It’s that time of year… the holiday decorations have been packed away, the days are shorter and darker leaving us longing for a bright, fresh change in our homes and within our lives. With the new year comes momentum for positive change; personal wellness, family habits, home organization – the list goes on. Why not use your home to help propel that momentum and to serve as a reminder that this is a new year and time for a fresh perspective?
In previous posts I have gone into deep detail on how to apply Feng Shui principals to create balance and bring positive energy into your space. This time, I will simply recommend five easy suggestions for you to make a significant change in your space to better reflect the new you, and to create a shift in perspective for the new year.
- Add a plant (or 3…or 9). Plants are known as the Aspirin of Feng Shui. Have a problem? Add a plant! The benefits of adding a source of life into your space are endless (see my previous post, “Uplift the Energy of Your Space with Three Simple Steps Part II – the Air You Breathe“) and range from removing toxins to increasing immunity. Especially in the dry, cold, dark winters here in Minnesota – plants liven a space and create a sense of vitality and wellness. And YES, you can keep a plant alive! See the post linked above for a list of readily available house plants that I have been able to keep alive for years with minimal upkeep. When it comes to plants, the more the better. Extra tip: Try to arrange plants of varying sizes in 3’s.
- Remove Nine Items from Each Room: This is such a fun exercise that I love to do with my clients and creates an immediate shift in your surroundings. The items you choose to remove can be as simple as a pencil or vase or as big as a chair or rug . You can either move the items to another room, dispose of them or donate them. It doesn’t matter. The point is to move things around, change your surroundings and get you to think about all that surrounds you with intention. Think of this as a mini decluttering session for your home, without the pressure of having to get rid of things. For a more detailed yet simple tutorial on how to approach the daunting task of de-cluttering, see my previous post, “Clearing the Clutter“.
- Add Some COLOR: We all have color families that we are naturally drawn to, which can say a lot about our personalities (see my previous post, “Let’s Talk COLOR!“). However, if we continue to surround ourselves with one particular color family for too long, it can create patterns that are no longer serving us or we can get stuck in a rut. I, for instance, tend to surround myself with lots of greens and blues (the colors of the “Wood Element”). This is great if you want to create growth in a particular area of your life, however too much Wood can lead to feeling over-extended and overwhelmed (I can vouch for this!). It’s important to shake it up and try new shades, shapes and textures. Need a little more energy and passion in your life? Try adding a pop of Red or Orange. It could be a simple throw pillow, dish towel or a picture frame. If you feel that life is a little out of control, try adding some grounding colors of the “Earth Element” (tans, browns, muted yellows). You can even integrate this step into #2 – bringing colors from another room into a space that needs a shift. Don’t be afraid to play with color, the more elements that are represented, the more balanced your space will feel.
- Perform a Space Clearing: I know I mention this in nearly every post, but I have to include it here because the results can be so profound. A Space Clearing does exactly as the name implies – it clears out any old, stagnant, negative energy that can leave you feeling stifled or stuck. The result is a feeling of lightness and clarity with room for growth and opportunity. For more information on how to perform a Space Clearing on your own, see my previous post, “Space Clearing – An Easy Way to Re-Energize and Invigorate Your Home“.
- Use Scent: This isn’t something that I have written specifically about before and only recently started working with clients on. How comfortable you are in your space depends on how it affects you through all of your senses; a well-lit room makes you feel uplifted while a noisy room can make you feel overwhelmed and unable to focus. Likewise, the sense of smell should not be overlooked. Ever walked into someone’s home and could not get over the smell of their dog’s food or last night’s soup? What about when you walked into that spa and immediately felt more relaxed from the aroma of lavender and fresh linens? It’s important that you feel comforted by the sense of smell within your space. You can freshen the scent of your home by lighting a scented candle, diffusing essential oils (see a list of my favorites in my previous post, “The Air Your Breathe” under the third bullet, “Aromatherapy”) or even by simply opening your windows to allow a fresh breeze to blow through (weather permitting).
So give it a shot, try tackling one, two or all five of these steps then notice the shift it makes in your home and your life – refreshed and ready to take on the new year!
I’m here to tell you about a little secret… it’s called “Space Clearing” and if you’ve never done it (or had it done) to your home, it’s time to give it a shot. Space clearing does exactly what the term implies; it clears out any old, stagnant, negative energy that has accumulated in your home and creates room for new, positive and invigorating energy to take it’s place. Ever walked into a room after a nasty argument has taken place and you could actually FEEL the negativity and tension lingering? This is the kind of stuff we are getting rid of with space clearing. I have seen some incredible results in space clearing my home and make a point to do it with the changing of the seasons as well as after negative events and situations in our life. Space clearing is especially beneficial in circumstances such as:
- Moving into a new home
- Trying to sell a home (home buyers always have a gut feeling immediately when they enter a home – make sure it’s not the last nasty fight with your spouse they are feeling!)
