Tag Archives: feng shui

From Cluttered to Clear in 2018

As we near the end of 2017, your thoughts may be drifting to what’s possible in the new year. It’s a fresh start, a time when can decide what you want in 2018. People make New Year’s resolutions about eating right, losing weight, exercising, etc. And, once the enthusiasm of the first days and weeks of doing things differently has passed, they return to familiar behaviors and lose sight of their resolutions. Is this you? Do you want to have a different experience this year?

What would be possible if you committed to clearing clutter from every part of your home in 2018, and kept that commitment? Based on my 20 years of working a professional organizer helping people clear clutter, I predict that many of the following would occur:

  • You will feel lighter. Clutter has a heavy energy. You feel the weight physically and psychologically in the form of stress even if you are not conscious of it.
  • You will feel more optimistic. Once the weight of clutter has lifted, your spirits will lift accordingly.
  • You will be able to think more clearly because you won’t be distracted by the noisy, negative energies of clutter.
  • It will be easier to make decisions because you can think clearly and better weigh your options.
  • It will be easier to see your reality. What is working and not working in your life? This could lead to clarity that it is time for change — a new job, working on or leaving a difficult relationship, retirement, better self-care.
  • You will be more productive because you can think clearly, make decisions more easily, find what you need when you need it, and take action more easily.
  • You will see possibilities for personal growth, relationship growth, and career growth that you couldn’t see before when distracted by the negative energy of clutter.
  • Your health will be better. The negative energy of clutter affects your energy and your physical body. People with a lot of clutter seem to attract chronic illnesses like breathing problems (asthma, allergies) and autoimmune diseases (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc).

I could go on. People’s lives change for the better when they clear clutter. Feng shui teaches that things that are no longer loved or used hold negative energies. Those negative energies hold you back. Remove them and life begins moving in a positive direction.

I can hear you thinking, “That’s great, but how do I make it happen? There is so much clutter. I don’t know where to start, how to start, or how to keep going when I do start.” The first step is to make a commitment in writing to yourself about what clutter clearing you intend to do in the new year, and then tell trusted others who can help you keep going by cheering you on, helping out, and reminding you of your commitment.

The second step is to follow a roadmap that will lead you from an overwhelmed mindset to an “I can do this” mindset. My new book, From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover, was designed to be just that, a road map to lead your from stuck to clearing clutter and creating good feng shui in every room of your house.

Time and the quantity of your clutter may limit your ability to completely clear every area of your house in 2018, but what if you committed to clear some clutter in every part of your house during the year? Perhaps set a goal of doing some clearing in one or two rooms a month. Because you would be removing negative energies from all parts of your house, the balance of energies in your home would shift from negative to positive. That shift would likely have a direct positive effect on the quality of your life. You’d begin experiencing the benefits listed above. And, you would be making space for new, good things to come to you in the new year.

Be ready to have a very different experience in 2018.  Order your roadmap, From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year, today. It will provide you with step-by-step instructions for clearing clutter and creating good feng shui in every room as well as information about how to address common barriers to clutter clearing and find appropriate support if needed. Then, look for the good that will come your way in 2018!

Best wishes for Happy Holidays and lots of clutter clearing in 2018!

From Cluttered to Clear Book Is Here!

It’s done. My second From Cluttered to Clear In Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover, is finished and available at Amazon.com. It is a practical guide to clear clutter and create good feng shui in every area of your home.  

What a journey it has been to bring this book to life! I didn’t know I was writing a second book when I began writing short articles for my Clutter Clearing Community Membership site (no longer in existence) in 2012. Once I’d written articles about all areas of the home, it made sense to make the information available in the form of a book.

It made sense to convert my content into a book and ebook, but I dragged my heels about jumping into the book publishing task again. I’d written and published my first book, Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Performance on a Daily Basis, in 2010. I remembered what a lengthy, expensive and stressful process it was to bring that book to completion. Also, coordinating care for my mother who had Alzheimer’s drained me of the extra energy I would need for such a big project.

Mom died in July 2016. When I finally worked my way through the worst of the grief from such a significant loss, I was able to re-examine my business goals and opportunities. This book, From Cluttered to Clear in One Year, was waiting for me to pick up again.

I wasn’t sure how I could afford to self-publish another book, especially because my business had taken a serious hit during the years of Mom’s decline. But, I forged ahead, trusting that resources would show up if the book was meant to be. Just making the decision to continue to work on the book seemed to attract the right help and funds to complete this project.

Miraculously three women showed up at just the right time to edit the book. Then a business associate recommended a woman who could design a book cover, format the book for print and Kindle, and upload the manuscript to both Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. This is an example of resources showing up when you’re on the right path! The book was meant to be!

From Cluttered to Clear In Just One Year is a bit different from other clutter clearing books because in addition to clutter clearing and organizing information, it also provides information for creating good feng shui in every room of the house. I hope you will join me in welcoming my book to the list of valuable clutter clearing and organizing books out now available.  Buy it. Read it. Write a review of it on Amazon. Recommend it to others. It was written for you.

No Unwanted Guests in Your Dining Room!

It’s the time of year when your dining room may get used for holiday dinners and parties.Some of you may have clutter challenges to face before the table can be laid for your Thanksgiving dinner. Others of you may have an uncluttered dining room, but have unknown feng shui challenges because of its contents.

Dining rooms are one of the places in a home where you often find family treasures in the form of inherited furniture, glassware, silverware, serving dishes and china. Have you ever stopped to check out the associations of each piece of furniture and each item in your dining room buffet or corner cupboard? If an item was owned by a family member, it holds the energy of that person. Therefore, it’s as if that person is sharing the space with you every time you enter the room.

Until recently my dining room held a beautiful sideboard, dining room table, and matching chairs, which my parents had acquired when we moved into a lovely old house in Massachusetts when I was eight years old. Those pieces held the energy of South Walpole, Massachusetts, and our time there. They also held the energy of my family of origin and the many shared meals we enjoyed together, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Now I have beautiful table that I inherited from my mother and step-father. It holds the positive energy of precious memories of shared meals with Mom and John. The sideboard, which never fit well in my small dining room, was sold and replaced by a lovely dresser with a marble top. It once belonged to an incredible sales and marketing guru who I admire and who I’ve come to know because for years I was pet sitter for her precious dogs, Gracie and George. The energies of both of those pieces intermingle to make my dining room a warm and lovely place to be.

Inside the dresser are serving dishes and decorative items that belonged to my maternal grandmother, were either given to Bob and me as wedding presents, or were given to me by special friends. Each item holds the positive energy of its previous owner or the giver of the gifts. When I pull those items out, I feel connected to those special people.

Had there been furniture, china and decorative items that belonged to a difficult family member or members, I would have purged them because their negative energy would affect the overall feel of the room as well as interactions between people using the room.

Check out who you have residing in your dining room. Their energy could be affecting your energy and the energy of interactions in that room. Make sure that you keep only those things that remind you of good times, good relationships and that hold loving, positive energies.

This post was excerpted from my new book,  From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover. If this article motivated you to make some adjustments to your dining room that improved the look and feel of the room, and you want to accomplish the same thing in other areas of your home, check out my book. It will provide you with clutter clearing and feng shui recommendations for every room of your home, complete with a clutter clearing plan at the end of each chapter.

Order your book now, and give it as a Christmas gift to family and friends who want to clear clutter and create homes that look and feel utterly comfortable. Email me at debbie@debbiebowie.com by December 1 to place your order, and each book will be discounted $2 per copy. The cost per book on Amazon will be $16.95. I am currently offering it for $14.95 plus shipping and handling and tax. The total for each book comes to $20.65.

