Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Feng Shui Me, Quick!

Helen here. I don’t know if it’s the weather, if it’s my age, if it’s my daughter leaving home and I’m contemplating the whole empty nest situation, or what, but all of a sudden the clutter around my house is driving me absolutely bonkers.

I look at pictures of Feng shui rooms and I drool. Profusely. Look at that picture. I used to think there was no way people could actually live like that, but, without kids, I'm thinking it's possible. How do people do that?

While I can’t claim to be a product of the Great Depression, I am the daughter of two people who are, in other words, packrats. My parents save plastic containers, screws, wrapping paper, plywood, you name it.

If there is any likelihood whatsoever that something might possibly be used at any time in the near or distant future either for them, their neighbors, or their family members, that something must be saved. And they have an attic, a three car garage they can barely park two cars in, and an extra stand alone garage filled with all those somethings to prove how thorough they are in following through on that conviction.

I’m not quite that bad, but I’m getting there. For the most part, my issues have to do with enjoying thirteen years in the same home accumulating things. That means no moves to force me to go through all my crap and decide what crap is worth saving and what crap needs to be thrown out. Without some drastic measures I shudder to think what my house will look like in five, ten, hell, thirty years.

The crazy thing is, I don’t consider myself either a packrat or a knicky knacky kind of person. Sure, dusting is a hassle. I have the pictures and the candles and the kids’ objects d’art littering many flat surfaces. But I do throw things away. I think I’m just damned poor at organizing.

And it’s finally getting to me. I feel almost congested as if all the clutter's affecting my creativity. Oh, and I want this bedroom. Even more than the one Deb put up last week!

I’ve tried lots of different tactics. About a year ago, the same thing hit me. I decided to take one room at a time and do one drawer or shelf each day. My objective was to work through that one drawer or shelf and throw everything away that I wasn’t using or wasn’t a keepsake. I figured a few months of that and I’d have the whole house in perfect shape. I did good for about week. I just couldn’t maintain the momentum.

So I decided to scale back a bit. I made a commitment to throw one thing away every day. That actually worked for a few months. It was quite liberating, in fact. Then I started running into all these “keepsakes.” Things the kids made or wrote or some old toy that was special. What do others do with all these keepsakes? Maybe I’m more of a packrat than I think.

Anyway, it’s time to get back at it and now I’m stymied.

Does anyone have any full proof ways of keeping down the clutter? Any books you’ve read on home organizing that had doable suggestions?

Come on. One little trick that’s made a difference? One?

Okay, everyone loves the bed. I found it just by googling "feng shui." Hey, it's only $7-8,000!! Here's some more info on it:
The Mantra bed from FEG is an incredible design from Mauro Bertame. The Mantra bed was designed based upon Feng Shui principles. The low threshold and canopy not only look great, but serve a purpose. The low threshold creates a grounding effect. The high arc canopy gives the comfort of a warm embrace. Those of you compelled to involve the Feng Shui principles into your bedroom may want to start with this beautiful piece. A better night’s sleep is not the only benefit of owning this bed. Ordering information is available at EuropeByNet.

Don't forget to stop by to visit with Christine Feehan tomorrow!


Shadow_worshiper said...

Try getting shoeboxes and decorating them with matching wallpaper to your room or stylish wrapping paper! I can gaurentee its a great storage solution for old drawings, postcards and small keepsakes =]

Candace said...

I am the queen of organization. Well, I've moved 18 times in 34 years. You have to be organized to do that. Anyway...

Get four boxes or plastic bins. Label them Keep, Trash, Donate, and Can't Bear to Part With It. Pick a room or a part of a room or a drawer. Give yourself a strict time limit, somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. And then, very quickly, start sorting.

The Keep bin is easy. So, usually, is the Trash bin. Things with sentimental value that serve no useful purpose usually end up in the Can't Bear To Part With It bin. Everything else (that great pair of shoes you only wore once, the sweater that's just a shade off, the two extra potato mashers) goes in the Donate bin.

I find it's less of an emotional wrench to chuck things in the Donate bin or the Can't Bear to Part With It bin rather than Trash, so you tend to sort faster and not agonize over every little thing.

