Tag Archives: holidays

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).

A Happy Holiday Season — A Matter of Perspective

I get a kick out of counting down the months to the holidays. . . “11 months until Christmas, 6 Christmas decorationmonths until Christmas. . . ” Invariably when I do that women groan, particularly mothers. Clearly they dread the holidays. I LOVE the holiday season. When I pondered why my response to this end of year tradition is so much different than many women, and considered why I love it so much, I realized that my view of the holidays is very different than the “normal” view of many harried women.

“Too much to do. Too commercial! Not enough time!” The focus is on all that “has to” be done in create the perfect holiday for everyone and all the added tasks added to an already overflowing plate of responsibility. No wonder they feel overwhelmed! Too many obligations and expectations (many residing in their own heads). Where’s the pleasure in that! The holidays are seen as a time of high stress, too much to do, and not much fun. No wonder they groan when they think of the holidays!

I view the holidays as a season of caring, as an opportunity to demonstrate caring and connection with friends and loved ones. I enjoy having a reason to deliberately reach out and touch people I care about, with cards, small gifts, and special foods. I have fun doing that. The spirit of the season as I see it (not the commercial spirit, rather the caring and connection spirit) gives me  permission to indulge my natural inclination to connect and give and express caring.

It’s so easy not to connect, to put off letting people know they matter, to put off spending time with them. When I let the special people in my life know they matter and spend time with them during the holidays, I invest in maintaining and perhaps strengthening those relationships. The process takes time and energy, yes, but those bonds make my life richer and give my life meaning.  Add to that the added sensory pleasures of special music, lights, delicious foods, enticing smells. Plus, during December I also give myself permission to lighten up, lighten my load and step out of the daily grind so I can fully partake in the pleasures of the season. It’s my favorite time of year!

Above are two different perspectives of the holidays:

  •  a time of high stress, little real rest and the burden of extra responsibilities, and
  •  a time to demonstrate caring, enjoy special pleasures, enjoy time with loved ones, and lighten up.

What’s your perspective about the holiday season? Do you groan or smile? Do you focus on the  possible pleasures or only see an endless to do list? Your perspective is a choice. What will you choose this year?

Getting Things Done Makes Holidays Happier

Mom's Tree

Mom’s Tree

I’m flying high today because I finally completed the last large project of my coach training. I’d had to take an extension for the first time in my life because my plate was just too full, and family had to come first. That project had really been weighing on me!

Once a tough task is done it’s amazing to watch the burst of energy that comes from the completion. After I sent that project into cyberspace yesterday afternoon I no trouble clearing off my desk that just the day before had seemed like an insurmountable task. I got all kinds of little jobs that had been bugging me for some time knocked out. Those tasks had been hanging out because the big project had to take precedence. Once the energy block of the project was removed, everything seemed so much easier to do.

And, the benefits of that big completion are continuing! For example, I’m writing this blog at least a day earlier than I normally would. And, I was able to make myself write a coaching summary and send it off my client within an hour of our session. That rarely happens despite my best intentions! I can get right on tasks I normally might put off doing because I’m not distracted by that monster project.

Another benefit of that important completion is that I was able to be more present when I visited Mom for lunch today. There was more joy in the room because I had lightened my load by finishing that project. We were able to spend time enjoying each other and putting the final touches on her Christmas decorations.

What’s standing between you and the joy of this special season? What can you do today to lighten your load and give yourself the gifts of energy and pleasure?

Thanks, Mom, For Setting the Stage for Happy Holidays

Mom’s Holiday Meal Assistant

When I was a little girl my mom began including me in holiday meal preparations as soon as I was capable of polishing silver and setting the table. I hated polishing silver, but loved being able to help her. It made me feel important and helped me feel really connected to Mom and the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

From silver polishing and table setting I graduated to making my grandmother’s special sweet potato casserole, getting out all the necessary serving dishes and serving spoons, and helping Mom serve all the tasty foods. Then I washed the dishes. That too was not my favorite chore, but it seemed a good way to thank Mom for all her hard work.

I was the only daughter, so it was just Mom and me in the kitchen on a Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. We worked as a team and loved being together making a special meal for the rest of my family.

Had Mom not enlisted me as her assistant in the kitchen during the preparation of holiday meals at an early age, I have a hunch I wouldn’t have the fond feelings for the holidays that I do. Being included empowered me, provided powerful connections between Mom and me, and precious memories and a love of the holidays. Thanks, Mom!