To order, please send me an email with your name, mailing address and the number of books you want to order. Then, mail a check for the amount owed to: Debbie Bowie, 7293 Jay Way, Mechanicsville, VA 23111. If you have any questions about ordering, please call me at 804-730-4991 or email me (address above).

Find Information & Motivation to Clear Clutter

“I don’t know where to start.” “I don’t know how to start.” “I just can’t seem to get around to it.” “I can’t seem to get started.” Those comments speak to two common problems people have addressing their clutter challenges: lack of information and difficulty with motivation. Many good intentions to be rid of clutter have died at the feet of those two problems.

From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover, was written to address both of those problems. Those who struggle to get started with clutter clearing will be armed with specific information about what to clear, how to clear it, and how to get started plus specific chapters devoted to clearing clutter from every room of the house. They will also find step-by-step clutter clearing plans at the end of every chapter.

People are motivated to take action either because they are in great pain or when there is the opportunity for great rewards. Life in a cluttered environment can be painful, but often not painful enough to incite action. In fact, the negative energies of the clutter actually suppress motivation.

What if clearing clutter could improve your life? Would that motivate you to clear clutter? Feng shui teaches that what you have in your space affects what happens in your life. Change your space (clear clutter) and conditions in your life will improve.

In addition to information about how to clear clutter from every room of your house, From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year also includes information about how to create good feng shui throughout your house. Create good feng shui and you will reap rewards. First, new, good things will show up in your life — money, new relationships, improved relationships, needed resources, good health, job opportunities, etc. Life will run more smoothly. You will have less stress and more inner peace and comfort. Entertaining will be easier and house guests will feel utterly comfortable in your home.

One women cleared clutter from the corner of her living room that holds the energy of wealth and prosperity and shortly thereafter got a $2,000 a year raise from a state agency. That’s almost unheard of!

Plus, From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year will teach you how to look at your belongings through feng shui eyes, a process that is much more fun than asking traditional clutter clearing.

Arm yourself with information and motivation to clear your clutter. Be one of the first to get From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year by pre-ordering your copy at a reduced rate. Until December 1 you can order the book for just $20.65 including shipping. That is a $2 savings! To order, please send a check to: Debbie Bowie, 7293 Jay Way, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

Clutter Affects Small Business Success

Small business owners wear many hats. Too many, actually! Often the only way to survive financially, especially in the first three years, is to run the business, work in the business, market the business and do the bookkeeping. Whew! It’s so easy to devote every waking hour, during the week and sometimes on weekends as well, to working on and in your business.

I’m curious. What happens to the condition of your home while most of your energy and time are spent on your business? Do you run out of gas by the time get home and leave unopened mail for later when you aren’t so tired. Do you drop your clothes to the floor when undressing, promising yourself that you’ll pick them up in the morning, but don’t. Has paper management gone out the window because keeping up with the paper associated with your business seems more pressing and urgent?

It’s so easy to tell yourself, “I have to focus on my business. Home clutter clearing and maintenance tasks can wait. After all, it won’t affect my business. Once the business is up and running, making good money I’ll be able to tackle home projects.”

But, what if the condition of your home has a direct effect on your business? Feng shui teaches that everything is connected. Therefore, the condition of your business and your home are connected. The energy of each affects the other. In other words, clutter and disorganization in your home has a negative effect on you and your business.

Clutter in your home makes difficult to think clearly, about home issues and work issues, having direct effects on your decision-making ability and productivity. Dust, dirt and clutter in the home have negative energies that can also block the flow of positive energy and opportunities in both your personal and professional lives. Knowing that, can you really afford to put off tending to your home?

Some of you may be thinking, “There is no way I can have the brain power to both work my business and get caught up on all the backlog of clutter at home.” If so, now is the time to reach out for resources that will make home clutter clearing and organizing easier.

One such resource is From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover. I wrote it for busy people just like you, people who are too busy to figure out what to do with accumulated clutter. It is a how-to manual for clearing clutter and creating good feng shui in every area of your home, attic to basement. It is filled with clutter clearing and organizing tips about how to address common feng shui and organizing dilemmas in each room. There are also step-by-step clutter clearing plans for every space, including the garage.

With From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year as your guide, you can create a home environment that will support you in your business, be a refuge at the end of your busy days, and attract more business to you.

From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year will be released in December. Be one of the first to get your copy by pre-ordering your copy at a reduced rate. Until December 1 you can order the book for just $20.65 including shipping. That is a $2 savings! To order, please send a check to: Debbie Bowie, 7293 Jay Way, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

Think of Your Children! Declutter Now!

“I’m leaving it to my children.” Those words hit me right in my heart.

Declutter now! Consider it a gift to your children.

They are the words of people who don’t plan to clear their clutter before they die. Essentially they plan to leave their mess for their children to clean up.

Fortunately most people I work with in hands-on organizing, coaching, and when I speak, feel the opposite. They show up in my life because they want to do something about their clutter. They don’t want to leave behind a nightmare of stuff, most of which would be meaningless to their children.

I tell clients and participants in my speeches that decluttering and reducing the volume of their belongings is the best gift they can give their children. Those of us who have cleaned out a parent’s house know how painful that job is. However, when I make that statement to audiences and clients I often get looks of surprise, as if they hadn’t even considered the impact of that job on their children.

When I moved my mother into assisted living in 2013 and then prepared her house for sale, I had the opportunity to feel just how difficult it is to dismantle a parent’s beloved home. I felt like I was taking apart Mom’s life.

I was lucky because my mother and step-father were not savers. There were very few papers to go through and they had nothing in the attic! However, even with less volume of belongings in the house, the pain I felt as I systematically went from room to room evaluating and packing up everything was excruciating, so very deep. I cried my way through the process, motivated by a strong desire to finish the job in order to stop that deep pain.

Mom and John’s gift to me, however unconscious, was to leave behind far fewer belongings than I usually see in many homes. The volume was small enough that it took my husband and me just two days to go through everything, and one additional day to pack up trucks to take away things that would go to my house and to consignment. Granted, as a professional organizer I was probably able to make faster progress than most people. But, even so, it was such a blessing to get that painful task done in just two weekends.

Look at your home. What will you be leaving for your children? Don’t wait to clear out your clutter. Start now! Life is uncertain. An unexpected illness or injury could prevent you from decluttering if you wait until you are older. Plus, the older you get, the more difficult it will be to do because with age your strength and energy level will diminish.

If the thought of downsizing your stuff strikes terror in your heart because it is an enormous undertaking, don’t despair. There are ways to get the job done with support.

One option is to purchase my new book, From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year: Your Room By Room Home Makeover, coming out in December. You will learn a highly effective clutter clearing process that combines traditional organizing principles and the wisdom of feng shui, specific clutter clearing challenges and solutions for each room, plus have a clutter clearing plan for every room in the house — attic to basement.

Be one of the first to get your copy of From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year by pre-ordering your copy at a reduced rate. Until December 1 you can order the book for just $20.65 including shipping. That is a $2 savings! To order, please send a check to: Debbie Bowie, 7293 Jay Way, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

The pain of losing a beloved parent is so very deep. Add to that your child’s or children’s obligation to settle your affairs and clear out your living space — a process that is usually overwhelming and stirs up more pain — and it can be an emotional burden beyond belief. From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year can be your guide to get started and systematically downsize and declutter every part of your home. Start now!

Home Office Clutter Clearing Plan

My new book, From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover, is coming out just in time for Christmas giving — to yourself and others. One helpful feature of the book is the inclusion of clutter clearing plans for each area of your home. Below is an excerpt of a clutter clearing plan from the Home Office chapter. It will give you a taste of the book, help you to push past any overwhelm, and start clearing out your home office. The ideas included in this plan are transferrable to any office setting.

Home Office Clutter Clearing Plan

Clutter in a home office is equivalent to blockages in the circuitry of your brain. Blockages in the brain can be lethal. They can also cause a state of unease that results in stress, anxiety and fear, and impairs productivity. When your home office is clear of clutter you can access the information you need for personal business and personal interests within seconds. Once you have ready access to that information, your life can roll along without incident. 

Clearing clutter from the home office can feel like you’ve gotten your brain back! Let me show you how.

  1. Take a photo of your home office before you begin work. As you look at it, take note of the “hot” spots, those areas of intense negative energy that make you want to run from the room. Resist the urge to run. Notice the negative thoughts that immediately pop up. Thoughts like, “What a mess! I don’t know where to start. This will take forever to do!” Notice those thoughts, but don’t allow them to shut down your brain. Just notice the challenge areas. Tell yourself that you can handle this challenge. It may take time, but you can do it, even if you have to do it in a number of short sessions or get some help to make it so.
  2. If paper has gone wild in the room, gather it up and put it in bags or boxes to deal with after you’ve finished organizing the rest of the room. As you gather up the papers, be sure to separate out supplies like envelopes, writing implements, sheet protectors and pads of paper. Put those aside in one area of the room. Also, be sure not to scoop up papers associated with current bills to be paid and current action items. Keep those two categories of paper separate from the rest of the paper. That way you can be sure to keep up with bills and other important actions that must be handled before the organizing is completed. The purpose of gathering up the paper is to quiet its annoying, distressing and distracting negative energy so you can think clearly as you make decisions about the rest of the contents of the room.
  3. If there are miscellaneous little items floating around the room, on the desk, filing cabinet, floor, etc., gather them all up and put them in a bag or basket. Like paper, the energy of those little things can be very distracting and probably needs silencing before moving forward. You can deal with those things at the end of the clutter clearing process, once everything bigger has been handled.
  4. Identify all the functions of the room. Home offices are often multi-purpose rooms, especially in small houses. It’s important to determine the various functions of the space before you begin clutter clearing, so you’ll know what belongs in the room and what needs to find a home elsewhere. Is it just a home office, a place to pay bills and store papers you might need to access someday? Does it house a home-based business as well as personal financial information? Is the room both home office and guest room? Does it also serve as the location of the gift-wrapping center for the home? Is it a craft room as well as a home office? So many possibilities! Know that the more functions housed in a room, the more challenging it will be to organize and keep organized.
  5. Remove everything from the space that does not fit its function. Place those items either just inside or just outside the door to be moved once you’ve worked long enough to have either a weary brain, or to have accumulated enough items to justify taking a break to distribute them to their new locations.
  6. Look at each piece of furniture and determine whether it serves at least one of the functions of the room. Remove any furniture that doesn’t serve one of the functions of the room. Home offices are complicated spaces that are a challenge to organize and keep organized. They ALWAYS have a lot going on in them. You cannot afford to have excess furniture holding precious energy that could be better used another better way in that room.
  7. Check each piece of furniture to make sure it works well and is in good condition. A good way to determine this is by noticing which furniture is being used and which is not. If something is not being used, why not? It’s common that filing cabinets and desks with broken drawers or drawers that don’t open and close easily will be avoided. Let go of furnishings that are not in good condition.
  8. Check the placement of the furniture. Is it comfortable? Is the desk situated so you will be in the power position, having a full view of the door and a solid wall behind you? Is it possible to work effectively and efficiently in the current arrangement? If not, rearrange the furniture put yourself in the power position when working at the desk. Make sure you can easily reach anything you will use on a regular basis, like computers, printers, other office equipment, filing cabinets, and supplies.
  9. When you are moving furniture around, be sure to clump supplies you encounter in one location for evaluation, organizing and containing later in the clutter clearing process.
  10. Evaluate computer equipment. Does it all work? If there are old computers, printers, modems and hard drives that are not being used, why not? Purge broken items that aren’t worth repairing, items you don’t know how to use and don’t  care about figuring out how to use. The “someday” you think will come when you’ll be able to figure out everything is not likely to come. Get real about all the electronic equipment that you own. Make decisions about what will be kept and let go of the rest. This may require taking steps to remove data from hard drives. If you are not computer savvy, the fastest way to clear hard drives is to hire someone to help you do this. Also, much outdated electronic equipment is not worth selling. Live only with electronic equipment that is alive and used!
  11. Gather all books together and evaluate the energy of each one. Books to keep are those that you haven’t read but are still interested in reading, those that you have read and know you’ll re-read, those that you are highly likely to use for reference, and any book that has changed your life. Those are high energy books. Let go of the rest.
  12. If you have binders, evaluate each one to determine if it is worth keeping. Binders from workshops and conferences are seldom used after the event and can take up valuable “real estate” in a home office. If you don’t use a binder in the first month after a workshop or conference you are unlikely to ever use it. Let it go! Binders of old financial information can be archived in banker’s boxes in the attic, again freeing up precious space. If, like me, you’ve had good intentions of using binders, but really hate the hole punching process, consider getting rid of binders in favor of another way of storing papers.
  13. Sort supplies by category: writing implements, paper, filing supplies, index cards, sheet protectors, binders, blank CDs, jewel cases, organizing supplies, etc. As you sort, put aside for donation any supplies you no longer use, that are outdated, and that you find annoying or irritating to use. Once the supplies are sorted by type, look at the quantity of each item. If you have an excessive amount of any item, consider donating a portion of it to a local charity. After you’ve made those decisions, check to see if all the supplies you plan to keep will fit in the storage area you plan to use to house them. Make it your goal to have all your supplies comfortably live in the storage space available.
  14. Evaluate all software books and CDs (content, music, software, photos, etc.), purging any that are outdated or that you no longer use.
  15. Consider all the decorative items in the space. Do they still have positive energy? Do you love them or use them? If not, let them go. Or, if you have a decorative item that you still value, but you no longer want it in the home office, put it by the door to find a home for it in another part of the house.
  16. Check out any other items that don’t fit into the major categories I’ve discussed to identify those that you still love or use. Move those that aren’t loved or used to the door with other items to be donated.
  17. Once the entire space has been evaluated and unused and unloved items purged, turn your attention toward the paper that you scooped up early in the clutter clearing process. You are likely to find that paper is easier to handle now that you’ve cleared the rest of the room.
      • DO NOT start making decisions about single pieces of paper, unless that’s all you have to deal with. If you start there, you will quit! Handling big chunks of paper first will allow you to see visible progress quickly. That is essential in order for you to stay motivated and keep going.
      • Start by pulling big chunks of paper from your paper piles first, like magazines, catalogs, newsletters, and stapled chunks of paper. Making decisions big chunks allows you to see visual progress for your efforts more quickly than starting with single sheets of paper. Visual progress is imperative to keep you motivated to continue working on paper.
      • Work your way from big chunks to single sheets, and then to small pieces of paper.
      • Keep only those papers you are highly likely to reference at some later date. Remember, 80 to 90% of paper that is filed never gets touched again.
      • Be very selective about papers you keep. If you keep them, they become work, because you’ll need to figure out how to store them so you can easily access them.

Keep in mind that the energy in your home office will be much improved once you have cleared it of clutter. You will then need to organize your paper and set up a filing system, if you don’t already have one.

After all that hard work you can turn your attention to other fun activities, like decorating the space and enhancing it with lovely art and images that bring you joy, create feelings of empowerment, and motivate you to take action.

Now that you’ve read through the steps, it’s time to apply your knowledge. Are you ready to love your home office?

From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year

I am very excited to report that I am in the final stages of preparing From Cluttered to Clear In Just One Year: Your Room-by-Room Home Makeover, my second book, for publication. I hope to have it available for sale on my website and on Amazon by December 2017.

Why is this exciting news for you? My first book, Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Your Performance on a Daily Basis, described how the condition of your environment affects your performance, the tools that can be used to create high performance environments, and a general process for clearing clutter. It was designed to set the foundation of principles, information and processes to create high performance spaces by clearing clutter and improving feng shui in spaces. From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year goes a step further by providing specific recommendations and step-by-step plans to clear clutter and create good feng shui in every area of your home.

From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year begins with a chapter designed to help you start clutter clearing. It includes information about where to start clutter clearing for the best results, where not to start clearing, the best way to start clearing, how to clear clutter, what to clear out, and how to get started and continue clearing clutter.

What distinguishes this book from other books about decluttering is that chapters address both clutter clearing and feng shui challenges in each area of the home. For example, in the Bedroom chapter you’ll find a section that addresses how to clear clutter from the tops of dressers as well as sections about how to make your bedroom peaceful by eliminating things that affect quality sleep like loose shoes and an open laundry hamper. At the end of the chapter is step-by-step plan to clutter clearing from the bedroom.

You can use From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year as your guide to systematically clear clutter and create good feng shui in your home over the period of one year. Or, you can use it as a reference manual to pull out when you are ready to tackle clutter in any area of your home.

Is this the year you are going to get your clutter clearing done and reclaim comfort and peace in your home? If so, email me to be added to a list to be notified when From Cluttered to Clear in Just One Year hits the book shelves later this fall.

Good Feng Shui Following the Death of a Pet

Last week we said good-bye to Jake, our beloved terrier mutt. He had been part of our lives for 11 years and 3 months. It was time. He was 15-17 years old. He had had a good life with us. His little body wore out, though his devotion to me never did. It was a very difficult decision to let him go.

What did I do in the aftermath of his death? I took up all the beds he slept on, threw several away because they were not in good shape, and washed the rest. I was driven to change the environment to reflect the fact that Jake was no longer with us. Otherwise, every time I’d look at one of those beds I’d picture him curled up in it and my broken heart would crack open again. I put his food bowl away in a cabinet. Seeing it would keep my heart wounds raw. I also took all his dog food and bagged it to donate to the SPCA.

Why did I act so quickly to remove his things? Those things associated with his daily activities held his energy that once was so alive and vibrant but now is gone. They held the sadness about his decline and death in place, making it hard for me to grieve his death and move beyond it.  Feng shui teaches that it is important that your space reflect your current self, your current reality. By clearing out things that would cause pain whenever I saw them, I was signaling to the Universe that I choose to let go of the energy of death and decline and instead focus on good memories of Jake when he was alive and thriving.

As so often happens when I clear my space of things that don’t reflect my current reality, my mind cleared and I noticed that I have no photos of Jake displayed in our house. I have photos on my computer, but none that I can enjoy seeing every day. With that new awareness I began planning ways to hold his energy in our space. I will print out a photo to frame. I also plan to make a photo book of him to hold his sweet energy in place.

When you lose a loved one, you have a choice. Keep things that hold the energies of death, decline and sadness in place or release them in favor of things that hold positive memories and good feelings. It’s a choice to stay stuck in grief or move through it.

Transform Refrigerator Clutter Into Art

We’ve all seen it, the front and/or sides of a refrigerator plastered with papers and photos

Can you guess what I love when you look at my refrigerator collage? Dogs, art, family and friends!

hanging on for dear life at all angles in a hectic jumble. I’ll bet your first instinct when you see that messy bulletin board in someone’s kitchen is to look away. Why is that? Because it looks chaotic and radiates negative energy.

“But,” you say, “it’s so practical to have those papers within easy reach for reference or to cue you to do something . . .” I’m sure it could helpful if you could easily see everything hanging there. What seems to happen over time is that so many papers begin to accumulate on the refrigerator surface that it’s hard to see anything. To make things worse, papers are placed there at different angles which creates an off-balance, out of control feeling. Plus, if you look closely, many of those papers are probably out of date and irrelevant, therefore trash. Refrigerators loaded with papers are vertical displays of clutter.

What to do? Transform your refrigerator surfaces into a vertical collage. Create an arrangement you love to look at. Here’s how you can do that:

      • remove everything from the refrigerator surface
      • sort through the papers and photos, choosing items that are still relevant and/or lift your spirits 
      • find other items that warm your heart and make you smile, like photos of special people or places, a colorful calendar, inspirational poems or sayings, interesting or unique magnets
      • intentionally arrange those items on your refrigerator so that you can see everything, each item is at right angles to the edges of the refrigerator, and the overall arrangement is attractive and interesting to look at
      • put all papers in one area or mix them with photos and other items of visual interest which will offset the somewhat negative energy of the papers
      • step back and look at your creation
      • rearrange items if necessary for visibility or to make it more visually attractive

Once you’ve created your refrigerator masterpiece your work is not done! It’s important to maintain its order and visual appeal. Regularly clear off papers that are no longer useful. When you add new items, resist the urge to slap them up there willy nilly at odd angles. Place each item deliberately at right angles to the refrigerator edges, making sure it can be easily seen and that its placement adds to the visual appeal of the entire arrangement.

If you start thinking about your refrigerator surfaces as opportunities for artistic expression instead of convenient bulletin boards, you are more likely to treat them with the respect and care they deserve. The payoff for taking a few extra minutes to arrange their surfaces and maintain them as peaceful collages that hold useful information and warm your heart is that they will enhance your kitchen instead of being eyesores. You and others will be drawn to look at them with interest and curiosity instead of being repelled by their chaos and negative energy.

Productivity: Where You Sit Matters

Yesterday I watched myself carefully choose a seat in Starbucks. I was between meetings and

I didn’t choose to sit at this table because none of the chairs put me in the Power Position. One chair had its back to the main door, one chair had its back to the flow of traffic going to and from the bathroom and exiting the building, and the third chair had its back to the flow of traffic entering by the back door. In all positions my nervous system would be on high alert, and I would feel vulnerable.

needed a place where I could get work done on my computer. I noticed that not just any seat would do. It had to be the most comfortable seat in the restaurant.

I’m not talking about the comfort of the chair I would sit in. All the chairs were the same. I’m referring to the location of the chair in the restaurant. I passed chairs that had their backs to glass walls and chairs that faced outside with their backs to the flow of customer traffic. I was searching for a seat where I could have a solid wall behind me and a full view of the front door.

Why would I be so deliberate about my choice of seating? In my feng shui training I learned that I can be most productive and successful if I position myself in the Power Position when I am working. The Power Position is a location where I have a solid wall behind me and a full view of the door. My nervous systems is programmed for survival. A solid wall behind me ensures that I won’t be surprised from behind. A view of the door makes it possible to know what’s coming at me so I can prepare to defend myself if needed.

The chair where you see the computer was my choice because it put me in the Power Position. I had a solid wall behind me and a full view of both doors.

When I don’t have a solid wall behind me, my nervous system is on high alert for possible threats and therefore can’t settle down to focus my full attention on my work. If I don’t have a view of the door, a part of me feels unsettled, again making it impossible to be fully present to my work. The Power Position is the most comfortable place to sit, a place where my nervous system can settle down and I can focus on important things other than safety. Putting myself in the Power Position is a choice for personal empowerment and productivity.

It has become a habit to position myself in the Power Position whenever I sit down. Yesterday I really wanted to get work done at my computer. I knew if I could find a comfortable place to seat myself, I’d be able to get a lot done. If I couldn’t do that, I would be less productive.

Fortunately the best seat in the house was available with a solid wall behind me and a full view

My view of both doors (one at the end and one just off to the right) and most of the activity in the space plus a solid wall behind me made it possible for me to relax and focus on my work.

of both doors into the coffee shop. It was interesting to note that there were only two seats in the whole restaurant that put customers in the Power Position. Perhaps Starbucks unconsciously wants customers to be a little unsettled and not too comfortable, so they won’t linger, thereby making space for other customers. Or, the interior designers for Starbucks aren’t aware of feng shui principles and the effect that seating can have on the comfort and productivity of clients.

With awareness of the importance of sitting in the Power Position, you too can make seating decisions that lead to having the best focus, brainpower, and productivity.

Artists: Improve Your Studios for Success

Artists need inspiration and motivation to keep producing art. Years ago I visited a number of

A studio housed in a garage.

artists’ studios to get a sense of the environments in which artists work. As a feng shui practitioner who appreciates the feng shui principal that what you have in your space and how it’s arranged affects what happens in the space, it was interesting to see that many artists work in very utilitarian spaces that are cluttered, disorganized, and not very inviting. The priority in many studios seems to have been to expend creative energy on art pieces rather than on the space itself.

Feng shui teaches that if you make a space a personal paradise, an attractive space with many sources of positive energy (light, color, plants, treasures, useful supplies, etc.) and few sources of negative energy (clutter, piles of paper, trash, supplies you no longer use, etc.) and utterly comfortable, you will attract more good into your life (motivation to create, increased productivity, commissions, ideas, opportunities to show your work, resources, etc.). Given that reality, it would behoove artists to invest more time, energy, and creativity into transforming their utilitarian studios into luscious places to work.

I recently had the opportunity to do a feng shui consultation for Kymberly Keniston-Pond, an artist and wellness consultant whose studio was in a small shed in her backyard. As most sheds are, it was unpainted on the inside and had no windows, a pretty grim, utilitarian space much better suited for storing yard tools than for creating art.

I initially questioned Kymberly about the idea of trying to make that space her center of creativity. It was so small, dark and uninviting. When it became apparent that the shed was her only option for a studio, we began brainstorming ways to make the space work for her. We identified areas of the space for specific activities and discussed furnishings, shelving and storage options. I made recommendations for color on the walls, for softening hard edges, for bringing a sense of the outside into the space, and for my client making the space her own. When I left that day, Kymberly had a long list of steps to take to create a studio that she’d love to come to every day.

As happens when I do a feng shui consultation, months passed with no word from Kymberly. I

The beginning — adding color to the walls and fabric in the eaves to soften the hard edges of the rafters.

often never hear from feng shui clients and wonder if they followed my recommendations but never let me know the results of their efforts, or if they never took action at all. In this case, I was lucky to receive an email from my Kymberly eight months after our consultation sharing her progress once she got a majority of the work done.

I share the following photos to show you an example of what can be done if you turn your creative energies to making your studio a personal paradise for your work. What you see may not appeal to you, but remember, it is an expression of Kymberly’s personal tastes and choices. Your expression of YOUR personal paradise will be very different.

Using fabric for visual interest, to balance the hard edges of the walls and shelving, and to screen art supplies stored below.

The specific color and content choices are not as important as the fact that Kymberly created a space she loves, one that inspires her engage in creative activities. Here’s what she had to say about the space,

“I love going into my ‘korner’. . . it makes me smile, and I feel instantly relaxed, happy, nurtured. I am looking for a beautiful chandelier to hang above my table. I will know it when I see it. I painted the covers of the florescent lights, hung some awesome Edison ones, and when I get back I will be taking down the florescent ones and hanging two more strings of Edison. . . that’s the lighting I’m most comfortable with.”

As you can see, her studio is a work in progress, one that she has enjoyed creating and now

A framed outdoor scene creates the sense of a window. A work table is transformed into an object of visual interest by covering it with with colorful fabric.

enjoys working in.

What can you do to make your studio a place that draws you in and motivate you to create more art?

A sign with the name of Kymberly’s business and a swinging chair with colorful pillows add whimsy and a lighthearted, warm energy to the space.

The Konmari Method: Not a Magic Bullet!

51mf3u-jpal-_sx348_bo1204203200_Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has been the all the rage for the last two years. I’m guessing it caught on because people were fascinated and hungering for information about how to rid themselves of clutter forever. Wouldn’t that be nice! Or, perhaps the idea that tidying up could be magical and not a dreaded boring task was appealing.

Unfortunately, the only way to rid yourself of clutter forever is to have a highly effective, committed staff that follows you everywhere cleaning up and clearing out behind you or to be dead. As we move through life, we create clutter. The only way I know to live somewhat clutter-free is to make daily clutter clearing a priority along with several larger clutter clearing sessions per year.

Not only was I initially very put off by the suggestion that it is possible to clear clutter forever, I also had a problem with Ms. Kondo’s insistence that everything should be cleared out at once. Having worked as a professional organizer who has cleared clutter for almost 20 years, I have learned that the human brain wears out after an hour or two when making decisions once after another. Going through an entire house can take weeks or even months for most people. It is an enormous task!

Clutter clearing is all about making decisions. The idea that people are capable of working hour after hour, day after day to clear clutter not only is an impossibility (unless a team of people are doing the clearing), but it is a recipe for exhaustion and failure.

I also struggled with the sorting method proposed in Ms. Kondo’s book. At one point she suggested that a person’s closet be emptied onto the floor and clothes from other parts of the house be added to the pile. Then the sorting would begin and continue until all the clothes were sorted.

First, piling all the clothes in one place is a recipe for overwhelm. Seeing all the clothes at once would shut down most of my clients’ brains, especially those with ADHD. Also, it really isn’t necessary to empty closets when clearing them out. In fact, it’s much more efficient to leave all clothes in the closet, except for any that are on the floor, and pull out only those that a person no longer wants.

Finally, it is highly unlikely that even a person who is highly focused and motivated would be able to stay engaged in the sorting process until that enormous job was done. When exhaustion sets in, the brain melts down. When the brain is done, people quit clearing clutter. That would leave a big pile of clothes in the middle of the bedroom, a pile that would be much harder to get back to than it was to work on it the first time.

With all that said, I really liked the feng shui feel of the book. The way she looked at possessions was almost referent. Plus, she linked quality of a person’s life to the condition of their environment. Feng shui teaches that what you have in your space affects what happens in your life.

I can see all my shirts at once! No MIA shirts!

I can see all my shirts at once! No MIA shirts!

My favorite part of the book, however, was the section addressing how to fold clothes for maximum visibility. Using her suggestions I have totally transformed my sock and nightgown drawer and my shirt drawer using her methods. I feel proud and happy every time I open one of those drawers. Everything is so neat, organized and visible.

No, you can’t banish clutter forever. There are no magic bullets. But, you can improve the condition of your space by clearing clutter every day.

Good Feng Shui in Your Home Office Is Possible!

Feng shui teaches that creating a personal paradise is your goal when you
feng-shui-officearrange
a space. No room needs that approach more than a home office. As one of the most neglected and most dumped-on rooms in the house, it really needs some thoughtful attention and positive energy to make it an appealing place to work.

But, where to start? How exciting are filing cabinets, bookcases, desks and computer equipment?

