How clutter clearing can change your life

ArtistIn my early teens, I had a friend whose life was in chaos. She was thirty-something years old, her marriage was on the rocks, she had two unruly pre-school children, had put on weight, lost touch with her friends, and never seemed to have time for the greatest passion of her life, which was painting. She had been slowly going downhill like this ever since having children and was becoming more and more depressed. Her home was a total mess with clutter everywhere.

One day I could stand it no more. There was nothing I could do about her marriage or any of her other problems, but something I did feel I could help her with was getting her home back in order. I offered to visit and do just that. Frankly she was beyond caring and told me I could do whatever I liked.

The next day I worked from dawn till dusk. The kitchen alone took me until midday. Every dish and pan she owned was caked in decaying food. Every cupboard and surface was filthy and littered with debris. The fridge was a nightmare. I cleaned and organized the entire space and threw out three big garbage bags full of stuff.

Seeing the kitchen restored to its former glory, my friend suddenly became interested in helping. Together we polished off the rest of the house, throwing out a further seven bags of broken toys, magazines, and general clutter, and a whole car load of clothes, books, and other items that were donated to a local charity shop. At the end of the day, exhausted but jubilant, we surveyed our work. Her home had been totally transformed. She was speechless with delight.

A few weeks went by and she invited me to visit. Not only was the place still spotless and tidy, but propped up in pride of place in the front room was a magnificent new painting in bold, joyous colours. My friend looked radiant and so did her husband and children. By taking control of her home she had taken control of her life or, as she herself put it, ‘I’ve reclaimed my spirit!’

This was my first experience of clutter clearing as a means to personal transformation. I watched as the months went by and she created her life anew. She regained her figure, rebuilt her marriage and social life, tamed her unmanageable children, and became a fairly well-known artist. Time and time again she told me she dated the changes from the day we clutter cleared her home.

Since those early beginnings, I’ve seen this same effect many, many times. Over the last few decades I’ve helped hundreds of people to clutter clear their homes, my online courses have helped thousands more, and my books have reached millions. Clutter clearing works because it frees up energy and creates space for new and better things to come into your life. It’s the most effective way I know to get things moving again if you feel stuck in any way.

Related articles
Clear out the old to make room for the new
Online clutter clearing courses for all

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Why it’s OK to have a junk drawer in your home

Man drawerI know I surprised a lot of people in my Clear Your Clutter book by saying it’s fine to have a junk drawer in your home, or even one on each floor of your home if you live in a big house.

The reason is that this whole clutter clearing thing is not about being obsessively perfect – it is about handling your belongings in such a way that the energy of your home is vibrant and flowing rather than dull and stagnating. In our busy world, we sometimes need the blessed relief of just opening a drawer and chucking in all those odd things that are littering the place.

So in my book I recommended that do have a junk drawer, and just follow these three rules:

1) Choose a small drawer
2) Use it sparingly
3) Have regular clear outs

All junk drawers are not created equal, however. There is often a world of difference between the type of stuff that a woman would throw in a junk drawer and the type of stuff kept by men, as this hilarious “Man drawer” comedy routine by Michael McIntyre shows:

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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The rise of eco-neurosis, and what to do about it

EnvironmentWe all want to do our bit for the environment, but some people take this a bit too far. I’m seeing many signs that eco-neurosis is on the increase.

What is eco-neurosis?
When sorting through clutter, there are usually things that can easily be recycled, such as paper, cardboard, glass bottles and cans. But there are many things that can’t, such as used toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, dental floss, plastic razors, cling film, blister packs for pills, plastic netting for fruit and vegetables, jiffy bags, plastic pens, CDs, DVDs, some types of bubble wrap, many types of cat litter, and the list goes on.

You probably have some of these items in your home as you read this, and have resigned yourself to the fact that you recycle as much as you can but can’t yet do anything about the rest.

