Category Archives: Energy

Clear Shoe Clutter from the Bedroom

Your goal in setting up your bedroom is to create a space that is completely

How peaceful is this?

How peaceful is this?

conducive to sleep. The energy of smelly feet can only be distracting. Why is it that I so often find pairs of shoes strewn over bedroom floors?

I’m fairly certain that part of the problem is not having adequate storage for the number of shoes that people own these days.

Also, sometimes shoes just don’t make it to the closet. You may be thinking, “Why put them away? I’m just going to put them on again tomorrow. . .”  or “I’ll put them away later.” Sweaty, smelly feet and

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

rest just don’t go well together. Ideally it’s best to reduce the number of shoes you own to those that can fit in your closet. Then make a commitment to yourself to get them back there every night.

For one thing, you’ll find your bedroom is more peaceful because there will be fewer items out and visible in the room. You’ll also find that your focus can shift away from the energy chatter of pairs of shoes to more important things like gentle reading, reflecting about your day, conversation with a partner or spouse and/or sex.

Energy chatter. What chatter? Everything is alive with energy. Positive or negative. Everything!  This may sound silly or “woo woo” to you, but stick with me.

What do shoes say? Here are some of the conversations I’ve heard:

  • Those shoes really are too tight, but they are the only ones that really look professional.
  • I really should polish that pair. Look how scuffed they are!
  • The bottoms are really worn on that pair. Is it time to bite the bullet and get another pair?
  • I look like such a dork in those shoes! But, they are so comfortable!
  • Those shoes really stink. I wonder what’s going on with my feet that they stink so badly.

With all those conversations going on, is it any wonder that you don’t get great sleep anymore? Yes, when your eyes are closed you can’t see all those shoes, but you are affected by their negative energy when you are sleeping. That negative presence interferes with peaceful sleep.

 Set your shoes free. Clear out shoes that you no longer love or use at least once a year. Banish the remaining shoes from the bedroom to the closet, and find a storage solution that will work in your closet. Then enjoy sweet dreams and the peace that results from your efforts.  

Books Are Fire in the Bedroom

Do you want to sleep peacefully?  Do you want to have sweet dreams? 

Are you sleeping with a bonfire?

Are you sleeping with a bonfire?

If so, it’s a good idea to become very conscious of what can influence you while you sleep.  Let’s look at the impact of books in the bedroom. Most people have books and other reading material on their bedside tables. Some have a book or two and others have the equivalent of a whole library.

Let me describe for you what a book is in terms of the FIVE ELEMENTS of feng shui.  The five elements are: wood, fire, metal, water and earth. 

The hottest, most energetic of those elements is fire.  Books are fire elements.  The words on the pages are fire.  The pages themselves are wood because they are made from wood. Wood feeds fire. In other words, if you have many books in your bedroom, you are sleeping with a bonfire. Sound restful?

What I’m saying is that books are high energy things. Their energy will affect you while you are sleeping. That’s why it’s good to limit the books in your bedroom to one or two per person. Store your books elsewhere and bring them in as you read them.

I was working with a client who loves to read in bed. She had her current reads on the bedside table. On the floor on the other side of the bed she had a four foot row of books lined up that she was interested in reading. I urged her to move the books to a bookshelf in her office that she could designate as the holding place for books she really wants to read.  She was willing and we got to work. 

As I was moving the books I noticed the titles.  She had a whole series of books by one author who writes about vampires and death. It seemed like every book I looked at had death and dying in the title. That alarmed me because not only is it a good idea to limit the number of books in a bedroom, it is also a good idea to make sure the content is peaceful and pleasant.  When you sleep, your subconscious has access to the content of books. I could only imagine what my client’s subconscious was doing with all those death books.

In another situation I was working with a woman who was a physician and was married to a physician. Guess what I found in their bedside tables?  Medical journals! How romantic! Work and romance really do not go together! And, she and her husband were both working right up until they closed their eyes at night! Sleeping with those journals in the room kept both of them focused on medicine as they slept. I suggested that if she wanted more intimacy with her husband as well as more restful sleep, the journals should be banned from the bedroom. She was thrilled to have permission to remove them and later reported that her husband was also very happy with the arrangement.

My advice: reduce the number of books and reading material you keep in your bedroom to a small number and make sure they are about topics that are positive, pleasant and NOT work-related.

Garage Clutter Clearing: The Challenge of Negative Energies

If you have a garage you probably have had this type of experience. You or
DSCN1058your spouse set your intention that this weekend you’re going to tackle the garage. The weekend comes. After your breakfast, coffee and the newspaper you set out for the garage, fully prepared to take on the beast. You open the door to the garage, take a look at the chaos, clutter, dirt and enormous quantities of items to be sorted and organized and you turn on your heel to return to the comfort of your family room and a good book or the TV remote.

Is it any wonder that garages rank right up there with attics, basements, and paper as clutter clearing challenges that are most often avoided? Why is that?

With few exceptions most garages present with a whole host of negative energy challenges. In other words, garages tend to be places that for one reason or another don’t “feel good.” Spaces that don’t feel good energetically push you away. Negative energy repulses. Positive energy attracts.

Why all the negative energy?

