How to survive home renovations

RenovationsHome renovations can really wear you down. It’s not just the noise and dust and intrusion of having builders in the space of your home. What many people don’t realize is that we rest part of our consciousness on the physical structure of the home we live in, and the process of having it dismantled and changed can be very disorientating and destabilizing. Even if you do the work yourself, it can be remarkably unsettling.

The reason for this is that you are energetically connected to your home, and the longer you have lived there, the more connected you are likely to be. So you may think you are simply renovating or remodeling your kitchen, but the disruption it causes in your life goes far deeper than the inconvenience of not having access to a stove. When a part of your home is being deconstructed and rebuilt, a corresponding part of you is being altered too. This can be a good thing in the long run, but if the work drags on, it can feel like your life is in limbo until it is finished, waiting for the parts of yourself and your life to come back together. It can also make you feel very scattered, vulnerable, and exposed while the work is in progress.

During the 20 years I lived in Bali I was delighted to discover that Balinese builders are very aware of this, and take steps to alleviate it. The Balinese have devised highly effective consecration rituals to consciously presence the buildings they occupy and bring the materials they are made of “back to life”, as they put it. So before doing major repairs or renovations, a specific ritual is done to remove the presencing in that area of the building to a temporary shrine, and another type of ritual is done when the building work is complete to restore it. They liken this to the way that a human is given anaesthesia before surgery to numb them to the pain, and I have personally experienced that the practice has the effect of isolating that part of the building and minimizing the disturbance.

This level of spiritual technology is not readily available in the West, so what can you do to minimize the turmoil if you decide to renovate your home?

The best approach is to have it all done before you move in. You will have no energetic connection to the property at this stage, and can continue to live a normal life well away from the building work. The next best option is to hire a caravan, park it in the garden, and live in that rather than the house. If that is not possible, then find a room in the property where you can create a personal sanctuary. Keep the doors closed as much as possible to keep dust levels down, and create as much of a home environment in that space as you can.

Another good tip is that if you have a number of projects to do, fully complete one and have a short break before beginning the next. This will give you welcome periods of sanity, that will allow you to rest and re-gather before the next onslaught. However when you first move into a home, a speedier approach is best, while the motivation and momentum is still fresh. Aim to have any renovations done during the first year, so that you can fully land there. I’ve met people who still have half-finished rooms a decade or two after moving in, and not surprisingly, their life feels similarly disjointed.

There is one more piece of advice I can offer that is an adaptation of the Balinese way of handling this situation. Before the building work begins, do my 21-step space clearing ceremony in the areas of a home that are not going to be renovated, and deliberated exclude those that are. This will have the effect of energetically separating your living space from the building areas. Then after the building work has been finished, do another space clearing ceremony to integrate those areas and reset the space at a higher level. When doing the ceremony for this purpose, the key aspects to focus on are the offerings and harmony ball frequencing, as described in my book.

Related articles
Space clearing for home improvement projects
Space clearing for a fresh start in a new home

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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Why singing bowls are not designed to do space clearing

Singing bowlIt is often claimed that singing bowls are made of a special alloy composed of seven metals that correspond to the seven major planets: gold for the Sun, silver for the Moon, mercury for Mercury, copper for Venus, iron for Mars, tin for Jupiter, and lead for Saturn. This mystical combination sounds very alluring, as if such an object would be imbued with the powers of the solar system.

However there is no evidence at all that this combination of metals would produce the high quality resonance or magical effect that is suggested, and extensive testing of over 100 antique singing bowls carried out by a team of scientists led by Dr Peter Northrup at Oxford University in 2010 revealed that they are not made of seven metals at all. A few bowls (less than 2%) were found to contain a small quantity of iron. The rest were made of bell metal bronze, which is an alloy of 77-78% copper and 22-23% tin. The seven metals claim is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

The idea that singing bowls can be substituted for bells to do space clearing is also a New Age myth. They are very different to bells, both in the sound they make and the effect they have.

A singing bowl consists of a metal bowl and a mallet. The bowl is held or placed on a cushion in the palm of one hand, and the mallet is held in the other hand. To produce a sound, the mallet is placed in contact with the lip of the rim of the bowl and slowly circled around it to produce a continuous melodic sound.

I’ve tried space clearing with singing bowls and the sound can certainly be very beautiful and  does fill the centre of a room. However it does not amplify areas where there is stuck energy in the same that a Balinese bell does, it’s not possible to direct the sound into the walls and corners in the same way that you can with a Balinese bell, and most importantly, it cannot be used to shatter energy imprints in the same way that a Balinese bell can. Singing bowls are also quite heavy and require the continuous use of both hands, whereas a bell can be held in one hand and can easily be carried from room to room during a space clearing ceremony.

