Just as in our bodies, our homes can exhibit symptoms of stuck chi, leading us to feel lethargic, indecisive, and unmotivated.
In the Chinese medicine system, chi—or qi—is the energetic life force that flows through the body. Yoga practitioners call this prana. In the body, symptoms of stuck chi include feeling lethargic, indecisive, unmotivated, and having a low libido. When chi is unstuck and flowing freely through the body, you’ll feel calmer, more creative, and confident.
This same concept can be applied to our homes. A tidy home has energy flowing through it—you can literally feel the difference between walking into a clean room and entering a room that has piles of laundry, an unpacked suitcase, and stacks of magazines. Who among us hasn’t walked into a disaster zone kitchen and sighed?
There’s a whole design philosophy dedicated to chi in the home—feng shui. And while practitioners of this get way more detailed than we will here, let’s look at five very simple ways to unclog stuck energy in your home. Give them a try and see just much more energetic you feel!
1. Set Out the Welcome Mat
Your home actually starts just outside the front door. For that reason, the area shouldn’t have a bunch of spider webs around the door frame, a burned-out bulb in the lighting fixture, or any out-of-season décor you keep meaning to take down.
If you’re not renting and can paint the door, choose a powerful, bright color like red, orange, teal or yellow, and put out a clean doormat that makes you feel happy.
Inside the front door, move shoes from their perma-piles and get racks for the closet instead. (Or a storage bench seat.). Sweep the area and as you do, think about the friends and family you can welcome in through this door.
2. Create Clarity
Mirrors are considered a water element, and important in terms of prosperity. If you have gunky mirrors, splattered with toothpaste, how is the universe going to know you want prosperity? Don’t just wipe—polish—those mirrors with a cloth and a solution of white vinegar and water. And as you do, focus on renewing your sense of clarity and purpose.
3. Streamline the Kitchen
According to research, a cluttered, chaotic kitchen can affect our ability to make good food choices. So, create a mindset geared to good health by keeping the kitchen counters clear from unused appliances, groceries in need of pantry homes, or stacks of belongings that have wafted in from other rooms. Keep only the bare minimum on the counters and give them a good wipe down.
4. Minimize Distraction in the Bedroom
Feng shui experts advise against storing a lot of belongings under the bed, as this can cause energy to stagnate, right under where you sleep. Some of us need that storage space, though, so at the very least, be sure your bedroom has beautiful art and a made bed.
Many of us tend to accumulate photos and books in our bedrooms. Can you relocate some of the stacks of “meaning to read” books, so they don’t clog energy around your head, and only keep out the book or two you are actively reading? Also, keep pictures of family to a minimum. The bedroom should be about you and your partner, not about a bunch of eyes staring at you.
5. Clear the Flat Surfaces
Like attracts like. There is actual physics behind this. The same pertains to our heaps of belongings.
“Clutter attracts clutter,” writes Kaitlin, the blogger behind The Simply Organized Home. “If you see a countertop that’s already got lots of stuff on it, then you are more apt to just set other things down and leave them.”
That’s why counters and tables can quickly become a dumping ground. Try clearing one flat surface at a time—such as the dining room table or a coffee table—and then declare it a no-clutter zone. The name of the game is to get as many clear zones as you can.
Counters tend to especially accumulate paper: permission slips from schools, homework, grocery lists, mail. Be ruthless with paper, so that it doesn’t start to become part of the décor. You can no longer see it, it’s been there so long, but it’s blocking the flow of energy. For tips on this, read my story “How I Finally Let Go of Paper Clutter.”
Want more decluttering tips? Check out “Toward a Healthier Closet.”