Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Feng Shui or Not

Even if I fail to effectively de-clutter my home, I’m good at reading about de-cluttering. Two books have been helpful in teaching me what this agonizing task has got to do with mental and spiritual health.

In “Make Room for God: Clearing Out the Clutter,” author Susan K. Rowland claims that “clearing out the clutter, as mundane as it may seem, is really a sacred task.” (Uh oh.) She offers six simple (but grueling) steps:

1. Extract the essentials, the things you must not lose (for me, everything). She’s talking about things like keys, bills to be paid, calendar items (a bracelet my best friend Angela made for me in the fifth grade?).


2. Once you extract your essentials, remove everything from the area you are clearing and sort it into piles, boxes or bags. Basic categories include “Keep,” “Give Away,” “Throw Away,” “Recycle,” and “?” (for things you feel ambivalent about…like Angela’s bracelet).

3. Once you have sorted through everything, put back ONLY the things you have decided to keep.

4. When the room or closet or drawer looks right and feels comfortable–when drawers, closets and cabinets are about half-full: STOP. Rethink everything you used to keep there. Do you need it all?

5. Remove the clutter permanently (OUCH!). Deliver your donations to a thrift store or charity, visit your local recycling center and put the garbage out (without going through it one last time).


6. Get help from a friend (or a clutter-police of a husband). Take turns working on each other’s houses (or shelves). Remind each other how much each of you will love your houses (or each other?) when it’s all over.

My other resource is Karen Kingston’s “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever.” She is among a few pioneers to use Feng Shui in Western cultures to “balance and harmonize the flow of natural energies in our surroundings to create beneficial effects in our lives.” Working directly with the energy of each space (which means she’s never coming to dinner at my house), she sees Feng Shui as a complete way of life.

On clutter, she writes:

“Clutter accumulates when energy stagnates and, likewise, energy stagnates when clutter accumulates. So the clutter begins as a symptom of what is happening with you in your life (yikes) and then becomes part of the problem itself because the more of it you have, the more stagnant energy it attracts to itself.”

  • http://HASH(0xd08c2e0) Pyro

    Splash, splash, splash… *Petrol all over the pile of all your possessions* *Walks to the front… *Ker-chi! Fuu… *match burning brightly* Fuu! *throws the match onto the pile* Crackle, crackle… boom! No more possessions! And then you can start over… guilt free, cos you lost it all… heh, if only it were that simple…

  • Rad

    Sometime clutter just means that 1) you have kids, or 2) you have a small home. Don’t let the feng shui nazis take over your life. Cleanliness and organization is great, but this talk of clutter accumulating stagnant “energy” is nothing but crystal-gripping hippie nonsense. There are better things to spend one’s time on.

  • http://HASH(0xd08decc) Pam

    My mother calls it “bag lady” syndrome; that I (and others in our family) are “afraid” to throw things away…like we might not get more things. She says my great grandmother was like that after the depression. I guess Feng Shui and being organized would help, but…as long as I know where it is.

  • http://HASH(0xd08e1f0) Ann Marie

    My opinion is: It is not just crystal gripping hippie nonsense, if one is depressed one doesn’t keep things in perspective. I have put off and put off the task of getting rid of clutter,I was not able to focus long enough to do anything. I have used some “alternative” methods to get myself back on tract, but I had to let go of the perfectionism instilled in me by my WODERFUL family. Sure, their homes are organized and clean, but their kids are shooting heroin in a back alley and the parents are emotionally bankrupt. By the way I’m a recovering Addict, Alcoholic, and Catholic, but my God is here to help me step by step get rid of all the excuses I used to avoid reality. Reality is not fun, my clutter is just a symptom of a deeper problem, but I don’t have to walk around with that huge trunk of GUILT on my shoulders anymore, my God guides me to take care of myself first, and answer perfectionism at the other side of the front door, exactly where it belongs.

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