of time. In most homes, we decide what needs to be there permanently. Perhaps it is a plant or a figurine, or a place to put your keys or mail when you walk in the door.

What is clutter?

Clutter is:

  • Useful Items that are not in their proper places
  • Items that you no longer need or use that are taking up valuable space
  • Items that you don-t even like — gifts
  • Things you are holding on to that serve no purpose thwart your every move.
  • Things you don’t love, want or need
  • Packed closets that stop energy flow, rendering it “stuck”
  • Anything unfinished that is sitting out reminding you – mental, emotional or spiritual = clutter
  • As a verb, the dictionary says, “to litter or pile in a disordered state.”
  • The result of, in some cases, a mental condition = hoarder’s syndrome

Items that may be clutter

  1. Books — hard to let go*
  2. Clothes — review every season. Have a time limit (1 to 2 years) since last wearing
  3. Unwanted gifts, presents — we need to change our ideas about gift giving with family and friends. Perhaps intangible gifts like theatre tickets or dinners out could replace useless mementos?
  4. Broken things — should be fixed or tossed

Feng Shui Clutter is in the eye of the beholder. Everything needs a place. When I visit homes sometimes people apologize for their “mess”. In the grand scheme of things, the “mess” isn’t really that bad but I am made aware of their concern to achieve absolute perfection. Perfection, if achieved, is fleeting and hard to maintain and can lead to stress, too. We all have things that need to be somewhere – either temporarily or longer term. It is best if we can find an out-of-the-way place for them, whether it is an unoccupied bedroom or area in the basement. As long as it isn’t too tightly packed or lost in the abyss, it will be fine and it will be in a place where you can find it when you need it. Organization is the key. The bagua can help. By applying it to the entire house, or a single important room like the bedroom or office you will remember where to look. On a desk, for example, put your checks or money related items in the wealth corner. The picture of your partner in the partnership corner, etc.

People drawn to feng shui have a higher need for pleasing esthetics, organization and supportive places than your average homeowner. Many are like sponges who absorb the environments around them. Many whose own chi is not strong — due to illness — especially chronic, autoimmune or environmental allergies can benefit more quickly from a few changes that create a more supportive environment. This is because they are so sensitive. Sounds, sight, touch, smells and intuition are more noticed by them. On the opposite end of the spectrum is a big energetic man — especially one who has practiced martial arts and can control and project out his energy. He can be somewhat oblivious to his surroundings. He is a walking “house” and can endure sensory overload, clutter and chaos well beyond the normal amounts without being effected. This is what I call the Body Oblivious/Body Sensitive Extremes. (Practicing chi’ kung can help sensitives learn how to survive in difficult environments — a huge topic in itself.)

Many who desire serene unobstructed visual beauty find that visual Clutter = Confusion = Chaos = Stress while a few require some “eye candy” to give them energy,support and inspiration. There is no wrong way as long as the place gives the person living there what she/he needs to rest, recover and prepare the person for the outside world where we lose much of the control over our surroundings.

Winston Churchill once said:

First we shape our buildings, then they shape us.

I say:

Put your home into the shape you need for your lifestyle, then let it support you and your family in all you do in your busy lives.

Where is the Clutter and How does it affect you?

  • Clutter in the basement = affects your subconscious mind.
  • Clutter in the attic = limits your future possibilities
  • Clutter in the front entrance = restricts your present opportunities
  • Clutter behind doors = restricts you and gives you a pessimistic approach to the world.

In general:

  • Clutter placed low drags your energy down
  • Clutter placed high represents problems waiting to be dealt with (in over your head)
  • Never restrict doors and passageways.

Why do we keep clutter? — a Survey

  1. 46% were keeping it “just in case”
  2. 21% had sentimental attachment
  3. 9% kept it because “it was expensive”
  4. 10% were too busy to clean
  5. 4% admit to being too lazy to clear clutter
  6. 10% had no clutter (feng shui followers make up a large part of this percentage)

When Clutter gets out of control, your environment can be working against you and your goals for your home and your life.

Move 27 objects that haven’t been moved in a year to bring new opportunities into your life.

Spring Clearing of Stagnant Space

  • First get your house in order by doing the mundane things like cleaning, painting, redecorating.
  • Don’t forget window washing. Windows are the eyes of the house. Clean windows bring in more light and benefit your mood.
  • Open up the doors and windows on a breezy day and let the stale air out and fresh air in.
  • Waft good smells around — like sage or incense or cautious candle burning — to clear out the bad vibes.
  • Do a house blessing ceremony to change the energy and bring in good luck to your house.
  • You can create your own ceremony or use feng shui’s “Tracing the Nine Stars” if you have it.
  • You can always call for some professional help in organizing, in feng shui or spiritual matters