© 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 http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.

10 Tips to Make Christmas a Clutter Free Event



‘Tis the season to be giving, receiving, and decorating. That means that you will be giving and getting “stuff.” You will also be pulling decorations from their storage places. When “stuff” is moving you have an excellent opportunity to commit to 1) not creating clutter in your home and the homes of those who receive your gifts and to 2) clearing clutter every step of the way.

Following are 10 tips to help you make your Christmas a completely clutter free experience:

  1. Pull out ALL your decorations and evaluate each one. Toss every item that you no longer display EVERY year.
  2. When doing your Christmas cards, either send all the left over cards from previous years to eliminate your supply, or just pitch or donate the extra cards.
  3. Throw away small bits of wrapping paper you have been saving to use for just the right tiny package, but never seem to use, especially the pieces that have gotten scrunched.
  4. Clear out cruddy Christmas bags: those that have taken a beating; those that don’t reflect your taste, and those that are just plain ugly.
  5. Clear crushed bows and snarled ribbons. And, clear out ribbons altogether if you’re like me and, despite your best intentions, you never make or take the time to add ribbons to your packages.
  6. Make your gifts to others items that can be consumed and/or that are perishable, like candles, candies, fruit and baked goods. Consumption or time will assure that those gifts don’t linger long enough to become clutter.
  7. Give gift cards freely. People love to do their own shopping or enjoy a free coffee or meal out. Besides, gift card clutter is smaller and less annoying than ugly sweater or useless knick knack clutter.
  8. Evaluate each gift you get with the Love It, Use It or Lose It method. If you don’t love it or use it, lose it! Express appropriate thanks to the giver and then either regift it, donate it or pitch it. It’s the thought that counts and unwanted gifts only hold negative energy in place.
  9. When it’s time to put new gifts away, take the time to clear clutter in the area where the new gift will be stored. Release the old to make room for the new.
  10. When you put decorations away, take a good look at each item and consider the time it takes and the process involved in putting it out and taking it down. Pitch anything whose significance or beauty do not outweigh annoyance factor.

If you do any of the above actions, you will be doing your part to make the holidays a joyous, peaceful time instead of an overwhelming event to survive. Make clutter clearing a new focus of your holiday activities. It’s the best way I know to feel in control at this busy time of year.


Christmas Joy is Choice!

Some people really hate the Christmas holiday season. I love it! Why? It is such a nice break in routine from my day to day life. I’ll admit, Bob and I have our own little rut–go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed, repeat the next day with small variations and many things to do crammed in here and there. Weekends are spent recovering from the week with occasional fun times with friends.

During the holiday season I enjoy special music I’ve heard for over five decades. I eat foods that are prepared only during the holiday season. I visit friends just because it’s the holidays! And, the decorations! I love the lights on trees, decorating front porches and seen through the windows of houses. Christmas tickles the little kid in me!

It seems to be the “in” thing to grouse about how commercial Christmas has become. If I focused on that I’d miss the all the special sensations, sounds, sights and experiences of the season. Who cares! So what if it’s commercial! People have to make a living and the Christmas season can been a boon for retail. So what! I choose to focus on the blessings of this season, and turn down the volume on any commercial annoyances.

Many years ago I separated from my first husband. It was a sad disturbing experience. When the holidays came around I was still grieving, but I decided that there was no way I was going to let that ruin my Christmas. It was an important decision. It was the first time I consciously realized that I have a choice about how I feel. Christmas was so important to me, had always been a high point in my year. I was not going to forsake that joy, even in the midst of grieving a major loss. I decided that I could enjoy Christmas on my own. I decorated my own little apartment. I listened to Christmas music. I reveled in all the holiday celebrations at work. Sure, I had sad moments, but I didn’t give up on enjoying the pleasure of the season.

And, here we are again at the edge of another joyous Christmas season. Yes, the economy is in rough shape. Many of us have lost big bucks from our nest eggs because of the ups and downs of the stock market. We can focus on that or we can turn our heads toward the lights, smells, sights and sounds, the red, green, gold and glitter of the season and give thanks for those blessings and all those special people who give our lives meaning. We have a choice. I hope you choose joy!

© 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 http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.