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Feng Shui and Clutter-Clearing: 12 Months of Tips for Clutter-Busting Your Home and Office
Carol M. Olmstead, FSII
Certified Feng Shui Practitioner
Feng Shui For Real Life
Feng Shui is a design system for arranging your surroundings in harmony and balance with the natural world around you. Your surroundings have a powerful effect on what you attract into your life. When the energy around you is blocked or unbalanced, your prosperity, health, and relationships can be adversely affected. Clutter is one of the biggest obstacles blocking this positive flow of good things into your life.
In Feng Shui, clutter represents postponed decisions and the inability to move forward. Think about that for a while. What do you accumulate, where do you put it, and why do you keep it? The answers say a lot about you.
If clutter in your home or office has you stuck, now is the time to break free. Here are twelve months of Feng Shui clutter-clearing tips. Start with the current month and work through a complete year:
JANUARY: DO THE FENG SHUI FLING.
Start your year out right by doing the Feng Shui Fling. Every trash day, get a large plastic bag, move quickly through your home, and fling 27 things into the bag—things you do not need, do not want, do not know why you are keeping. Open drawers and cabinets. Dig down under the sink. Do not think, do not analyze, do not hesitate…just fling. Then take the bag right out to your trashcan before you change your mind.
FEBRUARY: MAKE ROOM FOR A RELATIONSHIP.
In this Valentine’s month, declutter your house to make room for the perfect partner to come into your life. Your goal is to free up 25 percent of the space in your home, especially your bedroom, for someone else’s things. Clear out your bedroom closet so there will be room for your lover’s clothes. Toss the expired prescriptions and half used toothpaste tubes to make an opening in the medicine cabinet for a lover’s toiletries. Clear off one of the night tables in the bedroom and empty at least one drawer for a partner to fill. Remove those extra pillows, throws, and stuffed animals so there is room for a lover to join you in bed.
MARCH: LET YOUR OLD CLOTHES GO.
As the weather starts to change, change your wardrobe by letting go of the clothes you do not need anymore. You see them every morning: the shoes that cause blisters, the pants that ride too high in the crotch, the suits from your button-down days. You may have paid a lot for them, you certainly loved them when you bought them...but you just do not wear them anymore! If you have not worn an item of clothing for a year, remove it from your closet and donate it to charity.
APRIL: ANSWER THREE TAXING QUESTIONS.
Congratulations, you made it through another tax season. But are all of those tax records still cluttering your desk or dining room table? The IRS requires that you keep personal tax records from 5-7 years, so you can safely shred at least one box of old tax records after you filed your return. But what else should you keep? Ask yourself these three questions to help decide whether something is clutter or a keeper:
1. If I throw this away, will I get arrested? If the answer is NO, toss it.
2. Did I need this during the last year? If the answer is NO, out it goes.
3. Can I get it someplace else, especially on the Internet? If the answer is YES, trash it!
MAY: CLEAR OUT THE KITCHEN.
A clean, food-filled kitchen is the center of family life and a symbol of health and prosperity in Feng Shui. Throw out anything in your refrigerator and freezer that is old, half-full, or fuzzy. Remove everything from your pantry, wipe the shelves, and only keep items that are fresher than 6 months old. Update those old photos, take-out menus, and shopping lists on the fridge door with new ones. Buy a new pair of oven mitts or potholders to replace the burnt ones.
JUNE: SPRING CLEAN YOUR OFFICE.
When the warmer weather puts you in the mood for some spring cleaning, include your office. Clean your computer, including keyboard and monitor. Bundle up your electrical cords and wires and contain them with a twist tie or tubes made specially to control them. Remove the books from your shelves and dust; put back only books you use and current manuals. Remove dead leaves from your office plants; if you have silk plants, dust them, or replace them if they are faded. Wash your windows if possible.
JULY: READ AND RELEASE.
Is a summer of reading resulting in too many books cluttering your shelves? Instead of cramming even one more book into your bookcase, practice the Read and Release principle: give it to a friend, donate it to charity, forget it at Starbucks, leave it at the grocery store, trade it at a used bookstore. Releasing your books creates space and enriches your community by sharing the pleasure of reading.
AUGUST: GIVE YOUR DESK DRAWER A VACATION.
Do things tend to get lost in your desk drawer? Before you leave for your summer vacation, give your desk a vacation from clutter. Open your top drawer and toss the following things into the trash: Dried-up pens and markers; bent paper clips; plastic utensils and ketchup packets from take-out lunches; month-old memos; message slips from people you have already called; pencils with worn-down erasers; dried up bottles of correction fluid; brittle rubber bands that will break as soon as you stretch them.
SEPTEMBER: ORGANIZE SCHOOL PAPERS.
You love every one of those drawings and papers that your children bring home from school. But if you save everything it diminishes the value of those special ones since they get lost in the clutter. Instead, each week collect all of the papers in a folder and have your child select one to keep. Put it on the refrigerator or display it on a bulletin board. After a week, date the paper and put it in a scrapbook or keepsake box for each child.
OCTOBER: CONTROL MAILBOX CLUTTER.
This is the month when the deluge of holiday catalogues starts arriving in your mailbox along with all the other printed materials you never read. When all of that mail accumulates it translates into clutter. To move your mail rather than accumulate it, keep a trashcan and/or a shredder near your in-box and treat it like a baby. That is, feed it often and change it frequently. When the mail comes, immediately toss the junk mail, circulars, and FYI mail into the trash or shred it.
NOVEMBER: GIVE THANKS FOR THE EXTRA SPACE.
In this month of Thanksgiving you don’t need more things to be thankful for, you just need more room for thankfulness. Here are five things you can get rid of this month and be thankful for the extra space in your life: One unfinished project, one object that needs fixing but is not worth the effort, one gift you never liked even though you love the gift giver, one souvenir that no longer has meaning, one item of clothing you have outgrown—physically or emotionally.
DECEMBER: REDUCE GUILT CLUTTER.
End your year by reducing your guilt clutter; that is, your guilt over getting rid of gifts you do not need, even though they came from someone special, or cost you a lot of money, or you just do not like them anymore. Instead of feeling guilty, spend this month finding a new home for all of these things. Whether you sell them, donate them, or trash them, getting rid of the guilt clutter today will open up space for new energy to flow into your life tomorrow.
Want to receive more Feng Shui tips to control clutter? Go to www.FengShuiForRealLife.com and click on the “Newsletter” tab to receive a monthly e-zine of Feng Shui tips, advice, success stories, Q&A.
Carol M. Olmstead is a consultant, author, and lecturer specializing in practical, real-world applications of Feng Shui for home, business, and real estate. A Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, Carol uses her natural intuitive sense to help attract prosperity, health, love, harmony, happiness, and abundance. Carol has been featured in print and Internet publications including Cosmopolitan, Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, Prevention Books, The Scientist Magazine, Telecommuting for Dummies, in home improvement websites, on Fox TV Morning News, and is a frequent guest on broadcast and Internet radio. She is the author of the Feng Shui Quick Guide For Home and Office: Secrets For Attracting Wealth, Harmony, and Love. To buy Carol’s book, please go to www.FengShuiForRealLife.com.