Monday, May 16, 2005

Curious about Clutter: Do You Have It? How to Avoid It!

Once I made the decision to move out of the apartment in which I had lived for eleven years, I realized that I needed help.

I pulled out the Feng Shui books I already owned and rushed to the bookstore for more. I even consulted an on-line Feng Shui expert. “Feng Shui practitioners believe that an invisible breath of life called chi runs through all things, and that by maximizing this energy we can improve our lives. This involves arranging our surroundings in harmony with Feng Shui principles, so that the energy works for us and not against us.”

Some of the books are quite complicated and also contradict each other in several areas. There is one important principle, however, that they all agree with and propose that we follow. That is to get rid of and clear clutter. What better time than during a move to a new space and surroundings.

Even though I consider myself an organized person, I found as I prepared to move that I had a huge amount of clutter to deal with. Jane Butler-Biggs in her excellent and useful book, Feng Shui in 10 Simple Lessons, she writes, “The answer is to remove things from our energy field that are not supporting our energy. This means more than reorganizing thing or putting them out of sight. It means removing them altogether and throwing them out, and this seemingly drastic measure is where, for many people, the difficulty begins.”

As I got into the right frame of mind and spirit, I followed Florynce R. Kennedy’s great advice, “Don't agonize, organize.” And it became more than just organizing. I became almost brutal in the purging of books, clothes, furniture, artifacts and stuff. I did what Butler-Biggs suggested by getting rid of older items - even when valuable - that I no longer used. They are sources of negative energy.

I am also finding that as I am setting my new space, I am re-considering every object, paper, picture and piece of furniture I place. I have already disposed of items I moved. My old tendency was to think that I should keep the item, so I would load up my storage area. Fortunately, my new storage area is small, so I only have room for the truly important items - knowing that I will need to get rid of them as soon as they no long possess positive energy.

And I feel wonderful!

As I started thinking about this blog, I realized that there are many - almost hidden - areas of clutter that deplete our energy level. Here are some that I have addressed, and you may want to work on:

  • Books that I have bought, and feel I should read, but haven’t.
  • Clothes that I purchased when I had a full time job in an office, but haven’t worn for years.
  • Papers I carefully filed in the past and haven’t referred to in years.
  • Furniture that is no longer comfortable or doesn’t fit the modern, clean cut style of my new home.
  • Computer disks for programs I have never used and never will.
  • Computer files that are out-of-date and of no further use.
  • Old mail: both snail and e-mail.
  • Gifts I have kept not because I liked them, but because they came from people I love.
  • Cosmetics that were gifts and/or purchases that I don’t use.
  • Shoes that were sharp, but that I haven’t worn in years.
  • T-shirts and more t-shirts from events and activities in which I participated.
  • Stained clothing that I kept for messy chores, but never wore.

I am sure you can make your own list. Once you have cleared the clutter, it is important to thoroughly cleaned the area(s) you have cleared. I almost embarrassed myself with all of the dust I discovered in my former space. And I thought I was a conscientious cleaner!

Two quotations that I hope will spur you on are:

  • “I'm definitely a messy person... I know where everything is but I just can't organize. I don't make lists and find scripts on the laundry machine, and under my bed, or in the bathroom, kitchen. It's bad, I really need to take control.” - Katie Holmes
  • “If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life.” - Louis Parrish

And for help with organizing, visit: or visit your local library and ask for the section with the books on Feng Shui. Get rid of that clutter. You’ll be glad you did!