We make progress every year, and I love hearing about grass roots movements such as the petition in Australia to stop Woolworths and Coles supermarkets from needlessly wrapping small portions of produce in plastic clingfilm and styrofoam. However there’s still a long way to go.

Most people can live with this. However some feel so overwhelmed by guilt that they can hardly throw anything away. I’ve met people who agonize over tossing even a bent paperclip, a used metal staple, a rubber band, or a piece of string. Others stockpile huge piles of things, hoping and waiting for the day when they can be recycled. Some I’ve met have entire rooms or sheds full things that their local waste centre is not yet able to handle.

It’s not politically correct to say ‘Don’t you think you’re going a bit overboard with this?’ because caring for the environment is seen as such a socially acceptable and admirable practice. But when it’s taken this far, there’s often a neurotic or obsessive-compulsive tendency that’s hidden under the guise of being environmentally conscientiousness. It’s concerning rather than commendable. It can also be a health or fire hazard to the person and their neighbours if the habit develops into hoarding and the mounds continue to grow.

Of course there’s a lovely long list of things that can be recycled or upcycled these days if you have the time and energy to do so. Just google the word “recycle” or “upcycle” with the name of the item, and see what comes up in your area. Prepare to be surprised. Unwanted prosthetic limbs, dentures, pets’ fur, human hair, and even sex toys now have a use!

What can you do?
What it really comes down to is how much of your life you want to spend making sure that every item you no longer need is recycled or reused in some way, and how much you are prepared to have what is essentially a private landfill zone in your home or garden while you do this. Making responsible choices is good, but when it starts to consume your life, something is out of whack.

We’ve come a very long way with recycling in recent decades, and countries such as Sweden are leading the way by generating only 1% landfill per year. But when you look closely at how this has been achieved, a large proportion of its garbage is incinerated, and a huge amount of work has been done to change manufacturing practices so that non-recyclable items are not produced in the first place. There is only so much we consumers can do. The big changes need to happen at the top and filter down.

In the meantime, if you hold on to too much stuff, it will stagnate the energy of your home and your life, and you won’t be much use to anyone at all, including yourself. Not too little and not too much – that’s the antidote to neurosis and the recipe for a healthy, balanced life.

Related articles
Resolving recycling dilemmas
How to dispose of old photos
Mottanai

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Online clutter clearing courses for all

Online coursesOver 1000 people from 42 countries. That’s how many people have so far taken one or more of my clutter clearing online courses.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guadaloupe, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom & United States – if you’re interested to know.

You gotta love the internet! I’ve visited 23 of those countries, but there’s no way in my lifetime I would ever get to visit them all, let alone teach workshops there. This way I can reach people all over the world without even leaving home, and – best of all – people can learn at home, which is exactly where they can get the best results. Because that’s where their clutter is!

My next series of courses begins in May, and there will be another series starting in October. Some people take just one course. Most take two or three to tackle all the types of clutter we have these days in our lives.

Fast Track Clutter Clearing: May 5-25, 2015 and Oct 5-25, 2015
Zero Procrastination: Jun 1-21, 2015 and Nov 1-21, 2015
Clear Your Paper Clutter: Jul 5-25, 2015 and Dec 1-21, 2015

All courses run for 21 days, and cost just £65 (plus 20% UK VAT for EU residents).

More information
About online courses
Testimonials from previous participants

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Free copies of the Arabic edition of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui - Arabic editionThe first ever Arabic edition of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui was published last year.

I have five free copies to give away to the first five Arabic readers of my blog who contact me to request a copy. The books are slightly imperfect because they have not been made of the best quality materials, but the content is all there. Shipping is free of charge.

Where to buy it (if you’re not lucky enough to get one of the five free copies)

ISBN: 978-977-718-089-4
Published in Egypt in 2014 by The National Center for Translation
To buy: email nctegypt@nctegypt.org


Update on March 2, 2015
All five copies have now been claimed. Sorry, there are no more free copies available.


