Cleaning Your Space and Your Mind

By FCS | January 10, 2019

Have you put away your holiday decorations? Maybe you’ve been cleaning and packed all your trees, ornaments and bows away in tidy, labeled boxes that sit organized on shelves, awaiting their time to shine in the next appropriate season.

Or maybe they are strewn across multiple surfaces and floors, simply in anticipation of being shuffled, stepped on or sneered at as the days pass.

There is something to be said about starting fresh in a new year and the opportunities it presents. Resolutions come and go, but the often simple, positive everyday changes and behaviors you enact are really what stick.

Use your living space as an example. Psychologists say that if your home is cluttered, it’s likely your mind is too. There are several reasons for this. In Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D’s article, “Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies,” she outlines why clutter is stressful. One of the main points is that focusing around clutter is very difficult. “Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important,” says Carter. She goes on to say that being around constant clutter makes it more difficult to relax, and can cause anxiety, frustration, guilt and/or a sense of not being able to complete tasks.

That’s a long list of emotions tied into “stuff.” If you look around your living space, do you get any of those feelings? Just like that ornament that clandestinely rolled into a corner or the scrap of wrapping paper still stuck with tape to the edge of a chair, negative feelings can linger well beyond a holiday season. Here are some tips to introduce some feng shui into your 2019:

1) Focus on the rooms that you spend the most time in – the living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms. Look at each room individually and see what catches your eye first and make that the starting point for your cleaning. Store frequently used supplies in drawers and cabinets to visually open your spaces.

2) Heed the nagging – Remember when your Mom said, “Put that away!” 100 times? Maybe now you recant the phrase, so now’s the time to pay attention. Carter says when you take something out of its designated space to use it, put it back immediately after you’re finished with it. Sounds too easy? It’s not, especially when others live with you. Whether it is a cleaning bottle, a pair of scissors or a magazine, if you put it away immediately, you are not only cleaning your space, you are saving both the time and aggravation of having to deal with it again later.

3) Target what you bring into your space – This includes papers, books and anything you find highly distractible. If you can de-clutter your primary spaces before you leave them, you will have a sense of closure when you leave. Keeping a “pending folder” at your work space localizes everything you currently have to complete tasks.

4) Look for the light – Nothing draws your eye like light. As you declutter and expose more open space, the light in your spaces will expand. When the weather is good, wash your windows. If you feel extra-motivated, clean blinds and curtains. Any of that positive energy will bring feng shui into your life to clearly enjoy your spaces and the new year.

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