When looking through the Feng Shui shelf at any large bookstore we find more and more books describing a topic close to Feng Shui itself, CLUTTER CLEARING. Karen Kingston from England was one of the first to publish a popular book on the subject about 5 years ago.
She told a story at a workshop about the final stage of writing the book which is quite funny.
After having sent the manuscripts to her publishers she did not hear back from them for a long time. However, she was traveling around the world at the time and did not take much notice. When she came back to England she called to confirm an appointment with the firm and noticed a unusual silence on the other end of the line.
Arriving for the meeting she could feel people cautiously eyeing her as she made her way through the company. Just at the point when she should start feeling paranoid, the bubble burst. Everybody started laughing admitting that they had tried so hard to unclutter their offices before her visit. Never had a book script created so much personal interest and had so strong an effect on all the employees before.
What is meant by clutter-clearing?
Clearing clutter is the first step to organizing a space. Anything piled up slows down the Q. Piles of paper on the desk, stacks of books in a bedroom, broken furniture in the basement and old boxes in the attic are not good storage solutions. However, all these piles and mounds and stacks and boxes just become obstacles to our quality of living.
This is all considered clearing on the physical, material level. In the next issue, clearing on the energetic level will be discussed. This is called Spaceclearing.
What is considered clutter?
- Everything you don't either LOVE OR NEED is officially clutter. I'm sure you have heard of the "love it or need it rule". If it is not something that you need or love, you need to get rid of it. Examples of things you need would be; the last seven years of financial records for tax purposes, warranties, old kitchenware because you can't yet afford a new set, etc. Things you love are those things that make you happy when you see them. If you walk in your front door after a long day at work, and the first thing you see is this crystal vase that you can't stand (but it was a wedding present from old Aunt Esther) - get rid of it! These things have a significant impact on the way we experience life.
- A second category is all unorganized items: papers, books, cassettes and whatever makes a room or house appear untidy and chaotic has to be sorted out. More than the visual mess, in this case, we are concerned in Feng Shui about the energetic impact on the Qi-flow. We'd like the Qi to flow freely and without obstacles through the house.
- Overloaded space. The particular size of a room only allows so many objects to be "filled in". Sometimes even a tidy home can look overloaded, if the space is too small to hold all the antiques or the growing collection of memorabilia.
- And as already mentioned, all unfinished projects need to be reconsidered.
What does clutter do to you?
- Clutter slows down the attention, the capability of focusing and of thinking clearly.
- The decrease of the Qi hinders any business and currently successful enterprises. Growing friction is experienced and therefore additional energy is required to manage the project.
- A difficult financial situation is often connected to insufficient Qi flow, as well.
- Too much clutter can make a person depressed and fatigued. This state is usually found in combination with the appearance of Geopathic grids lines. In this case an evaluation of the Geopathic stress of the house is recommended as the elimination of these draining forces are the basis for further improvement.
- Sometimes severe health issues can be connected with stagnating energies e.g. low blood pressure, digestive issues or a number of auto-immune challenges.
What areas are most effected?
First check the entrance paths where the Qi enters the house, the main door, the porch and the hallway. If these areas are blocked, the energy never reaches the rest of the house. This is similar to never using the main entrance and having it permanently blocked while everybody uses the back door.
An interesting concept is to apply the BAGUA, the 8 trigrams which each define a specific theme through our life. Then check which area is affected most? Is it the Wealth & Prosperity corner, the Relationship area or the Career sector? Where could your life use improvement?
Illustration: The Bagua diagram presented above (Black Hat Feng Shui system) can give a indication as to what issues may be hidden behind the cluttered areas in your house. You can also apply this diagram to a single room and even a desktop.
How to start:
- Start with some physical exercise. Don't get lethargic. You need extra energy to go through this process. By nature you will feel drained in the process. Prepare yourself!
- Schedule a specific time, e.g. 2 hours tomorrow afternoon. Ignore upcoming (and unconsciously welcome) distractions.
- Start with small portions. Break big jobs into smaller parts. Often a situation can look overwhelming and therefore too painful to even imagine beginning. Choose a single drawer, half your desk or just part of a room to begin with. Soon sheer momentum will take over and you will be near clear.
- Adopt an organizing system that makes sense for you. I personally prefer clear, stackable file boxes which I can keep track of.
- Shelfs in the garage or the basement are a small, but helpful investment.
- Don't forget some large boxes for the next garage sale and/or Goodwill.
What to do in difficult cases:
There are always items with which one is just not sure what to do (old toys of the children, 30 years worth of photographs or technical magazines you are sure you would need as soon as they are gone). In these cases, we recommend to apply the concept of starting with 3 different boxes. Have a 1-month-box, a bigger 3-month-box and a huge 1-year-box. Put the undecided items in the 1-month-box. After a month if you have not needed or missed an item turn the whole contents into the 3-month-box and so forth. After one year you will find that most items were never taken out. It will then be much easier to finally give them away.
Another interesting challenge that comes up during the process is that as soon as one has made the difficult decision of separation a need for a thrown out item will appear. Something you had kept for years in the drawer, never used, is urgently needed now. These are subtle mechanisms from the subconscious which try to sabotage your efforts. So be aware of those moments as games of your mind. Ignore them! If you really need e.g. an article for some research go on the internet, you'll find it again and much more with it.
How to stay free of clutter:
After finally having archieved a clutter free house you'd naturally like to keep it that way.
- Don't wait until clutter builds up again. Take it up as soon as you notice it.
- Empty your sorting boxes regularly. Don't let them build up.
- Think before you buy new stuff - where you will store it.
I have to admit clutter clearing is my personal challenge. Maybe because I was born in the astrological sign of cancer or just habit - always many projects on the table. Thank God, my wife takes over sometimes and helps to reorganize our space and keep the energy clear and flowing.
For further readings look at:
Karen Kingston, "Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui"