Tag Archives: clutter

Do you have too much stuff?

“That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is, a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house at all. You would just walk around all day.” ~ Comedian George Carlin

When it comes to our “stuff”, it seems as if there is no end in sight.  As a society, Americans are excellent at the art of accumulation.  There is always a desire for bigger, newer, better things whether it involves our cars, our homes, or our shoe and purse collections (ahem, I of course wouldn’t know anything about that!)  Advertising agencies excel at encouraging us to constantly upgrade and none of us is immune to their efforts.

One of the ways that our stuff begins to morph into a living blob, gobbling up free space faster than your iTunes collection is through clutter.  When we accumulate new stuff faster than we purge it, clutter becomes inevitable.  Ask anyone with a garage or an attic!  This is exactly how storage facilities stay in business!

When our things begin to inhibit our ability to navigate easily within our home, our clutter is probably more than meets the eye.  In fact, there is likely a psychological reason for it.  Let me explain.  One of my former clients invited me to her home for a consultation. Of all the rooms in her home, the bedroom in the relationship area of her home was so crammed and jammed with stuff, that she could no longer use it. The room had become an internal storage area.  After our consultation, she decided that it was time to sort and conquer and within a few weeks, she had managed to clear the room!

However, over the next few months, the room started to fill with stuff, and my client confessed that most of the things in the room had come from other people. A family member moved out of state and gave my client a bunch of old furniture and clothes. A friend had lots of left overs from a garage sale and she gave all her unsold rejects to my client.  Her once cleaned room started to resemble the local Goodwill store.

If you can relate to the above example, you are not alone and it might surprise you to know that clutterers don’t clutter because they are incapable of being organized. They clutter because cluttering is a physical expression of their emotional condition. (source unknown) When you use Feng Shui to understand your own psychology, you begin to set the stage for true transformation. Just remember, it is best to take your time, and don’t try to get rid of all your clutter at once. It is a good idea to let go of clutter slowly and with some introspection. Otherwise, the pattern will just return and the opportunity for deep healing will be lost.

Top Five Ways To Clear Your Clutter

1. Toss the things that are broken. Who are you kidding, you aren’t going to fix it!
2. Give away the things that no longer fit or are out of fashion. The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn something in six months, you never will. (I added that last bit because it’s mostly true).
3. Donate your kid’s baby clothes – if you are done having children, just let their vomit stained clothes go!
4. Learn to “just say no” to freebies from relatives and friends unless you really want the items they are giving up.
5. Make a profit!  Learn how to use eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and sell the stuff that you are ready to discard. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!!


Why You Should Care About the Helpful People Area of Your Home

‘Helpful People’ sounds like an ancillary benefit to Feng Shui until you find yourself in need of some truly reliable and helpful people in your life.  To be honest, more people become curious about Feng Shui because of the allure that it will improve their finances or love life, than for the probability that it will allow them to ‘receive it forward‘.  In fact, the Helpful People/Travel/ Service area may be one of the most overlooked areas on the Feng Shui bagua.  We all need to be able to give and receive stellar service as we move through this thing called life, and when this area is in sync, things just have a habit of going your way.

So who are these “helpful people” anyway?  Let’s run through a few scenarios where helpful people are very appreciated.  You were just in a wreck, you call your insurance company and they jump through hoops to make sure that all of your needs are met.  Need a tow truck, car rental or doctor?  Chances are that your insurance agent is acting as a very helpful person in your life in that moment.  Here’s another example; let’s say that you walk out of your apartment and your car battery is dead.  One of your neighbors has jumper cables, and offers to give your car battery a jump with their’s.  They just did a “pay it forward” and they helped you out of a frustrating start to your day.  A helpful person could be the girl taking your order in the drive-thru window or it could be the contractor in charge of your home’s plumbing needs.  Regardless, it is always a good idea to tweak this area BEFORE it becomes a issue in your life.

“When this area is in sync, things just have a habit of going your way.”

Now that I have your attention, let me give you the 411 on this area.  If you mentally visualize an imaginary tic tac toe box around your home, it will then be divided into 9 evenly placed squares (the example below is not perfectly even, but at least it gives you a visual).  The Helpful People area is located in the bottom right hand corner in relation to your front door.  Using your mental bagua, go to each room, locate the helpful people area and do an inventory of your findings. Your home is an overlay of multiple helpful people areas, and they all matter!  Once your inventory is complete, you’ll want to analyze the data.  Did you find your daughter’s collection of headless Barbies or did you find a chaotic table full of un-filed papers, bills, receipts and other symbols of overwhelm? Whether you found your meditation pillow and yoga mat, or your son’s legos scattered like land mines all over the floor, it doesn’t take a Feng Shui license to know what you need to do in order to bring some balance back into your life.