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New lower prices for the CD audio book edition of Clear Your Clutter

If you’ve played the original tape cassette edition of Clear Your Clutter so much that it’s in shreds, or you’re the kind of person who doesn’t know an iPod from an aardvark – this CD edition is for you.

  • Playing time: 5 hours 16 minutes (6 CDs)
  • Read by me
  • Completely unabridged
  • Has exactly the same content as the latest paperback edition of the book (2013, UK), including two new chapters that were not in the original edition
  • Will play on any CD player at home or in your car
  • Ready for immediate shipping to anywhere in the world

Even if you have already read the paperback edition, most people find that listening to the audio book gives new insights and renewed motivation for clutter clearing. It is such a perfect fit for people taking my online clutter clearing courses, that it is available at a special discount price from the minute you book to the last day of the course.

New lower price (since Jan 2015): £15.00
Special discount price for online course participants: £12.00
Plus shipping costs (and 20% UK VAT for EU residents)

Available at the spaceclearing.com online store

If you prefer the digital audition, click here

What people are saying about it
Audio book testimonials at Audible.com


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France bans the use of WiFi devices in nurseries

Baby using cellphoneVery glad to hear the news that on January 29, 2015, the French Government passed a bill banning the use of all WiFi devices in nurseries and daycare centres for children under the age of 3, and requiring WiFi in primary schools to be turned off when not in use in order to limit children’s exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.

To my knowledge, France is the first country to actually pass legislation of this type.

It will no doubt be warmly welcomed by the Austrian Medical Association, the German Teachers’ Union, The Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Northern Ireland, The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, and several other bodies that have expressed concern for many years about WiFi in schools. There is no legislation about this in the UK but parents of children in a number of primary schools have successfully campaigned to have WiFi equipment removed because of health effects.

The new French law also includes some aspects that will be helpful to adults who wish to reduce their level of WiFi exposure. All public places offering WiFi services are now required to clearly state this information at the entrance to the property, and all wireless devices that are sold must be accompanied by clear instructions about how to disable the WiFi.

Related articles
Will you let your child use one?
WHO announces cellphones may cause cancer
Council of Europe calls for classroom ban on WiFi

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Free copies of the new Italian edition of ‘Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui’

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui - Italian editionThe third and latest edition of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui was published in English in 2013, and in Italian in June 2014.

As I commented in an earlier blog, I was very surprised to see that it had been given the title Feng Shui e Space Clearing, which means ‘Feng Shui and Space Clearing’. Readers will soon discover there is no information at all in the book about space clearing except a brief section in Chapter 1 that explains why space clearing and clutter clearing are not at all the same thing. The publishers have apologized for this error and assured me they will give the book a new title in future editions. I’m hoping it will be changed to Clutter Clearing e Feng Shui. The content of the book is fine, though, and will remain unchanged.

I have three free copies of the book to give away to the first three Italian readers of my blog who contact me to request a copy. Shipping is free of charge to Italy and other European countries.

Where to buy it (if you’re not lucky enough to get one of the three free copies)
Published by Edizioni Red!
ISBN: 978-88573-0571-4
Buy at www.amazon.it


Update on Feb 1, 2015
All three copies were claimed within 6 hours. Sorry, there are no more free copies available.


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From tiny acorns do mighty oak trees grow

Winston Churchill aged 10

Winston Churchill, age 10

Winston Churchill is widely acclaimed as the greatest statesman of our times. But his early childhood gave no indication of the magnitude that was to come. He was such a duffer as a schoolboy that he was kept in the bottom form at Harrow for three years.

While his family despaired of him ever making anything of himself, those three years allowed Winston to immerse himself so deeply in the English language that, according to Paul Johnson’s description in his book, Churchill, he ‘became not merely adept but masterly in his use of words… They became the verbal current coursing through his veins as he shaped his political manhood… Words were also his main source of income throughout his life, from the age of twenty-one.’