- After bringing new furniture into your home, or rearranging
- When someone in the home has become ill
- After a prolonged, heated argument
- When dealing with anxiety or depression
- When looking to start a new beginning or new chapter in your life
Best of all… it’s SO EASY! Here’s what you have to do:
- Get your hands on a small “smudge stick” of Sage (Cedar or Pine will also work). Can be purchased at most co-ops or Whole Foods store.
- Start with your intention – what are you trying to clear out and bring into your home? Focus on clearing away any unwanted or negative energy.
- Light the smudge stick with a lighter and blow out the flame, allowing the herbs to smolder and smoke without actively burning.
- With the smudge stick in hand, walk around the room or rooms slowly and focus on cleansing and clearing negative energy. You should focus on corners, behind doors and make sure you also smudge closets.
- As you are clearing your space, notice if the smudge begins to emit a darker, black smoke color. This indicates that there is significant negative energy to release in that area. Continue to smudge that area until the smoke returns to white.
- When you are ready to extinguish your smudge stick or wand, ground it out in sand or earth or in another fireproof receptacle. Try to avoid using water.
That’s it! You are now ready to start clearing out the old to make room for the new. Happy Clearing!
As part of my services I offer this type of space clearing as well as a deeper Feng Shui cleansing ritual for your home, including your property. Feel free to email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Services page for information on a private consultation.
Everyone has a certain color or element that they are most naturally drawn to. I have one friend who is very “Firey” and loves all things bright – Red and Orange accents can be found all throughout her home. Her wedding color was Red and she is often seen accenting her outfits with bright red and orange accessories. Another friend is very “Metal” – everything is White or Grey…her home, her wardrobe, even her car. Some people decorate in all Earth tones. Others – all Black and White. So who’s to say there’s anything wrong with surrounding yourself with one particular element? I am! One of the primary goals of Feng Shui is to create balance, and just as your body would be out of balance if you limited yourself to only one food group, your environment and hence, your life, becomes out of balance when we limit our immediate surroundings to one or two elements.
For example, too much of the Metal element (which is enhanced through Whites, Grays, circular shapes and actual metal – like silver) can make you rigid, unapproachable and lead to an inability to compromise. Conversely, an appropriate balance of the Metal element helps you maintain clarity and ambition. Too much of the Fire element (which is enhanced through bright colors like Red and Orange, triangular and pointed shapes) can lead to aggression, anger, impatience, overly ambitious behavior and burnout. While an appropriate balance of the Fire element can bring passion and determination to your life.
So now that you know your choice in color for that rug, curtain or handbag has a direct impact on your life, let’s think about what elements you are most drawn to and whether they may be creating an imbalance in your life. Below are the Five Elements, the ways those elements can be enhanced or brought into your environment and how an over abundance or lack of that element could be impacting your life:
- Fire: You are likely drawn to fire if you surround yourself with bright colors (Reds, Oranges or Bright Yellows), Triangle, Star or Pyramid shapes, candles or images of actual fire. Adding fire elements to your space can bring a “spark” or “passion” into any of your life areas. However, as stated before, too much fire can cause issues like aggression and burnout. You likely have too little fire in your environment if you feel a lack of enthusiasm, motivation, excitement, warmth or feel emotional chilliness, or like a “cool cucumber”.
- Earth: You are likely drawn to the Earth element if you find yourself dressing in Earth tones (Browns, Tans, muted Yellows and Oranges) or if you decorate using these colors, Square shapes or images of mountains, rocks and fields. The Earth element can be very supportive to your life, creating a sense of feeling “grounded”. However too much Earth can lead to feeling overly disciplined, serious, conservative and methodical. Too little Earth might be your problem if you are experiencing problems with fertility, lack of stability or you are feeling disconnected.
- Metal: Metal is very popular and on-trend these days, as we find images everywhere of stark white and grey kitchens and baths, grey paint colors and grey prints. Grey, grey, grey – it’s everywhere. Some people even seem to be overkilling it and painting their entire home different shades of the color. Don’t do it!!! Yes, Grey is hip, it’s nice and clean, but there can definitely be too much of a good thing, particularly when it is creating imbalances in your life. As stated before, Metal is enhanced by White and Grey colors, Circular shapes and actual “Metal” (i.e., silver, gold, brass, etc.). A nice balance of Metal can help with clarity and confidence, while an overabundance of Metal can lead to rigidity, hardheartedness and inability to compromise. Too little Metal might be your problem if you are feeling weak, indecisive, have problems with procrastination, dullness or lack of mental clarity.