Helpful People Bagua

The next step is to eliminate the most obvious problems first.  If your area is filled with clutter and broken items, clean it.  Don’t wait for your kids to call Hoarders, and embarrass you on national television!  Next, remember that this area revolves around being of service.  From a Feng Shui point of view, all areas can be enhanced by balancing the elements.  Helpful People is strengthened by the metal element.  The  colors that enhance this element are obviously metal tones like silver, bronze and gold, and metal items like bells or metal Tibetan Singing Bowls as well as white and light pastels.  The shape that represents the metal element is a circle, so adding round, metal items would really pack some punch.  Obviously, whatever you add, needs to be able to fit in with the decor that already exists within your home.  Placing a Feng Shui “cure” in your home just because the store clerk assured you it will bring good luck is not nearly as powerful as finding a way to allow the cures to be blend seamlessly into your surroundings.  It is much more desirable to have your friends walk into you home and feel great about it without knowing why, than for them to walk in and be confronted by all sorts of  kitschy Feng Shui Chinese items that have no relevance to your life or culture.

Feng Shui may have its roots in some of the more esoteric and secret aspects of Chinese culture and lore, but at its most basic level, it is a very common-sense way to add a little peace and happiness into your life.  Have fun with it, and whatever you do, don’t take yourself too seriously!







Do You Have What it Takes to be a Hoarder?

I am pretty sure that I met a certified hoarder last week, and you would never know it by looking at him.  I was on my morning bike ride, roaming through an unexplored neighborhood, when I saw a garage that was so full, that it seemed to be defying gravity by not falling out.  Naturally, I pulled my bike over and reached for my camera phone.  However, before I had a chance to snap a photo, a slender man in his mid-60’s walked up, shook my hand and started talking to me. Within the space of 5 minutes, I knew all about his 20 year career as an air-traffic controller, a real estate deal he just helped close, that he is now single but used to be quite the ladies man, and that he was indeed the owner of the garage that I was about to photograph.  Needless to say, I did not get my picture, but I did feel as if the amount of information that verbally spilled out of him was relative to an avalanche of stuff that wanted to fall out of that garage.

I did not tell the man that I am a Feng Shui consultant, and I did not ask him about all the clutter that he stores in his garage because I know that the psychology behind a person who hoards is delicate and I wanted to proceed with caution.  The entire experience got me thinking about why people hoard, and what role that Feng Shui can play in the process of healing.

I found an amazing website that is dedicated to clutterers at http://www.clutterless.org, and it gives a great definition of the difference between hoarding and cluttering.  The truth is that they are not one and the same.  Even though they are both often a manifestation of deeper psychological issues like anxiety or depression, that is where the similarity ends.  According to Mike Nelson, author of the book, “Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life”, while cluttering is a self-diagnosed condition, hoarding is not.  Hoarding must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist and medications are often prescribed.  He goes on to say that a hoarder “cannot make rational decisions about what is useful and what is not.  A hoarder obsesses about their stuff and is compelled to collect it, yet they are usually unaware of anything being wrong.”

I am doubtful that Feng Shui can be used to help a hoarder unless they start to recognize that they have a problem.  Just like an alcoholic must admit that they have a problem with alcohol before healing can take place, I believe this is also true for a person who hoards.

Using Feng Shui tools to allow a clutterer to shift their space is a much more likely solution and it starts with a Feng Shui bagua.  You will need to virtually  place a Feng Shui bagua over your space, oriented to the front door.  Once that is in place, you will be able to determine which of the rooms in your home or business have the most clutter or hoarding tendencies.  For example, you may notice that the only place in your home that gets cluttered is in your Money area.  It is dangerous to over-simplify why that is the case, so don’t try to figure it out unless you notice a repeat pattern.  If you clean it up and then a few days later, it has somehow managed to get just as bad if not worse than it was, there could be something more than clutter going on here.  Or, there may be some issues around money that you need to shift within your own thinking process in order to eliminate it for good.

Regardless of whether you have borderline hoarding tendencies or you are a plain ‘ol clutterer, the bottom line is that you will start to know your own inner workings better by becoming an ardent observer of your surroundings.  The fact is that your external surroundings REFLECT your inner world.  If it is cluttered or full of broken things that no longer have a purpose, you can use the tools of Feng Shui to learn to let go.  It may not be easy, but it will change your life, if you let it.