Feng Shui to the Rescue Newsletter
From My Feng Shui Window
It's All About Those Books
It's Marie Kondo mania out there! Since the organizing expert's new show hit Netflix, I've been inundated with questions. It's not unusual for my email to be buzzing with requests for Feng Shui help at the start of a new year, but this time it's been intense. I'm saying, "You go, girl," to Marie's message of clearing out what you don't need to open up space. But, I do take issue with some things she's sayin
Last month, my Clutter Clinic article included tips to help you let go of some of your books. Soon after, Marie came out with her pronouncement that we have to limit our book collection to no more than 30 books, and my email exploded. I followed up the newsletter with my blog post "Let Us Keep Our Books, Marie Kondo!" Since then, I've received many comments from readers telling me what they love about being surrounded by their book collections. From descriptions of beautifully illustrated garden books, to leather-bound family treasures, to favorite novels - everyone has a reason for holding on to their books. Personally, I'm crazy about pop-up books.
I've long counseled clients to move out some of their books. Feng Shui is all about movement, so when you get rid of books, you open up space for new and better things to find you. And yes, that just might be space for new books.
So sorry, Marie, as often as I advise people to cull their book collection, I would never tell anyone to limit their books to any specific number. The books we choose to display are the ultimate reflection of who we are, where we've been, and where we are going.
Read the blog and let me know what you think. And please, send me a description and pics of the books you love and can't bear to see them go. I'm planning to write about your collections. There are so many wonderful books out there and so little time to read them all; we might as well share what we love.
Since this is my February issue, you would expect me to include Feng Shui tips for romance. But like so many of you, in the past I spent some Valentine's Days without a special someone. So, I wanted to make sure I included at least one tip to help you activate the self-esteem area of the Feng Shui bagua:
Feeling alone this Valentine's Day?
The upper right area of your home is the Love and Relationship area of the Feng Shui bagua, and it's also related to self-esteem and self-love. Here's a different kind of Feng Shui love tip: This Valentine's Day, clear the clutter from this area and add some red items and objects in pairs. You just might reap romantic rewards beyond a box of chocolates and a red rose.
Happy February! I'm writing this on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. I'm wearing red, I put a bowl of fresh oranges on the kitchen counter, and I'm ordering round dumplings for dinner tonight.
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Feng Shui For All Seasons
Tip for February: Rev Up Your Relationship
Whether you want to rev up the love you already have or invite a new relationship into your life, here are some of my favorite Feng Shui tips that can help:
Do you want to get closer to your Valentine?
Plan a romantic dinner at a table with only two chairs. If you have a large table, move out the extra chairs and set two places at one end. Put them at right a
ngles to each other rather than directly across from each other, which can be confrontational. Use the rest of the table to display flowers and candles.
Does your sweetheart need to relax and de-stress?
Use the Water Element to encourage relaxation. Set the table with a vase of blue flowers, and use decorations that are flowing and curvy.
Is your Valentine shy?
Use the Metal Element to help keep the conversation focused by floating white flowers in a round glass bowl. Round shapes and white colors represent this Element.
Does your sweetheart need help making a commitment?
Use the Wood Element to grow the relationship. Choose a tall, rectangular vase and a pair of orange flowers to stimulate change.
Are you spending Valentine's Day alone this year?
Invite a new love into your life, and you won't be alone for long. Clear out some space in your bedroom closet, medicine cabinet
, and fridge to make room for a lover's possessions. Be sure to leave room for extra towels in your bathroom.
Do you need to rev up your love life?
The bedroom should be a place reserved for rest and romance and nothing else. Remove the family photographs - your love life will improve if your children, parents, or pets aren't staring at you in bed!
10 Places to Start Uncluttering
If you have an overwhelming amount of clutter to tackle, your first question might be where do I start? Here are some "starter options" from Unclutterer to help you on your path to a clutter-free home:
Start with the place that bothers you the most. Is there a cluttered place you see every day, and every day it drives you crazy? You'll gain momentum for other projects without this big frustration looming over you.
