Five-Minute Feng Shui
I just did a major purge of old books, DVDs and some truly hideous gifts. It wasn’t so much to provide shelf-filler for the local Goodwill as it was to make some feng shui fixes in my house.
Feng shui is essentially the art of placement: where you put the stuff in your home and office influences everything from your health and finances, to the state of your relationship or whether you can even have kids.
The Chinese take this so seriously that the construction of major office buildings won’t begin without the go-ahead from the feng shui master after he/she has scoped out the lay of the land –literally. Hey, if its good enough for the Donald Trumps of Hong Kong….
Like Mid-East politics or the romantic life of the Kardashians, feng shui can get complicated. There are tons of good books on the subject*,many of which I have partially read before giving up and turning to Star magazine. But to give you a taste, here are a few super-easy things to try in your own space.
The main principle is that energy must flow freely; when it gets blocked, your life gets blocked. Walk into each room of your home: stand in the center, take a deep breath and see how you feel. Try and look at the room as if for the first time. Is it cluttered, dark, dusty? Do you trip over cat toys (wait –that’s MY living room). Do you feel energized and happy, or anxious, sad and in need of a Jello shot?
Really pay attention to how the space makes you feel. Then make a few fixes:
HEALTHY PLANTS Fresh greenery bring new life into a space. Bamboo plants are low-maintenance, and a traditional symbol of good fortune. I’ve put one right by my front door, to encourage luck to enter my home. NOTE: Artificial or dried arrangements are frowned upon for their absence of life force. Not to mention the dust.
MIRRORS Mirrors are the “aspirin” of feng shui. They can reflect good energy back into a room, or deflect bad energy away. One of my favorite tricks is to place a mirror behind your stove. The Chinese view the stove as the heart of the home; a mirror symbolically “doubles” the number of burners, increasing the wealth vibe. And you can put your makeup on while you’re stirring the marinara.
WIND CHIMES They sound pretty – and serve a purpose. Hang a chime anywhere you’d like some fresh energy. Every time you move past it, that pretty sound will also move the molecules around.
LEAKS, DRIPS, CHIPS Leaks and drips drain your energy – literally and figuratively. Items that are held together by duct tape are just a big drag on your mood. Make a list of those things that are not in good condition and either fix, toss or replace them.
KITCHENS AND BATHS According to feng shui, these are the two most important rooms in the home. The kitchen is where food is prepared (our microwaved, if its my kitchen), ensuring our survival; the bath is where we care for our bodies, and represents the state of our health. Keeping these two rooms clean, tidy and with all appliances/fixtures in shipshape order will go a looooong way towards making you feel good. NOTE: keep the toilet lid down. This symbolically keeps family finances from being “flushed away” [hey, that’s one way to get the men in your home to finally do it!]
BEDROOMS This is where we sleep and, uh, ya know… That’s what it should be about – so TVs, iPads and other distractions interfere with those two main objectives. Feng shui says that the electrical energy of these items will keep you awake all night, even if only on a subconscious level. So if you can’t ditch them altogether, store them in a cabinet or armoire. NOTE: if your own love life is lacking, encourage a fresh shot of “sumpin’ sumpin’” by getting new sheets.
CLUTTER—THE BIG “NO NO” As I mentioned, feng shui is all about the free flow of energy through a space. So clutter is not cool (another reason I just did my own closet purge).
You know how great it feels after you’ve done a major spring cleaning? That’s what you’re going for. Start with closets and cabinets; clearing out those little energy suckers will inspire you to go room by room until your whole house is Feng Shui Fabulous. Or at least a little cleaner. Have a Jello Shot to celebrate!
*One book I like is Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life/Karen Rauch Carter or anything on feng shui by Lillian Too. She’s written a ton of books.