The Urge to Purge. Feng Shui Advice.

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Via Daily Transformations

We’ve all had glimpses of this on the first warm spring day when we throw our windows open and look around our homes suddenly noticing the winter clutter that’s accumulated over the cold months.  But what about the constant clutter that creeps up on us during the daily ins and outs of life?

Not a clutterholic?  I’m still betting that you’ve got your share of excess so stay with me and let me know what you think when you’re done reading.

Clutter is not only bad for your health, but it blocks your prosperity.  There’s literally no room for new energy. I can almost guarantee that if my client is overweight or having money troubles, there is a source of clutter and excess in their life.

The first thing I share with my feng shui clients is to go through every room and fill a bag.  Yes~a whole bag and give, sell or recycle its contents.

Clutter and holding on to things is a big fat sign to the universe that you don’t believe you’ll have the resources to replace or buy it when you need it.  Holding on “just in case” sends a strong signal of poverty consciousness.  Someone out there can use what you’re not using and might really need it.  Trusting that when you realize you must have widget A to use with widget B; you’ll be able to buy it sends a signal of trust.  Holding on to your “just in case” items that you haven’t used in years sends a signal of fear.

Excess items block the energy from flowing in your home.  Ever wonder why you feel so relaxed on vacation or at a spa?  The rooms are sparse and functional.

Let’s start with your bedroom:

Go through all of your drawers and closet.  If you haven’t worn something in 2 years, you’re never going to wear it.  I promise.  If you haven’t loved it enough to find a match or accessory to make it work, you don’t love it enough to keep it.    Studies have shown that we all wear the same 11 outfits week after week anyways.  Less is truly, the new more.  When we have less, we tend to mix and match and get creative.  If you stand in your closet not sure what to wear in the morning, it’s a sign that you have too much.

Sheets and Bed:  If you’re like most people, you’ve replaced sheets but not thrown the old ones away.  If you’re having trouble letting go, think of homeless people that don’t have any, and then drop them off at a local donation site.  Blankets?  Same thought process.  I recently noticed I had 3 down comforters and I’m not a pack rat.  One of those is being donated this week.  Sure it was expensive, but I’m not using it and the idea of someone out there being cold at night gives me the strength to say goodbye.

There should be nothing under your bed, period.  Shoes stored under there? Get a behind the door rack. The energy needs to flow so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Now the bath:  How many half used jars and bottles do you have under that sink and in your closets?  I get a cheap thrill out of using the last of something before allowing myself to buy another.  Make up?  Do we really need all of it?  Same rule as your clothing.  If you haven’t used it, lose it.  Towels have the same rule as sheets.  Get rid of the old ones when you buy the new ones.  Go through your medicine cabinet and throw out expired products and your “just in case” items.  Remember to trust that if you need some medicine, you’re going to be able to afford it rather than keep expired products that could be dangerous.

Your office: Consider having 6 pens and no more.  Buying pens and paper can be a habit like any other.  Go through your piles of paper and either file them, transfer the data somewhere else, or recycle them.  Business cards accumulating?  Spend a rainy sunday afternoon and transfer the data and then throw them away!  Go through your books and donate the ones you’ll never read again.  Some reference books and books that you love to read over and over should be kept.  But let’s face it; you don’t need to keep your Office 04 for Dummies when it’s 2011.  I actually found a farmer’s almanac from 1994 the other day.

Your kitchen:  Like the bath, the kitchen can be a place where half empty bottles collect as we buy new items.  Go through you refrigerator and get rid of the duplicate bottles of condiments.  I’m notorious for letting herbal remedy bottles collect.  Old dishes that aren’t sentimental but are beat up and chipped?  Donate them.  You’ll be surprise by how good you feel when you toss all of those plastic cups and mismatched coffee cups.    Tupperware cabinet?  You know what to do~

Now my thoughts on gifts and sentimental items:  If someone gives you a gift, it is yours to do what you want with it.  If you don’t love it, keep the memory of the person but donate the gift to someone that might love it.  Things you don’t love in your home and your closet wear down your energy.  Keeping your children’s toys well past the time they’re grown doesn’t make you closer to them.  Much better to give those toys and clothes away to families in need and enjoy the time you’d spend walking around those boxes and creating room in your garage or basement playing with your kiddos instead.

Trust me.  Clutter weighs you down whether you realize it or not.  Grab a friend or a coach to give you courage and go for it.  Once you start, you’ll be hooked on the feelings of freedom that come, and I promise, those feelings are worth it!



