Sunday, January 19, 2014

Declutter Your Way to a Great New Year

In my last blog, I shared some very practical things that you could do to start the year off right. We talked about fixing the things that need to be fixed in your home and the feng shui significance of making these fixes, even something as simple as changing a light bulb. It was step one of a process I recommend for starting your year off right with feng shui – with no regrets.

Step 2 in this process is clutter clearing. Many in feng shui refer to clutter clearing as modern day alchemy because not only do you feel lighter and generally better after removing clutter but because it becomes a catalyst for bringing new energy and new opportunities in your life.

Before we get into the “magic” of clutter clearing though, we need to define it a bit first. There are obvious examples, such as piles of clothes in a bedroom, the unpacked boxes in the basement or the stacks of paper on your desk. Then there are the less obvious like the collectibles you have on your dresser, the multitude of books on your shelves that you’ll never read again and even all the electronic files on your computer that need to be organized.

Clutter becomes a block for the energy or chi flowing through your home, and not only that but it tends to attract more of the same. You know what I mean if you’ve ever seen the piles of papers seem to grow exponentially on your desk, or a basement that has become over run with boxes of old, unused items that will never see the light of day again.

Everyone has clutter. It’s part of our nature to collect things, but we have seen this go to the extreme in the past several years where hoarding has become the focus of national television shows. Most of us fall somewhere in between the need for psychological help and the pristine Zen clutter-free home that some consider the ideal.

So where to begin? Are you having visions of sorting through boxes filled to the brim with old toys, old files, old dishes or nowadays even just a pile of old electronics? Before you begin to panic, don’t. While those all can be addressed at some point, I wanted to make this three-step process doable, manageable and with no regrets. It’s the New Year after all. So, start small.

I don’t mean single room small or even closet small. I’m talking dresser drawer small, junk drawer small, even car glove compartment small. Or in my case recently – backpack small.

That’s right, I received a new backpack recently that was a gift from a non-profit organization that focuses on educating kids about the environment (the Rob Machado Foundation – check it out). My old backpack was just that, old. Still in good working condition, but I felt I needed a change. So in went my laptop, headphones, wifi-hotspot, various chargers, my personal calendar, my notebook, my ipad, pens, various papers, etc. At first it felt good to have this new backpack with its shiny, clean exterior but as time wore on, I realized I missed all the pockets in my old backpack (this one had one big one and one small one).
I was never sure where my stuff was inside, and it stressed me out to have to go digging through my bag every time I wanted anything from it. 

Finally I broke down and switched back – placing the laptop in its sleeve, along with my ipad and personal calendar, there was a place just for my cords, another for my smaller devices another for all my pens, keys and receipts in need of expensing. Plus there was an extra completely empty pocket that I could fill with snacks or anything else I wanted. I have to admit, I felt a real sense of relief knowing exactly where everything was in my bag so I could quickly and easily get what I needed when I needed it. So maybe this is a sign of my own level of OCD, but frankly that doesn’t matter. I felt better. That’s what matters.

So where would you start? A sock drawer (I recently ditched several old socks that had holes worn through them) or maybe a desk drawer or consider something a little more daunting like the junk drawer – (I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have one of these).

Once you’ve identified your focus, make sure you can address it in a single sitting. It may be a small space, but you will still feel great afterward and even motivated to tackle another small project (another clothes drawer perhaps or maybe a file drawer in your office).

Each time you do this, you’ll make a positive impact on how you feel about your home, and from a feng shui perspective open doors for additional opportunities in many aspects of your life. Each change may seem small but they truly can have a big impact. 

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