For all these reasons, I do not consider singing bowls to be a space clearing tool, and do not recommend their use. They do not clear energies. It’s not what they were designed to do.

So what are singing bowls good for? The sustained sound they can be caused to produce can be used to induce states of relaxation and well being that can assist with certain types of healing. I have heard that some people use them for meditation too, but have never figured out how this could work since complete silence and physical stillness are so essential to achieving the high states of consciousness that are the aim of meditation.

In relation to space clearing, the only possible use of singing bowls would be after a space clearing ceremony, to help set the space in a room if the person does not have the skill to do this during the ceremony with bells, as the space clearing practitioners I train are able to do. Using a singing bowl for this has a somewhat blissful, horizontal, and unconscious effect, whereas bells can be used in much more awakening ways to harmonize, verticalize, and transform the superastral space of a room. Many years of personal development work, subtle bodybuilding, and high level practitioner training and practice are required to be able do this effectively, so it is an advanced skill that you would expect from a professional space clearer but it is not required for doing basic space clearing in your own home following the 21 steps in my book.

Other space clearing myths
Why smudging is not a space clearing technique
Space clearing and salt

Related post
What’s so special about Balinese bells

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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How naming things can bring more awareness into your life

TreesSomething I’ve observed many times is that being able to name things brings a much higher level of awareness to experiences.

When I lived in Bali, for example, I learned the Balinese names of all the common flowers there, and it completely changed my relationship to my own garden and to what I saw as I travelled around the island. Plants were no longer a blur of leaves and flowers but individual species that brought the landscape to life. To this day, I hardly know the English names for these flowers, so to me a hibiscus is still a bunga pucuk, and a frangipani is still a bunga jepun, and that’s absolutely fine. The important thing is to have some way of recognising the differences.

Since arriving back in the UK, I’ve embarked on similar awareness-raising projects. The first of these, because my husband and I were house hunting, was an exploration of British geology. Now that we’re happily settled in an area that we love, a new project I’ve taken on this year is learning the names of British trees. Again, as I do this, I’m finding that my world is transforming from a haze of branches, leaves and blossoms to an awareness of the rich array of different species. In the same way that when you buy a new car you suddenly start seeing that model everywhere you go, I’m now seeing trees in a way I never did before.

An even more intriguing aspect of naming things comes from venturing into the non-physical realms, such as the states that are experienced during meditation, the energy changes that occur during a space clearing ceremony, and the shifts that occur during clutter clearing. For this I was fortunate to discover many years ago the pioneering work of Samuel Sagan and the Clairvision School, who have compiled a reference book titled A Language To Map Consciousness. It contains over 400 terms and concepts that open out the exploration of consciousness in ways I had previously not considered, and has provided me with the terminology to describe and develop aspects of my work I previously had no names for. As the introduction to the book explains, ‘Words are power. If you don’t have words, you can’t identify states of consciousness. And if your words are vague, so will your experiences be.’

Some of the entries in this book are terms such as “chakra” and “ritual” that are already in common use in respected spiritual traditions, but the majority are new names that have resulted from years of rigorous mapping of consciousness by the Clairvision School. Among my all-time favourites are “combinessence”, which describes the merging of two or more spiritual presences, “superastrality”, which refers to levels of astrality that stand above ordinary mental consciousness, and “verticality”, which is a subtle body structure that can be developed to access superastrality and higher realms of consciousness. If you are interested to know more, the book is available as a free download at the website.

And why bother to develop awareness at all? Carl Jung explained this very succinctly when he said, ‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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Is it possible to clutter clear too much?

Sparse ornaments on shelvesMany people find it hard to get started on clutter clearing, but there are others who take it too far and find it difficult to stop. It’s very rare, but occasionally I come across someone who has become addicted to purging their possessions, and has gone totally overboard with it.

The main aim of clutter clearing is to let go of the things around you that you no longer use or love, and organize what you have left so you can find things when you need them. There are other aspects too, such as creating harmonious flows of energy in your home, reducing the quantity of belongings you have so that they fit in the space you have available, completing any unfinished projects, and so on.

At first, it can feel challenging. Where to start? How to do it? What to keep? What to let go of? But if you start small, in bite-sized manageable chunks of say, 20 minutes, and begin with an area that is easy to clear such as a small drawer or shelf, the endorphin release that you experience on completion usually inspires you to continue and do more. And it is this endorphin release that can become addictive to some people who have an addictive personality.