TIP #1: Start with the wall color. It will set the tone and serve as the foundation for all other enhancements you make. Painting the walls a color is imperative. White walls very quickly become dingy, scarred and dirty. It is also easy to feel anxious and depressed in rooms with white walls because the colors of prints, photographs and paintings on the walls just won’t show up. We need color to feel good. It nurtures us with its energy. So paint your home office walls a color. Colors I recommend for home offices are a buttery yellow, sage green, and my new favorite, an earthy turquoise blue. Blues and greens are associated with the wood element. The wood element is associated with growth and expansion and a positive, upward energy. Yellow is an optimistic earth element.

TIP #2: Eliminate any furniture that is broken, ugly or doesn’t work well. You want all your furnishings to have good energy. It’s likely that you’ll be using odds and ends in this room, i.e., furniture that isn’t needed elsewhere. Just make sure that you actually like each piece and that all the pieces look good together.

TIP #3: Eliminate fluorescent lighting and be sure you have multiple incandescent light sources. It’s a good idea to have some uplighting as well, light that is directed up toward the ceiling. Light is energy. You’ll need plenty of energy to face the types of tasks typically done in a home office.

TIP #4: Place the desk in the power position with a solid wall behind it and a full view of the door. From that position your nervous system will relax and you will feel empowered and ready to tackle whatever awaits you on the desk.

TIP #5: Place other furniture around the desk, both to accommodate the convenient completion of the tasks to be done at the desk and to look attractive.

TIP #6: Add plants to bring the outdoors inside. Green is an optimistic color, and live or silk plants can immediately change the feel of a room that has lots of hard edges and electrical equipment. They provide a soft, soothing energy. Make sure they are healthy and have round shapes. Avoid dried plants and those with thorns and pointed shapes. Dried plants have a dead energy, especially when their color fades, and thorns and pointed leaves have negative energies because of their potential to do physical harm.

TIP #7: Add art, photographs, and special mementoes you love, anything that makes your heart sing and that empowers you. For example, I have a photograph of me that was taken with Jack Canfield at a conference years ago. Jack is one of my mentors. He doesn’t know it, but I want to do the kind of work he’s been so successful doing, and I want to be able to share my message with the world like he has. I also framed a print of the Chinese letters for “feng shui” since feng shui is a focus of all the work I do. And, when I recently re-decorated my office, I deliberately chose to limit almost all other art on the walls to original art by artists I know.

Invest in making your home office a personal paradise, and you’ll want to spend more time there.

You’ll also be more motivated to treat it with the respect it deserves! Wouldn’t it be nice to LOVE your home office instead of dreading it or avoiding it? You can! Make it so!

Counter Knife Blocks = A Feng Shui Kitchen “No! No!”

One of the most common feng shui errors that I find in kitchens is the knife-block-563633_640presence of a knife block on the counter. You know, a block of wood holding knives of various sizes. It’s a very convenient way to store knives so they are easily accessible for use.

When you assess the feng shui of a space, it’s important to consider safety. Knives that are located out in the open in a knife block are not considered safe because they are so accessible. They could easily be used as weapons. A block of knives is a block of negative energy because of its potential for harm.

You are probably thinking, “If I can’t store them on the counter, how should I store them for easy access?” You have several options. First, you can put the block out of sight. Make room on a shelf in one of your lower cabinets for the knife block. It’s important that you be able to reach the knives easily. If accessing it is the least bit inconvenient, you will avoid getting knives that way. Then either the block will end up on the counter again, or the knives will be tossed into drawers.

A second option, and my preferred option, is to purchase a wooden drawer insert specifically for knives. Be sure to measure the drawer first so you are sure to buy an insert of the correct size. The insert will have slits to hold the knives, safely containing the blades out of harm’s way.

Removing a knife block from the counter is a great way to make a kitchen immediately feel more peaceful. Commit to peace and safety in your kitchen by removing your knife block from the counter.

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.

Good Bedroom Feng Shui Includes Art

What hangs on the walls of your bedroom? What kind of energy surroundsScan 14 you when you sleep? The energy of each painting, print, and photograph affect the quality of your sleep and the quality of your relationships. In fact, the feng shui of any art in your bedroom is also directly related to your overall health and general well-being. So it’s important to check out each piece of art to make sure that its energy is in keeping with the primary energy you want to achieve in the space.

Remember, bedrooms are primarily about rest, changing your clothes and intimacy (sex).

So, ideally the art should have a restful, peaceful and/or sensual energy. Landscapes, beach and garden scenes are good choices for a peaceful bedroom. Scenes with people should be avoided because people have the energy of fire. Fire is the highest energy element and therefore not restful.  Violent or troubling scenes can affect your interactions with a spouse and can disrupt your sleep. Definitely avoid depictions of war and anything disturbing.  You also want to avoid art in the bedroom that conveys sad or lonely images. So what are some important feng shui factors to consider when choosing bedroom art?

Check out the subject matter of each art piece.

What is going on in the scene? You are sleeping with the content.  The best feng shui advice for bedroom art is to choose images that you want to experience in your life. Remember, what you put on your walls is alive with energy. To ensure peace in the bedroom, good sleeping and intimacy, remove anything that has a negative association or a busy, frenetic energy.

If you want to attract romance, choose art that feels romantic

If you are part of a couple and want to add some spark to your love life, add prints of couples embracing, sensual subjects that you both find appealing and pairs of prints, candles, or objects of any kind. Or, to make the bedroom all about the two of you, enlarge photographs from your honeymoon or a special trip you enjoyed together, and frame them. Avoid art depicting single women or single men. They hold the energy of being single and could affect the strength of your relationship.

Remember the functions of your bedroom: rest, changing your clothes, and intimacy (sex). Make sure your art is compatible with those functions and you will have good feng shui in your bedroom.

Bedroom Clutter Clearing: Live Within Your Closet

I was raised with parents who were not accumulators of material things.  I Home office closet_Anever saw clothes hanging from brackets attached to the outside of closets or scads of toiletries strewn across a bathroom counter.  So, in my early days of working as a professional organizer I was really unprepared for the quantities of clothes and other belongings that spilled from closets, drawers and cabinets.

Feng shui teaches that everything has energy and the energy talks to you. 

Well, when things that really belong in the privacy of a closet are hanging outside the closet, they talk to you!  In fact, if there are very many of them on the loose, they scream at you.  A peaceful bedroom can be quickly transformed to a noisy crowd when clothes no longer fit in closets and drawers.  That noise will interfere with getting good sleep which will affect your productivity, and over time, your health.

What do I mean by talk to you?  Things get their energy from their color, the memories associated with them, their materials, textures and design.  When something is out in the open all those components of it are visible and chatting away. 

What to do?  Make a commitment to live within your closets, drawers and cabinets.

Don’t accumulate more than you can comfortably house in the storage containers available to you. You can do that by regularly clearing out items you no longer love or use.

“But my closets are so small,” you say.  Get a wardrobe!  Move to a house with bigger closets!  What is more important — all those clothes, toiletries, gadgets, etc. or a peaceful home where it is really possible to get quality sleep?

Reduce Grief By Creating a Memorabilia Altar

I’ve noticed that some people who have experienced the death of someoneAlter very important keep large quantities of items associated with that person. Everything seems to have great significance. Clients have stated that when they get rid of things associated with their spouse, parent, child, etc., they feel like they are getting rid of that person. Little do they know that by holding onto quantities of things that remind them of that person they are actually anchoring their grief about the loss.