- Water: You are likely drawn to the water element if you find yourself dressing in Black, Navy Blue or decorating with these colors, wavy lines and/or images of Water. You may have an overabundance of Water in your environment if you are feeling lack of structure, passive, inconsistent, or “wishy-washy”. You may need some more Water element in your life if you are experiencing anxiety, fear, inability to handle stress, lack of flow, lack of connection with spirit or are overwhelmed with emotion.
- Wood: You may be a “Wood” person if you are drawn to Greens and Light Blues or find yourself decorating with straight vertical lines, plants or images of trees and plants. Adding the Wood element in your environment can help you grow and expand in certain ares of your life, however too much Wood in your life can lead to feeling over-extended and overwhelmed. You may need to add more Wood to your environment if you are feeling stuck or a lack of trust and intuition.
A home with good Feng Shui and good, positive Chi has a nice balance of each of the elements. This can be difficult to achieve since we are all naturally drawn to one or two main elements. I, for example, have a hard time incorporating Fire into my wardrobe and environment – I have always felt that Red is just “not me”. However when its absence begins to manifest itself in my life (i.e., I feel underwhelmed and unmotivated) I know it’s time to intentionally add it in somewhere. I have added a plant in a red pot, intentionally carried a bright red purse for a short time or even put a piece of red paper in the shape of a triangle under a rug (remember – it doesn’t even have to show, it’s the intention that counts!). So think about your home, what you wear and what shapes/colors you are consistently drawn to… Do you have an imbalance of elements in your life? Use the list above to make any necessary updates to your environment, then be sure to notice as the changes begin to unfold in your life.
I had such a great response from you all around the Gift Card promotion for December that I have decided to extend the offer through the end of January! It’s the perfect time to focus on clearing out that clutter and arranging your home so that it serves you to the fullest in 2014.
I’m currently offering Full Consultations for $200 (in-home) or $150 (remote ) from now until January 31st. Check out details on what a full consultation entails here or more information on services offered here.
IN-HOME CONSULTATION + SPACE CLEARING
Email me at email@example.com to order your consultation at the promotional price (redeemable after February 1st).
Have you been curious about what a Feng Shui consultation could do for you or know someone who could use a little Feng Shui love? Maybe you’ve been on the fence about scheduling a consultation? Well, now is the time to dive in!
I’m currently offering Full Consultation Gift Certificates for $200 (in-home) or $150 (remote) from now until Dec 31st! Check out details on what a full consultation entails here or more information on services offered here.
IN-HOME CONSULTATION + SPACE CLEARING
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook to order a gift certificate and schedule your consultation (redeemable after January 1, 2014).
Happy Holidays and Happy Chi!
You may already know this, but not everyone lives in a home that looks like it’s out of a magazine or Pinterest photo. This may sound a bit obvious to most people, but the truth is I actually used to think most people I knew lived in some magically exquisite home that was decorated as perfectly imperfect as a Pottery Barn catalog.
I had a pretty decent upbringing – I grew up in a normal suburb, and while it certainly wasn’t the Upper East Side of Manhattan or Beverly Hills..for the most part people took pride in their homes and kept them fairly updated and well-maintained. Our neighbors decorated for the holidays, kept their lawns manicured and their homes attractive, comfortable and livable enough for the families who inhabited them to enjoy their lives. But it certainly wasn’t anything extravagant… So I couldn’t help but wonder where I developed this notion that behind nearly every person I met, I consistently pictured their home as being picture-perfect.
That is, ironically, until I became a Feng Shui consultant. Before I went on my first consult, I imagined myself appearing at doorway after doorway of perfectly decorated and meticulously organized homes of clients with priceless antique furniture and unlimited re-decorating budgets. But where I found myself in reality, was on the doorsteps of homes of people who were, well….NORMAL. Normal people have some debris on their doorstep and a welcome mat that has been – hold it, wait… USED! Normal people have PEOPLE living in their homes who need to EAT… so sometimes there are dishes piled up on the counter. Normal people go to work in the morning, sometimes in a hurry, so from time to time I’ll find their beds unmade (gasp!). Normal people sometimes still have hand-me-down bedroom furniture or a kitchen table they bought off craigslist. Normal people don’t live inside a Pottery Barn catalog. The issue, I realized, was that my obsession with home decorating and organization had turned on me and created a monster. Like the notorious body image issue stemming from unrealistic airbrushed models in women’s magazines, I had been brainwashed into thinking every home but my own was catalog worthy (thanks a lot, Pottery Barn, Pinterest and HGTV). Becoming a Feng Shui consultant helped me realize this and helped to heal my distorted and fabricated concept of reality.
