14 Things Feng Shui Experts Want You to Throw Out Right Now
Does the good energy flow in your home and promote happiness and success? If you’re making any of the following mistakes, the answer is no.
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Setting yourself up for success
Feng shui is the practice of arranging elements in a space to promote the maximum possible flow of positive energy, otherwise known as chi. An ancient Chinese art, this philosophy suggests you can increase your abundance, vitality, and happiness by creating a harmonious environment, one in which chi can easily flow. But beware: It’s easy to disrupt your chi, and when you do that, things can go very wrong. We spoke to feng shui experts to find out what might be blocking the vital life force in your own home and what you need to do to make things a whole lot better very quickly. While you’re at it, consider adding one or more of the 14 things feng shui experts place in their homes for good health.
Keep the entrance clear
Shoes, coats, bags, backpacks, kiddie sports gear—we could go on, but why bother? You know all the stuff that has a tendency to accumulate near the front door. But it’s essential to clear it if you want good mojo in your house. “The entryway is the mouth into the home,” explains feng shui consultant Susan M. Chu. “When it is blocked, it prevents or limits opportunities from entering.”
Kathryn Weber, publisher of the feng shui site Red Lotus Letter, suggests “keeping your foyer open by moving piles of shoes and clutter out of the way.” To increase the flow of energy, which can positively influence income and relationships, try storing entryway items in an accent cabinet. Not only will it keep everything in its place, but it’s also an attractive addition to your home. While you’re banishing clutter, you might also want to get rid of these other unlucky things you really shouldn’t keep in your home.
Get rid of clutter in your hallways
Got an oversized console table in your hallway? How about a bench that collects a bunch of stuff that never seems to get put away? Toss it! (Or at least find a better spot for it.) Feng shui guru Karen Rauch Carter, author of Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, wants you to think of hallways as the arteries of the home.
Visualize them aiding in the circulation of the energy throughout your home and “remove anything that impedes the natural flow.” To get started, get items off the floor and tables by hanging them on a wall-mounted rack. Then check out these 50 organizing tips you’ll wish you knew all along.
Get rid of clutter everywhere
All the experts we spoke with agree that clutter fosters stagnant energy. Pare down and things will start to look up. A clutter-free home, one filled with only the items you truly love or use on a regular basis, allows the positive energy to flow freely. Of course, you can’t—and shouldn’t—get rid of everything, but you do need a strategy for storing it. An ottoman with concealed storage will keep clutter out of sight, as well as provide extra seating or surface area.
Throw away out-of-date food
The kitchen, according to Weber, is “considered a source of both wealth and health. This is one area you want to take special care with because your health is your wealth.” To revitalize the kitchen area, she suggests clearing the pantry of old food, spices, and anything past its use-by date. Spices, in particular, tend to be kept for far too long, so a fresh collection might be in order. While you’re reorganizing, keep an eye out for these foods you shouldn’t store in your pantry (but probably are).
Throw away old containers in the fridge
As they say, you are what you eat. But there’s more to it than that; your energy can be helped or hampered by the state of your refrigerator. A fridge filled with near-empty containers, like jars with just a small amount of marmalade or salad dressing, does not invite abundance. How can you keep the positive energy flowing? “Clear out old food and wipe down the refrigerator shelves, the produce bin, and the meat drawer before replenishing,” advises Weber. Grouping items into categories and storing them in easy-to-rinse-out bins can help put you on the path to fridge-organizing nirvana. Also make sure to watch out for these ways you could be cleaning your kitchen wrong.
Get rid of your bedroom TV
We know, we know—you love to Netflix and chill. But in the actual bedroom, Carter says, “the television is out!” Why? It distracts from the two main purposes of the space: health regeneration (sleep) and relationship building (passion). And while Chu agrees, she does admit that sometimes the television habit is just too hard to break, so she suggests putting the TV inside a cabinet so that it’s hidden away when not in use. After you’ve disguised or moved your flat screen, turn a ruthless eye to other potential distractions in this room, as well. Clutter piled around the bed or even a collection of family photographs displayed on your dresser can also be preoccupying. FYI, you shouldn’t have these six colors in your bedroom, either.