  • Garages are typically storage areas of an enormous quantity of items. The numbers of things to be organized, stored and kept in order is overwhelming.
  • Garages are also typically very busy places. Items of all sizes from large yard equipment like lawn mowers and weed eaters to tiny nuts, screws and bolts are stored there.
  • Many of the items in a garage are visible. If they are visible, their energy talks to you all the time. There is no peace in the typical garage with all those various conversations!
  • Garages usually hold various kinds of toxic substances like fertilizers, pesticides, and paints.
  • Garages are the storage area for items that hold “weapon” energy, tools that can do harm. This includes handsaws, drills, axes, chainsaws, hammers and crowbars.
  • Garages are often unfinished spaces with exposed framing. Even though it is common to leave garages unfinished, being unfinished makes them unattractive and feel like spaces waiting for finishing touches to make them more attractive and appealing.
  • Garages are dirty places. Even with the most deliberate attention to keep a garage swept clean, dust, dirt and grime easily accumulate because of their enormous doors and the types of items stored there.
  • Garages are dumping grounds. They are convenient places to drop things on your way into the house. Also, items get dumped in the garage because they is usually room to store things “temporarily” when shifting things around inside your house. Often “temporary” becomes permanent. Plus, when people can’t decide what to do with items, or if they run out of room for things in the house, their mantra often is, “Stick it in the garage.” Unfortunately, once dropped in the garage those items are out of sight, out of mind and become part of the garage chaos.

It is no wonder that most people tend to avoid clearing, cleaning and organizing the garage! It’s negative energy alone can send you for the sofa and the remote control!

Are you now feeling sufficiently overwhelmed? Don’t worry. That’s very normal. However, the garage monster can be tackled. Before that can happen you must be conscious of the sources of negative energy that can shut you down. If you head for the garage unprepared for its common challenges, like the power of its negative energies, you are likely to find yourself on the sofa time and time again.

Once you have an awareness of the sources of negative energy, you can use that knowledge to inform your retreating self that it’s not simply laziness or the inability to do the job that keeps you from clearing out your garage. It is the negative energy of the space as a whole that is dousing your enthusiasm to create order in your garage. With that knowledge and your new awareness of the power of negative energies to shut down clutter clearing and organizing attempts, you can then take a deep breath and seek ways to manage those energies so you can reclaim your garage.

Take Down Christmas Decorations to Jumpstart Your New Year!

As I’ve walked through my neighborhood I’ve noticed that some people still have christmas-315661_640Christmas decorations on the outside of their homes. When I see them I find myself wondering:

  • Are they so busy they can’t get around to taking down decorations?
  • Is taking down decorations hard to face because it is a boring, time consuming task?
  • Does the person typically keep decorations up until mid-January?
  • Has taking decorations down fallen off their radar?

I will admit that taking down Christmas decorations is a chore I dislike. It’s such an anti-climax and is an annoying, boring chore. But, I make myself do it by New Year’s Day every year. Why is that?

I want to start my new year on a high note with high energy, unburdened by incomplete tasks from the previous year. Decorations that stay up into the new year hold the energy of the previous year, the Christmas just past. They keep you stuck in the past. Since taking them down is a task most people don’t relish, perhaps because the effort signals the end to a season of celebrating and is quite boring to do, the decorations also hold a melancholy, heavy energy. It’s difficult to move into a fresh, new year weighted by lingering tasks from the previous year, tasks to stir up uncomfortable feelings.

Experience a nice pop of energy and feelings of excitement about what’s possible in the new year by biting the bullet and putting away your Christmas decorations. It’s a great way to jumpstart your new year!

Bedroom Clutter Clearing Begins with Your Bed

Easily the biggest piece of furniture in the room, the bed can have a profound impact on both

Is your bed good feng shui?

Is your bed good feng shui? It is if it’s both comfortable and free of negative associations.

the health of its occupants and the quality of the relationship of a couple. It is important to consider the comfort of the mattress and the history of the mattress and bed frame.

Your bed should be utterly comfortable.

You hopefully spend six to eight hours in it, about one third of each day, and if it’s comfortable, you will rest well and feel good. If it is not comfortable, too hard, too soft, dips in the middle, is hard to get in and out of, it is an irritant in direct connection with your body. Six to eight hours of discomfort can translate into exhaustion, irritability, depression and disease. To thrive you must sleep well. If your bed has passed its prime, and you find yourself having more and more aches and pains, consider pitching the old mattress and buying one that is as comfortable as you can afford.

What is the history of your headboard and bed frame?

Objects hold the energy of their history. If the history is positive to you and your partner,  and you both love its style, great! Keep it. If, however, one of you is concerned about its history or dislikes the style, it’s a good idea to either move it to another room or get rid of it. A couple cannot afford to have a bed that one of them dislikes for whatever reason. Their negative feelings will affect the relationship.

“I think we should get rid of this bed. My husband slept in it with his ex-wife. What do you think?”

I’ll never forget that day, standing in that bedroom looking at the ornately carved headboard. My client was newly married and had invited me to help her clear clutter to make the master bedroom a place where she and her husband would be comfortable and compatible.

“Tell me about the history of the headboard and the mattress,” I said. She proceeded to inform me that the headboard was a family heirloom of her husband’s, and the mattress was in fact the one he’d slept on with his former wife. Clearly the energy of the bed screamed “ex-wife!” I recommended that she and her husband consider using the headboard and bed frame in a guest room and that they give away the mattress.

