Spring is the season of fresh starts, and a thorough spring cleaning is the perfect antidote to a long winter. In this article, our Advisors provide practical and spiritual tips for welcoming new energy into your home and life. Drawing on the wisdom of Feng Shui, we’ll show you how to free up the “Chi” or energy flow in any room, how to eliminate the stagnant energy caused by clutter and mess, as well as how to break down your project into smaller, more manageable steps.
The Energy of a Cluttered Home
Clutter consists of items you keep, even though you don’t have an immediate or short-term use for them. You may convince yourself you may want or need these items someday, but that claim is probably questionable. In essence, it’s stuff that sits and contributes little or nothing to your quality of life. In fact, clutter usually detracts from your emotional well-being because of its connection to your spiritual state. Simply put, there is a spiritual cost to clutter.
Examples of clutter could include dried flowers from a long-ago significant other, books you haven’t touched in years, and clothes that don’t fit or are hopelessly out of fashion. Despite the lack of usefulness, you keep these and many other things.
The adage, “mess equals stress” has a basis in science. A study by the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives and Families looked at 32 families and the thousands of objects in their homes and found a link between high cortisol levels in female homeowners and a high density of objects in their homes. Hazel Thornton, a professional organizer, says her clients begin the process of decluttering their homes in a stressed state. When the process is finished, she says they’re feel free from the stuff and the emotional baggage connected to it.
Some people fill their home with stuff to hide a feeling of emptiness or self-doubt. By creating a cluttered living environment, they’re able to convince themselves their life is full and they’re successful. All they have to do is look around their home to see that it is true!
Clutter may also represent hope that’s degenerated into shame and guilt. For example, the clothes you keep that are too small at one time represented the hope that you’d lose weight. Over time, however, they became reminders of your inability to meet that goal. This idea is one that author June Saruwatari knows all too well. She says the unfulfilled dreams embodied in the stuff you keep can stifle your growth and progress.
On a metaphysical level, the things you hold onto may represent unconscious messages to the Universe about your openness to receive. Every part of your home represents agreements you make about what you’re willing or unwilling to let in, so take honest inventory. Are you holding onto things which you no longer like much because you’re coming from a mindset of scarcity, or settling for old and unflattering because you’re not ready to receive abundance?
According to feng shui expert and author Tisha Morris, clutter causes a build-up of stagnant energy and decreases the amount of happiness entering your home. Just as you have stuff sitting around that has no purpose, your energy is also sitting idle, holding onto that which no longer serves. Maybe you’re holding onto the tokens of old relationships, or even a current relationship that is no longer bringing joy. Maybe you’re holding onto things representing interests that no longer engage and satisfy, work and papers representing tasks that have been avoided, or just a bunch of stuff that has become a kind of background noise in your life. Whatever they are, the things we hold onto can keep us from manifesting the things we want most. The ancients knew this. Until you get rid of the clutter no other Feng Shui will work.
Cleaning as a Spiritual Practice
To have a clear mind, body, and spirit, you must have a clean-living space. Professional cleaner and co-founder of Zenith Cleaners, Tolulope “Tolu” Ilesanmi, has created a highly successful international cleaning business by using the task of cleaning as metaphor. He teaches that all cleaning is internal. When we declutter a space, the real decluttering occurs inside ourselves. Mr. Ilesanmi has taught his concept of cleaning to board members and corporate executives in business coaching sessions. Cleaning regularly, he believes, is training for dealing with the dirt and mess of life that we normally do not want to touch.
“When we mop a floor, wipe a countertop, scrub a toilet, dust a table, it is not so much about the physical dirt we are removing from the object, surface or space. It is about the dirt we are removing within us.” -Tolulope Ilesanmi, Owner Zenith Cleaners Montreal, Canada
Clutter, dirt, things that no longer have a use or bring pleasure - all of this is a sign of stagnant energy. But this stagnant energy is not just in the home; it is a direct reflection of what's going on within you.