- Start with the attic, basement, garage, or storage area. These are notorious clutter-magnets because it's easy to dump stuff in these areas since they're out of sight and out of mind. On the other hand it's often easier to decide whether an item in these areas is a keeper or clutter, like the paint can from the wall color that's been gone for years.
- Start with the quick wins. Do you have things you can unclutter relatively easily, such as old baby clothes when your last child has outgrown them? You might want to start there and see immediate progress before tackling areas that will be harder for you like the kitchen cabinets and pantry.
- Start where you'll save money. If you're renting a storage unit for your clutter you can save money by clearing it out and giving it up, or at least moving to a smaller and less costly unit.
- Start with your own stuff. If you're living with other family members or roommates who are skeptical about uncluttering, start with the things that are purely your own so you can lead by example.
- Start with the filing cabinets. This will provide a "quick win" because you'll find it easier to get rid of things like 10-year-old utility bills than to sort your stack of current bills. Plus, you'll find room to store newer paperwork that you must keep.
Start with areas that benefit the whole family.
If you're living with family members who are more uncluttered than you are, work on common areas to acknowledge your interest in creating a better space for everyone.
Start where the weather makes it easy.
If you have a nice sunny day that's not too warm, it may be a good time to work in the garage. If you're in the middle of a heat wave, you'll want to work in a room where you can stay reasonably cool.
Start with current paperwork.
The current piles of paper are likely to be more important than the old ones. That's where you'll find the bills you need to pay, notices about events you want to attend, and similar info.
Start anywhere. Sometimes it doesn't really matter where you start - simply that you do. Pick an area at random on impulse. Or, write down each cluttered area on a slip of paper, place the papers in a hat, and pull one out.
Karen Replaces Her Mirrored Bedroom Furniture
When I walked into Karen's bedroom and saw the mirrored black lacquer headboard and matching dresser with a mirrored front, I knew the mirrors were the explanation for her sleep problems and inability to relax, not to mention her lackluster love life. Mirrors activate the chi in a bedroom, and Karen's mirror arrangement created a Versailles-like bouncing of reflection back and forth across the room that was interfering with peaceful sleep. But, Karen was not about to give up her furniture, or even agree to drape scarves across the mirrors at night, arguing that she had the furniture for more than a decade. I persisted, she resisted, and we finally agreed to disagree. Then, I received a welcome surprise.
It was a delight to meet you last Saturday. You'll be extremely proud of and excited for me. After you left, I agreed with you that the mirrors had to go, since I realized my sleep and relationship problems started long ago when I bought that furniture. I went shopping the next day. It actually did
n't take me long to find what I can live with for another decade: a unique, classy, and elegant new wood bedroom set. Wood, like you suggested, to grow a relationship. They delivered it the next day, and my young cousin took the lacquered stuff that evening. I also hung a print of a man and woman in a loving embrace. I have been on an emotional and psycholo
gical high since then because I'm already sleeping soundly and having the most wonderful dreams. Everything seems to have come up roses this week. Now I'm ready for that new man in my life and, as you said, all those mirrors aren't there to reflect him away.
|Ask the Feng Shui Maven
What's your advice for people who want to keep cremated remains in the house?
I get this question frequently, for both pet and human ashes. Obviously, this is a personal and touchy subject. The Feng Shui belief is that the ashes should be buried or spread outside of the home so they return to nature. Ashes are considered extremely yin - or low - energy, and it's inauspicious to keep them in a house along with the living. Some cemeteries and memorial gardens have places where ashes can be stored, and the family can visit.
Q: I am a home stager. The owner of a house I staged died unexpectedly, and the family is getting rid of everything and asked if I would like some of the furniture and other objects. I worry how much bad energy would items from this home carry, considering the home owner died in an unhealthy way? People buy from yard sales and flea markets all the time, but is there a special concern getting things and not knowing about their past life?
Trust your gut on this one. If you have uncomfortable feelings about any of the items, don't bring them into your own home. There's nothing inherently bad about acquiring items from someone who has passed away - whether from yard sales, auctions, consignment stores, and antique stores, or as gifts. But, if something feels unhealthy to you because of where it came from, that object will continue to carry negative energy into your home.