“The mattress holds her energy,” I said. “It’s like she’s sleeping in the bed with the two of you.” My client was thrilled with my recommendation and passed it on to her husband. He pooh poohed my concern about the energy of the ex-wife. But, nonetheless, he consulted the women in his office about the mattress situation. When he asked them if they thought it would be a problem for he and his new wife to be sleeping on the bed he’d slept in with his ex-wife, he got unanimous agreement that doing so would be a big mistake. Marriage can be challenging enough without an ex-wife hanging around, especially in the most intimate moments!

Clearing clutter from your bedroom such as older furniture that has negative associations and therefore holds negative energy can make all the difference in the overall energy in the room as well as your relationship.

Have a Good Feng Shui Christmas!

My favorite definition of feng shui is, “arranging your space to enhance your life.” So, you’re

xmas giftprobably wondering how feng shui could pertain to Christmas. Good feng shui is achieved by eliminating things with negative energy and enhancing by adding things with positive energy.  You can take that process and apply it to any aspect of your life, even Christmas.

Feng shui teaches that everything is alive with energy. Everything. So, the common aspects of Christmas, decorating, meal preparation, gift giving, sending Christmas cards, spending time with family, and attending holiday parties and events, have energies associated with them. 

For example, let’s take decorating. Perhaps just saying the word makes your gut clench and you immediately feel overwhelmed by the thought of all the work and time involved in decorating your home.  Decorating holds negative energy and is not good feng shui for you. 

Should you eliminate it because it’s bad feng shui? That is an option. But, another more realistic option could be simplifying what you do. What if decorating just involved removing the cover off of a previously decorated artificial tree and setting out some special treasures, like a family creche or a collection of small Santas? If you found a way to reduce the process both in the quantity of decorations you use and in the time it takes to decorate, wouldn’t the process feel less daunting and more positive to you?

Another way to shift the energy of decorating from negative to positive would be to evaluate the energies of all your decorations and eliminate any that never get used, are broken, hold a negative association, or are annoying to deal with. That would reduce the volume of decorations you handle and your decorations would hold only positive energy. Wouldn’t that make opening those boxes each year a pleasure instead of a chore?

The same process I’ve described above can be applied to every aspect of your holiday experience. If spending time with some family members always stirs up negative energy, you can choose to abstain from seeing them or plan to spend only a short time in their presence. You may exposed to some negative energy if you spend time with difficult family members for even a short time, but you’ll experience positive energy when you go into the situation with an exit strategy. 

If you hate certain types of holiday parties, you can choose not to attend them and instead plan time with people you really want to spend time with. If preparing six dishes for your holiday dinner is very stressful to pull off, you can reduce the number and prepare only those you love the most or that are the easiest to prepare. 

If you hate shopping and wrapping presents, you can give gift cards or order items online complete with gift wrapping. If you hate the addressing Christmas cards and often don’t get the job done, but still feel guilty about not sending them, you can switch to sending e-cards online or you can just decide not to send them because the whole process generates too much negative energy.

Having a happy holiday season is a choice. What can you do this year to improve the feng shui of your holiday activities and traditions?

Clutter Clearing & Feng Shui: Not All “Love It” Energy is Created Equal

Feng shui teaches that we should live with what we love to attract good into our lives. “Love it” things hold positive energies and in turn enhance our spaces and our lives. Items can be loved for many reasons: their shape, their color, their functionality, the way we feel in their presence, the memories associated with them. 

IMG_2615My pink hat is a “love it” item. It is my favorite hat. It is a favorite shade of pink and has silver sequins scattered all over it. I love its appearance. I love the way it fits. I love the way I look in it. All that love makes it a high energy item, one worthy of keeping in my space.

But, the love goes deeper than that. It was also a thoughtful gift from my husband who knew I love pink. It holds the energy of his caring and his remembering what I love. It is associated with Bob and his love for me. That association transformed the energy of that hat from a “love it” item to a “LOVE IT” item.


Bob, me and the pink hat!

You’re probably thinking that’s all the “love it” energy one hat can hold. But, the story continues. I took that hat with me on my recent vacation to New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I wore it each time we went to the balloon park to see hundreds of hot air balloons inflate and take off like magical colorful jewels in the sky. It hid my “bed head” hair, and kept me warm in the wee hours of the morning as we waited shivering in the dark for the first balloons to light up. It became part of the memory of that incredible experience. Its “LOVE IT” energy ratcheted up to LOVE IT” energy.

What kind of “love it” energies do you have in your space? Not all “love it” energy is created equal! If you are a person who loves so many things that your space has become uncomfortable because of their quantity, check out the strength of the love you actually feel for those items. 

For the best feng shui and the most energy benefit from “love it” items, check out the reasons why you love each item. Do you love an item because you really love it or because you don’t want to let it go? Ask yourself, “Does this item have “love it,” “LOVE IT,” or “LOVE IT” energy? Checking out the associations and stories associated with items is a great way to more easily make decisions about whether items have adequate “love it” energy to be taking up prime real estate in your home and in your life. 

Consider letting go of lesser “love it” items. In so doing you’ll be clearing clutter and making space for items of higher energy that can positively affect your energy and attract more positive into your life.

