Feng Shui isn't necessarily about clearing clutter, but in many homes, it definitely helps with clear-thinking and staying focused on your goals. Where do you start? Looking at a mess can seem overwhelming unless you develop an action plan and tackle one space at a time. Here are 5 easy tips to get you started.
1. Start with the kitchen - Do you expect -- and receive -- an avalanche every time you open your kitchen cabinets? Time to take stock and re-organize. Check the expiration dates on everything and toss the old stuff. If something's on the verge of expiring, Google some recipes and see how you might be able to use it ASAP. Nothing appeals? Toss it now and cross it off future grocery lists.
Moving down to your kitchen drawers, it's time to be brutal. Keep two of common utensils like spatulas and cake servers -- not five. Evaluate everything in your drawer. Have you used it in the past year? Do you foresee using it the future? If not, out it goes. Well, you may want to hang on to Grandma's french fry cutter, but only if it brings back fond memories. Then, make a commitment to slice some crinkle cut sweet potato fries and bake them up tonight.
When you're done with the great purge, set your intention to keep your countertops clear (think of creative places to stow appliances you don't use often, like the garage or basement) and to wipe off your stove every night after dinner.
2- Focus on your home office. - How can you bring your best self to the table for creative, fulfilling projects or even paying bills if you're sitting amidst piles of clutter? Take the same approach you did with the kitchen, and toss or shred junk mail, expired coupons, catalogs and old magazines.
Then create a sorting system you'll stick with. Buy folders or bins that are fun and inspiring so you want to use them, and make a place for bills, mail, receipts, magazines to read, etc. As papers pile up monthly, sort through and get rid of what you don't need.
Also, begin transitioning to a “paper-less office” by requesting electronic statements for your monthly bills. Scan in important paperwork when you do the monthly purge. You can store on your hard drive or securely online for an automatic back-up solution of important paperwork.
3- Create a leaner library. - Don't have a Kindle yet? Or maybe you're a bibliophile who can't bear to part with a book. Evaluate your the books in your home library the same way you evaluate other items in your home. Do you use it frequently? Does it bring you joy? Does it serve a purpose? Books you use for reference (and you can't find the equivalent online easily), books you read over and over again, or titles that make you smile when you see them deserve a space on your shelf. Donate the rest to your local library -- an organization of people who still appreciate books the way you do.
4 - Go for a photo finish. Photos, like books, accumulate with time. Piles of photos that need to be placed in albums, or photo albums that are falling apart, create emotional and physical clutter in your environment.
View photos objectively, rather than with sentiment, and follow these rules: Toss duplicates, unflattering pictures, photos that are too dark, too light, too blurry or too grainy. Now that you're left with the best, sort into relevant categories and place them in photo boxes. Find your favorites and put them in frames to hang down a long hallway, in the foyer, or on stairwell walls.
You might also scan your pictures (this is a great task to give to kids on a rainy afternoon), back them up, and stow the originals.
5. Create a sanctuary in your bathroom -- starting with your make-up drawer and medicine cabinet. - Ladies know it's hard to create a private space for rest and re-awakening when you can't find your mascara in the morning. The first step to a more zen bathroom is to clear the clutter, including toiletries, make-up, perfumes and lotions you don't use. This is also important for your health, since expired make-up, make-up that doesn't look quite right, or has a bad odor is spoiled and could be harboring dangerous bacteria.
The medicine cabinet is also an important space to keep clean, organized and clutter free. You don't want to be rummaging for a band-aid when you're bleeding and expired medications lose potency.
We've come full circle here -- start by checking expiration dates and tossing anything that's old or about to expire. Then toss anything you haven't used in at least a year. You might create two baskets or bins, and place all your make-up inside one. As you use a particular cosmetic, place it in the second bin. Anything in the first bin -- meaning you haven't touched it in a year -- should go. As you buy cosmetics, only buy products to replace ones that expire or run out.
Prevent “Clutter Creep”
Now that you're finished, you don't want to go through that again, do you? Stay on top of expiration dates and sorting. Follow this rule with everything in your home: If it doesn't serve a purpose or bring you joy, out it goes.
With less “stuff” to worry about, you can focus on finding and living your true life purpose.
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