Because the stagnant energy is operating within you, you develop a powerful sense of immobility and feelings of being overwhelmed. Even if it’s a closet door you never open, a garage full of bins you look past every day, or a drawer you open and quickly shut, a message is being reinforced that you’re not yet ready to face what you need to face. There is something in your life that has you stuck, confused, or that you haven’t accepted. One quick and effective solution to clearing out that bad energy is to clean your space, and as you do, you are cleansing and polishing your inner self and your emotions.
Feng Shui Cleaning Tips
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of arranging objects in a home or building to encourage positive energy flow or Chi. Although the practice has a variety of applications, one of the most common is to create a happy home environment. A harmonious home can lead to improved energy flow and a more peaceful domestic life.
While Feng Shui goes into detail about how to position objects in a room, we’re going to start with some general metaphysical and feng shui principles for decluttering and space clearing. That Feng Shui appeals to people with an interest in the metaphysical is no surprise, given its origins and meaning. Feng Shui is a translation of “Wind” (that which is unseen) and “Water” or that which can be seen. This blending of seen and unseen, energy and practice, is something we’ll focus on throughout this article.
To start, here are some practical tips for planning your spring-cleaning project to make space for the Feng Shui to follow.
Even if you’re less of a planner and more of a “go with the flow” kind of person, planning is a sure way to make big tasks less overwhelming. Many experts suggest you consider making a plan to declutter and clean your home over a 30-day period, breaking a large project into smaller chunks. When setting goals, take into account not only obligations you have, but also leisure and relaxation time. Add your goals to a calendar with dates. As long as you’re making measurable progress, you’ll be through it all before you know it.
Declutter Your Home
To open your home to the flow of positive Chi, you must start by clearing away clutter. Closets should be clean and organized. Nothing should be stored under the bed. You will feel a distinct difference as you get rid of clutter. Your end goal is to surround yourself with the items you use on a regular basis, and the items you love. In the process, the energy is being charged with optimism and hope as you begin the process of letting go of the past to make way for the future. Here are three decluttering tips to help you free yourself from the weight of holding onto too much “stuff.”
Schedule a Date to Declutter
Scheduling a specific date when you and your family will come together with the specific goal of decluttering your home can be a great way to purge excess goods while bonding with your loved ones. Set a date and consider it an appointment that you can't break.
Evaluate Your Stuff
Everything you own demands energy – it takes up space, you must navigate around, it needs to be cleaned, maintained, or stored, and if it is valuable it may also need to be insured. Often the cost of keeping it is higher than the value you place on the item itself. As you consider each item from a decluttering mindset, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have I used/worn this in several years?
- Do I enjoy using/looking at/ wearing this item?
- Does this item have such strong sentimental value that I would be conscious of missing it?
- Am I holding onto this item out of guilt?
- Do I have multiples of this item or similar ones?
- Would someone with less benefit more from this item now, than the enjoyment I might get from it in the future?
- Am I saving the item for “someday” or “just in case?”
- If it turned out I needed or wanted the item in the future, could I borrow or lease it, or upgrade to a better model?
Place Items in Containers or Staging Areas
As you go through your clutter, you may find this sorting system helpful:
- Place items that you want to keep in a laundry basket to clean or to put away
- Put items that are stained, damaged, or have no use in a garbage bag
- Designate items that can help others in a donation box
- Move items to sell to a staging area
Donate or Sell
Some items are worth the effort of selling because there’s a market for them and it’s a great way to earn back some of your original investment. Examples in this category include useful household appliances, furniture, and collectibles. Try listing household appliances, antiques, and furniture on local sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Post smaller collectable items on national sites like eBay to attract a niche audience searching for a particular set, series, or brand and where shipping is not a challenge. A little extra money in your pocket will reaffirm that getting rid of clutter is a good thing.
If selling is too much of a hassle, or if the audience for your items is limited, consider donating to help others in need. Donate building supplies, tools, and equipment to Re/Store, a service run by Habitat for Humanity. Take bags of clothing, children’s toys, and small household items to your local thrift shop, or call a service like Green Drop to come to your home to pick up your items at a conveniently scheduled time. There are also numerous drop off sites run by fire stations, shelters, and charities that accept bags of clothing for people who become displaced. As a last resort before the dump, put your outside with a “free” sign and someone is likely to scoop it up. Know that donating to those in need brings good karma and keeps useful items out of landfills. Plus, it feels good to give.
