I come from a long line of “savers” (and a “thrower”). Growing up, the “throwers” in my life always made me nervous. They seemed so wild, uncaring and while they didn’t give it a second thought when they tossed something out, the muscles in my body would tense, I would fight every urge to try and catch things as they were catapulted out of their life and to the street. It seemed so easy for them to just toss stuff without any concern of the feeling, the thought that went into the item to begin with. For years I felt this way. Many, many years. But then, I also experienced what it was like to save for a lifetime. When my Grandfather passed away and my Grandmother moved out of their house, the house they lived in, raised their kids in, empty nested in and had grandchildren visit, I was there to help clean it out. The house and the garage were full. And when I say full, I mean full. To the gills full, even the rafters were full, the spaces between the studs in the walls were full. I knew then, in fourth grade, when we were throwing piles and piles of stuff into dumpster after dumpster, that I never wanted to have so much stuff that it became a burden.
So this is not to say that my house is anywhere near that, but I don’t want it to get to that point either, so like I’ve mentioned before, I would just like to have less stuff in order to have more time to be able to enjoy life. But, before I made my resolution for 2012 to reduce, reduce, reduce and have fun I did some reading. I needed a plan as to how I was going to make this change in my lifestyle and make it stick. So I did a little research. In the past I’ve read a number of organization books. I don’t want to offend the authors or their methods, so I won’t mention them specifically, but they didn’t work for me so I kept looking. Then I found “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston. Regardless of whether you believe in Feng Shui or not, this book makes incredible sense. In this book Karen Kingston describes how stuff, things, the objects in our home all contain energy and…. feelings. (Ha! I knew it!) And she describes how energy can hold you back. Sounds crazy at first, but think about it. There’s a story or a memory to go along with everything we own. Whether it’s where you bought it, who you got it from, or what was going on a the time you got it, there’s a memory.
I’ll give you an example. It’s Christmas 1980-something, you’re 13, you’re into Cyndi Lauper and Madonna and Prince and … okay, so maybe that was just me, but anyway you’re 13 and trying to dress so you don’t look like a “nerd” (this is obviously before being a nerd or a geek was hip). Then you get your gift from your Grandmother. You’re so excited, your Grandmother is so excited, it must be something good. You tear off the wrapping paper to find exactly what you were hoping for… a white sweatshirt with an iron-on appliqué of Santa outlined in glitter! Yes! Oh, wait… no. No, that wasn’t what you were really hoping for. So now what? You don’t want to hurt Grandma’s feelings so you tell her you love it and tuck the beloved sweatshirt into your closet just in case Grandma comes over. You hang onto it for years and years and years.
Or there’s the time your parents take a trip to California, cross the border into Mexico and buy you a leather purse. (Gentlemen, bear with me.) A purse you loved and appreciated, but as time goes on you have a hard time using it. Why? Because that purse reminds you that while your parents were in California, you stayed with your best friend. But during that time frame instead of having a blast, your friend decided she could no longer be friends with you because you didn’t have the right skin color. She spent the entire time that you could have been having fun on the phone with someone who was becoming her new best friend because she did have the right skin color. Sadly, the cool purse your parents bought you carried those memories with it. You didn’t want to get rid of the purse because your parents bought it specifically for you when they were on their trip and it’s not like they can just run back and get you a different one, so you hang on to it. But every time you look at it, it brings your right back to that week when you were 13 and the feelings of losing your best friend.
Now don’t get me wrong, not everything has bad energy or memories or feelings, but those that do are prime candidates for moving on to a new home. And when that “stuff” leaves, guess what? It takes with it the negative energy with it. Makes sense, right? Bad feelings associated with an item, item leaves, bad feelings go with it. So, when you do this over and over again clearing clutter item after item, you’re releasing the bad/stuck energy,which opens up space for new, fresh, good energy for the things you want to achieve. Pretty cool, huh?
So, by keeping only the things you love and ditching the things you don’t, you’re surrounding yourself with good memories, good feelings, good energy and love. Eat a few raisins with this and I’d say you have the recipe for happiness!
By the way, if you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend the book “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston. It’s an easy read, makes perfect sense and makes letting go of stuff much, much easier, especially if you’re a recovering “saver” like myself. If you’re looking for more frequent insight, Karen Kingston also has a blog you can follow here: Karen Kingston’s Blog | Space Clearing, Clutter Clearing & Feng Shui