If you’re suffering from clutter-itis, I’m guessing you already know: towering magazines; piles of stuff you haven’t touched in months or years but can’t bear to part with; a closet that you can’t get into or out of without a struggle. Clutter is the stuff you don’t want, need, or love—and yet just can’t seem to let go of.
From a feng shui perspective, clutter stops the flow of healthy energy, ideas, and prosperity into your life. The physical stuff (i.e. papers, broken items, unread books, inherited objects, etc) creates stagnation in your space and mind, which makes it much harder to manifest your dreams and goals. Plus, too much stimuli can make it hard to focus on the things you want to do, and keeps you bound to the past thanks to the emotional attachments weighing us down.
Think of every piece of clutter as being attached to you by an invisible umbilical cord which either uplifts or depletes your energy. If enough stuff in your space brings you down, you will feel depressed.
In my book, Feng Shui Your Life, I tell people to remind themselves that the clearing process may not always feel comfortable, but it is essential to achieving harmony and success. Change isn’t always easy, but the reward is nothing short of a personal evolution. This is a perfect time of year to let go of the old to bring in the new!
7 clutter-clearing tips to get you started:
1) Do an assessment. Go through each room and ask yourself “Do I feel happy, organized and calm in here? Do I feel comfortable inviting friends or a romantic partner here? If not, figure out why (I’m guessing it has to do with a cluttery mess).
2) Start with surfaces. First point of attack: countertops, dining table, desk, coffee table, bookshelves. When you clear the surfaces, you’ll be motivated to tackle the closed-off stuff. And it gives the biggest reward because the space feels different.
3) Get bags and label them Storage, Throw-Away, Recycle, Re-gift and Not Sure. Once you’ve filled them (which we’ll start to do in a moment, you want to get them out of your house asap). As for the "not sure" bag, give yourself permission to keep it for two weeks. And if you haven't found reason to dip into it, out it goes.
4) Tackle one space, one room, at a time. Taking on too much at once will take you from clutter to chaos and then it’ll be hard to get anything done.
5) Ask yourself 4 clutter-clearing questions: Do I use it? Do I need it? Do I love it? Does it invoke a positive memory and make me happy? If your answer is no, then it’s time to go.
6) Keep your spirits and energy up. Put on some fun music, drink a lot of water, open the windows and try not to get overwhelmed. Remind yourself that you are opening yourself and your space to new passions, interests and opportunities. You might also ask a friend who is not emotionally attached to your stuff to help you.
7) Clean, dust and mop to make your new area shine.
And celebrate! Getting into the habit of clearing clutter will serve you well. Enjoy your new space!
What are YOUR clutter-clearing tricks? I'd love to hear them.