Q: I'm working on my taxes. Last year I was called in for an IRS tax audit and ended up being assessed a penalty. Any Feng Shui changes I can make so it doesn't happen again this year?
Look for water issues in your home, especially in your Wealth area and in the basement. Water represents wealth in Feng Shui, so if you have been leaking water, you have been losing your wealth. Also, take care of any maintenance issues you've been ignoring. Control your tax record clutter, because clutter represents the inability to move forward. In your situation, that means moving forward past a tax audit. Keep only the paperwork and records you need, and organize them neatly in boxes for each year.
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People Are Talking About Carol's Feng Shui Consultations:
I followed your suggestions and cleared out everything that didn't remind me of success. Thank you for helping me to enjoy going to work again and for helping me to triple my income. --JP
Yesterday, a person came who worked for me a couple of years ago. When she walked in, she said, "Your house feels so good. It always was lovely, but it feels even better now." How about that? I have only started to make the Feng Shui changes you recommended during the consultation and already everything feels so much better!
Just wanted you to know the open house at my store was a huge success with the help of the changes you suggested at our consultation. Thanks again for all of your help.
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Feng Shui Quick Guide For Home and Office:
Secrets For Attracting Wealth, Harmony, and Love
Winner, "Best How-To Book"
People Are Talking About Carol's Book:
Thank you for writing such a brilliant book. I have just finished reading it and thoroughly enjoyed every page. I am very much looking forward to trying out your tips. Although I am also a Feng Shui practitioner, I love that there is always more to learn and tips that I haven't seen or learned before. I will definitely recommend your book to my clients!
It's the first time in years that I carry a book with me just in case I can read another page or two at a stoplight or wherever! When I read it at home, I read a bit and then start scouting for places in our little loft that I can declutter!
Your book is my bible! I finished your amazing book and constantly refer to it. Currently I am listening to your video class, which I find extremely informative.
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Carol, you're a rock star! I loved listening to the
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This video class is nothing short of a delicious treat for your career. I loved it! Great practical pieces of advice. Well-taught in a fun, inspiring way. --RW
Beyond Feng Shui
Relationship Problems? Try Getting More Sleep
In this month of Valentine's Day and love, I was struck by a New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope about the association between sleep and relationship problems. A study at Ohio State University explored how marital interactions influence a person's health. Every study couple had experienced some form of routine marital conflict. But, while arguments were universal among the couples, how they handled them was not. Some couples argued constructively and even with kindness, while others were hostile and negative.
What made the difference? The hostile couples weren't getting much sleep.
"When people have slept less, it's a little like looking at the world through dark glasses," said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Ohio State Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. "Their moods are poorer. Lack of sleep hurts the relationship."
Study couples were more likely to be hostile when both partners were functioning on less than seven hours of sleep.
couples with more than seven hours of sleep still argued, but the tone of their conflict was different. Getting adequate sleep seemed to give them the patience to approach conflict constructively. The "better" functioning couples could do it with humor and kindness, even when they disagreed. The poorer functioning couples could get pretty nasty.
This study went further than previous research to measure how marital discord combined with sleep deprivation can become toxic to health. When married partners got less sleep, they also had higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood after those conflicts. T
he good news is that with at least one rested partner, couples were less likely to engage in hostile exchanges than when both partners were sleep deprived.
"Sleep and conflict worked together to increase inflammation, but both partners' sleep mattered," said Stephanie Wilson, the study's lead author. "When one person was rested, it protected the couple from being more nasty to each other."
The lesson is that before concluding a relationship is in trouble, couples who regularly experience conflict should take stock not only of the relationship, and how they are managing conflict, but also of their sleep habits.
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Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA,
was certified by the
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and earned Red Ribbon Professional Status from the
International Feng Shui Guild
Feng Shui for Real Life, LLC, and the Feng Shui To The Rescue Newsletter serve as a reference and guide for the principles of Feng Shui and as such bear no responsibility for results that a client or reader experiences. Individual results may vary based on the client's participation and intent.
©2019, Carol M. Olmstead
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA
Feng Shui For Real Life, LLC