Endorphins are a type of neuropeptide that our bodies produce to calm us and help us tolerate pain. They also produce the feelings of euphoria and joy that can sweep through us when we achieve success in some way, or engage in certain activities such as exercise, meditation, massage, sex, laughter, and so on. The word “endorphin” is short for “endogenous morphine”, and is a form of opiate the body produces naturally that can be up to 250 times more powerful than actual morphine.

It is this quest for endorphin “highs” that is implicated in various types of addictions such as gambling, exercise addiction, internet addiction, social media addiction, pornography addiction, sex addiction, and so on. Sometimes people with an addictive personality will switch from a more health-devastating addiction such as drugs or alcohol to one of these apparently less harmful forms, but unless the underlying cause is discovered and treated, the consequences can still be serious.

If someone with addictive or obsessive-compulsive tendencies takes clutter clearing too far, they may make unbalanced decisions that they, or those they share their home with, will regret. It can leave them with too few possessions for everyday activities and a feeling of never being satisfied no matter how few items they have left.

If you are concerned you may be doing clutter clearing too intensely, and especially if you find yourself boasting about how much you have done and your level-headed clutter-free friends seem incredulous or appalled, then it’s time to stop and seek advice. The purpose of clutter clearing is to find the right balance – enough stuff to be able to live your life to the full, but not so much that it drags you down or holds you back.

Related article
Why people keep stuff

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Clutter Clearing | Read 2 comments...»

Energies in objects

Gold ringAll objects become imprinted with the energy of what happens around them. If someone gives you a personal item, or you buy something second-hand, it will carry the energy traces of the person who owned it before. If it was used a lot, used for a long time, or had very strong emotional connections for that person, the imprints will be correspondingly stronger.

This is the whole basis of psychometry, that a trained person can hold, say, a ring belonging to another person, and can translate the vibrational frequency of that ring and describe the person who owned it without having met them. It is also why people treasure the personal belongings of those who were close to them and have died. They may not put it in these words, but they want to own something that has the energy imprint of that person.

For a while it can be very comforting to a grieving heart to have some things like this. However, the energy imprinting will fade over time, and if you keep an item for many years as a way of trying to hold on to someone who has gone, and have no use for it other than this, then stagnant energies will collect around it in the same way as they do around other objects that are not used. In other words, it will become a kind of clutter. If there is unresolved grief, then layers of sadness will accumulate around it too.

When you think about it, it’s quite curious that when someone dies, their everyday personal belongings can somehow become so special. When they were alive, their things were just things, but after they die, they can take on a unique significance. Of course, it’s not really to do with the objects themselves. It’s to do with the associations you have with them. Resolve the grief and you will see each item for what it is – something that just happened to belong to someone you loved. It then becomes possible to easily let it go.

And how to resolve the grief? I looked for many years for a method I could recommend to people to help with this, and am happy to say I have found one. You can find more information here:

The Grief Recovery Method
After a bereavement

Related post
Energy imprints in secondhand things

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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Space clearing for home improvement projects

ToolkitBrits call it renovating. Americans call it remodeling. But whatever you call it, the problems that can arise during the process are pretty much universal.

A little understood reason why renovation projects can get so snarled up lies in understanding what builders are dealing with when they tear a place apart to do improvements. After more than three decades of hand sensing energies in buildings all over the world, I know just how much becomes embedded in walls, and when builders rip structures apart, these energies get dislodged and can cause havoc in the space.

Some builders are resilient and can handle this quite well. Others get completely overwhelmed, and that’s where things start to go wrong. They may get sick, have accidents or make mistakes, all of which can hinder the project and lead to unexpected delays and expense.

My advice if this happens to you is to halt the project, give everyone the day off, and space clear your home, using the 21-step ceremony I describe in my Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui book.

Some savvy homeowners and architects, knowing how often problems of this kind occur, hire me or one of the practitioners I’ve trained to space clear before the project even begins, and this is better still. Much easier for the space clearer, too, than having to pick their way through rubble!

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How to survive home renovations
Space clearing for a fresh start in a new home

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Space Clearing | Read 2 comments...»

Zero Procrastination online course

The Procrastinator's meeting has been postponedAn important feature in the life of any high achiever, spiritual seeker, or anyone genuinely wishing to make a difference in this world, is to go through a phase of zero procrastination from time to time, as an exercise in building will. This means working through the backlog of things you need to do, and doing every single one of them.

