Saturday, January 5, 2013

Feng Shui Revisited

About 2 years ago I wrote this post demystifying Feng Shui and explaining how I try to implement it's principles into my life.  Well, now I live in Japan.  Hello - Feng Shui Land (what if that was an actual place, like a theme park for really organized people...?).  The Japanese seem to have mastered the art of being clean, organized, and keeping their homes simple (yes it is an art-requiring study and practice).  After all - most Japanese live in small apartments, and it can become cluttered and crowded very quickly.  Therefore everything (and everyone) must be efficient and purposeful.  About half of every ¥100 shop is cleaning and organizing supplies - items such as collapsible colanders and storage bins of all shapes and sizes. 
As you know, we just crossed over into the new year and guess what many Japanese people do during their time off work?
They spend it cleaning.  
Clearing out the old and preparing for the new.  A philosophy that really seems to resonate with me - more so than spring cleaning.  In my previous post I explain that I don't really worry too much about the spiritual or financial associations with Feng Shui.  I focus on the flow of energy or chi.  The way you feel in your home - do you feel calm and refreshed or frustrated and stressed? 
Basically, your home should work for you
Things should be easy and comfortable in your own home. 
In the outside world, things are complicated - not designed specifically for you - stressful.  
But your home should be a retreat.  
Calm.  Simple.  
Your home should work for you.  
This being said - Feng Shui will look like different things for different people.
Practicing good Feng Shui is more than organizing, although that is a large part (you might want to purchase a few baskets or bins).  I can have an organized closet yet still feel stressed - like if my shoes are hard to reach or if it's too dark to see properly. 
So here are a few principles and practical examples of how I use Feng Shui to make my home work for me.

  • Things you use daily should be easy to reach and stored beautifully and simply. 
Example 1: We were keeping our dishwasher detergent under the sink in the original box.  I really hate sticking my hand down into that cardboard box to pull out a packet.  It's scratchy and annoying and difficult.  Bad Feng Shui.

So I took the packets out of their box, and now they are sitting in a nice shallow box that is pretty and easy to access.  Simple solution: Good Feng Shui

Okay so you might be thinking - "this lady's got problems if she's complaining about sticking her hand in a cardboard box..." but these small annoyances add up very quickly.  Why should you ever be annoyed about anything in your home?  It's your home.  Make it work for you. 

Here's another example:
Example 2: The lids to our pots and pans are always shoved into the cabinet with the pots - laying on random pans, or over to the side.  Every time I try to take a pot out the lids crash and fall.  Bad Feng Shui.  I put them in a nice basket.  Now nothing comes sliding out of the cabinet when I open it.  Good Feng Shui.
Example 3: I recently reorganized my sewing cabinet.  The fabric had been stored on the bottom 2 shelves of a wardrobe - meaning every time I wanted to search for fabric I had to bend down and dig through a dark shelf. Instead of enjoying my fabric stash and feeling inspired about a new project, I felt uncomfortable and frustrated that I couldn't ever find what I was looking for. Bad Feng Shui.  Now all of my fabric is in baskets or bins on the top two shelves - more light shines on them and I'm not hunched over digging.  Good Feng Shui.

I really could go on and on with these examples - my tea cabinet, my laundry closet... all of these areas were a bother to me when I was trying to find something - have you ever opened a drawer and thought "aaaarrrrrrggghhhjddfjdisuesoeiruoeishjaklsdglkasjdf"? Bad Feng Shui.

my Feng Shui'd tea/coffee cabinet
  • Different family members probably have different Feng Shui.
The Officer and I are very different in a lot of ways (mostly complimentary ones) and things that bother him, I usually don't even notice.  Things like a crooked picture, a buzzing sound from an appliance, the way the dishwasher is loaded...
It's important to ask your other family members (including children) if there's anything in the setup of your home that particularly bothers them.  This is a great way to honor your family and teach your children respect for one another and their possessions.
Here's an example: We had a cute rug on the floor, but I noticed it was really scratchy for our girls when they played on it.  That's bad Feng Shui.  So I moved it to a closet and replaced it with a softer one.
Another example would be our storage solution for Charlotte's toys.  I had organized them in fabric drawers on shelves.  I thought it looked nice.  However, Charlotte was constantly asking "what can I do?"... and not playing with her toys.  I realized that she hated digging through those fabric bins, therefore wasn't playing with any of the toys in her play area.  So I placed half of her toys on the shelf - similar to a display at a toy store - and put the other half in the fabric bins in the closet.  It changed her behavior immediately.  She could see everything at once and knew her options.  I rotate these toys out every few weeks and it's working very well.  Changing these things will increase our family's feelings of comfort and peace - who doesn't want that?

 So what to do now?  Our first job is to recognize the things in our homes that are bothersome.  Maybe even write a list.  Then slowly, perhaps choosing one task a day, begin changing these areas of bad Feng Shui.  Don't worry about tackling it all at once - this will likely increase your stress levels even more.  In doing this, we can gradually free ourselves from the daily frustrations in our home. 

I hope this post has helped you in some small way.  I certainly don't profess to know everything about Feng Shui - and people who are really into it may not agree with everything in this post, but that's okay with me.  I am on a journey to make my home the best it can be - this is one of the ways I accomplish that.  We can create homes that are filled with peace and order - it just requires a little bit of awareness and planning. 
Happy New Year and Happy Homemaking!

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I really enjoyed this post. It is a nice way to look at things. Happy New Year!


Thanks so much for commenting! If you have a question, make sure your email is in your profile or leave it in a comment so I can answer you. Otherwise email me at jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com - Have a lovely day!

You may also enjoy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...