Feng shui is a family affair around our house. From the time the kids were able, I included them in making decisions about their rooms. I may have chosen the colors, but the decorations (Tinker Bell Lamp instead of Pooh-Bear) were up to them. I found, however, that they were naturals at helping out with feng shui in all the rooms. Especially after I explained what we were doing.
Keep it neat. I explained the importance of having little, if any, clutter. Instead of telling them the chi was flowing smoothly through our home, I pointed out that I wouldn’t fall and hurt myself if I didn’t trip over a random toy left out. I also found that the kids like it when things are neat and clean. Even though they may have their own ideas about organization (such as if it’s on the floor, it’s organized), in general, they have been terrific little companions in the finer points of feng shui.
Someone else can use it. When we bought our house in California, I was determined to park our car in the garage and not on the street like most of the home owners, who used their garages the way Midwesterners use basements. Unfortunately, having an older home like we did, storage wasn’t something we had a lot of. Even with my habit of regularly purging our belongings, without that basement, I found myself in a bind.
A life changing event paved the way for monumental change. We had just moved in and it quickly became obvious that we had too much stuff to fit in our house. I pulled out the yellow pages and found a nearby shelter that accepted small furniture and appliances as well as clothes and toys and other items. I helped pack up the car and waved good-bye to my husband as he drove away, Internet directions in hand. When he returned, he was a changed man.
“You have to see this place. There are people living there and they came right up and took the stuff immediately. No middle man.”
From that day forward, that shelter was our prime recipient for our frequent donation trips. Since young children outrgrow toys, clothes, and shoes long before they could wear them out, I know the women’s/children’s shelter got goods in excellent shape. I well remember the day I ropped off a double stroller we no longer needed. The woman at the desk picked up the phone and said to me, “We have two sets of twins here. Their mothers have nothing. This is a God send.”
We also donated toys and books to a couple of doctors’ offices. I know it’s tough for little kids to sit in a waiting room and those types of things make a huge difference to stressed out parents looking for something other than the fish tank to entertain their kids.
We are moving forward. I have found it really helps when I explain to the kids that constantly keeping a feng shui eye on our environment and our belongings means we don’t have to worry about falling into a rut. We can keep moving forward, moving toward our goals, and toward the dreams we are building. I have found they are enthusiastic and helpful team players, anxious to understand more.
Have a sense of humor about it. When my husband and I moved into our loft downtown San Francisco, we went through a series of hilarious experiences all related to feng shui. Our Midwestern house had had a finished walk-out basement. It was our first house we lived in together, which means we had furnishings from our previous homes. We simply put some of them on the main floor and some in the finished basement. It soon became apparent on moving day in San Francisco that it just wasn’t all going to fit. Uh-oh. Who’s things stayed and who got rid of what? Hmmm…
Well, fate answered part of that for us. There was a couch, chair, and ottoman (his) that wouldn’t even fit through the narrow door. As we stared in shock, the movers looked everywhere but at us. Finally, one or both of us said, “Take it back to the truck.” I mean honestly, what could you do? Besides, we had another couch (maybe two).
The washer and dryer we’d brought (pretty much brand new) didn’t make it through the door.
Here’s a bit of feng shui serendipity. One of the sales reps from work happened to call and when we mentioned what was going on, he and his wife raced right over to take the washer and dryer off our hands.
For the next three hours we were forced to make one tough decision after another
“…but, that stereo was a gift to me…”
“…yeah, but mine is newer…”
The movers, wisely, remained silent as they went about their job. As a reward, instead of a tip, they got a new stereo (mine), a new TV (his), and other electronics. The rest of the furniture went straight back to storage. We contacted a charity organization and they went over and picked it up.
More than just maneuvering our way through a newlywed minefield, we learned a lot that day, including the meaning of a phrase my grandmother once said
“They’re only things.”
So, when you approach the choices you will be facing, remember to keep a sense of humor about it. After all, you have a lot of positive, if sweeping, changes to look forward to…so it’s best to laugh your way through it.