The Feng Shui Benefits of Anchoring Rugs

Rugs that slide around are irritants! And, they are safety hazards. However, until recently most of my scatter rugs slid all over the place. In the busyness of life I kept procrastinating doing anything about that problem. That all changed when Mom was getting rid of a non-skid rug pad. It was free and it was in my hands. That reduced two blocks to solving my rug slipping problem–no cost and no hassle finding the right type of pad.

As I often do when I make a change to my space, I thought about the feng shui implications of my actions. Rugs that slide around are sources of negative energy because they are often askew and look messy. My dogs tearing through the house keep my rugs at odd angles despite my repeated efforts to straighten them. Even more significant is that rugs that move convey the energy of shifting sands, impermanence, and instability. Having that energy in my home attracts more of the same into my life. It also makes it hard to feel secure, safe, and grounded. And, of course, they are a safety hazard because rugs in motion can slide out from under you, resulting in painful falls and possible injuries.

As I put the rug pads under the rugs I immediately experienced a feeling of well-being, like something that was very wrong had been righted. It seemed like a miracle that the rugs no long moved–even with dogs darting around. A part of me that had been on high alert calmed down. With that source of irritation gone I was no longer distracted by the negative energy of scattered rugs. I hadn’t even been consciously aware of the energy cost of that distraction until I eliminated it.  What a pleasure it was to feel more relaxed and able to settle down to work in my office.

As it turned out, the week following the rug anchoring was particularly difficult for me. There was a major family drama and my beloved Macbook died. As a small business owner who uses her computer daily for writing, slide programs and communication with clients, having my computer crash was like having a rug pulled out from under me. I am happy to say that I was able to navigate the rough waters of family conflict and purchasing and restoring files on my new computer (a completely new experience) with minimal challenge. And, when I needed a little extra help, I was able to find it. I am sure having my rugs well anchored provided me with energetic support and positive energy to face two major challenges.

Anchor your moving rugs and reap the benefits of greater safety, a greater sense of security, peace of mind, and an increased ability to navigate whatever challenges come your way.

Clearing Clutter Makes Space for Good Things to Come to You

For years I’ve urged clients and audiences to clear clutter to make space for opportunities and new, good things to come to them. I’ve taught them that if there’s no space, new, good things will not come to them. They will be stuck. Well, this week I experienced the truth of that message firsthand.

On Sunday I cleared out a bag of dog toys my dogs don’t like that had been taking up space in a storage cabinet. I planned to take them to a local rescue group. The toys are in my car and will be dropped off later this week. On Monday a client handed me a bag of dog toys, toys my dogs actually like!

So, Sunday I made space by clearing out the unused dog toys, and Monday new toys came to me. What quick positive return for my clutter clearing efforts!

Had I not been paying close attention to the flow of blessings and clutter in and out of my life, I could have missed that clear demonstration of the way feng shui works. What will you clear out to invite more good into your life? Let the clutter go and observe the lessons and gifts that come your way.

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at

Cops, Clutter and Creating the Possibility of Positive Outcomes

Picture this: driving through beautiful countryside, listening to and singing with awesome music, feeling incredibly grateful. . . .and being pulled over by a cop for speeding. If that’s not a 180 energy shift, I don’t know what is!

“ You were going 64 mph in a 45 mph zone. That’s almost reckless driving,” the cop informed me. It was one of those, “Oh sh__!” moments. I’d just crested a hill going what I thought was a safe 64 in a 60 mph zone when I suddenly noticed a big sign saying 45 mph. The speed limit had dropped when I was all wrapped up in the great music and wasn’t paying attention. My foot hit the brakes at the same moment I saw the flashing lights. I said a small prayer that he wasn’t coming after me, but no such luck. I told him I’d gotten caught up listening to music. “Where were you going?” he asked. “I’m on my way to visit my elderly mother in Kilmarnock.” I was hoping that mentioning my mother might elicit some sympathy for my plight.

I continued to pray while the cop filled out his paperwork and did whatever cops do when they have nabbed someone exceeding the speed limit. I refused to let my mistake ruin the lovely natural high I’d been feeling. “It’s only money,” I told myself. “Far worse things could happen that involve cops.” It was no easy feat to stay positive when my impulse was to give myself a good word whipping for my mistake! But, I knew that the only things I had control of in that moment were my thought and behaviors. So, I kept focusing on possible positive outcomes despite my annoyance at myself for getting caught exceeding the speed limit.

“ You have an excellent driving record,” the cop said when he returned to my open window. “You can pay this, but I really recommend you go to court. That’s the best way to make sure you keep your record clean.” I was flabbergasted to say the least! How wonderful that the cop cared that I keep my record clean! And, he was trying to help me! Wow! His parting words were, “Just look for the old man with the bald head,” as he whipped off his hat.

What does all this have to do with clutter clearing? Clutter clearing shifts energy in your living and working environments from negative to positive. That energy affects YOUR energy. I work very hard every day to maintain a home with minimal clutter. Not only does my effort pay off by creating a comfortable living environment, but it also helps keep my energy positive. I view my good fortune in my speeding predicament as an indication that even when unpleasant things happen, I can attract good outcomes if I am a source of positive energy.

Remember, the negative energy of clutter negatively affects your energy. Keep clearing clutter so you too can be a source of positive energy and attract positive outcomes even in negative circumstances!

