“The territorialism and desire to possess things comes directly from the ego, which strives to own and control things. Your spirit already knows you own nothing. It is a matter of realizing that your happiness does not depend on your ownership of things. They help you in your journey but they are not the journey itself.”
- Karen Kingston, ‘Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui’
Americans spend $1.2 trillion on goods that they do not need according to the Wall Street Journal! In our current society of materialism and consumerism, we find ourselves filling our homes at a faster rate than ever before. In fact, the New York Times reported that 1 out of every 10 Americans rents space in an off-site storage facility.
While we may be able to look around our homes and acknowledge that things are getting out of control, it is difficult at times to know where you start. The Chinese believe that organizing your life should be an exciting and joyous activity, working towards the balance of yin and yang energy forces within your home. This, however, is not the approach that many of us take for the cleaning of our own home! Instead, we see this as a chore, something that we would rather avoid!
Researchers have found that clutter can have a significant impact on our lives, including:
Motivated to make a change in your life? Follow these 8 tips to declutter your home and improve your feng shui:
- Start with What You Can Get Rid of Immediately: This doesn’t just mean the gum wrapper under your coffee table. Start each day by walking into one room and gathering up everything that can either be thrown away or donated without hesitation. Wait until that evening to drop everything off for donation, giving you a moment to change your mind if one item is occupying your thoughts all day, but don’t let yourself go back on the whole bag!
- Create a Welcome, Safe Space in Your Home: As you go through our items remember that your home is supposed to be your ‘safe space.’ If there are any items that make you roll your eyes, or feel ‘nagged’ then it is time they move. For example, if there is a tool box sitting in your living room waiting for you to get in touch with an inner handyman that you’re realizing doesn’t exist, then allow yourself to walk away from the pressure by moving the item out.
- Don’t Fall Guilty to the “Just in Case”: How many times have you just about let something go, only to find yourself plagued by thoughts of reasons that you may just need it some day ‘in case’ something happens. Avoid keeping spare parts without a specific use, and don’t rely on buying in bulk. Sure you may see it as saving, but if you never get around to using any of it, were you really saving?
- Question Everything, No Holding Back: As you go through your day, take a few seconds to question every room you walk into. If you are sitting down in your living room to enjoy a cup of tea, look around you to see if you can spot anything that can be donated or thrown away. Question whether you still WANT each item that you see, and if the answer is ‘no,’ it’s time for it to go!
- Turn Decluttering into a Game: This is especially important if you are decluttering with a child in the house. Rather than selecting what items stay and go yourself, give your child a chance to help you pick out their favorite ‘must keep’ toys. They may just surprise you and willingly let go of more than you expected! Make it fun, and keep laughing, this isn’t supposed to be a punishment for either of you.
- Schedule Decluttering Time: One of the biggest reasons we fail to make a significant impact on the clutter in our home is our busy schedules. Schedule time into your weekly schedule, actually write it into your calendar. Treat it like you would a doctor’s appointment or work project. Make it a priority and stick to it, you’ll thank yourself for it.
- Keep Only the Good Memories: Too often we find ourselves holding onto the bad memories. When you look at an item, take a moment to reflect upon what memories come to mind. If they make you smile, then that’s great, but if not you are welcoming that negative energy into your life by keeping that item around.
- Sort Out the Objects You Don’t Use: There is no need to hold onto items that you aren’t using because they are just taking up space. For example, if you have a lot of items hanging in your closet turn all the hangers around backward. As you wear an item, wash it and return it with the hanger turned back around properly again. At the end of a period of time, you can remove all items on backward hangers from your closet, you’re not wearing them!