While not everyone is familiar with Feng Shui, I’d wager that everyone is familiar with clutter. This is true even if you don’t have clutter, because by virtue of not having it, you are actively working to avoid it. While Feng Shui has its roots in the Chinese culture dating back thousands of years, clutter is a fairly modern problem. Wikipedia defines clutter as a physical disorder: “A confusing, or disorderly, state or collection, and possible symptom of compulsive hoarding.” Compulsive hoarding is defined as “a pattern of behavior that is characterized by excessive acquisition and an inability or unwillingness to discard” (said acquisitions) – parenthesis mine.
I’ve always maintained that Feng Shui is a ancient tool of recovery with modern consequences. In other words, no matter how ancient Feng Shui is, its wisdom is still just as valid today as it was when it began. The thing to remember about Feng Shui is that everything matters, and placement is everything. The placement of your “stuff” may be there consciously or subconsciously, but the fact is that it is there and it means something, and if you can figure out what it means, you will have figured out the most interesting puzzle in the world.
Let’s take a macro view of the modern day dwelling. Regardless of its size, there is typically a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room. Throw in a few closets and you’re all set. The majority of homes are square and they always have a door. To understand Feng Shui, one must become familiar with the Feng Shui Bagua. It is a grid, or as I like think of it, a tic-tac-toe board enclosed in a square. There are 9 squares and each square relates to some aspect of being human. This bagua square is used to identify which room is in each square, and what that means to you. That’s the macro view. The micro view is that the bagua can be overlayed on our land, our home, our rooms, our desk, and even our car.
Now, here is where Feng Shui and Clutter join forces. If Sally uses the Feng Shui Bagua to discover that her tiny apartment is always cluttered in the Helpful People section (bottom right) and in her Abundance section (top left), she might be able to conclude that she is unsure of her life purpose and this is therefore impacting her finances. Or it could mean something else to her. There are many potential reasons that those two areas are always cluttered for her. The goal is to look for patterns. Understanding yourself though your patterns will be easier when you apply a few Feng Shui pearls of wisdom. Feng Shui is one of the best tools I know of for discovering the ‘Why’ of things. Finally, the inquisitive 3-year old within all of us, will have an amazing way to understand the why’s of our world.
I am personally very sensitive to clutter. My big trigger is when my counters or my desk get overfilled with things. It literally feels like clouds of chaos within my body, and I start to shut down. Once I feel the sensations that clutter creates for me, I literally have to stop whatever else I am doing and clear it. Obviously, that is clutter in the extreme, but it always starts out small and before you know it, BAM, you’ve got a clutter explosion on your hands. It is easier to attack our clutter when it is small, than when it overwhelms.
I recently experienced this chaos when I moved from Texas to Colorado. Now, I’m a seasoned mover, in fact, in the past 31 years, I’ve moved 17 times. However, I was ill-prepared for the chaos and overwhelm that followed this move. It took weeks rather than days to empty boxes that had been stored in the attic and garage for years. I had several come to Jesus moments when I literally just wanted to throw everything away. Thankfully, that did not happen, but I did let go of a lot of things that just weren’t serving me anymore. And the best part is that even though they weren’t serving me, I donated them so that they might serve someone else.
In the beginning, I said that clutter is a typically modern problem, primarily it is one that began during the 20th Century. Prior to that, products were made to last, and didn’t need constant replacing. One television was enough for the entire family. Compare that to today’s modern household where every man, woman and child living under one roof has their own television. According to the Center on the Everyday Lives of Families, or CELF, we are living in “the most materially rich society in global history”. This type of acquisition has consequences, and we are just now starting to see its effect with the increase of hoarding in our society.
Clutter becomes clutter when it does not have a place to sit. Period. If you have a bunch of books and no bookshelf, you will have a pile of clutter. It also becomes clutter, when we have more than we can use. I have a client that has literally dedicated an entire wall in her bedroom to the shelves that display her shoe collection. She only has two feet, yet she has 50 pairs of shoes for them. Now, if she didn’t have a place to store all of her shoes, and instead had them in a pile in her closet, her tidy shoe collection would quickly become clutter.
Clutter really becomes a problem when our ability to let it go is disconnected. We all suffer from clutter at times. Life can be hectic and life is filled with a lot of stuff. Learning to let go of the things that aren’t serving us, is an asset in our homes and all aspects of our lives; including our thoughts, words and deeds. This means we release things that are outgrown, broken or unused. This creates room for new experiences, new dreams and new goals to be discovered.
Using Feng Shui as a tool to interpret your clutter is just fun and interesting, and might even tell you a little something about yourself that you didn’t know, or had forgotten. Just think of clutter as a metaphor. It is going to show you, with the help of Feng Shui, where you are stuck. Is it in relationships? Is it in your ability to create abundance? Is it at your job? Clutter is a symptom of something that is keeping you in a holding pattern. Feng Shui is the cure. Are you willing to dive in and discover how to be the very best version of yourself that you can be? If you are, reach out to me and let’s take a walk down this path together.