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Tuesday
Apr102012

{Home, Naturally} Feng Shui: Spring Clean from the Inside Out

by Alison Forbes and Laura Forbes Carlin at Inspired Everyday Living

Photos by Tamara Muth King

Feng Shui is the 4,000 year old Chinese practice of making positive changes in your home to create positives changes in your life. At the heart of Feng Shui is the idea that our homes and surroundings influence all aspects of our well being---physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Therefore if you wish to improve your life, you can do so by changing your home. One of the most effective ways to positively enhance your home and life is to clear your clutter. Feng Shui believes that as you let go of the clutter in your home and release the old, you simultaneously make space for something new in your life.  In other words, as you clean house, you clean self. 

Central to the practice of Feng Shui is the idea that all things in the world are made of energy. In a sense, everything around you—including your home and possessions—is alive. Even objects that you think of as inanimate are made up of moving molecules and have their own unique vibration. Objects also become “alive” because of your feelings about them or the memories you associate with them. Even the most mundane objects can evoke an emotional response. When you look at the contents of your home from this point of view, you see why it is essential to clear your clutter and live with things that bring you joy.  Broken appliances, things you don’t like, or objects associated with negative memories will—whether you are conscious of it on a daily basis or not—stagnate the energy in your home and affect your energy.  Possessions you love, functional items, beautiful objects, and things you associate with positive memories will increase and uplift your energy.   

Another principle of Feng Shui is that everything is inter-related.  This means that even the cluttered closet, messy garage, and the burnt out light bulb affect the energy throughout your entire home and life.  For example, not finding what you need in your closet may lead to being frequently late, which may affect your job, which may affect your finances.  Bumping into boxes of stuff every time you need to get to your car in the garage may make you snap at your spouse and affect your relationship. Or imagine putting off a simple task like changing a light bulb—how many times do you think about it until you finally do it? Even small, but unfinished tasks can weigh on our minds. Each time you think about replacing the bulb you’re tying up your energy and taking away from your ability to be in the present moment. 

Feng Shui also recognizes that everything is evolving.  If your home is a source of support and inspiration, then as you grow and change, so too must your environment.  The process of clearing our clutter gives you an opportunity to reflect on where you have been, examine where you are now, and set intentions for where you would like to go.  You can then let go of any thing that no longer serves who you are now or who you’d like to be. In this way, you are expressing your highest idea of yourself through your living space, and are that much closer to actualizing your dreams. 

Clutter drains our energy, depletes our resources, and eats up our time. Clutter also ties us to the past, is a source of conflict with spouses, partners and children, and often makes us feel badly about ourselves. When we create more make physical space we also have the opportunity to create mental, emotional and energetic space. Simplified, organized surroundings promote harmony, peace, clarity, and freedom. Unfettered by the burdens of clutter our true selves are revealed and we are free to focus on what really matters. 

Clutter clearing is not just an opportunity to get rid of stuff, but a chance to clear our minds, heart and soul. When we clear with intention we can heal and transform.

Spring, the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, is a wonderful time to lighten up and make a commitment to be clutter-free so following are a few tips to get you started: 

 

  • Start small. Begin with one drawer, one shelf, or one cabinet. Easy and successful completion of one area will motivate you for the challenging areas.
  • Take everything out first. Everything. This step will ensure that you address each item. Clean each drawer, shelf, cabinet or closet before putting things back inside. You will be less apt to place anything that is less than excellent in your now clean and fresh space.
  • Get a timer and commit to ten minutes a day. If you are overwhelmed by your clutter this is a great way to start. Get an empty box and for ten minutes put as much clutter in it as you can. Commit to throwing away or donating the contents of the box by the end of the day.
  • Get support. Hire a professional or trade time with a clutter- challenged friend. It is so much easier to clear clutter with someone else cheering you on and giving you perspective on what is truly worth keeping.
  • Live with what you love. All of the objects and materials in your home interact with your own unique energy—either positively or negatively. Ideally, every object in your home should be useful, beautiful or cherished (and ideally all three!)  If the object does not meet one or more of these criteria, let it go. If you are unsure about an object, try “giving it a voice”- imagine what it has to say. If the voice is less than loving it does not belong in your home. The one place we should always feel loved and “at home” is—at home!
  • Be gentle with yourself. It’s natural to have feelings arise when clutter clearing as objects are often associated with memories, people or a time in our life. In fact, it can be a gift to have feelings come to the surface so you can deal with them.
  • Ask yourself the following questions: Is this object an important part of my history? Will I use this as a tool to understand myself? Could my children learn from this (keeping in mind that you do not want to weigh your children down with unnecessary baggage)? Spending time with intimate memories from your past may be a healing and empowering experience. However, if looking at an object is not healing or empowering, then it is time to let go of it.
  • Clear first, organize later. Don’t try to organize clutter. You will save time and money by focusing on clearing first. Once you have pared down and simplified, you may find you don’t need to organize. A closet with few possessions is inherently organized- you will spot things easily. Also, by clearing first you will save money that you may have spent buying containers, baskets etc. for things you no longer own. 

Laura Forbes Carlin and Alison Forbes are sisters, bloggers at www.inspiredeverydayliving.com, and authors of The Peaceful Nursery: Preparing a Home for your Baby with Feng Shui, (Random House 2006). In 2011 Laura and Alison released three iPhone Apps, Feng Shui for Love, Easy Feng Shui, and The Peaceful Nursery: Green, Healthy Tips for your Baby’s Room along with the companion ebooks Love At Home: The Single Girl’s Guide to Feng Shui and Life Design, and The Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Green Baby Nursery. Their work has been featured in publications that include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Traditional Home, C Magazine, Angeleno, ePreganancy, LA Parent, and The Hollywood Reporter and they have appeared on radio and television.

Alison has a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University. Alison is also a certified Graceful Lifestyles Interior Re-Designer™, a Denise Linn Soul Coach™, and a graduate from the Western School of Feng Shui™. Laura received a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and received her Bachelor of Science in Communications from Northwestern University. She also graduated from the Western School of Feng Shui ™.  

 


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Reader Comments (1)

Really interesting! I really like your writing style! Now I want to know more about feng shui!

Lower Clapton Carpet Cleaners Ltd.
Feb 24, 2015 at 6:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Brown

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