Remove artwork with the wrong message
Artwork is an extension of who we are or what we desire, Chu explains. That’s why it’s smart to be strategic about what you put on display. “If you are single, for example, and looking for partner, avoid ‘singular object’ pictures,” she suggests. “If you are looking to start a family, choose pictures with kids or groups in them.”
Another good rule of thumb: Select pieces that contribute to the overall energy of the space. Look for things that are uplifting and light. Carter avoids bringing home depressing artwork (think: depictions of wars or storms), as negative depictions generate negative energy. But there’s more to it than that. Art with water in it should not be hung above the bed because it sets up an anxiety-creating feeling of constantly trying to “get your nose above water” or feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Consider skipping a red front door
As it turns out, painting your front door red isn’t a prerequisite in feng shui. Although it can make your home welcoming, it isn’t something everyone should do. Prescribed feng shui cures need to be tailored to a specific space, so first, you need to learn more about which way your door faces and what it’s in line with. Whatever color you choose, keeping your door clean is important because a well-cared-for home will help good energy flourish. Speaking of your home’s appearance, avoid these paint colors that are making your home look dirty.
Don’t bring home bonsai trees
They’re tiny and cute, but you should admire them from afar. Weber is adamant that the “one thing that should never come home with you is a bonsai tree.” She explains that while they may have a “zen” appeal, they really represent stunted growth that fails to reach its potential. To keep positive energy flowing around your most successful self, Chu recommends placing a tall, broad, leafy green, living plant in your home. A pachira aquatica (aka money tree) would be a good choice.
Replace withered or dying plants
Healthy plants exude vitality and enhance the good chi throughout your space. But withered or dying plants bring down your home’s energy. And let’s face it—they’re depressing to look at, too. Weber recommends “looking around at any plants that aren’t thriving. If your ivy has seen better days, replace it with a new, lush plant.” To keep your plants healthy, consider a self-watering planter, which is perfect for those without a green thumb. You should also consider these low-maintenance plants that anyone can grow. (Really, anyone!)
Throw out items with negative associations
In feng shui, the goal is to promote your well-being by surrounding yourself with positive energy. Carter says that holding onto items that drudge up negative reminders every time you see them doesn’t contribute to the overall positive vibe of your home. So if you’re storing crutches from a skiing accident in the back of your closet, you should throw them out right away. You can also toss these 43 items without an ounce of guilt. On the other hand, using a box or chest to store treasures that evoke warm feelings is recommended.
Relocate your desk
No, you shouldn’t get rid of your desk altogether, but you may need to move it. While seated at your desk, you want to be able to see the door and who is coming into the room. Moving your desk to a power position—one with an easy view of the door—can have a positive impact on how you feel about your work. However, “if practicality makes this impossible, I wouldn’t stress about it,” Chu says. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable at your workstation. Make sure to choose a desk with plenty of legroom and enough surface area for your most important items. A desktop organizer can also help keep it clutter-free, which will help you focus and yield positive results.
Ditch damaged kitchenware
“When we use chipped dishes for eating and scratched pans to cook with, their damage confers poor health and impoverishment,” says Weber. She suggests discarding dented silverware and pans, as well as chipped mugs, plates, and bowls. And if you want to tackle organization room by room, here are some things in your bathroom that you should absolutely get rid of.
Fix broken items
Damaged items are bad when it comes to your feng shui, but broken ones are worse. Why? Broken things equal being broke and having diminished financial energy, explains Weber. But just because something is broken doesn’t mean you should automatically toss it—just don’t let it stay broken for long. Chu gives this guidance: “If something is broken and you put it aside to be fixed, but three years later, it’s still sitting in the same place, toss it.” This handy 135-piece tool kit will get you started and on the right path. Next, find out what you’re keeping in your home that professional organizers would throw out.
- Susan M. Chu, feng shui consultant and Passion to Profit business coach
- Kathryn Weber, publisher of the feng shui site Red Lotus Letter
- Karen Rauch Carter, author of Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life