Using Feng Shui as a Clutter-Buster

Almost everyone I know is trying to “stay fit” or “get in shape.” There’s no question that healthy diets, consistent work-outs, and a constant vigilance to how we live our lives all contribute to better health.  We live longer and live better if we’re in shape.  

In all of this shaping up, I propose that you also take time to “shape up” your house and office as well.  As a Feng Shui consultant, I have seen remarkable circumstances and situations unfold as a person incorporates the belief that the condition of your life is mirrored by the condition of your space.  In other words, as your house goes, so goes your life

In my work as a consultant, I argue that the biggest issue in people’s lives is their clutter.  We have expendable income, more opportunities for travel, more opportunities to buy what we consider important and life-changing items.  We’re getting more mail, more e-mail, more phone calls, and faster cars to enable us to do more things. As a result of all this input, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.  Our vision gets hampered by all that we own and all that we have to do.  That pet project keeps getting lost in the shuffle.

I can see this scenario playing out simply by looking at a person’s house or office.  Keeping in mind that the philosophy of Feng Shui is that your space reflects your life, I focus on horizontal surfaces when I hear someone talking about losing their creativity and their vision. Once you lose the ability to see the top of your desk, or the top of a table or a counter, your ability to hold onto your vision is also lost.  Clutter becomes no longer just an annoyance, but a serious detriment to moving forward.  
A woman named Anne hired me to come to her office. She called me because she felt stuck and bored.  The reality of her situation was that there were stacks of paper, files, magazines, proposals, etc., on every horizontal surface.  Her desk, credenza, some extra chairs, the top of the file cabinets and the floor were filled, leaving only a small path to her office chair.  It goes without saying she was overwhelmed.   I knew that instructing Anne to spend her next free weekend cleaning up her office would have been met with resistance.  I suggested instead she spend the last ten minutes of her day, every day, doing something to clean off her desk.  It didn’t matter if one piece of paper got moved, or a whole stack.  The important part of this exercise was for her to start a new habit of keeping her space under control.

Initially, Anne admitted she couldn’t imagine how doing such a small thing would make any difference.  She was looking for a life vision; she was looking to ignite some long-lost creativity.  Moving these little pieces of paper seemed so insignificant.  Yet, within a few days of taking some small steps, Anne began to notice differences.  It hit her about the fifth day when she made her publisher’s deadline, for the first time ever.  She explained to me it was as though she had more time in her day.  A week later, she proposed a new management idea to her boss who not only found it workable, but, when putting it into place, re-routed some of the mundane and downright annoying parts of her job to someone else.  It was then that Anne decided to pay attention to the Feng Shui she was doing.  The more physical space she uncovered in her office, the more changes she saw relating to her job.  At a follow-up visit, there was a place for me to sit, room to comfortably walk around, some additional storage, and her desk was cleared off, ready for new, expansive ideas.

Here are some Feng Shui ideas for you to try to find your creativity that may be hiding under the clutter:

1.    Manage the stacks of files, papers, books, etc. on your desk to discover the time and energy you need to spark new ideas at work.

2.    Clear off every last item on the fireplace mantel so your eyes get used to empty space.  After a week or two, replace a couple of the items you absolutely love.

3.    Keep your night-stand clear of extraneous things so your night-time dreams can be creative and free.

4.    Allow your kitchen counters to breathe in health and well-being by keeping them as clear as possible.

5.    Be careful the dining room table doesn’t get piled with mail, newspapers, and miscellaneous items.  It is here you can nourish those creative ideas just as you nourish your body.

Feng Shui works in subtle ways.  You have to be careful not to miss the results as they often come tip-toeing softly and unexpectedly.  Opening up the physical space of your office or your home and allowing surfaces to be clear and open can bring about clarity and freshness to your life.  Sometimes the smallest attempt will bring about the biggest rewards.  


Carole Hyder About Carole Hyder

Carole Hyder has been actively promoting the power of Feng Shui since 1992. She has produced two DVDs and authored three books on the topic, her most recent release is Conversations with Your Home. She is the founder and lead faculty of the Wind and Water School of Feng Shui, a nationally recognized and state certified school established to train others in the power of Feng Shui. Carole can be reached at

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  • Monica Strobel

    Really helpful– and simply elegant. I’d write more, but I’ve got to go clean off my counter! 🙂   Thanks, Carole!

  • Ellen Mccrea

    I have begun to realize that the clutter is a real problem for me.  I will commit to the last 10 mins of each day to clearing something at my desk.  Thank you!