When he became Prime Minister of England during the Second World War, his command of English took on far greater importance than anyone could ever have imagined. His wartime speeches were the inspiration for millions of people around the world. As journalist Edward R. Murrow so succinctly put it, ‘He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle!’

Reflecting on my own life, there have been many things that I didn’t see the reason or purpose for at the time that have turned out to be vital keys for something that developed later on. One significant example is when I taught myself how to read energies in buildings in my early twenties. At the time it was such an unusual thing to do that I didn’t even tell most of my friends about it. I pursued it with a passion at every available opportunity but thought of it only as a personal hobby, nothing more. I could never have foreseen at that time that it would lead to the development of space clearing and writing an international bestselling book on the subject. Just from following my passion.

People are very different to buildings, but there is an aspect of the more advanced techniques I use to read energies in buildings that can also be used to help reveal latent talents in a person, when seeds have been sown but for some reason there has not been the right environment or nurturing for them to come to fruition.

Information about this technique was not included in the space clearing book I wrote many years ago but it is an essential part of the ceremony I teach to the practitioners I train. At practitioner level, space clearing is as much about opening high level insights for the occupants of a home as it is about restoring integrity to the energies of the place where they live. This doesn’t happen in every ceremony, of course, but if the timing is right and the person is ready, extraordinary perceptions can emerge. It really is a beautiful thing for someone to feel truly “seen” in this way. It can open up new possibilities in their life that they might otherwise have completely missed.

Very little has been written about Winston’s English teacher, Robert Somervell, but I do hope he had an inkling of the greatness he was nurturing in the years he tutored Winston as a boy, and that he lived to see those talents recognized by the world. The seeds that were sown at that time in Churchill’s life became the fertile foundation for everything that followed.

Related posts
Winston’s Churchill’s bed
What hand sensing reveals
Does space clearing really clear imprints?

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Personal energy management for professional declutterers

Dew dropFor any professionals or wannabe professional clutter clearers who follow my blog, this is to let you know that I have been invited to give a talk at the annual conference of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) in London on March 10, 2015.

The topic of my talk will be: Personal Energy Management for Professional Declutterers.

It is open to members and non-members of APDO.  Advance booking is required.

About the talk
Part of the job description of a professional clutter clearer is to immerse yourself on a daily basis in the low level stagnant energies that accumulate around clutter in clients’ homes.

It takes a person with very particular qualities to actually enjoy exposure to such densities of energy, and exceptional skills to be able to handle it without any untoward side effects. The longer a client has had their clutter and the more attached to it they are, the denser the energies surrounding it, and the more likely you are to be affected by it.

Learning how to manage your personal energy while working with clients can make a huge difference to how effective the process is. For many professionals it can also make the difference between creating an enjoyable, successful career, or one that becomes increasingly challenging and arduous.

In this talk I will describe the types of energies that are likely to be encountered when working in clients’ homes, and explain some key personal energy management techniques that every clutter clearing professional can benefit from knowing.

For professionals
More info about the conference & booking

For non-professionals
Fast Track Clutter Clearing online course – includes highly effective energy management tips for use when doing personal clutter clearing

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Storage boxes will help you get organized, right?

Storage boxesMany people buy storage boxes to help them get organized, but the truth is that they promise much and deliver nothing at all unless you know how to use them.

A disorganized mess does not magically sort itself into neat groups of things and then jump into boxes by itself, however much you wish it would. And without first thinking it through, the chances are pretty high that that the boxes you buy will not be quite the right size, shape, or quantity for what you need them for, as I have so often discovered in the homes of clients who have called me in to help them clear their clutter. Just about everyone I have ever worked with has a stack of empty storage boxes they have never used!

The best approach is therefore to sort through your clutter, discard what you no longer wish to keep, measure up the storage space you have available, and THEN buy boxes to match your needs exactly. Or if you have only limited storage space available, buy boxes that fit the space and only keep what fits in them.