Procrastination falls into the “anything unfinished” category of clutter, and like other more tangible types of clutter, it can weigh you down and hold you back. When you finally get moving and just do it, major reservoirs of energy are unlocked. You discover it actually takes more energy NOT to do something than to engage your will, roll up your sleeves, and get on with it.

Procrastination is one of the biggest self-sabotagers there is. It is the grave in which opportunity is buried. It is one of the main causes of regret when a person looks back on their life and wishes they had done more. Yet we all know those exhilarating feelings of accomplishment that lie on the other side of procrastination, if only we can break through the sleepy layers to get there. What stands in the way of doing this consistently?

One obstacle can be fear – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not doing it perfectly, fear of it not being the right time, fear of what others will say… the list goes on and on. Mostly they turn out to be unfounded fears, and as the old saying goes, if you don’t try, you’ll never know. And more profoundly, if you never make mistakes, you’ll never make anything.

Another factor can be lack of structure. Do you run your life or does your life run you? Do you navigate with discernment, or do you allow the random currents of life to take you where they will?

If you’re ready for change, I invite you to join me in spending a month reviewing, restructuring, and bringing yourself up-to-date in your life by participating in one of my Zero Procrastination online courses. Conducted on a private message board, the 10-step course is conducted at an easy pace, with a new step posted every 3 days. It is open to participants from all over the world.

There are two more opportunities to take the course this year:
July 1-31, 2014
November 1-30, 2014

More information about online courses
Comments from previous Zero Procrastination participants

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Clutter Clearing | Be the first to comment...

The best way to use “before” and “after” photos when clutter clearing

Before and after photoA useful tip when clutter clearing is to take “before” and “after” photos of the rooms or areas you clutter clear. This will give you much more motivation to get started and a greater sense of achievement when the job is done.

The most effective method is to stand in exactly the same position for both shots, such as the doorway, or one corner of the room, as you can see from this photo.

A photo will also reveal details you have long since tuned out seeing with your eyes – that pile of books in the corner, that picture on the wall that you don’t even like, that pile of junk in your garage, and so on.

And if you decide to share news of your clutter clearing project with your friends, here’s another tip: don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure by showing them the “before” photo until you have an “after” photo to go with it that you feel proud of. In fact, tell as few people as possible about your clutter clearing plans, and preferably, no-one at all. That way you can proceed at your own pace without fear of losing face if you don’t meet up to other people’s expectations, and without the energetic interference of their opinions about whether you will or succeed or not. Just get on and do it, and enjoy receiving their congratulations later when they see the progress you have made.

Related articles
Photograph it and let it go
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Fast Track Clutter Clearing online course

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Clutter Clearing | Be the first to comment...

Clutter as a form of self-protection

Self-protectionCan clutter protect you from the knocks and blows of life?

No, but many people mistakenly hope it can, and create clutter cocoons around themselves in an attempt to feel safe and secure.

An extreme example of this is someone who has been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused or bullied. In addition to putting on physical weight to create layers of protection in their body, there is often a tendency to create a wall of stuff around themselves as a way of keeping the world at bay. If this continues unchecked, whole rooms can disappear under a sea of clutter, until the person becomes confined to living in just a small area of the home. They may feel safe from the world, but they also feel isolated. They may feel comforted by their possessions, but they also feel lonely. They may feel secure, but they also feel trapped.

Of course, it generally takes years to reach this stage. Clutter builds up item by item, one decision at a time. So what are the early warning signs?

Comfort shopping when feeling depressed is one. Items are purchased, brought home, and never used. Years may pass, and the price tags are still attached. In some cases, the bags are never even opened. Each time the person feels down, shopping is seen as a way to help themselves feel better. However no amount of stuff is ever enough. And too much so-called retail therapy can cause debts to mount up, which causes yet more depression and despair.

When clutter is used as a form of self-protection in this way, clearing it will only bring a temporary reprieve. It is always necessary to source the emotions that caused such a deep need for self-protection in the first place. This is why attempts by friends or family to help clear the clutter are rarely successful, and can even make the person more entrenched if they feel their sanctuary is being threatened or violated. It is usually only a crisis of some kind such as ill health, needing to repair something in the home that has broken down, or being at risk of losing their home that will cause such a person to seek help.

Another way some people attempt to use clutter as a form of self-protection is deliberately creating mess to keep others away. For example, I once met a woman who felt so dominated by her husband’s gregarious family that she kept the house knee-deep in clutter so they wouldn’t ever want to visit. She didn’t like the chaos, but it was the only way she knew to keep them away. Children sometimes do this too, by creating mess in their bedroom as a way of asserting their own territory.