Now that you’re free of clutter, break out the cleaning supplies, crank up your favorite music and make your home, office, or car shine! Dust, dirt and debris from winter creeps into cracks and corners, making your space feel dingy. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves! There’s something very therapeutic about good old fashion elbow grease, and after you’re done you will have a space that is open and inviting.
Zen Home Cleaning with Feng Shui
Think of cleaning not as a chore, but as a meditative or spiritual practice. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh uses the example of cleaning dishes. You are not simply washing cups, but rather creating something clean from which you can enjoy a cup of tea. Cleaning your home enables you to create a personal sanctuary where you can properly relax. So whether you chose to clean in meditative silence or listen to music, think of what you are doing as serving a higher purpose.
In the tradition of Feng Shui, everything is alive, including our spaces! Take advantage of the opportunity to engage with your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. You might try opening your windows while washing the dishes to listen to the birds chirping outside. Another good method is to use natural cleaning products that include mood-boosting essential oils like lemon and rosemary, as both will allow you to appreciate your sense of smell. It may sound a little ‘out there,’ but talk to your rooms, your furnishings, and your possessions as you clean, if only silently in your imagination. Think of your cleaning as an act of mindfulness and love.
Just like regular meditation, you should choose a time of day when you know you won’t be disturbed. Try to focus on each task and if you find your thoughts straying, don’t beat yourself up for losing concentration. Instead, simply move your thoughts back to the task at hand. Or pick a mantra to focus your attention on as you work.
Feng Shui the Entryway - Welcome in the New
The starting point for your spring cleaning is the entryway to your Feng Shui home, known as the “mouth of Chi.” Your front door is your face to the world, and it’s how energy enters your home and your life, so start by clearing away any clutter that has accumulated at the inside entry and outside porch or stoop. Sweep the threshold, shake out the doormat, wipe down the glass, and do whatever maintenance or decorating is needed to create a welcoming entry to friends and good fortune.
The sounds your doors make are also more important than you might think. You may not notice how your entry door whines when you open it, but it's the first and last thing you hear when entering or exiting your home. That crying sound can subconsciously affect your well-being, so oil the hinges. Make sure your house number is clearly visible, so that luck can find you. And use the front door, even if your habit is to come in via the garage or a side entry. By using the front door more often, you'll bring in more good energy. Take a short walk, or open and close the door on your way to visit a friend. Making this small change to your routine helps bring feng shui to your home.
Feng Shui Your Kitchen - Clean Your SoulIn Feng Shui, your kitchen signifies health, wealth, and abundance. Start with the dishes first, then move to the appliances, leaving the floor last. Your stove represents prosperity, so you’ll want to give it a good cleaning inside and out. Clean out your refrigerator and wipe down the inside. Instead of using your dishwasher, wash your dishes by hand, clearing your mind as you wipe each dish in a circular motion. Scrub your flatware over and over until the food stuck on the utensil is completely gone. Same for the pots and super greasy pans. As you clean, say to yourself, “I am cleansed and free of all false notions that no longer serve me.” When you have finished cleaning your kitchen you should feel lighter, freer, and clean.
Feng Shui Your Bathroom – Attract Positive Flow
Bathrooms are associated with the water element in Feng Shui, and water represents tranquility and the flow of money. Your goal is to maximize water’s peace and calm by creating a spa-like atmosphere, while minimizing the possibility of wealth draining away. Scrub your toilet starting with the toilet bowl before moving to the outside rim, close the lid to cover the drain, and place a potted plant on the tank to transform the downward flow of energy to an upward flow of life. Clean the mirror with the intention of seeing all that is reflected back to you with both clarity and love.
Feng Shui the Master Bedroom – Affirm Your (Self) Love
All too often, bedrooms become places where you hide messes and forego proper storage. Instead of a haven of rest, tranquility, and sensuality, messy bedrooms become the energetic equivalent of hiding skeletons in the closet. It’s as if you’re making an unconscious agreement that it’s ok that your private life is messy and chaotic, and that your peace is not a top priority. Instead, think of your bedroom as your starting point for self-love and self-care. You’ll want to keep it clean, organized, and presentable at all times, so commit to putting away clothes and making the bed every day. If you have to use the space under the bed for storage, limit its use to bed related items like sheets and blankets, since anything under the bed can affect you energetically, and ideally, the chi in your bedroom should circulate freely. As you clean your bedroom, say to yourself, “I am worthy of love and peace in all aspects of my life and I make this a priority now.”