~photo credits.  Toilet by  Closet by  Bed by  Bath by  Clutter by  Bag by

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skerplatd Jan 18, 2019 7:14am

I liked seeing this article again. Lovely inspiration and something to do on a hold winter day.

melissaholt36 Jan 10, 2019 12:02pm

Thank you for such amazing and helpful advise on each room…I never usex to be a keep things just in case person yet over the years I have realized my spark dimming my energy fading and my house becoming more and more cluster filled with each child we have. Gifts and clothes and messes…I have become exhausted keeping up with everyone’s stuff and they cry when I attempt to clear it out. I feel so sufficated and stuck and anxious and overwhelmed. I plan to clear out excess and then nevwr get around to fully clearing out all I want to due to mamaw alwats bringing them home shortly after taking them and they see some stuff and tear it out or when I do get rid of a lot their mamaw brings more stuff in even after I’ve asked her not to, them told her not to! It’s very frustrating…disrespectful and rude. My spouse has a hard time letting things go because he was raised moving a lot and most times it was a grab you clothes and leave the rest behind, leaving things he loved had an impact that caused a small keep this and this thing even if not used. But he isn’t a hoarder or packrat by far. Any advice on how to help him and my children release this negative energy holding habit? You’re very knowledgeable about Feng Shi from what I can tell and I would love to hear from you! Thank you for such great advise!

jadecoqui Jan 10, 2019 9:13am

This will allow joyful living in the home. Love this article. I have some clutter to get rid of.

debradeangelo Jan 10, 2019 8:26am

Great article, but there’s one more issue… I have memories attached to the items. I see the item… it prompts the memory. I worry that without that item to prompt the memory, I will forget. Even worse, getting rid of the item feels like getting rid of the memory… and the people involved in that memory.

You hit some really great logical points, and the “fear” angle was spot on. I hope you will write a follow up JUST on the fear… and address the problem of memories attached to beloved people, both living and dead.

bheino64 Jan 7, 2019 7:37pm

I used to love to throw out or donate unused/unloved items and reveled in the orderliness of my room…that was before my twenties. Marriage and family barraged my life with their intrinsic needs…toys, furniture, tools, bicycles, I’m sure you understand. My need to release those “things” as well as my frustrations became entwined then strangled by the needs of those I loved. Even when the children moved out (and in and out lol) their “treasures” were left in Mom’s safe embrace. I battled guilt and resentment as the piles grew.

Just recently I have begun to hold them accountable for their “things” and found that as the boxes cleared, so did my path become clear. I am now working on finding me again and moving forward. I am truly enjoying the journey.

anonymous Aug 8, 2015 9:58am

Why are intellectuals so nit- picky about words? Purging has multiple meanings other than bulimia. Why must everything turn into a debate. Gee.
Thanks to the author. You inspired my Saturday.

    lorikirklandbaker Jan 6, 2019 9:11am

    I ditto this. Purging is the opposite of hoarding and generally has nothing to do with food intake. Nothing makes me feel better and more clearheaded than a good purge! Having just downsized from 4200sf to 1700sf makes the purge necessary but difficult. I have recently donated thousands of dollars worth of clothes and housewares. But I have a lot of stuff that’s essentially new and I can’t afford to just donate everything. I need to find a good consignment store.

anonymous Aug 8, 2015 9:53am

Why are intellectuals are so nit picky? That will be the title of my article to elephant journal.. purging has many meanings, not just bulimia. Gee.

Thanks to author. You inspired my Saturday.

anonymous Jul 29, 2014 10:38pm

Prescription drugs should not be thrown in the trash… Search in your area for the proper way to dispose of them.

anonymous Apr 9, 2014 8:51pm

You just got a new follower!

anonymous Mar 31, 2014 9:46am

While spring cleaning is great- I agree, i am disgusted by the idea that "if my client is overweight…" what does that even mean? and how judgmental without even knowing someone. and how sad to perpetuate a horrible stereotype. While the tips might be good, you lost me at the title. No excuse.

anonymous Nov 27, 2013 8:00am

And how about the studies that show that messiness encourages creativity. People are so judgemental about disorder. I say, some people have their order on the outside. Some have it on the inside. Mine is on the inside.

anonymous Nov 23, 2013 12:13pm

Does anyone have suggestions on how to motivate a teenager to clean his/her room? I can say for sure telling him/her a messy room is blocking prosperity and is bad for his/her health will not work in most cases. It's not necessarily about holding onto things- it's more about time and effort. Most teenagers can compile a list of at least 30 things they would rather do than clean.

anonymous Nov 23, 2013 9:39am

I'm all for going through my things and giving away what I'm not using, but to say that we're holding on to "just in case" items out of fear or distrust is a little too close for comfort for me. I did grow up in somewhat poverty and I still don't have enough to give away a "just in case" item then have to re-buy it when the time comes around to needing it..I would much rather still have the item (this has occurred on many occasions, where I'm thankful for hanging on to something). I am also creative with using those old chipped plates, old sheets for locker hooking rugs and picture cards for kids collaging, etc., so I believe more in Reducing the buying consumption in the first place, Reusing items for future projects, and lastly Recycling what's not being used or used until it no longer functions for anyone's use!

    anonymous Sep 27, 2014 2:51pm

    Well said, I totally agree!

anonymous Nov 22, 2013 2:44pm

Thank you for the encouragement, I am always looking to refine and purge and create new abundance. I sell a lot locally online with a mom-swap page. The part I am stuck on is bills/receipts/taxes/important docs/paperwork/etc, it all feels so important and I have no idea why I still have it all and how I can filter and keep only what is necessary. Also old notes from classes, conventions, brochures, etc. I look at it and try to organize and then get more overwhelmed and walk away! Stuck!