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in your life. If you’re ready to finally clear the clutter from your life and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at

Attend Introduction to Enneagram Workshop to Improve Relationships And Your Space

You might be wondering why a feng shui and clutter clearing expert is sponsoring a workshop about the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a system of personality that describes nine fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling and being in the world. Feng shui teaches that everything is connected. Your understanding of yourself and others affects the quality of your relationships. The quality of your relationships in turn affects your energy. Your energy affects how well you tend to the condition of your space. So, there really is a connection!

I was first exposed to the Enneagram by Fred Boykin and Jack Killen, friends who were looking for volunteers to work with when they were completing an Enneagram certification program. It was unsettling to learn that in Enneagram language I am a 1, a Perfectionist. However, when I read about the typical feelings, themes and approach to life of a Perfectionist, and compared it to descriptions of other types, it was clear that I am a 1. With that information I was able to come to a new level of self-acceptance. I also became more conscious about what I do and expect of myself and others and was able to slowly make changes in behavior that improved both the quality of my relationships and my life.

I tell people that the Enneagram helped save my marriage. My husband, Bob, and I are very different types. Learning about his type helped me better understand him and accept him as he is. It also helped me become more conscious of his gifts and learn to appreciate the unique person that he is.

One of the best things I learned from the Enneagram training is that the best thing that Perfectionists can do for themselves is to play hooky. If you are a 1, a Perfectionist, you know that playing hooky is rarely if ever an option. There is always something that must be done, fixed, tended to. Stopping is a major challenge for a 1. I was given permission to stop and allow things in my life to be less than perfect. I have a hunch that that one piece of information may help me extend my life by a few years!

If you are curious about your Enneagram type, I urge you to join us on November 12 for a day-long Introduction to the Enneagram. Fred and Jack are enthusiastic, experienced Enneagram trainers. You will leave the day with information that can open doors to self-understanding, self-acceptance and self-love. From that foundation it is possible to improve all your relationships.

For more information and to register for the Enneagram workshop, go to or If you register by October 30, you will save $20!

Want More Energy? Clear Clutter!

Yesterday I had the honor of helping a lovely twelve year old girl, “Anna”, clear clutter from her bedroom. You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Why is that an honor?” It’s an honor because she welcomed me into her personal space and gave me permission to guide her in her decision-making. When I help people clear clutter, the energies in their lives shift and change for the better. It was an honor to be on that journey with her.

As we began working, Anna was reserved and somewhat aloof with me. That behavior is very common when I first begin clutter clearing with new clients. It was especially reasonable for a child working with an adult she hardly knew.

The way I work is to ask questions about the items in the room, starting with the biggest and moving on to the smallest. As we moved through that process it was fascinating to observe Anna morph from a self-contained soul sitting curled up in a little ball on her bed, answering my questions in a perfunctory manner, into an excited young colt bounding around the room gathering up items to evaluate and discard. Her shift from no energy to boundless energy was impressive.

I can’t remember the specific moment when Anna’s energy shifted. I have a hunch that it happened when we moved a small dresser from her closet to make more room for her to work in her closet. The dresser was a significant block to her being able to easily access her clothes and put them away. Moving it seemed to move Anna energetically from an overwhelmed, discouraged child into an enthusiastic young woman. From then on she worked with me with gusto, speed and focus. It was such a pleasure to be in that process with her. My challenge at that point was to contain her enthusiasm so we didn’t get ahead of ourselves in the clearing process.

In three hours Anna’s clearing transformed her room from that of a little girl to that of an adolescent. With her mother’s blessing I gave her permission to decide which items would stay and which would be donated, trashed or moved to another location. While having the right to choose was no doubt empowering and motivating for Anna, releasing huge quantities of books, toys, clothing and several large pieces of furniture was what shifted her mood and her energy. She was so relieved and excited to have the burden of too much stuff removed from her space. Anna now had room for her evolving adolescent self to grow and thrive. I predict she’ll have a great school year!

What things in your space are blocking your energy? If you have clutter, you are blocked in some way. Clear that clutter and watch your energy re-emerge. It’s worth the effort!

Feng Shui: Small Changes Can Get Your Life Moving!

Is life feeling ho-hum? Perhaps you need an energy pick-me-up in your home or office! When you see the same thing every day you tend to stop really seeing it. It’s as if the details of your space become invisible. What that means from a feng shui perspective is that you no longer benefit from the energies of those items that have become invisible.

One way to perk things up is to deliberately move small items around. Rearrange your books. Take a piece of art off the wall and hang it in another room. Move plants to new locations. Add or remove decorative items.

Every time you move an item, you are shifting energies. Because everything is connected, the energy shifts that you cause when making small changes in your space result in energy shifts in your life. Also, when you move things around, you are creating new views. You see your space differently. Seeing your space differently can translate into seeing life differently. Moving things also signals the Universe that you are open to change, open to new, wonderful opportunities coming into your life.

Go for it! Give your space an energy pick-me-up! Then pay attention to how you feel and how your life starts moving again. It only takes moments to do, but the payoff can be powerful!

Good Garage Feng Shui

Paint your garage floor!

Feng shui teaches that safety and comfort are most important. It’s difficult to make garages feel comfortable. Garages are typically storage areas, purely utilitarian areas. Since everything in a garage has an energy that talks to you, it is a pretty noisy area.

