by Kim Klein – Guest Blogger
We usually reserve cleaning, that really deep cleaning, for springtime. It has become an annual ritual that for many of us has become as traditional as Thanksgiving dinner. And it makes sense, as springtime is considered a time of new beginnings, rebirth, and renewal. After a long winter the earth wakes up and after a big yawn, comes alive again. And it is with this energy of renewal that our homes are opened up, freshened up and made to feel new.
But along with cleaning, clearing clutter is one of the first and most important steps to creating positive energy in your surroundings. And this can and should be done throughout the year. Just as an artist paints on a blank canvas, a clean environment is essential for you to implement effective Feng Shui. Starting with a clean slate helps you to manifest your dreams and goals much faster.
Many of us think of clutter as junk mail, paperwork, or unnecessary items, but in Feng Shui clutter can be too much of anything. When we fill up our spaces with too much stuff it leaves no room for growth, no more room for opportunities to come our way. According to author Karen Kingston, her definition of clutter is anything you do not use, need or love, anything untidy or disorganized, too many things in a small space, or anything unfinished.
Aside from the unsightly aesthetics of clutter, there are also very real physical, mental and emotional consequences when we live in this type of environment. Clutter comes from the old English word clot, and we all know that when there is a clot somewhere there is also a blockage. In Feng Shui we want to remove all clots or blockages to allow for the free flow of good positive energy.
And this isn’t just a bunch of Feng Shui mumbo jumbo. Scientists have been studying the effects of clutter for a long time. Researchers at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute have published results in The Journal of Neuroscience that relate directly to living uncluttered and organized. Their research has shown that when multiple stimuli is present in the visual field at the same time it competes for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.
Whew, I know, or in words that are a bit more clutter free and that I can understand, when your environment is cluttered, you become distracted, restricting your ability to focus. Clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Now isn’t that enough to make you want to toss out a few things, clean up a bit and organize?
Clutter is actually a very complicated and layered issue. It is not just a bunch of papers on the kitchen counter we haven’t found an appropriate home for yet. We can have physical clutter (too much stuff, and that includes nice stuff too, like furniture, clothes, knick-knacks), mental clutter (worry, financial and health concerns, stress) emotional clutter (anger, sadness, unresolved issues) and even environmental clutter (too many patterns, irritating noise, conflicting colors).
So while it might seem simple to clear out the clutter, get rid of those things you have outgrown, don’t need, or don’t like, sometimes the emotional attachment and difficulty parting with these things may surprise you. Sometimes clutter builds up due to a simple lack of space or even too much space. But often times emotional obstacles can cause clutter as well, on a subconscious level. For every piece of clutter that has piled up there is some type of attachment there. We avoid dealing with this clutter for emotional reasons. For example:
- Getting rid of clothes that are too small means accepting our current shape – accepting ourselves as we are today.
- Getting rid of an expensive item that you’ve never really liked means admitting that we made a poor decision when we bought it.
- Getting rid of books/magazines means accepting that we will never have time to explore every topic of interest to us.
- Getting rid of possessions of the past (due to divorce, death, etc.) means coming to terms with our loss and grief.
If we don’t deal with these issues the clutter will remain. It is similar to weight loss. The real issue isn’t the food, the issue is why are we eating or overeating the way we do and what empty space are we trying to fill.
If you start to remove your clutter you might be amazed at how things open up for you in your life. Start with a cluttered area that is bothering you most, go slowly, removing a few items a day and remember, getting rid of clutter does not mean living in a sterile environment. It means that everything around you has a purpose and is there for a reason.
Clutter can make you procrastinate, hinder your progress and hold you back. When you clear the clutter you make room for new opportunities and experiences to come into your life. In short, get rid of some of the old and make room for something new.
. . . . . . . . . .
Kim Klein is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Feng Shui Practitioner whose specialty is combining the two modalities to help women achieve balance, rediscover their purpose and reignite their passion for living. She is the author of Damn, the Pusherman ~ Sugar, The Legal Drug that is Keeping you Sick and Fat, and Nine Degrees North, a young adult fiction novel that takes place on Kwajalein, a Pacific Island US missile range in 1969.