Why would you want to purge your excess possessions? Let me count the ways…
No, actually I’m not going to enumerate them right now; it’s too depressing. I’ll just say that we Americans have a serious Possessions Problem, and it’s choking our ch’i.
So if you’re looking around your place feeling stuck, stagnant, stale and stupefied, consider purging. Here are the four most basic steps.
- Stop clutter at the front door. Prevention is always the best strategy! Only buy what you need and have a predestined place for. Stop going to garage sales. Throw out junk mail before it settles on the kitchen table. As catalogs arrive, call their 800 number and ask to be removed from their lists. Accept other people’s stuff only if you really need it. If you acquire a new piece of furniture, let go of a piece of furniture that someone else can use. Ditto with clothing. Recycle or compost early and often.
- Tackle small chunks at a time. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead by biting off manageable chunks. Set a timer for fifteen minutes and choose one drawer, one shelf or one category of clothing. Do this for fifteen minutes every day and you’ll see remarkable progress in no time.
- As you approach each item, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- Do I use it?
- Does it enhance my life? (or does my heart sink when I see it?)
Then sort your things into 4 piles or boxes for dealing with. Mark the boxes Yes YES!; Yes, but…; No, but…; and No NO!
- Yes yes! I love it and I need it, it works and it’s useful
- Yes, but… I love, need, use it – but it needs fixing or is in the wrong location
- No, but… Someone else should have it (Goodwill, relative, friend, Ebay)
- No no! Toss it out (or recycle)
If you get stuck, enlist a dispassionate friend to help. Trade time. Or pay if you must. Their job is to keep you focused, to cheer you on, to help you realistically assess value (or lack therof), and to ask you the hard questions: “Do you honestly think you’ll be a size 8 again?” “Do you really believe your children will want that?”
You CAN do this. And you’ll feel sooooo much better. (I just finished de-cluttering my bedroom and home office and I feel like a new woman.)
Lather, rinse, repeat. (This is an ongoing process, not a state of perfection. Sorry)
I’m scheduled to give another talk on feng shui this week.
I love these assignments because as I review my feng shui books and notebooks for fresh ideas I quickly realize that my own house has once again fallen out of order. If I’m going to pontificate about creating positive energy with feng shui, keeping the ch’I moving, getting rid of clutter, and all that, I’m going to have to do some serious purging myself.
That’s the trouble with feng shui. Once you understand the psychic costs of living in an environment with stuck ch’I, you must do something to free it up again. So you go on a feng shui rampage — purging and purifying, plumping and primping.
Then time passes. Piles accumulate. Crap attracts more crap (a law of thermodynamics I just invented). The season changes but Christmas decorations linger and a certain winter heaviness prevails in the color scheme. Symbols that you placed in your wealth corner (a pair of lovely lead crystal goblets) to usher in the big bucks are dusty and forgotten. Ditto the lovebirds in the love and marriage corner which were supposed to bring in a new romance.
Every few months I awaken, as if from a dream, to realize that the house has gone unconscious again and it’s time another round of purging, purifying, plumping and primping.
That’s what I’ve been doing the past few days. I cleared a nearly composted mound of paper off my desk and another one off the kitchen counter, moved about a dozen paintings into new locations, and reorganized the books on my bookshelves to reflect my current projects (and have a boxful ready for the library’s book sale). I bought a couple of light bright throw pillows to wake up the couch, put a summery bed ruffle, bedspread and cheery sheets on the bed. I got some paint samples to test colors for a bedroom makeover.
Altogether, I feel much lighter.
Tune in tomorrow for some purging tips.
In late May I wrote an article about feng shui for the local newspaper which they liked so much they asked if I’d write one a month for their home & garden section. This was great news because that first piece drove a really big turnout for my class at a home furnishings boutique in town. I was hoping it would generate demand for folks to come to my class at Clark College later this year, lead readers to my website, which in turn would lead to more paying clients.
Easy come, easy go.
Just after I submitted my article for July, I get an email from the section editor telling me they’ve made another round of cuts at the paper – staff and content both – and the home & garden section has been greatly reduced and absorbed as a part of the features department under a different editor in the newsroom.
I have a call into her as I write, trying to convince her that feng shui is the perfect discipline for times of economic hardship, because most fixes cost little or nothing. We’ll see.