Continued from blog post Feng Shui Basics: Cluter! Part 1
Once you’ve checked out and removed obstructions from the front door, foyer, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms, make sure you do the same in the rest of the house including the living room, bathrooms, even the laundry area and closets. Really tackle this clutter issue!
When I say to “remove” clutter, by the simple laws of physics it must go somewhere, right? Here are my general suggestions on how to de-clutter and what to do with the things you no longer plan to keep.
For each item in question in each and every room, determine whether you absolutely LOVE IT or absolutely NEED IT. When deciding this, see how the item makes you feel. If it is unsightly, chipped, broken, ripped, messy, out of date, empty, dangerous to handle, feels or looks negative… it should go. Sometimes we connect our things, broken or not, with memories which gives them sentimental value. This alone should not warrant hanging on to it. Love it, need it or both – or it goes.
If you love it AND need it, it’s a definite keeper. Make sure whatever it is, it has its place in your home – meaning – the place where it belongs, where you put it between uses, and where it makes sense to store it. If it is of frequent use, put it where it is most accessible. If you take it out once a month, it should go in a less handy place (if space is limited). Something you love to look at that is just a decorative piece should make you happy and enhance your space with its beauty, importance and meaningfulness to you. It’s wonderful to have these kinds of things out as accent pieces to brighten our days!
If you love it but don’t need it, this is a toss-up and it’s your call. Keep in mind why you are de-cluttering – to enhance the flow of beneficial Chi, to simplify your life and to free yourself of the heaviness that too much stuff in your home creates. Put all of the “love it but don’t need it” stuff from each room in one area and decide that half must go. Got five spatulas in your kitchen drawer but love them all? Get rid of two or three of them.
If you need it but don’t love it, it’s basically the same scenario, only since you need it, I would consider letting it go for something of the same sort, only one that you really love. For example: I had a client not happy with her serving utensils in her kitchen. They had blue handles that didn’t match the rest of her décor. She was already planning a garage sale for the rest of the things she was letting go of so although she definitely needs serving pieces, she would go get new ones when these sold. The new ones would match and be a style she really loved. Now she has utensils she loves AND needs.
Trash, Recycle, Donate, Sell
Once you’ve decided what should “go”, what do you do with it? Broken or unusable items should go in the trash or recycling bin. Determine this by your local recycling guidelines following the directions that are probably on your town’s website. Print it out and keep a copy near your recycle bin so you don’t forget what can go in there. Using your recycling bin as much as possible is excellent Feng Shui! It is always best to recycle or donate what you can, and be as “green” as you can.
Ebay is my all-time favorite, but there are endless options for selling your stuff. I would keep it to local websites and publications if you are selling a large, heavy item, if possible. This keeps the cost of shipping down as well as – going with green thinking again – the energy spent for the transportation. Garage/yard sales are fantastic! Put a small ad in a local paper, add a few signs directing people to your house, perhaps even get a few neighbors on board with a group sale, and you’re all set. Tip: Price things clearly and be negotiable. Look things up online if you sense that it might have some significant value. If you still want to sell it, price it accordingly. Remember that for the most part, the items you are selling are used, and you are not running a retail shop. People expect bargains at yard sales, and that is the only way to ensure that you will move your stuff off of your driveway. The objective is to clear it out! Ahhh, the freedom of clean, clear space!
Do not donate clothing that are un-wearable or items that are broken. This creates a circle of bad karma for you. Donations should be in good faith and done respectfully and thoughtfully. Imagine being on the receiving end to determine whether it should be donated or not. There are many organizations that will pick up your donations such as churches, shelters and often the Salvation Army just to name a few. Contact the charity of your choice to see if they are interested in what you have. Giving to those that resonate with your personal interests and seems most benevolent to you makes it that much more rewarding.
Zooming in on the more specific items to de-clutter and why; including inherited items, hand-me-downs and gifts coming soon in Feng Shui Basics: Clutter! Part 3