Our thoughts create a large part of our reality and set the tone for our emotions and the caliber of our feelings. What we think; what nuances our thinking; what massages our thought outcomes; what emotions well up or prevail; and how we deal, modulate and embrace them are constant activities that we are engaged in – consciously and often not so consciously.
There is no better place to begin to creatively exert some control of this process than at home – starting with crossing the threshold – new opportunities to support or shift personal patterns and conditions. Your home – its contents, the state it is in and how you live in it – reflects you – all about you – your innermost state of your feelings – and then, it in turn, affects you. Successful, inviting, gracious, flowing and open – or limiting, closed, frustrating, stuck and shut down?
1. No personal living space with jumbled clutter will ever inspire quiet contemplation and optimal healthfulness. Messy spaces and distracting conditions create cluttered minds because what we see, is what our mind picks up and we are and feel what we think about. Only that which inspires and elevates should be visible.
2. Everything in the universe has a unique vibration – from the earth itself to your plants to your bodily organs and tissues. And through this everything has a very personal and emotional tie and association. So also do colours, shapes, materials, lighting, symbolic meanings and previous ownerships. All this and much more evokes different feelings, depending on our personal nature and preferences.
3. Placement of a personal or sacred object can be a simple, mindful invitation to go deep and reflect. Some people create a personal altar for daily use. You can also purposely place other significant images and objects into the decor throughout your home as gentle and periodic nudges to stay present as you move through the house and your eyes touch a fine aesthetic or emotionally pleasing or uplifting object – if even for a nano-second – it leaves it’s touch. These items will capture your eye and shift your mood as you pass them – a gentle cue to take a deep breath or tune in – a round metal container filled with water and flowers with a stone or a crystal and a lit candle can be placed on any surface and will bring in the five elements of nature. Hang an object of inspiration on a wall. Or place a small item or simple vignette on any surface. A subtly lit sculpture, for example, can become the focus for contemplation and renewal.
Why not make adjustments to your physical environment that will have the potential to create a more healthy, meaningful and abundant life – supporting your personal needs and transformation.
Once you start to see results, the real fun begins. Expand your changes to include colour – every colour resonates with distinct associations – physical and psychological – affecting mood and function. Designing your space is such a personal journey and can have far reaching implications. By making conscious and authentic choices, your spirit flows and your energy returns to you in kind.
This is also the essence and power of clutter clearing, personal clearing, geomancy, energy dowsing and feng shui – philosophies that are over 3,000 years old – deep wisdom available to all of us.
The Basics First – Clutter Clearing and Assessing:
Scan the Scene: piles of dishes, messy closets, stuff that “might” be useful one day without a function or place of it’s own, unsorted laundry, bits and pieces of “implied” value, stacks of old magazines and catalogues, bills, receipts and notes that need attending sooner than later – anything and all that is in the way of daily smooth functioning.
Serious clutter assessment and abatement feels like climbing an impossible mountain until it is broken up into little mole hills! This can be seen and felt as tough work as this is where personal issues loom in the shadows. After all, looking at a piece of paper and deciding if you’d like to keep it and then placing it in a labelled file is not mentally or emotionally challenging. So it is, after all, a simple act even though there are thoughts connected to that piece of paper that caused it to be on display too long and lying around trying to capture one’s eye///
And the clearing is not work that lasts forever – once done – it can be a breeze to stay clutter free. Do one task – and one task only – do not stray from the program below – dogged determination. Avoid getting caught up in side tasks such as folding the laundry and stopping to mend a blouse that’s in the pile as you might be wearing it tomorrow and as you just miraculously found the missing button, after all. Finding an un-mailed letter in the paper pile on the dining room table, if that area was your focus, does not require running off to the post-office – it merely requires that you run it off to your in-home office where it will be taken on it’s journey when THAT area gets it’s focus. This is the road to madness. It’s your energy – spend it wisely on just the current, defined task area.
There’s a personal limit for each of us when focusing works and when it’s overdone. Take a 5 minute break every hour – a quick breather – even when you have a long attention span. Call it quits for the day after three hours… unless you’re having a rollicking time…
Then survey the task at its day-end completion and inhale and administer some proverbial pats on the back. When all is cleared away there should be a visible and sensetory difference.
Now deep clutter assessment can begin!
Create a list of neat and tidy areas to address and then prioritize – address only one at a time – start with the one that annoys the most or has the most pressure on you (example: the cluttered nook you see as you open your front door; or areas that a nagging husband would like dealt with; stuff the accountant needs, etc). Occasionally you can do an area that seems extra easy when the resolve flags. Then go back to your priorities. When the clutter is cleared in each area, do one more thing! Take a few clothes or paper towels and wipe down the area and have it as clean as a whistle. Feel empowered after each task is completely done. Remember – you cannot compete with the clutter clearing magic on television – they have 44 minutes per home and a crew of optical illusion!
For every activity there is a very specific area – for example – knitting may be done in the bedroom and living room but the balls of cotton and wool plastic tubs and containers are never part of the living room furniture or bedroom bedside furniture.
Similarly, magazines, books, cross-words and discount flyers and all sorts of reading may be read in the living room but that doesn’t mean that they have to be stored in unsightly bags / racks strapped to chairs (always advertised on TV as the latest in “easiness”, unless one is paraplegic and one’s mobility is seriously impeded). In fact they even don’t belong in the loo…
A very practical example of specific areas to tackle and a good order to precede in:
1. all kitchen cupboards – upper ones – and fetch everything deposited everywhere else that should be in them
2. all kitchen cupboards – lower ones – and fetch everything deposited everywhere else that should be in them
3. main bathroom cupboards – and fetch everything deposited everywhere else that should be in them – gather all cleaning supplies in the main bathroom rather than here, there, and everywhere. Make room for the towels in the bathroom storage rather than the bedroom; store the on-sale extra toilet paper stuffed into the bathroom closet, in the storage areas of the home instead to make way for the towels (in other words in this example, don’t let a “deal” upend all the appropriate placement of items).