In a work situation, you can see this same strategy in the person who keeps their desk piled high with papers because it is the only way they know to prevent more work than they can handle being dumped on them. They build a wall to give the impression of being busy because they don’t know how to say “no”.

In all cases, it’s important to realize that these techniques do not bring the solace that is being sought. The stagnant energy that accumulates around the clutter makes the person feel more and more stuck, and less and less free. It’s a bit like the war-time tactic of barricading yourself in, only to realize you are safe from the enemy but will slowly starve to death.

What can you do?
The lasting solution to all these types of situations comes from first understanding that creating a fortress of clutter around oneself creates more problems than it solves. There needs to be a change of focus from self-protection to self-discovery. The real source of the issue needs to be found, which will often turn out to be a traumatic event that caused deep-seated feelings of betrayal, loss of safety, loss of self-confidence, or loss of self-esteem.

There are a number of therapies that can offer help with this. The most effective I have found is the Grief Recovery Method described in The Grief Recovery Handbook. You may not think of these types of loss as being associated with grief, they most certainly are. The book guides the reader through tried and tested steps to engage the recovery process and move on in their life.

Another excellent therapy, best suited to people who have an interest in meditation and want to do personal development work at very deep levels, is the Clairvision ISIS technique. This involves doing a series of sessions with an experienced ISIS practitioner, or attending a group intensive. Samuel Sagan’s Regression book is a good starting point for understanding how this process works.

And for anyone reading this who doesn’t feel they need personal therapy but could really use some help to tackle their clutter before it gets out of hand, I teach Fast Track Clutter Clearing online courses that are open to people from all over the world.

Related article
An insight into hoarding

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Clutter Clearing | Read 3 comments...»

A different approach to giving and receiving gifts

GiftChristmas and birthday gifting is so ingrained in western culture that most people cannot imagine opting out of it, however much they may want to.

But a gift that is given out of obligation does not carry with it the same wonderful heartness that comes with one that is given freely. There is no comparison between the two. And when you also give a gift in such a way that you release all ownership and control of the item, leaving the recipient completely free to use it or dispose of it in any way they choose, then that is a gift in the truest sense of the word.

My husband and I long ago stopped giving Christmas or birthday presents to each other or anyone else, and we have an agreement with our families and friends not to give them to us either. This eliminates a whole lot of gift clutter from our lives, and a whole lot of pressure around Christmas and birthdays too.

We still give presents when we want to. We just don’t give them because calendar dates dictate we have to. And we always tell the person that if the gift we have chosen for them is not what they want, then they are totally free to give it straight back or dispose of it as soon as they want in any way they like. That way we can be sure we’re not unintentionally creating unwanted gift clutter in the lives of the people we care about.

This philosophy is one reason why you will never see Christmas promotions on the space clearing online store, and why there are no birthday messages on any of the message boards I host. I know some people find this odd, but it really is only cultural conditioning. In Bali, for example, where I lived for 20 years, there is no tradition of celebrating birthdays at all, and because 95% of the island’s population is Hindu, they don’t do Christmas either.

So what can you do if you truly wish to uphold the spirit of Christmas and birthdays without immersing yourself in the accompanying commercialism or stress? Well, you can do what I did many years ago. You can talk to your family and friends to explain how you feel. Broach the topic gradually, giving everyone around you time to consider and adapt. Explore the different ways that all the time and money you used to spend going shopping can be put instead into spending quality time together, preferably in person, or if you are separated by distance, then via an internet video call. What better gift can there be?

And what can you do if your family and friends just don’t get it? Well, that’s a tricky one, but if you’re a regular reader of my blog or newsletters then you’re probably something of a free spirit, and may decide to make your own rules anyway. For when all is said and done, a life lived from obligation is no life at all.

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Clutter Clearing | Read 6 comments...»

How to teach your children to live clutter-free

ChildThe first and most important thing to understand is that teaching your children how to live clutter-free will not work unless you have cleared your own first. They will intuitively know if you are walking your talk or just telling them what to do, and will see straight through you if you are.

The story of Ghandi and the little boy who ate too many sweets illustrates this principle very well. One day a mother brought her young son to Ghandi and asked him to tell the child to stop eating sugar. He thought for a while and then asked her to bring the boy back in two weeks’ time. When she returned he spoke to the boy and told him, ‘Stop eating sweets. They are not good for you.’ Somewhat baffled, the woman asked Ghandi why he didn’t tell the boy this two weeks ago. To which he replied, ‘Two weeks ago I was still eating sugar myself!’