Everything a person own holds their energy if when you look at it you think of that person. An item might have had a very positive energy when the person was alive. For example, a musical instrument they enjoyed playing would likely hold positive energy. However, when the person dies the energy of their items is tinged with sadness.  The musical instrument that held positive energy could evoke sadness because the musician can no longer play the item. Holding onto it anchors sadness.

To facilitate moving through normal grief over the loss of a loved one, I recommend that survivors keep only those items that they like the best, those things that evoke happy feelings. Less is best.

One way to honor a loved one is to create an altar with an arrangement of a few precious items that belonged to the person. You don’t need to hold onto quantities of items associated with a beloved mother to hold her memory in place. Choose a few special items that remind you of the person and arrange them on a surface that you will see in passing as you move through you space. Those items might include a photograph, a special curio, a medal or award they received, anything of theirs that really matters to you or really mattered to them.

My mother died recently. After she died I created an altar to hold a few special things associated with her. It sits atop a small chest of drawers that was in our living room when I was growing up and has been in Mom’s home ever since. I chose to keep that chest for its association with Mom and my life while I was living at home with Mom and Dad.

I gave Mom the little purple silk flower arrangement. She loved flowers and she loved it. The wax ball smells of lilac, her favorite flower and fragrance. I added a few other items for aesthetics — a small painting by my dad, a live plant and a paperweight given to me by a special client who often checked in with me about how Mom was doing during the last few years.

The quantity of items on the altar associated with Mom was less important than the feelings evoked by the items. Just three items (the chest, flower arrangement, and wax ball) hold Mom’s energy and memory in place. When I walk by this little altar my heart remembers Mom and what she loved, and it smiles.

Do the things you have kept that once belonged to a loved one make your heart smile? Are they out and visible where you can see and enjoy the memories? If not, you have inadvertently created pockets of pain that make moving through your grief a much more difficult and slow process. Keep and honor the best. Let go of the rest! 

China Cabinet: A Haven for Treasures or Trash?

Have you ever noticed who you’ve got living in your corner cupboard or chinaliving-room-670237__340 (1) cabinet?

In my work as a feng shui practitioner who works with people to clear clutter I help people identify and evaluate the energies throughout their homes and offices to make those energies conscious and ensure that they were positive and supportive. Positive and supportive energies attract more positive experiences and good into your life.

I once worked with a man who had been divorced for many years. His feelings about his ex-wife could best be described as hostile. When we reached the dining room he was startled to realize that his wedding china, which was prominently displayed both inside and outside of his corner cupboard, held the energy of his marriage and of his ex-wife. Needless to say, we discussed the significance of those pieces and removed them from their prominent location.

Items that are stored in china cabinets, buffets, and corner cupboards in dining rooms are often loaded with associations with family members and past events. It’s where we store our “good stuff.”

Take a look at your dining room storage cabinet. I’ll bet you find china that belonged to your mother or grandmother. Or, perhaps you have crystal you got when you got married. Or, there may be candle holders from a dear friend. Rarely does a dining room storage cabinet hold things devoid of associations.

When an item brings back the memory of a family member, it holds the energy of that person. It’s as if that person has taken up residence in your space. If the item holds the energy of a significant event, the event will replay in your mind when you see the item. If you are not in good relationship with the person whose energy is held in place by an object, or if your memory of a significant event is not positive, those objects are holding negative energies associated with the person or event.

Check out each item in your china cabinet, buffet or corner cupboard. Pay attention to the thoughts that immediately pop into your mind. If an item has a strong positive association you could hear, “Oh, I love that! It’s the gravy boat we used every year for Christmas,” or “That’s Nana’s salt and pepper shaker. She was so special.”

When an item holds a strong negative association or has no significant association at all you might hear, “That ugly thing was so important to Mom. It belonged to Aunt Thelma. And, she was not a nice woman!” or “I don’t know where that came from. It isn’t nearly as nice as some of my other pieces.”

Also pay attention to your energy. Items with good energy are likely to lift your spirits and elicit a warm feeling inside. They often bring a smile to your face. Items that hold memories of painful times or stressed relationships are likely cause your energy to drop and can register as a groan, a frown, or as an uneasy feeling.

Make your dining room storage cabinets a repository of treasures, not trash. Save items with the best associations, the best energy. Donate the rest!

12 Tips to Ensure Peace in your Family Room

A cluttered room, regardless of its furnishings and paint color, is a noisy,

A family room can be peaceful!

A family room can be peaceful!

stressful environment whose negative energy will have a negative effect on the energy of its occupants. Conflicts are more likely to occur in a cluttered space.

When you think about your family room or den, do you sigh with pleasure or groan with displeasure, irritation or overwhelm? Family rooms are gathering spots, high use areas for relaxing at the end of busy days and busy weeks. As such, they tend to attract all kinds of things that have very little to do with relaxing, like computers and other forms of technology, CDs, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, toys, art supplies, paper. . . the list goes on! If your family room is cluttered, you are not alone! Family rooms seem to take on a life of their own, especially when more than one person is sharing that space.

Guidelines for a Peaceful Family Room

  1. Remember that everything is alive with energy, and that the energies of items talk to you all the time. The more items you have in the space, the noisier and less peaceful the space will be.
  2. Keep small items like CDs, DVDs, art supplies and games contained and out of sight to quiet their noisy energies.
  3. Limit the number of knick knacks you have out and visible to just a few precious items.
  4. Have a balance between large objects (furniture) and small objects (knick knacks, books, magazines, etc.) in the room, erring on the side of more large objects and fewer small objects.
  5. Keep paper out of the family room. If you bring paper into the room to read or work on, be sure to remove it when you leave. Paper usually has the energy of activity and work, and is not conducive to the function of peace and relaxation of a family room.
  6. Limit the number of framed photos to one to three per surface so each photo can be enjoyed. Large quantities of framed photos on a surface have the energy of a crowd, more annoying than pleasurable. Plus, because the energy of a crowd feels overwhelming, it’s less likely that all the photos will be seen.
  7. Contain your magazines and catalogues to one or two baskets or bins rather than out on tables. If a basket fills up, consider it a sign that it’s time review the contents of the basket and let some items go to recycling or the trash.
  8. Keep side tables clear by using small boxes with lids on side tables to contain small items that are frequently used in the family room, like nail clippers, nail files, pens, note pads, etc. When those items are used, return them immediately to the box.
  9. If you have more than one remote, devote one attractive container to remotes and return all remotes to it at the end of each day.
  10. Teach children that whatever they bring into the room must leave it when they leave, like book bags, school supplies, books, snack wrappers, plates, shoes, iPods, tablets, laptops, etc.
  11. Return the room to order each time you leave it and teach your family members to do the same. Return magazines to their basket, remove newspapers, return dishes to the kitchen, and put CDs and DVDs that were used back in place.
  12. Keep the room clean. Dust and dirt are negative energy. Negative energies can induce negative behaviors, irritation and conflict.

It takes just minutes per day to maintain peace in a family room. And, a peaceful family room can also be trashed and transformed into a chaotic mess in a matter of minutes of thoughtless action. Choose for peace!

Your Home Office Could Be Affecting Your Finances

How does your home office make you feel?

How easy would it be to focus and make good decisions in this office?

How easy would it be to focus and make good decisions in this office?

When you look at your home office, do you cringe?

Many people do. Why is that? I think  there are two main reasons that home offices become places to avoid: 1) they often hold functions that most people want to avoid, like bill paying, financial management and paper repository; and 2) they are often unattractively appointed and cluttered. 

No matter how much money you make, you probably still feel some discomfort when it comes to paying bills and managing your finances.

And, were you ever taught how to handle paper? Not likely! So, quite possibly it’s an area associated with money anxiety and paper incompetence. Doesn’t that just make you so excited about spending time there doing boring tasks like paying bills and filing? Heck no!