4. secondary bathrooms
5. relaxing area (only) of the living room – bills / papers and flyers are placed in the office rather than on the coffee table even if they will be read sometime in the coming months. ALL unused cords are stored on a specific utility room shelf or stashed in a specific kitchen drawer – out of sight – not in the wings waiting for an encore; twist-ties / baggies and all old unread newspapers, flyers, puzzles, etc just go – gone – into the garbage and recycle bins – they only have value in a scared mind fearing survival.
6. living room bookcases and cabinets – edited of books, treasures and chachkas – does it look like leftovers of the stuff you had happening as a student or is it very special, sacred and a collector’s item?
7. entertainment centres / equipment in the living room (CDs, DVDs, videos, tapes and all that sort of equipment, wires and cords) and the same type of stuff should be fetched from everywhere else in the home and corralled into one place – the hub for those precise items.
8. dining room (yup! it’s about dining not the right place for all the pet supplies nor yesterday’s rainwear)!
home office area including desk top
9. attic storage – lots in and lots out – all the way out!
10. basement (maybe in two parts) – what is storage?; what is living space?; what is utility space only and precisely?
11. closets – main bedroom (one by one if you have such a luxury – with categories of closes in each specific closets)
12. closets – secondary bedrooms – one by one
13. front entry, mud room, pet areas, garbage container and recycle areas – one of each unless you live in a mansion; stuff to be recycled needs to be in one spot near the exit – not in every room… that would just be an excuse to not really do any cleaning and hanging on – not much value in holding on to old boxes and wrappers and pill bottles)
14. balcony / patios / backyard storage or sheds
15. files / filing cabinets in home office; paperwork / receipts /banking / investment items and more paper work
16. home office area – all items gathered from all the other home spaces are here now – so hence this should be done near the end of the clearing – grouping receipts; bills to be paid and filed; stationery; widgets; software and computer paraphenalia and uploads
guest bedroom – now lots of loose ends will be abandoned here. Find the very best place for a day bed / guest bed (feng shui -wise; fins a nice area for the desk (never with one’s back to the door or off to far out of viewing range -; serious closet space usage with smart bins and shelves and extra storage tricks being put to use.
17. computer – email “in” boxes
18. computer – email “send” box
19. storage locker(s) or garage (maybe in 2 parts)
20. left over spaces
Your list can be completely different – but start at your first priority – and only that area – so when you clear the upper kitchen cupboards (in this example) and you bring some items to your storage locker/room (and only because it is very valuable), then that storage locker is off-limits for re-sorting; as is the garbage can area where it might be brought as is the bin for charity where it might be tossed, and so forth. This way items do not get shuffled around in a sneaky quest by the subconscious to not act upon clearing.
So, while focusing on the items in the upper kitchen cupboards: ask this question of everything in it:
“Does this item support me and my lifestyle and my perfect environment?”
If the answer is “yes”, then ask: “does this item have a distinct home?”
“Is it being used?” If “no”? then ask “why not and why keep it”?
An example might be: “do cloth grocery bags seem a good idea?” YES! “how many can I use? after all I have only two hands – THREE! So: one small, one medium, and one large. Then three ratty ones are for the garbage bin and the other fifteen are off to the thrift store.
Another example might be: how many airplane carry-on bags support my lifestyle? THREE “I’ll keep a small one, a large one, a rigid one and a soft zippered cloth suit bag”. That means three go to the bin and seven go to the charity store.
And if the answer is “no”?
Then recognize that it can drain your energy. Offer it to a friend or family member and if there is no immediate “taker” (not a possibility in the back of one’s mind but a true recipient), then off it goes to charity or to the second hand store – and in this case “immediate” means immediate so that another pile called “someone soon” or “Susie when she gets back from her cruise”, etc, does not spring up…
If it’s too tawdry for charity, then dispose of it, as then it is too tawdry for you, too.
When you become a pro at setting aside a designated amount of daily focused time for this work, then tackle the paper work last – it has so many facets – it’s a bit like your graduate program!
Just so that the paperwork / filing / taxes process doesn’t turn into an unintended Herculean task that messes with the overall clutter clearing doesn’t happen. So walking onto your home can be an uplifting experience even though there are 5 specific piles of papers in the office “area” and even though there is a box of ancient tax returns that are needing to be tossed. This focused method works – its slick and keeps you on target and will not drive you crazy.
Clutter Clearing is your initial step to a Divine and Supportive Personal Space. Once you have it, you’ll never relinquish it!
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
Merrie Bakker B.Sc, M.Arch, CN
we’re in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, BC
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Merrie Bakker – Live Blood Analyst / microscopist – Health Educator – Author – Teacher – Speaker – Editor – Hands-on-Healer – Reflexologist – Dowser – Reiki Master – Nutritional Coach – a life-long student of holistic medicine and preventative health who believes with a passion that cellular disorganization can be prevented or reversed by ortho-molecular medicine, emotional healing work, environmental detoxification (many areas of concern) and nutritional and lifestyle re-balancing (many possibilities). Combined with vigilance, monitoring and team work, clients are encouraged to detox, rebuild, re-nourish, resolve and re-educate.