So clear out your own clutter first, and then help with your kids. But children are very impressionable, and sometimes you won’t even need to teach them directly. They may simply pick up clutter clearing from being around you while you’re doing yours.

I heard a lovely example of this recently, from someone who has been playing the CD audio book version of my Clear Your Clutter book while sorting through her things. One day, while she was doing this, her 4-year old daughter came running into the room and said, ‘Mummy, mummy, isn’t this where she says that we need to let go of our things from time to time so that somebody else can use them?’ This astonished the mother so much that she was lost for words. She had only ever had one short conversation with her daughter about clutter clearing, and had no idea she had even been listening to the audio book as it was played again and again.

I’ve often said that I wish clutter clearing could be taught in schools so that children could learn about it from an early age, but the effect of pre-schoolers hearing my audio book is something I’ve never considered before. Could it really be that simple?

To help your children live clutter-free, it’s essential to work with them to give each of their toys and other belongings a designated home, and teach them how to put each item back where it belongs when they have finished using it. Allocate a reasonable and finite amount of storage space, and if it becomes too messy or full, spend some time helping them to reorganize everything, and deciding what stays and what goes.

A man who took one of my Fast Track Clutter Clearing online courses shared a very effective way he has found of doing this that he has kindly given me permission to share. I’ll let him describe it in his own words:

Rather than say “we’re getting rid of things”, I’ve found it works better to say: ‘We’re going to clear a lot of space in your room.’


‘So that you’ve got more room to play and do the sorts of projects you want to do.’


‘Let’s start by getting everything out of your room so we’ve got space to move. Now, what are the most important things for you to have ready to use?’

[Bring in the things they most want and give them homes. As you do so, each item takes up a little bit more of their space and they see that happening.]

‘OK, now they’ve got their homes, is there anything else that needs to be in here?’

[A few more things are brought in...]

‘This is wonderful. Well done. So we’ll put all the other things into boxes and store them so they won’t get in the way. We can get at them easily if you need any of them.’

[By the second time you do this, they'll be ready for the final part...]

‘OK, so now that we’ve got everything sorted, there are all these things you don’t use much. Which ones can we give away so other kids can enjoy them?’

If you try this method with your children, please do leave a post here in the comments section to let me know how it worked for you.

Note that for some children who are more worldly-wise, helping them to sell the toys they no longer use so that they can get money to buy new ones may be more of an incentive for a clear-out, but it is good to encourage some generous acts of giving along the way too.

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

Posted in Clutter Clearing | Read 3 comments...»

Paper clutter

In every clutter clearing course I’ve ever taught, paper always comes up as one of the most challenging types of clutter there is. But in the same way that Jeremy Clarkson maintains that it is not speed that kills but suddenly coming to a stop, so I maintain that it’s not paper that’s the problem at all – it’s all the writing or printing on it that causes so much work!

OK, some of you reading this may have a hoard of empty notebooks you’ve acquired for future use, but with that one exception, which can be easily dealt with (don’t buy any more until you’ve used all the ones you have!), it’s not the paper but the content that’s the issue.

The first evidence of humans expressing concepts in symbols has been found on clay tablets from 6000 years ago. It moved to a new level of sophistication with the invention of paper in China 2000 years ago, and then went through various stages of evolution to reach the situation we have today where most people in the western world can read and write, and there are reading and writing materials in every home, not to mention computers churning out copious quantities of documents on printers.

Historically, Finland has had the highest per capita consumption of paper in the world, but according to a report published in The Economist in 2012, it has now been overtaken by Belgium, apparently because of the huge quantity of documentation being produced by European bureaucracies based in Brussels. Austria, Germany, Japan, and Sweden are the next highest consumers, followed by the US, where paper consumption equates to almost six 40-foot (12-metre) high trees per person per year. Admittedly this statistic includes all kinds of paper such as packaging, toilet paper, tissues, books, and magazines, not just the paper documents that arrive on our desks. Still, six entire trees worth of paper per person per year is one heck of a lot, and a sobering thought.

So this may entice you to make efforts to use less paper in future. But what can you do about all the paper that is already in your life and needs your attention in some way?

In response to many requests for help, I’ve created a 7-step course called Clear Your Paper Clutter, which runs for 21 days from May 10-30, 2014, with a new step being posted every three days. How much time you invest in each step will depend on how much paper clutter you have and how keen you are to conquer it, but tackling your paper mountain with my tried and tested methods and the camaraderie and support of a like-minded group makes the whole experience so much easier, more effective, and more fun.