Unless you use your home office for a home-based business that generates enough income to pay for high quality office furniture, most home offices are furnished with furniture leftovers doubling as office furniture; folding tables and cheap office furniture from office supply chain stores. You end of up with a hodge podge of furnishings that are difficult to make look attractive.

And wall color, if funds are tight, you’ll hold off on painting the home office a pleasant color. Attractive art in the home office? Why bother? After all, nobody sees it but family members, and you don’t even spend that much time there! Or, if there is art in the home office it’s likely to be faded prints you used in college or during the early days of your marriage.

Add to that the fact that home offices often are multi-purpose rooms that are also used as guest and craft rooms.

When rooms have more than one purpose, it’s easy for their essential functions to become blurred. They eventually end up as dumping grounds for things you don’t know what to do with, for things you don’t want to take the time to move up to the attic, and for things you need to clear from other rooms when company is coming.

If by now you’re feeling sorry for your home office, good! Because it’s the brain of the house, the home of crucial functions like financial management, and should be treated with more respect.

If I told you the condition of your home office could be affecting both your current finances and your financial future, would you treat it with more respect?A cluttered home office is loaded with negative energy blocks that could be affecting the flow of money into the family or your home-based business.

If I told you that disorder in that room creates a mental fogginess that could affect all decision-making, would that motivate you to create a new order and spend some time and money making it an attractive place where you could enjoy doing essential tasks like bill paying and financial management? I hope so. Because it’s true. 

If you decided to make your home office a personal paradise, a place where you would enjoy spending time, what would it look like?

Because the typical functions of a home office cause discomfort and anxiety, it  should be an especially lovely, comfortable space, one that will seduce you into crossing the threshold to do dreaded tasks like filing and bill paying. Have fun with it! The time and expense are well worth the potential financial benefits!

Feng Shui: Small Changes Lead to Clutter Clearing

IMG_3578Feng shui can be done in small steps. Throw away a dead plant. Clear clutter from a drawer. Add a lamp to a dark area in your home. Add fresh flowers to your kitchen. When you eliminate negative energy (dead things, clutter) and increase positive energy (adding light, add color and plants), you are doing feng shui.

I had the chance to appreciate the power of feng shui when I made a simple change in my kitchen. What started as trimming an overgrown plant ended up being a significant enhancement to the energies in my kitchen.

I trimmed a pothos, a hardy type of philodendron that grows in long vines. Instead of tossing the vines I’d cut off the plant into the trash, I stuffed them in a jar and put the jar on my kitchen counter. That little pop of color and positive energy totally transformed the feel of my kitchen! It’s amazing what a little pop of bright green can do to energize a room. I also added a photo of my beloved Harry and a special rock from my dear friend, Margaret Norman. 

Adding three sources of positive energy really changed the look and feel of my counter. My spirits lift every time my eyes light on the little green plant. The arrangement looked and felt so good that I was motivated to reduce our paper piles on that counter from two to one. Less clutter = good feng shui! Plus, now I work really hard to keep that counter clear. Who knew that sticking green cuttings in a jar could lead not only a daily mood shift but also motivate me to clear clutter and keep it clear!

What small step can you take today to eliminate a source of negative energy and/or add positive energy to your home or office? Clear and enhance! Small steps add up to big changes over time!

Clutter: 5 Negative Effects on Personal Relationships

If you think your clutter affects only you, think again. Feng shui teaches that everything

Clutter creates conflict in relationships.

Clutter creates conflict in relationships.

is connected. Clutter in any area of your home affects the overall energy of the space. The overall energy of the space affects what happens in your life.

Clutter is negative energy. Negative energy repels good things from coming to you. It also can make you feel unsettled, irritable, anxious and overwhelmed. Clutter affects your energy and the energy of everyone in your space even if the clutter is yours alone. The energy of each family member affects their decision-making and behavior. 

Over the years I’ve worked as a professional organizer I’ve seen clutter affect personal relationships in the following ways:

  • It affects your relationship with yourself. Your self-esteem and your thinking and feelings about yourself suffer when you have clutter. You can be very self-critical, forever beating yourself up about your inability to clear your clutter. Clutter blocks you from accessing your gifts and strengths and effectively utilizing them in your life.
  • It affects your relationship with your spouse. Spouses of a cluttered person who are bothered by the condition of the environment express their discomfort in judgment, negative comments, name calling, anger and irritability. Even if your spouse is not openly judgmental, the negative energy of the clutter creates a charged environment in which it is easier to become irritated, agitated and at odds with each other. Clutter also keeps you unconscious of the state of your relationship, it’s growth or lack of growth, issues that need to be addressed, and changes that need to be made for the sake of the relationship. Failure to address clutter challenges can lead to divorce.
  • It affects your relationship with your children. Clutter is distracting. Feng shui teaches that the energy of each item in your space talks to you. Having clutter, therefore, is like having hundreds of little conversations going on all at once. All that noise keeps you distracted, unable to have the mental clarity needed to parent effectively. It also makes it more difficult to stay calm, grounded and make good decisions. In a cluttered space you are more likely to be reactive, saying and doing things that are hurtful to your children.
  • It affects family relationships. The negative energy in cluttered spaces makes everyone less tolerant and more easily irritated and reactive. It distracts from what is really important to sustain healthy family connections. Clutter keeps you focused on what’s wrong, what doesn’t feel good rather than on fostering and investing in positive connections.
  • It affects your relationships with friends and relatives. You may be embarrassed by the condition of your space to the point where you avoid asking people over to visit, to share a meal or to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Barring people from your home can disconnect you from social contacts and eventually result in isolation.

What can you do today to improve your relationships by clearing clutter? If you cannot clear clutter on your own despite your best efforts, email me today to schedule a free 30 minute coaching consultation to determine your next step to clear clutter for the sake of your relationships.

Post-Christmas Clutter Clearing for a Great New Year!

The days following the hoopla of Christmas can be a let down. Or, they can be a greatsmiley-798856_1280 opportunity to clear clutter to prepare for a great new year. No doubt you are sitting there with an array of gifts, some that you love and will use, and others that don’t love and wish you didn’t have to deal with.

What will you do with unwanted gifts, gifts that are the wrong size, that you dislike, that you don’t need, that you will never use? You now have the opportunity to practice living with what you love. Feng shui teaches that you will have the best life if you live exclusively with what you love or use. When you love and/or use things, they have positive energy. That positive energy attracts more positive into your life.

But, you may be thinking that you must keep gifts given to you by people that you love. You couldn’t possibly give them away or, God forbid, throw them away. When you hold onto things you don’t love or use or never will use, you are cluttering your home with items that have negative energy. Negative energy attracts more negative into your life.

What are your options?

  1. Keep unwanted items and clutter your house. You will feel burdened by the sense of obligation you feel to keep the items. You will then attract more negative into your life going into a new year.
  2. Re-gift items to people who would really enjoy having them, thereby clearing clutter and preventing the accumulation of negative energy.
  3. Donate items to a charity. That will clear clutter, help people in your community, and prevent the accumulation of negative energy.
  4. Throw items away which will clear clutter, but will also be wasteful, thereby attracting more negative energy.

Any gifts that are re-gifted or donated will lighten your load as you move into the new year. The act of clearing out things that don’t fit with who you are today sets the stage for attracting more of what does fit in the new year.

You have choices to make about what do do with unwanted gifts. Remember, whatever you choose will set the tone for your life in the new year. Will you passively allow unwanted things into your life or will you choose a lighter, more positive path?