So how has this changed my life… Well, for starters I no longer obsessively run around my house in the morning before work – vacuuming and dusting even though there are no plans at any time in the future of having anyone but us in our home (yes, I used to do this). I no longer stand in the middle of a room in our home for an hour analyzing all the imperfections, while mentally creating a list in my mind of new things to buy to make it “just perfect”. I no longer slip into panic mode when our dog runs in from playing outside and jumps right up onto the couch with her dirty paws. I no longer raise my voice when my daughter colors on the walls or puts her yogurt-covered mouth and hands up to the window to watch daddy drive up from work. And with all the time I’ve gained from not being super duper crazy lady, I’m instead doing what I should have been doing in my home all along; enjoying the time with my (perfectly imperfect) family.
In Part I and II of this 3-Part Series, we learned the importance of Lighting and Air Quality as a way to radically uplift the energy of your space. Today, we are wrapping up the series with a topic that you are undoubtedly familiar with, though perhaps have yet to tackle in your own home: Decluttering. Unless you have somehow managed to avoid the front cover of every women’s magazine from January – April each year, you’re aware that publishers LOVE to tell you to declutter. And why not – it’s a simple enough concept and they know that it will reap grand rewards for the audience… But there’s one problem – they don’t get behind the WHY or BENEFITS of clearing clutter. And because of that, it becomes a daunting insurmountable task that No. One. Wants. To. Do. Just the word “declutter” used to make me want to run and hide in my over-stuffed coat closet. The concept just sounded so intimidating and overwhelming. But once I started leaning about Feng Shui and the impacts that a cluttered space has on one’s life, I started seeing the concept a little differently. Forget all the “how-tos” you’ve seen in Real Simple and the image if the perfect storage closet on Pinterest. Let’s start with what’s important: WHY?
Clutter (unneeded, unused, or misplaced “stuff”) traps energy creating a stifled environment and sense of chaos. A stifled chaotic environment creates negative energy and is simply unsupportive of your life. Now lets take it just a little deeper… When you have all this unneeded stuff, you are subconsciously tied to the guilt, shame and negativity of holding on to all of it. And guilt and shame make you feel bad about yourself. This is bad feng shui. Decluttering is about LETTING GO, getting rid of things that no longer serve you, and making room for things you LOVE…. helping to create a space that supports you and makes you feel good about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself, you live a more positive, pleasurable and productive life. Isn’t that about all we could ever ask for? Now, let’s review some quick steps on how to get there.
- Step 1: Choose an Area. It could be as easy as a junk drawer or as expansive as the basement. Choose an area that makes you cringe inside when you think about attempting to find something important in that space. Then remove all items from the area (down to the pencil and pin-tack).
- Step 2: Divide all items from the space into four categories:
- Donate/Sell: Drop off at a sheltor, sell at a consignment store or on Craigslist
- Recycle: Bring used/outdated electronics to Best Buy or put paper and plastic items out for community recycling programs to pick up
- Trash: Anything that does not have a resale value or is not recyclable, throw away
- Keep: Ask yourself the following questions for every item in this pile. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, place the item in one of the above three categories.
- Is this item something I use regularly?
- If not – is it something I love?
- Am I keeping this out of obligation or expectation?
- Am I holding on to this because I think I should love it?
- Am I saving this “just in case”?
- Do I have multiples of the same thing?
- Could something else I own do the same job?
- Am I holding onto a broken item to fix one day?
- Is this item worth the time I spend cleaning/storing it?
- Could I use this space for something else?
- Step 3: Organize – Find a “Home” for all your “Keep” Items. Place any items that do not fit in the first three categories and that received “NO” answers for each of the above questions in their respective places in your space. You may find yourself inspired to create new homes for like items with all your new-found space. And to be sure you continue to stay organized after long after your decluttering exercise, be sure all items are placed back in their home when they are not being used.
There you have it – you now understand WHY it’s so important to declutter your space from time to time, and you have a simple 3 step pricess to follow in order to make it happen for you in your home. All you have do to is pick your space, carve out an hour and start clearing out the old to welcome in the new! In case you missed Part I and II of this 3-Part Series, you can check out Part I: Let There be Light and Part II: The Air You Breathe.
So now you know that by letting in as much natural light as possible, using the right types of lighting in the right places, adding plants and letting your home breathe a breath of fresh air, and clearing your space of unneeded items and staying organized, you will be well on your way to creating that vibrant, uplifting and supportive space you desire.