There are, however some steps you can take to quiet down a noisy garage. These include:

  1. Reduce the quantity of things that talk to you by organizing it and clearing out anything that no longer serves you.
  2. Install cabinets and drawers to store small items instead of relying completely on open shelving.
  3. Paint the floor. Believe it or not, a gray concrete floor has a noisy somewhat negative energy. And, it always feels dirty.

Just last week I walked into a client’s garage to put something away. As soon as I crossed the threshold I came to a complete stop. A month or two earlier I had helped my client organize that garage. I knew that garage, and the space I’d just entered felt completely different. It was so much more pleasant and peaceful. What made the difference? As I looked around I noticed she and her handyman had done two things that made a world of difference:

  1. She’d had the floor painted with a special cream colored paint with little dark specks in it.
  2. Originally she’d had two heavily loaded sets of shelves on the driver’s side of the car and one set of shelves on the passenger side of the car. Now all the shelves were on the passenger side of the car leaving the driver’s side completely clear. What a difference it made not to be greeted by loaded shelves when getting out of the car! And, it was really nice to have all the noisy energies on the shelving confined to just one side of the garage.

What can you do to up the positive energy in your garage? What can you get rid of? What can you move around to create a quieter, more peaceful space? After all, if you park in your garage, it’s the daily greeting upon returning home. What greets you affects your energy and mood. Why not make it a calm, welcoming greeting? Make it good Feng Shui!

Contractors Affect Your Feng Shui

Choose contractors to work in your house very carefully. Because the projects they work on will be forever associated with them, their behavior and energy, it’s important that you choose people who will leave you with good results and good memories. Those good results and good memories contribute to the overall energy of your home. Good results and good memories equal good feng shui.

I learned this lesson the hard way. The plumber who installed my new kitchen sink was running his own business for the first time, overwhelmed, exhausted and really struggling to get the sink in. He spewed negative energy all over the kitchen with curses and anger. Unfortunately he left his negative energy behind. Because his behavior was so unpleasant and the sink was associated with him, forever after when I looked at the sink I thought of him. I still think of him when I think of that remodeling situation.

The best way to find contractors who will be good feng shui is to ask discerning trusted friends who they use. Avoid using unknown contractors. You could end up with a feng shui nightmare!

Weather Affects Productivity

Have you ever noticed that it’s harder to think clearly on rainy days? As I am writing this post we are getting some much needed rain. I have been wrestling with thoughts about some significant relationships in my life. And, I have really been struggling to get clarity. My brain feels as cloudy as the gray sky that greets me whenever I go outside. It’s as if the negative energy of a rainy day, caused by the discomfort of the wetness, the lack of light that dulls the color of the landscape, and absence of the optimistic blue sky, makes it impossible for me to think clearly. I thought to myself, “When it’s muddy outside, I feel muddy in my brain!”

And then I reflected on how I feel and function when the sun is shining and the sky is clear. On those days there is a predominance of positive energy in the landscape and my brain works at warp speed. Making decisions is easier. I have more clarity about my priorities, my choices and what really matters.

Given what I understand about energy from my study of feng shui, it makes perfect sense that I’d have a fuzzy brain on a cloudy, rainy day. All that negative energy is just too distracting. Recognizing that reality, I think that on rainy days my best course of action is to slow down, weigh decisions a little more carefully, and not expect the mental sharpness I enjoy feeling on clear days.

It’s a low energy day. Feng shui teaches that everything is connected. It makes perfect sense that I would be affected by that energy. I may not be as productive as I want to be. Clear thinking may be a struggle. I just need to remember that not only is everything connected, but everything is also changing. And, so too will the weather. For now I’ll be gentle with myself, slow down and remember that soon I’ll again enjoy the positive energy and clarity of a sunny day.

What Energy Is Your Art Holding In Place?

Is the art on your walls attracting good things into your life? Check each piece to see if its energy is life affirming, having a positive subject and message. For example, art showing scenes of loneliness or struggle can attract that type of energy into your life. War scenes can attract conflict. On the other hand peaceful scenes attract peace and encourage peacefulness in the space.

Remove any art that holds negative energies in place. I once saw a piece of fine art in a client’s dining room that showed a body lying on the ground with its head cut off. I was shocked by the subject of the painting. Energetically the content might imply that while dining there one might lose one’s head.

Go one step further and find art that holds energies and reflects circumstances that you want to attract. For example, I have a print of a lovely beach house hanging in my living room because I love the beach and want to spend vacations in a house just like that one.

Art is a powerful energy enhancer. Make sure your art attracts what you really want!

Clutter Clearing: Remove Toxins for Immediate Relief

Last week I got the chance to experience first hand what toxins in the body do to mood. My brother, Mark, disabled with two brain injuries, came down with a serious infection in his knee replacement. While he was waiting to have surgery I had the opportunity to experience his infection-induced behavior. My sweet, funny little brother disappeared and was replaced by a snarling ogre. I’m not kidding about that. At the least provocation his face screwed up into a sneer and he shouted at whoever was near him. As I tried to make sense of Mark’s behavior, I realized that he is not good at articulating how he’s feeling physically. Instead he acted out his feelings. What I saw was not a pretty picture.

The change in Mark’s mood following the surgery was remarkable. After he got over the grogginess and confusion caused by the anesthesia, sweet Mark was back! It was clear that clearing out the bulk of the infection, by removing the knee replacement that had harbored the infection, brought Mark immediate relief. With the reduction of negative energy of the toxins, there was an immediate shift in his mood from negative to positive.