The course is conducted on a private online message board that you can visit any time of the day or night to read the latest posts. Participants from 14 countries have already signed up, and more registrations are arriving every day. It costs just £69, and will cover all forms of paper clutter, including books, newspapers, magazines, clippings, photos, and documents, as well as the electronic equivalent of paper clutter such as emails and digital photos.

More information
Clear Your Paper Clutter online course
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The energetic frequencies of clutter

sheepIt started with an innocent question: ‘Can you tell by looking at me what kind of clutter I have at home?’ she asked.

I had already mentioned in my talk that I can often do this with people, so the ears of everyone waiting in line to get their books signed immediately pricked up to listen to my reply.

‘Yes,’ I replied, after taking a few moments to tune into the woman’s energy. ‘You like soft things – fabrics, clothing, cuddly toys, that kind of thing. And you love stationery. Stationery shops are a magnet for you.’

Her adult son, standing next to her, was so impressed that he jumped in too. ‘What about me?’ he asked. I could see he had hardly any physical clutter, but going a little deeper, I realized he loved to collect apps, widgets, and so on, and spent a lot of his time trawling the internet for information data. His form of clutter was mostly virtual. The way his mother rolled her eyes was all the confirmation I needed.

So how do I do this, you may be wondering?

Well, I’m not psychic. Far from it. I will have nothing to do with mystic practices or the noxious babble of psychic realms. I use a particular type of vision that has resulted from the conscious cultivation of specific subtle body structures over several decades, combined with the hands-on experience of working in the homes of so many clients who have clutter.

And how does it work? The answer’s very simple. If a person has clutter at home then they also carry the frequency of it with them wherever they go. If I’ve met with that frequency before, then I can identify and name it on the spot.

I remember another occasion when I was being interviewed by a journalist. She asked me if I thought she had any clutter at home. I tuned in to her energy, and immediately discovered that she had a penchant for sexy underwear. Not just the odd item, but a whole drawer stuffed full of it!

‘Enough!’ she said. ‘That’s far too much detail!’

I should add, here, for those of you reading this who may one day meet me, that I don’t tune in to everyone I spend time with in this way. It’s a skill I can turn on or off as I choose, according to the requirements of the situation. It’s certainly not something I automatically do with everyone I encounter. There is far too much clutter in the world for that!

But when it comes to my professional work, it is such a useful ability to have. Combined with the hand sensing technique I use to read the energies imprinted in the walls, furniture and objects of a client’s home, it gives me deep levels of insights into why the clutter accumulated in the first place, how it is affecting them in their lives, and the best way to help them let it go. I use it at the beginning of most consultations I do.

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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Where’s the best place to store ashes?

‘I just brought home the ashes of my very recently deceased cat of almost 20 years, whom I miss very much,’ writes Teresa from Canada. ‘I bought your book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, some time ago and don’t recall anything in it about pets’ ashes.’

This type of question appears quite often in my inbox. Sometimes it’s about the ashes of a deceased pet, and sometimes it’s the cremated remains of a beloved partner or family member. The ashes are not clutter, of course, but if they are kept indefinitely because of frozen grief, they can become so.

Over the years I’ve had many opportunities to hand sense cremated remains stored in peoples‘ homes. Hand sensing is an advanced technique that I  do at the beginning of a space clearing, clutter clearing or feng shui consultation to read the energies imprinted in walls and objects. It gives access to a much deeper level of information about a property and its occupants than can be seen with the naked eye. I’ve been doing this for over 35 years, and have developed it to the level of accuracy where reading imprints with my hands is now as tangible for me as reading a book with my eyes.

I have always found that cremated remains are completely energetically inert. In other words, the process of cremation leaves no trace of the deceased person or pet at all. The physical body is reduced to dust, the etheric and astral components that once made up the living being disintegrate, and the spirit returns to the higher realms from where it came.

So on an energetic level, there is no reason at all to keep cremated remains. Nothing of the essence of a loved one remains attached to them.

However, if ashes are kept too long, stagnant energy can accumulate around them. And if the grieving process is not complete, both the ashes and the container they are kept in can become imprinted with layers of sadness, which in turn can prolong the grieving. It’s not a happy state of affairs.

So what is the best thing to do?

In the case of a deceased person, it’s ideal if they have stipulated in their will the manner in which they want their body to be disposed of, and if cremation is their wish, what they want to have done with their ashes and how quickly they would like this to happen after their death. The person charged with this responsibility will then know exactly what to do and when it needs to be done by.

In the case of a pet or someone who has left no instructions, many people choose to scatter or bury the ashes in a place that would be meaningful to the pet or person in some way, such as a favorite place in Nature.