Feng Shui the Living Room - Live with Gratitude
The living room is a space that is shared by family members and friends, so it should be warm and welcoming, with adequate seating for everyone arranged to invite conversation. But living room surfaces can become magnets for all sorts of things that have outlived their usefulness: newspapers, catalogs, magazines, and partially completed projects. Living room floors often seem to accumulate kids’ toys, pet toys, and assorted shoes and articles of clothing. After decluttering, organize everything into baskets, cubbies, and closets so that everything has a place. Now you can dive into sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting so that surfaces are clear and ready to accept new energy, as you repeat the mantra, “I am so grateful for all that I have.”
Feng Shui the Dining Room - Nourish Friendships and Connections
Some dining rooms are rarely used except for when guests come, and others are used daily. If you’re in not in the habit of using it except for rare occasions, the energy can become stagnant. Open windows and doors (Feng Shui considers a minimum of 9 minutes a good amount of time for airing out a room to replace stale energy with new), and dust, sweep, and vacuum. If the dining room table has become the catch-all for things that need to be put away, be sure to address this when you declutter so that the surface remains clear at all times. Try the mantra, “I am ready for all that I desire to show up in my life.” Put fresh flowers on the table to invite energy and connections and use the dining room more frequently to attract more friendships into your life.
Clean Out Your Closets – Release the Past
Oftentimes tidying up consists of moving items to closets when we can’t figure out what to do with them. Over time, it can become difficult to find what’s been hidden there. In a metaphoric sense, closets represent these hidden areas of our lives we’ve avoided dealing with. The items stuck in their recesses are brimming with stagnant energy. Hopefully, your decluttering has addressed these issues by organizing, donating, or selling items that are no longer needed. Now it’s time to sweep out the dust accumulating in corners and make room for new opportunities by not repacking your closets back up again.
Feng Shui Principles for Your Home
When you incorporate feng shui, purposeful design and careful arrangement to your everyday life and living space, you can reset the energy of your home to help you manifest the life you desire. Your home speaks to your subconscious—a metaphor for what you truly want in your life. It’s important to make sure that your living space reflects what happiness means to you.
There are a few overarching principles to consider when applying Feng Shui in your house:
Map the Energy
There are two bagua, or energy maps, associated with Feng Shui. Use either the classical bagua or Western energy map. If you use the classical bagua, you’ll need a compass to determine the primary direction and layout of your home. With the Western energy map, you’ll need to define nine zones of your home and link them with elements like love, wealth, career, and family.
Let in the Light
Light is principle of Feng Shui. Windows are considered the eyes of the adults, and the voice of children in the home. Opening curtains each morning to reveal clean windows allows positive energy to enter your home. Conversely, draw them tight each night to prevent negative energy (darkness) from affecting your surroundings. Clean windows help us see, hear, and experience life more fully.
Bring the Outdoors Inside
One of the most important principles in feng shui is bringing greenery indoors. Whether you prefer small plants on your desk, a row of succulents along your kitchen window, or showy plants in your family room, live plants will help energy flow smoothly inside your home. You don’t have to stop with greenery, though. Plants, fountains, and flowers also contribute to the natural harmony in your home, adding vibrant life energy, cleaning the air, and drawing on the Wood element, which signifies flexibility, kindness, and compassion. Feng Shui practitioners believe that the natural green tones of plants can help nurture growth and creativity and fill your home with therapeutic energy.
Ideally, choose house plants with soft, rounded leaves rather than points and thorns, but there are no bad Feng Shui plants. A plant’s effectiveness is more to do with their placement or bagua. That said, plants such as Areca Palm, English Ivy, and Boston Fern have air-purifying qualities; just make sure to avoid plants that are toxic to pets if you have dogs and cats. One place to consider putting plants is above kitchen cabinets which don’t reach to the ceiling or join with a soffit, as this is considered a place where Chi can get stuck. If there’s not enough light for plants there, fill the space with green objects you love to bring Wood energy into this often-overlooked area.