I’ve observed the exact same kind of shift in energy when I’ve worked with clients helping them clear their homes and offices of the negative energies of clutter and physical chaos. Broken things, dirty things, disorganized things are all sources of negative energy. When you have quantities of those things, the energy in your space becomes toxic from an over abundance of negative energy. Clear the toxins and the balance of energy shifts back to predominantly positive. When positive energy predominates, people feel immediate relief, optimism and often a return of creative energy.

Can you really afford to live in a space that is cluttered, dirty or filled with many broken things? Not if you want to feel good!

Grief Can Be A Physical Block to Success

Papers and objects can hold associations with times of loss in our lives. A divorce decree, a gift from a lost love, equipment associated with a former career. They all hold energies of loss and sadness. Those negative energies are VERY powerful even if you’re not conscious of them. They can keep people from venturing into a closet or clearing out a desk for years. You’re not sure why you can’t face the task, but the urge to avoid it is very compelling.

If you’re avoiding a particular organizing challenge, check the content of the stuff to see if the items hold old associations of loss that are connected to grief you have been carrying. If you can’t allow the grief to come up and out, find a gentle loving soul to be with you while you face the loss, someone who can be in the presence of sadness without discomfort or the need to fix your pain. Tell him or her the stories associated with the grief. That will lighten the emotional load your are carrying and will allow you to move forward.

Feng Shui Tip: Match Art Energy to Energy of the Room

Landscapes are the best choice for art in a bedroom.

The functions of rooms in your home determine the type of art you should place in them. The high energy areas are the public spaces: the kitchen, utility room, bath rooms, living room, dining room, family room and home office. Those are rooms devoted to activities and interaction between people. The low energy spaces are the bedrooms. It is a good idea to match the energy of the art to the energy of the room.

Art that contains scenes of animals, people and people activities usually has a more active energy than landscapes and scenes that are devoid of people and animals. Feng shui teaches that people and animals are fire elements. Every person or animal in a scene is a little flame. Street scenes, scenes of people socializing, and scenes of people or animals in any type of activity are fiery and therefore high energy scenes. It’s best to place that type of art in the active areas of the house, the public rooms where most of the activity in a home occurs.

Landscapes, beach scenes and images of gardens are the best choices for bedrooms, those spaces that are devoted to rest and relaxation. It’s best to avoid having art with images of people or in those spaces. Restful scenes will facilitate restful sleep. I make an exception for images of faithful pets. Though they are a bit fiery, their fire is offset by the comfort they bring as a watchful, guarding presence.

Check out the art in your space. Does its energy match the energy of the spaces in which it resides?

Office Transformation with Feng Shui Pop of Positive Energy

Want to motivate yourself to transform your office from a space that is cluttered, filled with an assortment of annoying piles of paper, office supplies and equipment and baskets of unfinished projects? Create a high energy, highly visible catalyst, one area that is clutter-free, completely decorative, a collection of things that lift your spirits when you look at it. The positive energy of that one part of your office will initiate a shift in all the energies of the space, making it more difficult for you to ignore the other areas that need attention.

“Debbie, I want you to see what I’ve done in my office!” said Mary Ann, a client of mine. As I rounded the corner into her office I immediately noticed a small bookshelf she had moved from the floor onto a large table that she uses as an extension of her desk. On it she had placed luscious green plants that immediately drew my eye away from the busyness of other areas of her desk. Not only was it eye-catching, but it was the first step in a major clearing of baskets and boxes and other forms of clutter that had hung out in Mary Ann’s office for months.

Mary Ann had been saying she wanted to clear off the piles that had occupied every flat surface in the room, including the floor, but had been unsuccessful until she created her plant monument. Once it was in place she was inspired to purchase two sets of plastic drawers that she placed under her table/desk to hold major chunks of paper that had been floating on its surface. She also processed several baskets of very old papers. And, she made her trash, shredding and recycling area less visible and annoying.

The positive energy of Mary Ann’s plant monument seemed to set a high energy standard that she wanted to achieve in the rest of her office. The contrast between the positive energy of the plants and the negative energy of numerous piles of papers was the energetic kick in the butt she needed to get moving to create a new look and a new way of working in her office.

Create a high energy monument that will launch you into reclaiming your office!

Spring Color Provides New Energy

Spring is associated with spring fever, spring cleaning, rebirth, new life. We suddenly find ourselves emerging from the funks of winter with new energy, new ideas, new commitments to change and growth. Why this resurgence of good feelings and energy?

Most of us know that there is more light. Thank goodness for lengthening hours of sunlight! But, as I walk my dogs each day, I’ve been noticing changes in the landscape as trees, shrubs and plants flower and as green leaves emerge. I can feel my spirits lift and soar in response not only to the new life returning to the landscape, but to the COLOR! The yellows, the many shades of purples and pinks and the emerging greens sing in a background of dull browns, grays and tans. That color feeds me with optimism, hope and energy. We’ve been starved for color, especially since the bright reds and greens of Christmas decorations were stored away in early January. Color’s return is a cause for celebration! We all benefit from it whether conscious of its significance or not!

The color of spring is a gift of nature! Shake off the dust and doldrums of winter and allow the color of the landscape to feed you with its energy. Take time each day to drink in its vibrance, its beauty and its wonder.