But all too often the real issue is not about how to dispose of the ashes at all. It’s about how to complete the grieving process in order to feel ready and able to do so. It’s this that can lead to them being stored in a home for months, years, or even decades. The key to moving through grief is to complete your relationship with the person or pet who has died, and letting go of their ashes follows on naturally from that.

I would not presume to offer a recipe for grief recovery in a short article such as this, but I can point you in the direction of an excellent book that is the best I have ever found on this topic. It’s called the Grief Recovery Handbook, and as the authors explain, it’s never too soon after the death of a loved one to address your grief. I’m sure that if the principles in this book were taught in schools, the world would be a very different place.

And where’s the best place to store ashes in a home? If you ask ten different feng shui consultants you are likely to get ten different answers, according to which school of feng shui they have been trained in. But if you ask me, ashes don’t belong in the home at all. Physical bodies are created from planetary substance and are designed to return to the planet after death. Keeping ashes in an urn or casket inside your home can temporarily delay this process, but there is no place you can put them that will enhance the energy of the space. In my view, they belong outside, either buried in the ground or scattered to the elements, so that the life cycle is complete.

Related articles
The Grief Recovery Method
After a bereavement
Moving on after the death of a pet

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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Resolving recycling dilemmas

There are many things that can cause you to get stuck while clutter clearing, and one thing that comes up again and again is wanting the things you let go of to be re-used in some way rather than just thrown in the bin. One woman even wrote to me recently to say that she was having difficulty letting go of shoes with holes in the soles because she didn’t want to just put them in the trash.

We live in a time where it is now possible to recycle many things that a couple of decades ago would have ended up in landfill or a municipal incinerator. There is so much more awareness now of the finite resources our planet has, and a far greater sense of social responsibility to use them wisely.

But there are still gaping holes in this. Where I live, for example, all plastics from household waste can be recycled, except for bottle tops and anything made of black plastic. I was so mystified by these exclusions that I did some research into why this might be. It seems that most plastic bottles are made from PET#1 plastic, but their tops are made from polypropylene, which melts at a different temperature, so they cannot be recycled together. Leaving caps on can also cause them to fly off at high speed when put through the bottle crusher, which can injure recycling workers. As to black plastic, the scanners in many recycling centres apparently cannot detect it because black does not reflect light, so if it’s included with other plastic recycling it can pass straight through and end up contaminating other materials such as glass.

A few recycling centres are now developing equipment that can cope with all these problems, but the source of the issue really lies with manufacturers failing to invest in research to develop fully recyclable materials in the first place. And some responsibility also lies with us for continuing to buy these items, knowing they will have to be thrown in the trash.

So this is the main thing I point out to people who feel paralyzed to let things go unless they can be re-used in some way. Technology has made huge advances, and we can be thankful for that. More resources are also available these days to allow us to make more informed choices about the purchases we make. But for some of the things we’ve already bought, we have to accept that no method of recycling yet exists, or may ever exist. It may have to be thrown in the trash. By all means google for a solution (enter the name of your particular item + recycle in the search box), but if none is available, choose differently from now on and let the old item go. That’s all anyone can do.

Interestingly, this echoes a core principle of personal development work. We can’t change what we’ve done in the past, but we can change what we do from now on.

So I now use refillable recyclable glass water bottles rather than plastic disposable ones, and avoid black plastic food packaging whenever possible. The trick is to stop the problem at the point of acquisition rather than trying to rectify it at the point of disposal, when it may be too late.

For anyone prone to beating themselves up, some measure of forgiveness is called for here. Take photos, for example. People of a certain age have hundreds of printed photos innocently sitting in boxes or albums in their home, but now it turns out they have toxic coatings that cannot be recycled with normal paper waste. Who knew this years ago?

And there is a similar ignorance today about thermal paper receipts. A 2011 study found that 94% of receipts in the US contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which is an endocrine disruptor known to cause reproductive problems in humans and animals, and a host of other health disorders too. If thermal receipts are thrown into paper recycling, they end up contaminating recycled toilet paper, food packaging, paper napkins and other products we use. Who knows this? I certainly didn’t until I read about it last year.

These are just two of many examples to take into account when clutter clearing, and no doubt many more will surface in the coming years. But can you wait for that? My advice is to do the best you can based on what you know now and what resources are available, and then let the rest go. Perfection is the great paralyzer, and if it gangs up with guilt, there’s nowhere to go. Far better you let go of the past and put your time and energy into creating a better future, which is where it will count.

In the US, you can use this website to discover recycling options in your area:

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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