Use Uplifting Colors
Color is a vital component of Feng Shui. Different shades and hues shift the individual energy levels to balance and create a harmonious atmosphere. Every color represents one of the five natural elements. For instance, the fire element is associated with red, orange, purple, hot pink, and strong yellow. A splash of red anywhere helps to lift your energy levels. Pink can draw love or deep affection to any part of the house. Browns and greens are wood element colors that enhance wealth and prosperity. Blues and blacks are the water element, and strategically applied, create a calm environment. The purity and clarity of the Metal element are brought out with gray and white. Good health and protection fall into the Earth element and are represented by pale yellow, beige and earth tones.
Put Your Toolbox to Good Use
In Feng Shui broken items are a strong source of debilitating energy. This energy can easily attract negative health and money issues. Take some time to fix any broken items. If they are beyond fixing, throw them away or recycle them. If they are fixable, but not by you, give them to a charity shop or pass them on to someone who is able to breathe new life into them.
Clean as You Go (CLAYGO)
While technically not a principle of Feng Shui, the concept of CLAYGO supports your home’s energetic balance. The basic idea is that cleaning a little bit at a time avoids having to spend a lot of time cleaning when things get really dirty. Simple habits like putting away clothes when you take them off, loading the dishwasher or washing the dishes right after a meal, or spraying down the shower right before you get in are all examples of this concept, which originated as a campaign to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen by cleaning surfaces as they got dirty rather than doing all the washing up at once. Of course, a deeper cleaning is still required but less frequently, and it doesn’t take as long when you’re starting from a tidy baseline.
Clear Your Space with a Space Blessing
Incorporating Feng Shui Home Layout Ideas
You may not be able to change the location of your home or its basic layout, but you can still benefit by incorporating Feng Shui design principles in how you place furniture and decorate to create greater harmony.
Pay Attention to Entryways
If a front door and a back door are directly aligned, it creates “sha chi” energy, a direct path for energy to enter and exit rather than circulate through the house. By strategically using furniture or plants to interrupt this direct line, you encourage the good energy to move about your space. While entries should remain uncluttered to allow Chi to enter, practitioners suggest putting a glass or ceramic bowl with some coins next to your front door. Whenever you have some extra loose change, put it in the “Wealth Bowl” to help your wealth grow.
Create a Flowing Space
Open floorplans work well with feng shui principles since they encourage a constant flow of energy. No matter how your space is laid out, though, you can create positive flow. Even if your home is designed as rooms connected by a hallway, you can feng shui your halls by keeping them free of clutter and obstructions; think of them as the arteries that circulate Chi through your home. Pay attention to the paths you commonly take from one room to the next. Literally trace out your steps throughout the day. Are there obstacles in your path from bedroom to bathroom, or from kitchen to door? Think broadly, not just furniture or clutter, but also annoyances, like a flickering light or a squeaky floorboard. Address these concerns so that energy doesn’t have places to stick.
Another way to create flow is to use a consistent color palette and décor to create a seamless transition from one room to the next, rather than giving each room a distinct color and style. From whatever vantage point you situate yourself, the view into other rooms should appear to be visually connected with common colors and elements.
Make Use of the Five Elements
Another way to create a sense of natural flow using Feng Shui is to incorporate representations of the natural elements, which in the Taoist system are water, fire, earth, metal, and wood. Water represents flowing and shifting and is symbolized by curvy, black shapes. Fire represents passion and light, and it’s represented by red, triangular shapes. Earth, represented by brown, orange and yellow square shapes, signifies grounded and stable foundations. Metal is represented by metallic colors and cylindrical shapes and signifies efficiency and precision. Wood represents growth and expansiveness and is pictured as green or blue, upright rectangular shapes. You can creatively draw on these associations by using ceramic pieces to represent the earth, candles to stand for fire, glass to signify water, natural furniture to capture wood, and bronze elements for metal.