Once your self-imposed time limit is up, immediately trash the stuff in the Trash bin so you can't re-think it, put back the stuff in the Keep bin (hopefully organizing it as you go), and set aside the other two bins.

If, after a week or two, you haven't had to dig through the Donate bin for something you need, then take all the stuff in the bin to the Goodwill or other charitable organization of your choice.

I usually do another sort on the Can't Bear To Part With It bin and find there are things I can, indeed, part with, after all. But, if not, now they are at least all in one place and not scattered all over the house.

Good luck!

lois greiman said...

Candace, I like the way you think. Unfortunately, I, too, want to keep everything. Not necessarily because I want it, but because I feel guilty getting rid of it. So the charity thing really helps. I keep a 'charity bag in progress at all times, but I'm still messy.

Betina Krahn said...

Helen, I'd arm -wrestle you for that bed. Heck, I'd arm wrestle Arnold Schwarzenegger! Wow. Where do you find such things?

And I urge everyone to listen to Candace. She IS the queen of organized living. My hero(ine?).
I'm heading to Target later for four bins. . .

And having moved twice in the last 10 years, I can tell you that each required(or became an occasion for) what our pal Judy (Duenow) Baer called "ritual shedding." Amazing what you accumulate over 20 years. And if you live with somebody who can't bear to throw things away, you have to get either very honest or very creative. ;)

Helen Brenna said...

It's a good thing I save shoe boxes, huh, Shadow? LOL Good idea. At least the clutter's out of the way!

Candace, you moved 18 times in 34 years? I'll say you had to get organized. And I love the bin idea. I'm going to try it. I could at least do my office. That's a goal.

Lois, are you sure you're not Catholic?

Ritual shedding. Betina, is that anything like my dogs blowing their coats? LOL

I think moving is cathartic. Maybe I need a PRETEND move.

Michele Hauf said...

I have no clutter wisdom. I'm very good and crushing my clutter to look less clutter-like. But I am much better at not buying stuff in the first place, that would just be brought home to become clutter. I try to only buy useful stuff now, but I still slip. Because heck, Target is just too fun.

But now that bed with the curved canopy. I want it! Wow. I need to put that one in a book.

Do you ever find yourself furnishing your stories with stuff you would love to have?

Debra Dixon said...

Once hubby puts up my last near-the-ceiling-shelf (shelves will wrap half my office to store necessary but less used business supplies and equipment.) I'll be gutting my office. Everything out. Including file cabinets. The first sort commences on the way out. The second and hardcore sort begins when things go back in.

Candace's sort bins are the classics and they work!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I love the bed with the curved canopy!

Packrat here. What's worse, I've become the repository for property of grown kids. I recycle. I donate. I give stuff to the family every time a vehicle with pickup or trunk space heads for ND. Still I can only fit one car in 3-car garage.

Help me, Candace!

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, I put furniture that I want in my stories all the time. You guys can't use this bed though!! It's mine. I'm going to post into about it, for the heck of it.

Deb, you're a very brave woman. My hero!

Yeah, Kathy, the grown kids thing. I can already see it coming.

Christie Ridgway said...

I also enjoy furnishing my books. And I love that bed too!

Helen: Have you tried the Flylady methods? Google her and I'm sure you'll find her website. I SO want to get organized, but I have a book due in a few months, so once again it will have to wait.

My files are in really bad shape. I'm going to live vicariously through what Deb's going to do.

Helen Brenna said...

For some reason, Christie, the Flylady scares me. haha :) A friend of mine swears by her and I can't get myself to google her. Maybe there's a phobia in there somewhere.

VHertzberg said...

check out flylady - it's too late and I can't remember her exact web address, but I just googled on flylady and got sent directly there.

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, fine. If I HAVE to ...

Anonymous said...

Take pictures of "sentimental things" like kid's toys. Then put the pics in a nice album and ditch the item.

Jancy said...

Hey, check out jancytlew.blogspot.com

kattie said...

I do ike the bedroom but it's not exactlyfrng shue, the mirror face the bed, the carved got little beams, the window with no courtins, I don't know, the whole thing it's tidy, but there is no coziness or intimacy either.