Rolled up necktiesIt has been over a decade since I have moved into my current home. Just as my children are becoming young adults, I, too have reached a 20-year milestone in my career as a feng shui master. Our home has served us well, but in this past year, I had a calling to revitalize my home’s feng shui to better match our new goals. Join me as I embark on the adventures of a getting a fresh perspective through removing the obsolete, reorganizing what brings me joy and reenergizing my environment.

As a feng shui master, it has always been important to create a clean and positive environment for myself and my family. However, as a family of four, it is amazing how much we have accumulated and stashed away during the last 12 years living in our home. Even though I have routinely donated bags and boxes of tired clothes, outgrown shoes, toys, books, CDs, outdated appliances and furniture, there still seems more that can be done.

When my children were young, and my husband worked long hours, naturally, it was not easy to keep everything ship-shape. It always felt great when I discarded or stored away the unnecessary items, but it was not long before things piled up again. No matter how often I put things in their proper place, my family had a different idea of where they belonged! It was an endless cycle I maintained for my family’s comfort.

My family knows I am an organizer geek. I love to put things in order. Categorizing just makes me feel content. There is a profound sense of satisfaction when my house shines, energy is flowing and everything is in its place.

I realize everyone has different tolerances and perception of what is considered messy or neat to them. Although dust, grease and water spots are noticeable within 2-3 days of use, I encourage everyone including my family to clean the house once a week. I find that in many households, if the mess builds up too much, this stagnant energy creates procrastination and soon, what could have been an easy clean up turns out to be a daunting task no one wants to touch. You can imagine how this affects one’s life progress in general.

As any mother knows, the last thing we want is for our constant reminders to turn us into “naggers!” Now that my children are 12 and 16, and my husband has more time, it is important to impart this invaluable life skill to them more effectively. This will allow them to be more responsible, mindful of their environment, and to develop better family harmony.

I needed to find a better way of getting them to understand that just as bathing daily for good hygiene is fundamental for good health, so they can function at their best, their home is an extension of their body that also requires regular care to allow them to reach their fullest potential. Just as we feel refreshed after a nice shower, and a whole new self-image appears when we dress well, keeping house and decorating it should be a joy, rather than a chore done due to a complaint!

Serendipitously at this time, my sister, Julie came upon a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. She explained the “KonMari Method” of decluttering and organizing, and my ears perked up! Needless to say, I read the book in one sitting and put the methodology to work the next day

The KonMari Method is in sync with the feng shui principle of surrounding yourself with positive items that promote you, and removing items that create clutter or have negative meaning. For some, it is very difficult to let go of their possessions. Kondo has developed a clear way of simply asking if the item brings you joy. Having a short dialog by thanking items for what they brought to you creates closure with items you will discard.


Behind the Scenes of Jenny’s Tidying Up!

Cluttered clothes drawer

Before

One of my pet peeves was how a stack of folded clothes would be tousled in search of the item we wanted to wear. Then, other clothes would be placed directly on this tousled pile, creating bulk that would make it difficult to close a drawer. Soon, there were half-opened drawers with clothes hanging out. This became my first mission to resolve!

Clothes laid out on floor

Gather all tops into one place

The KonMari Method starts with tops. Then the same process is done for bottoms, dresses, suits, jackets, and lastly, accessories and shoes. You will need several large bags or boxes for discarding and donating items. Touch each item and decide which to remove and which to keep.

Stacks of folded clothes

Fold and organize

The idea is to fold clothes so that you can store them vertically like books on a shelf.

Organized clothes drawer

After

During this process, I was able to remove over 70 pieces of clothing, 50 hangers, and reclaim the space of an entire drawer and have space for my hanging clothes to breathe. More importantly, I love how I can see all my clothes which lets me be more creative in my dressing and utilize my clothes more efficiently. No more forgotten items and tousling in search of clothes! It also makes me aware of what I need and do not need as I shop for additional items.


Although Kondo does not go into the energy theories of feng shui, she also believes that everything around us has energy. She encourages developing a relationship with everything you have. Just as the basic principle of feng shui is to create balance and flow in your home through placement, Kondo states that if you have a connection with your house, it tells you where everything belongs.

One of the most exciting aspects of the KonMari Method is the “ichi ni” principle of doing it in one go. It is very motivating to know that in 24 hours, you will have decluttered and organized your whole wardrobe, or for some, your whole house. My favorite part of the KonMari Method is her organizing techniques. She has a priority decluttering system, shows how to fold clothes and organize items so that you can clearly see all of them, allowing you to maintain your new system. These are some of the secrets to her high success rate.

In feng shui, you create your life through your home. What you put into it will be what you get out of it. Kondo’s philosophy is similar in that her goal is for your home to allow you to achieve the lifestyle you desire. Kondo’s method allows you to take scope and fully appreciate all that you have. This can be a life-altering perspective.

"Decluttering is fundamental to effective feng shui adjustments… Once you remove obstacles in your home, this opens paths allowing energy to feed you and propel you forward in your life."

~Jenny Liu, Feng Shui Master