anonymous Nov 21, 2013 5:08am

Me neither, Laurie. 🙂 something about the name! Tamara, thank you for this reminder. Just went through and bagged up 5 loads of clothes this weekend, time to hit the bookshelves. Sob… But I am focusing on the positive feelings. And I can always make a list of must-reads to check out at the library!!

anonymous Nov 19, 2013 9:48pm

Annie, in the days when I was supporting my 4 little kids alone, chipped dishes were just fine with me. If I wonder whether what I am donating is "good enough" I let the second hand store decide. They can throw it away as well as I can and have a better handle on what is still useful than I do.
And Tamara, FWIW, I didn't notice the bulimia reference.

anonymous Mar 17, 2013 6:18pm

I'd say that if your dishes are chipped, not to donate them but to toss them. If you don't want them, what makes you think another person would.

    anonymous Nov 21, 2013 3:26pm

    We sometimes use our chipped dishes for planter bases, and there are many art projects that turn old to new, mosaics, etc. Many artists and gardeners will use old dishes 😉 I have a friend with a professional grade rock tumbler who breaks old glass and ceramic up, refines it into usable mosaic pieces, and even adds the 'dust' to his mortar.

anonymous Nov 2, 2012 10:44pm

[…] five elements don’t need to be represented in every single room in your home. This is ridiculous, and also exhausting to try and execute. Elements in real Feng Shui represent […]

anonymous Feb 15, 2012 10:42am

[…] […]

anonymous Feb 3, 2012 10:35pm

[…] […]

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 12:41pm

Great article and I like the photo – it's a yin yang thing. Everything is like a surgeon's scalpel: good in the right hands / terrible in the wrong ones.

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 11:25am

Jenny Diehl Interesting!!
8 hours ago · LikeUnlike
Cynthia Beard Great tips. Donations and recycling are obvious solutions to clutter, but there is one more really important thing. If disposing of medications (over-the-counter, prescription, and herbal), please, please do so responsibly through a medication recycling program. Otherwise, there is a risk that these medications will end up in the water supply, which is *not* healthy for any of us. Thank you for this useful article!
7 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 peopleLoading…
Marina Maroulakis great article.
7 hours ago · LikeUnlike
Elaine French I have done some of this, but need to do an awful lot more.
7 hours ago · LikeUnlike
Stephanie Potter And the perfect time of year to be looking at this. yes
6 hours ago · LikeUnlike
Janelle Swearingen Scribner OMy! this sure speaks to me today… Thanks!
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike
Rick Gilbert great tips, but I clicked on the article in spite of the tasteless lead photo, and not because of it. my best friend has a VERY young daughter battling an eating disorder–it's not an image to throw around carelessly.
53 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
Elizabeth G Gisler thank you tamara, let's hang out sometime

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 10:28am

great article of good reminders. about expired meds: the disposal advice is ok (especially the part about not flushing them), the best disposal is to return expired meds to pharmacies and other locations that accept them. not that many do so far, and the pharmaceutical industry is fighting those of us who are trying to put them on the hook for properly disposing of their unused products. call your lawmakers to support pharmaceutical industry-funded take back.

clutter is way harder to relate to when you're married and have young children. It's a battle I wage on a daily basis!

    anonymous Sep 27, 2014 8:57am

    Hah! Good thing we didn't PURGE this article- it's from 2011 and it's now 2014!

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 8:57am

More than Excellent, Tamara.

Posting to Elephant Wellness on Facebook.

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 8:07am

Nice article, but the casual reference to a serious, sometimes life threatening disease, bulimia, in the accompanying photo seems irresponsible.

    anonymous Aug 18, 2011 1:56pm

    see note below jennifer. thank you~

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 8:05am

yeah… awesome post… but very disturbing and unnecessary photo of a bulimic….

    anonymous Aug 18, 2011 1:56pm

    please see below hayley

    anonymous Apr 9, 2014 8:50pm

    I was surprised at your comment so scrolled back up to the picture and now I'm really surprised. I wouldn't even consider that girl skinny, much less bulimic! Judging by her arms and middle, I would say that I have been skinnier than her most of my life and have a pretty darn healthy appetite and no eating disorder whatsoever.

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 7:09am

I needed that! Now… who's gonna help me?

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 4:51am

done anything about that closet full of high heels yet?

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 4:03am

sorry that a negative image of "purging" is accompanying this positive article.

    anonymous Aug 18, 2011 8:09am

    I know ardha. The E loves sensational photos as they get clicks. I did think of that. Thank you

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 3:45am

Great tips. Donations and recycling are obvious solutions to clutter, but there is one more really important thing. If disposing of medications (over-the-counter, prescription, and herbal), please, please do so responsibly through a medication recycling program. Otherwise, there is a risk that these medications will end up in the water supply, which is *not* healthy for any of us. Thank you for this useful article!

    anonymous Aug 18, 2011 8:08am

    Cynthia, I hadn't thought of that. GREAT advice. Thank you so much.

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Tamara Star believes happiness is not an end destination, but instead the ability to see the ordinary through eyes of wonder.

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