Broken Things Attract Negative Energy

Broken things clearly are sources of negative energy. You usually feel some negative feeling when looking at or dealing with something broken. You may feel irritated, annoyed, frustrated, burdened with one more task to be done, angry, even tired.

Broken things hold the energy of brokenness and can attract being broke (financially) or being physically broken (health problems). Remember energy attracts more of the same. Broken things also require work on your part. First you have to decide if a broken item is worth fixing. If so, you have to figure out how to fix it. You might need to find someone to fix it. You might need to take it to a repair shop, and on and on. Do you get the picture? The best thing to do with broken things is to either fix them quickly if they are worth fixing, or to pitch them in the trash.

excerpt from Debbie’s book, Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Your Performance on a Daily Basis, p.119.

How to Organize Your Closet to Reduce Stress

Picture this. . .you desperately need to find one item in a closet jam packed with coats, games, gloves, hats, a vacuum cleaner, and yard flags. Would you be inclined to shut the door and forget the urgency of your quest? Closets become physical nightmares when they’re arranged with the “just throw it in the closet” technique. Is it any wonder that many closets are a variant of the one described above?

What many people don’t know is that a packed closet adds stress to their life. Feng shui teaches that everything in a space is alive with energy, positive or negative. Everything! Individual items in a closet may have good energy because of their quality, their usefulness, or their associations, but when many items are packed in so tight that it’s hard to access any one particular item, the closet as a whole takes on a stressful negative energy. It’s hard to get anything in or out of the closet without creating a mess. Just opening the door is stressful!

What’s the best way to organize a closet? First decide the categories of items that belong in the closet. For example, a closet near the front door usually holds coats and other clothing to protect against the whether. It may hold decorative items for the front door, like flags. It could also house the vacuum cleaner. Three categories: outdoor clothing, outdoor decorative items and the vacuum cleaner.

Second, pull things out of the closet that don’t fit the categories you’ve identified. Put them to the side to be addressed when the closet is done. Notice that it’s not recommended that you immediately put those things somewhere else. You run the risk of getting sidetracked and not returning to finish organizing the closet. Also, it is not necessary to completely empty a closet in order to organize it. You will save significant time if you organize the items without taking all of them out.

Next, evaluate the items that do fit the identified categories to see if they are all of high value, worthy of taking up space in the limited confines of the closet. Ask yourself, “Do I love it? Do I use it?” Items that you love for their usefulness, their aesthetics, or their association, are keepers. So are items you use at least once a year. When you love an item or use it once a year, there’s a good chance that it has positive energy. Items that aren’t either loved or used are good candidates for pitching. They are taking up prime real estate and are likely to have a stressful negative energy.

Third, devise ways to keep the different categories of items separate and clearly visible. This usually involves using containers or building shelves and compartments with a company like California Closets or the Closet Factory. In the closet described above, adding separate bins for hats, gloves, scarves and flags is helpful. The idea is to keep items in one category together yet separated from other categories of items. You run into closet chaos when different types of items are thrown together with no clumping into categories and no visible boundaries between categories.

The larger the closet, the more complicated the organizing challenge because there are likely to be more categories of items to consider. A good rule of thumb for organizing any space is to make sure to place items that are used most frequently in the most convenient locations, no higher than your shoulders and no lower than your hips.

Harlan Brubaker, closet designer with California Closets, reports that, “There are shoe collectors out there for whom 60 pairs is the norm. However, there usually are 12-20 pairs that are used regularly. I try to put them in a high visibility area. The rest go high or low in the closet, preferably in boxes to keep them from getting dusty.” While it would be optimal to have all those shoes stored in one location, all fully visible, it is often not possible.

So, tackle a closet using this four step process.

1. Decide the categories.
2. Remove items that don’t fit the categories.
3. Evaluate and keep only the best items that do fit the categories.
4. Use containers to keep categories separate.

Signal That You’re Ready for Change

It’s quite common that as we change internally, we make changes to our person, our habits or our living spaces. Some people get a new hair style. Others grow a beard. Still others rearrange their furniture. Because everything is connected in our Universe, is it any wonder that we have a need to change things in our outer world when we are experiencing inner changes?

I recommend that you consider taking this idea one step further. Deliberately make changes to your home, office, habits or appearance to signal the Universe that you are open to positive change. Change the outside to affect inner changes.

When I’m feeling unsettled, stuck or wanting change in my life, I sometimes take a new route home or park in my husband’s parking space. Those small changes help me get out of my perceptual rut and see things differently. Recently when I was really wanting to jumpstart internal change I got rid of three pieces of living and dining room furniture, two of which had been in my family for over thirty-five years!

For those of you who are freaking out because I pitched precious belongings, relax! It was time to let that furniture go. I needed more space in my house to allow for personal expansion. Now someone else can benefit from those special items. I’m really done with them and ready to move into a new era of my life. Letting them go was a sign to the Universe and myself of my openness and commitment to change.

When you find yourself feeling unsettled, wanting something that you can’t quite envision, do a few things differently. Move some furniture, go with the urge to cut your hair, take a new route home. Let the Universe know that you’re open to change. Then pay attention to the opportunities that come your way. Remember, everything is connected. Positive changes to your behavior, appearance or space will cause internal shifts that ultimately could lead you to getting more of what you really want.