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Downsizing and feng shui

They go together like rama lama lama ka dinga de dinga dong. Or something a bit less raucous, maybe. Cheese and crackers? (Great, now I want cheese and crackers.)

Here's the thing: Once upon a time (around 2005 or so, maybe? it was back when there was still a "Barnes & Noble University", which was entirely awesome and I wish they'd kept it), I took an online feng shui course (with BNU), for which I purchase Jayme Barrett's Feng Shui Your Life, which is apparently now available in a second edition. (Quotes below are from the 1st edition.) I read and studied for a while and employed a few fixes and enhancements here and there, and then I sort of forgot all about it.

The thing is, now that I've spent about two years doing tai chi and qigong, which I really love, and learning more about its principles, I'm getting more out of the book. And realizing that it's really helpful to me in the downsizing process. Especially this quote: "Instead of focusing on what you are getting rid of, concentrate on moving towards your dream and goals."

It's really helpful, as I slog through the everyday parts of clearing out spaces and assessing items, to lift my head up now and then and remember why I'm doing it. The drudgery of working can sometimes obscure the happy goal I'm working toward, if I don't remind myself.

The reminders in this book to keep "only those objects that encourage and inspire you", and to get rid of objects that affect thoughts and emotions in a negative way (things that are about sad subject matter, whether written or visual, or failed projects) and things that sap your energy (her examples include "photos of people who disapprove of you, gifts from a past relationship, and inherited furniture you've kept out of guilt").

I also really liked this explanation of a rationale for getting rid of items you've been keeping "just in case":

Each item you keep "just in case" further roots you in fear and lack. Be confident that you will have everything you need and want to lead to a happy life. An effective way to start a cycle of abundance is by giving away items that no longer serve you. As you give, you receive. Create a vacuum for new and wonderful things to enter your home.

I find that when I keep these ideas in mind - that I am freeing up space for the chi/energy to flow, giving to others who need something, and creating room for new and wonderful things, it is much easier and almost refreshing to let things go.

Getting rid of items in advance of a move isn't just downsizing - it's good feng shui. Isn't that great?

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 20th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
Love the energy-sapping list she gives! I have a houseful, except they're buried under clothes that are waiting to go to goodwill and probably some recycling in need of a trip to the community recycle bin for good measure. *guiltguiltguilt*
Jun. 21st, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
Her categories of "clutter" included other lists, too - I just excerpted the one. One included "broken things". Another included clothes you no longer fit into, toys that are outgrown, etc.

One of the things I'm looking at is "collections". She warns about things you were once passionate about and collected, but now no longer really have any attachment to. They can multiply quickly, especially if other people start buying things for you. In my case, it was salt and pepper shakers, although I've gotten rid of a lot of them. I bought two pairs that I especially love, and people started getting sets for me that they loved and thought I'd like (they were only right about 1/10 of the time, which means I got a lot of sets I didn't like/want, but what could you do but put them out, right?) I am down to six sets on my shelf, and am about to cut it in half - to the two sets I bought for myself, and the pair of angels I featured a few downsizing posts ago, which came from my grandmother, and which I adore.
Jun. 21st, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to downsize all my various collections, intentional and otherwise. (mostly the otherwise.) I am so glad that there are places that will take and re-use stuff I don't want, as I hate waste...
Jun. 21st, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
I hate waste, too, which makes me glad for the various organizations that will pick up your stuff or let you drop it off. Yesterday, I weeded out some table linens. On the list to do next week is china and glassware. I love the idea of letting it go so (a) it can make someone else happy and (b) it can make space for good things to enter my home. Only in this case, it's more like "getting things down to the right size to move to my sweetheart's home."
Jun. 21st, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
That's a very happy reason! <3
Jun. 21st, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
It has to be very...cleansing to slough off some of the past that no longer belongs in your life. It's not that the past was bad or somehow unworthy--just no longer relevant. Making room for new experiences, new remembrances of those experiences is a fabulous feeling.
Jun. 21st, 2013 02:26 pm (UTC)
It really is. The idea is that you reexamine the things you've surrounded yourself with to decide what still "feeds" you, and what you no longer care about. I just left a rather long note for Liz Jones (above) about my salt & pepper shaker collection, which I won't repeat here. But I have other, similar things - things I once wanted or collected or loved but that no longer resonate in the same way, or which no longer matter to me. They aren't negative, necessarily, but they take up space that could be occupied by something that I do love and that inspires me now, so it's worth pruning them.
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Jun. 21st, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
Of course it is. In the case of something you aren't attached to, but that doesn't bug you, she says it can stay out. But if the other person's object makes you sad or irritable, etc., she suggests having them keep it "in their own space" within the house. Which presupposes that all people have "their own space", which doesn't comport with reality for me or most people I know, although I know some folks who have their own offices or craft rooms (or "man cave" - I despise that term), where it could work well.
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Jun. 22nd, 2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
M hangs on to pen parts and electric wires. I have to admit, sometimes we end up needing those bits and pieces to fix something.
Jun. 24th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
Very interesting . . .
Jun. 24th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
Is it not fixable?
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Jun. 25th, 2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
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Jun. 24th, 2013 01:23 am (UTC)
She has quite a bit to say about papers, and about how quickly they can multiply (and how guilty they can make us feel)!
Jun. 22nd, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC)
Throwing out old papers from my 30-year writing career was traumatic and exhausting.

And there are other papers that had negative feng shui that I decided to dump...and it turned out that I needed them for evidence for something. Sometimes you just have to hang on to stuff, even when you don't want to and they make you feel like crap.
Jun. 24th, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
Re: papers
You are correct, of course. In that case, the feng shui folks recommend keeping only what you absolutely need, and keeping them put away where you don't really have to look at them.

I have divorce papers, for instance, from two failed marriages, and I'd really rather not, but I suppose I need at least the final decrees. (I'm planning on shredding the rest, however, now that my kids are both past 18 and the settlement agreement for the first one no longer has any impact.)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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