Monday, July 3, 2017

Clearing the Decks

We've all got them, areas or a whole house full of too. much. stuff.  Do you get bogged down just thinking about it? I do a good job for awhile, then get busy and Things multiply!! 

Clutter accumulates when energy stagnates, and likewise, energy stagnates when clutter accumulates. It can be a vicious cycle, clutter is both a symptom and cause of heavy or stagnant chi, of struck life force.  And fortunately, movement of either prompts flow in both!

When we clear physical, emotional and mental clutter and stagnant energy in our environment, we free and release the stuck energy that keeps us in a holding pattern of exhaustion, overwhelm, and/ or procrastination. 
Clearing clutter also enhances sleep, clarity of thought, vitality, sparks joy, enhances prosperity, and healthy weight! An added bonus, clear space requires less time spent cleaning, and easier upkeep.

Take a moment, and think how you feel in your messiest space. Notice your posture, and sensations in your body. Take a breath and shake that out!
Now, picture walking into a beautiful, serene space, perhaps in a spa or retreat center. Notice how your body reacts, is your breath fuller? Do you feel like you can take up more space? Stand taller? 

If you're ready to dig in, here are some tips from my inspirational friend Gwynne Warner, Feng Shui consultant, on clearing clutter and setting a more harmonious environment.  

 Basic guidelines:
  • Pick a day when the wind is not to strong, nor eerily still. When the wind is strong, wealth can't accumulate - this can be a good time to get rid of dated documents, files, or office paper!
  • Choose a time you feel the most energized, daylight and morning are great
  • Wear bright colors, orange, yellow, red are yang and give energy. (Blue, grey and pastels are more yin, and better for relaxing) 
  • Take breaks for crying, dancing, breathing, drinking water, eating a good snack. After 25 minutes, feel free to stop for the day, or take a 10 minute break, and do some more! 
Before you begin:
  • Start to sift the stagnant energy of the area by increasing yang (active) energy
  • Turn on all the lights (bring in more light if it's a dark area!) 
  • Open windows and doors in the space - even just a crack
  • Burn incense: sandalwood, juniper, nag champa, or spritz with essential oil in water/ use a diffuser: orange, Neroli, bergamot
  • Clap or ring bells to "wake up" the space
  • Play uplifting, joyful music, or a video on cleaning that space, or, ...
  • Have a Waterbottle or big glass of water with a sprig of mint, lemon and cucumber.
While You Clear Clutter
  • Clear in blocks of 15-45 minutes - set a timer, and take breaks. -- My favorite patterns are 20/10 (especially good if you have chronic health challenges or are depressed) and 45/15. Even 5-10 minutes is better than Ø ! 
  • Gather 4 bags, bins or boxes, and Mark:
  1. Trash (things someone else would toss)
  2. Recycling (ditto - I have a tall white trash basket for recycling that I bring into the room I'm working on) 
  3. Donate / gift/ sell
  4. Transit to another area

  • Pick up one thing at a time and ask yourself

  1. Does it LIFT MY ENERGY when I think about it/ look at it?
  2. Do I absolutely LOVE it?
  3. Do I actually USE it? (Or have another like it)
  4. Do I NEED it?

  • If your answer is, "No! It's clutter and it has to go!" place it in the appropriate box. 
  • Pick up the next item and ask the same question.

After You've Finished Clearing Clutter for the Day

  • Empty the trash immediately, outside your home
  • Take recycling to your bins 
  • Take things in the transit box back where they belong (if that area is also cluttered, put it close, books by the book shelf, etc)
  • Put items to donate etc in your vehicle (or separate area)
  • Sweep or vacuum
  • Spray with aromatherapy/burn incense
  • Look at the area you've just cleared, and congratulate yourself! 
  • Woo hoo, we did it! Even if you only spent 10 or 20 minutes, it is that much more than nothing! 
After You've Cleared Clutter from the Entire Room
  • Clean the room - I personally love Melissa Maker's "Clean My Space" videos and blog! Her 1, 2, 3 room sweep is great (and works great for minor clutter!) 
  • Use simple cleaning products (Melissa has tutorials on making your own!) Scent with lemon grass, pine, basil, orange or rosemary if you wish.
  • Bring in or buy fresh flowers
  • Sit in your favorite chair and admire the room, you did a great job!! 
  • Reward yourself! (Hint, think experience rather than retail therapy!) 
Staying Clutter Clear
Are you great at doing "Bumble-Bee Cleaning" (BBC) just before someone comes over? I am! Rachel Hoffman of UFYH reminds us that we are important, and suggests we clean for ourselves, not just for company! "Company ready is good, but you ready is better!"
  • After an area or room has been Cleared of Clutter, it's easier to keep it that way if you do a little every day! Set the timer for 20 minutes, and do a basic reset. 
  • Notice where Things tend to accumulate, and streamline ways you deal with those. 
  • UFYH offers great tips for getting on top of the clutter. (And there's a Facebook group, Team UFYH (official) which offers awesome, shame free group support.)
  • Melissa Maker's video on maintenance has great tips on "keeping it up." She has videos for each room, I like to put one on while I'm cleaning! She also has one on getting motivated
  • To assist yourself in being neater, hang a 50mm faceted leaded crystal sphere (Gwynne carries these in her online boutique)
  • Take advantage of charity yard sales, and donate items (they'll often pick up)
  • Houston Clutter Fairy, Gayle Goddard has a MeetUp and posts videos with monthly tips on tackling different areas. I was intrigued with her statistics on Boomers, and the number of us drowning on clutter! While we use technology, we often don't quote trust it, hence keeping paper etc we don't really need to!
  • Compile list of daily, weekly and monthly basics in a way that works for you. 
  • If you share a space, engage others in cleaning if you can, ... Clean anyway, if you can't! 
  • If it starts to pile up again, pick a messy area and stare at it. Do nothing. Breathe. Stare at it. ...ideas may begin to percolate... Breathe. Stare at it, breathe. When you can hardly stand it, take another breath. Then dive in, using these tools!
Happy clearing! 

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