In my Enhance Your Life article, I noted it has been proven that because excess “things” compete for our attention, visual clutter can have a negative impact on our ability to focus and process information. I discussed how to clear out our stuff so we can focus better.
Looking around at our disarray makes us feel like we’re struggling to stay afloat on a sea of crashing waves. When will this end? Some of us choose to avoid the ocean altogether as we play in the sand hoping for another idea that will keep us busy. But we can only do that for so long. After awhile, the ocean threatens the shores of our spirit and the waves start encroaching on our sandcastle. That clutter gets us everytime. So, let’s ride the wave!
Here are five simple ways to clear our outer and inner world.
- Let’s start in the room we’re in the most. Grab some bags, boxes and some bubble wrap or other packing material and place everything – every decoration, doodad or tchotchke – into a bag or box. We place all of the books, papers, and piles of stuff into another bag. What’s shoved under the couch, bed or other furniture? We pull that out and put it in a box. We look for any place where we’ve been hiding stuff! A cabinet, drawer, ottoman? Look everywhere.
OK, so let’s take the bags out of the room. Sit down in another room and wait a few minutes. We can close our eyes and breathe slowly a few times before we walk back into the room. Let’s take note of how we feel as we look around. Yes, it’s empty, but is it easier to just “be” in this room? In a few weeks or even months, we can give away or throw away everything we don’t want in that room and place the items we do in the room again. It will feel, like Goldilocks said, “Just right”. When we’re in that room, we will feel lighter as we notice the space in our formerly overcrowded cabinets or the cleaner look of the bookcase.
Once we’ve successfully given our environment a fresh look, we feel buoyant. Even if we’re not a naturally peppy, positive person, we really feel like we’re floating on still water. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful and there’s nothing but blue skies above us.
- Let’s use some very basic Feng Shui to make our bedroom a peaceful nest. Now, don’t freak out. Feng Shui can get pretty crazy, but we’re just going to work on a minimal level. OK, are you breathing again? Good! Keep doing it!So, Feng Shui is really about balance; literally it means “wind and water” or what we can call “the flow of energy”.
So, start by rearranging furniture. Make sure the bed is facing the doorway but is the farthest away that it can be from the door. If the door is on the right, the best bed location is the far left of the room; and if the door is in the center, the best location is either the far right or far left corner of the room. But try not to push the side of the bed up against a wall with no room between it and the wall. It’s crampy and doesn’t allow for any flexibility in life.
OK, so the bed is in place. Now, walk out the door and walk back in. What’s the first thing a person will see? Shoes, clothes, books or magazines? We want our first look at our room to be comforting. So, let’s get rid of the clutter and place a beautiful plant, photos of your family (whether they be human or animal), a gorgeous piece of art, a candle, anything that reflects what we hold dear in life.
On the wall behind the bed, we want to display images of what supports us in life. Living or departed. A family member or mentor. A spiritual image (your conception of God, angels, Universe, Buddhas, etc.) or maybe someone of great intelligence or integrity.
Most people have a hard time with this one: the nightstand. Dah dah dah dum. Clear off that baby. Place books or magazines inside the nightstand or in a bedside caddy. Place a pic of your family, a candle, a small statue or something that is calming, serene or just makes you feel good. Go ahead and create a nice little “shrine” for yourself to view when you’re lying in bed.
The last thing is to avoid doing work or any other “non-bedroom” activities in there. If there are a computer (even a laptop), desk or files in there, move them. Don’t pay bills in bed, don’t do work or make business-related phone calls in the bedroom. Most Feng Shui experts would say to take the TV out of the bedroom as well. I’m not going to say that because I have on one in mine. I read to fall asleep and my husband falls asleep to the TV. Muted (or sound low) and the screen brightness dimmed.
None of that was a lot of work (OK, maybe moving the bed around was) and already your bedroom is more serene! You’ll feel the difference. You will breathe more deeply and relax for sleep quicker. Your sleep pattern will improve and your capacity for being in the moment will be extended. Only good things can come from having a peaceful bedroom
- Once you’re done purging, you will ask yourself some honest questions. When we look at the things we have left in our homes, we might find out we’re ready to do more purging. There are so many reasons why we hold onto things (or keep buying things); and by asking some of the of the following questions we will start to find out what stories we tell ourselves.
- “If I get rid of this, I might need it in the future.”
- “I’ll fix this someday.”
- “I’m in a foul mood and buying this will make me feel better.”
- “If I don’t like it when I get it home, I’ll give it to ‘so and so’ as a gift.”
- “I don’t really like this but other people think it’s cool and therefore they’ll think I’m cool.”
If we’re at a store and about to make a purchase, we might stop and reconnect with our goal to keep things simple. When we ask ourselves “Why am I buying this? Will I, in fact, utilize it? Wait – do I really even like it?”, we will answer ourselves more honestly and frankly.
There is something so freeing about looking at items honestly. It’s glorious when we decide to keep only those things that make us truly happy. It’s also wonderful to walk away from something in a store. We might even skip or dance in the store. Who knows?
- Once we’ve purged ourselves of unnecessary items, we are more grateful for what we have. Think about it: because there is less to look at, we actually single out the things we have left in our surroundings. We notice them and look at them in a new way. This changes the way we feel about what we don’t have. We are content and our perspective on what we see when we’re shopping is different. We know we’re happier with less. In this case, “less is more” is absolutely true. Gratitude brings forth an “unseen” wealth.
- Lastly… peace. There’s a certain harmony about our lives when we’ve de-cluttered. We will breathe easier and complete our tasks with more surge than urge. Where we once felt the need to divert our attention with mind-numbing activities to help us avoid noticing our surroundings, we will glory in looking around at our home. A certain tranquility will come upon us while walking through our home and it will bring about miles of smiles.
We’re walking on sunshine…