Leverage the Commanding Position
The commanding position is a key principle in Feng Shui, which relates to being able to see the entryway to the room diagonally from the key places of activity within that room. To locate the commanding position, imagine following a diagonal line from the entry of any room to the corner of that room. The most important activities for that room should be in this position. For example, in your kitchen the stove would traditionally occupy the commanding position, but unless you’re designing or renovating this may not be an option. Perhaps you spend more time at the sink, or at the kitchen table, which may be well served by this auspicious placement. In the bedroom, you would ideally place the bed in the commanding position, in your home office, your desk, and in a living room, the sofa. If this isn’t possible, place a mirror so it lets you see your door while lying in bed or sitting at the sofa. The basic idea is that from the commanding position, you can see anyone approaching you from the doorway as well as any opportunities coming your way. This subconsciously puts you at ease and in a position to receive.
Using Feng Shui Cures
When it’s not possible to use the ideal bagua, or placement, because of architectural or structural constraints, Feng Shui offers specific adjustments, or cures to shift or redirect the flow of Chi. When making these cures, it’s important to set an intention as you implement them. Here are a few of the most common and easy to apply cures.
Feng Shui and Mirrors
Mirrors represent the Feng Shui element of water and are a common feng shui adjustment. Just as water reflects and calms the spirit, so should mirrors. It’s not recommended that you place mirrors facing the main entrance of your house or your bed. Both locations repel chi energy. Poor mirror placement disrupts the energy flow and blocks chi. A mirror or waterfall positioned correctly opens up a space and increases the positive flow of chi. It also serves as a method of amplifying anything you want to have more of; for example, a mirror placed to reflect a window may amplify clarity, light, or the energy of the outdoors and wood element, representing personal or professional growth and expansion.
People often ask is it good feng shui for a mirror to face the bed? Actually, that placement is not ideal, because it is thought that mirrors bounce energy in a way that can disturb one’s sleep, and worse yet, confuse one’s sleeping spirit so that it doesn’t know whether it belongs to the person or the reflection in the mirror. However, mirrors offer a cure for a bed placement when you cannot put your bed in the commanding position. By placing the mirror so that you can see the doorway from the bed in the mirror, you compensate for the bed’s placement.
Another common question is whether two mirrors should be placed opposite one another. This placement bounces the energy between the two, so don’t choose it for a space where you desire relaxation, if your seating or bed is between them.
It’s important that all mirrors and windows be cleaned often. Dusty or streaked windows and mirrors are energy diffusers that interrupt the positive flow. Choose a mirror shape which represents the element whose energy you’d like to expand. A round mirror represents metal energy and can expand clarity, and precision, and happiness. Choose a square or rectangular mirror to represent Earth, amplifying grounding and stability. A tall skinny mirror represents the Wood element, expanding growth and kindness as well as the flexible energy of a tree, able to bend and withstand the wind. Or be daring with a triangular shaped mirror to call upon the Fire element for passion and inspiration.
Candles and Feng Shui
The strategic placement of candles offers a powerful Feng Shui cure, especially if you don’t have a working fireplace. Candles are an easy way to welcome the Fire element into your space, bringing in creative energy and passion. That energy can also be used to support a secondary element, so choose candle color based on the element you’d like to amplify. You can also use candles to lift or activate the energy, as well as to create a sacred space. Lighting a candle near your work space can lead to a greater flow of ideas, while candles in the bedroom raise the level of passion, and in the bathroom can create a sacred space for self-care and replenishment to counter the natural outward flow of bathroom energy.
Spring Forward with a Psychic Reading
You spend a lot of time in your home and following these tips for Feng Shui and Spring Cleaning can significantly improve the energy of the space you inhabit. There’s no better time to declutter, clean, and rearrange the furniture than now. You can also apply some of the same energy enhancing and harmonizing techniques to your inner world as you do to your outer world, stretching the wind-water concept of Feng Shui to allow the winds of your inner world and intentions to sweep over its outward presence to create change. Energetically supported, now you can spring forth into new ventures!
For more insight into how you can spring into the new season with clarity and confidence of the possibilities in front of you, contact a Psychic Source Advisor. Their balance of metaphysical and practical guidance, delivered from a caring and objective perspective, may be just the little bit of extra wind your sails need to soar.