What type of storage boxes?
Many different sizes, shapes, and types of materials are available, so it’s important not to succumb to multiple choice melt down at this stage. If you’re drowning in clutter, don’t let this be yet another reason to delay sorting through and organizing your stuff.

The simplest approach is to choose between clear and opaque.

If you like to be able to easily see what’s in a box without opening it, then the transparent plastic type will work best for you.

If you prefer opaque, then choose a colour that goes with your décor. You will enjoy using them more, and it will encourage you to make good use of them. Find the colour you like in the material and size of your choice and you’re done. For airtight storage, plastic is best, or at least a box that has a plastic coating inside. For cheap and functional, cardboard may do. If appearances are important to you, you may want to consider more exotic materials such as rattan, wicker, palm leaf, banana leaf, or sea grass, or elegant designs made of leather, wood, or canvas.

You can also purchase bespoke boxes for storing mementoes, hats, shoes, jewellery, and so on. Some boxes have a simple lid; others have a lock and key. If you are environmentally conscientious, you may want to buy the type that are made of recycled materials, or that can be recycled at the end of their useful life.

What size and shape?
If you are storing heavy items,  buy smaller, stackable boxes that you can easily lift rather than a large one that you will struggle with. This will cost a little more, but it can often make the difference between using the boxes for their intended purpose or not bothering because too much effort is required each time.

Square or rectangular boxes fit most spaces best and stack easily. Search the internet or local stores to find boxes that are the size you need and are made of a material you like in the colour of your choice.

Label your boxes
Name each box in a way that is meaningful to you, and label it so that you know at a glance what is in it. An inexpensive way to do this with a transparent box is to use your computer to print the name on a piece of paper (or you can write it by hand) and then cut or fold it to the correct size and insert it vertically inside the box so that it is visible from the outside. A neater way that can be used with both transparent and opaque boxes is to create a printed or hand-written sticky label that is fixed to the outside of each box. Position the labels in the same place on each box for a more pleasing visual effect.

Don’t use storage boxes as a furniture substitute
An important aspect of managing items you own is to group them together in meaningful ways so that you can find things when you need them. And the best way to do this is the good old-fashioned way by having furniture with compartments such as drawers and shelves.

So before you rush out to buy any storage boxes at all, check to make sure that you really need them.

Small storage boxes can be used within drawers and shelves to further sub-divide and it’s fine to use larger boxes for things you keep in the attic such as Christmas decorations that are used only once a year. But if you are intending to stack boxes in a corner of a room and fill them with things that you use quite often, then what you actually need is furniture. It will do the job much better, and look far more attractive too.

Can’t afford to buy new furniture? Consider second hand (which is usually a healthier option because it will no longer be out-gassing), or search Freecycle, Freegle, or similar websites that put people who are giving things away in touch with those who can use them. At the very least, use storage boxes only as a temporary solution until you can acquire the furniture you need. I’m constantly amazed what a difference it makes to people’s lives when they finally do this. Furniture allows them to fully land in their home instead of feeling like a temporary squatter living out of boxes.

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2015


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Space clearing products online store now open again

Altar clothsA short message to say that Richard and I are back from our meditation retreat in Australia over the Christmas/New Year period, and the space clearing online store is now open again. We have the following products in stock, and as always there is free worldwide shipping on orders over £90 in value:

Space clearing kits
Space clearing bells & bell stands
Harmony balls and stands
Altar cloths & colourizers
Basilica incense

We also have:
Books by Karen Kingston
Books by Samuel Sagan
Grief recovery books by John W. James & Russell Friedman
Meters for measuring electromagnetic radiation


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How to create clutter-free zones in your home

Clutter-free zoneIn any home there are certain areas where daily clutter tends to accumulate. You don’t know quite how it happens, but it does.

Often it’s the entrance area, where things get dumped when you arrive home or where you put things you want to remember to take with you when you leave. In some homes it’s the kitchen table, countertops, the dining room table, or some other place.

The first step is to go around your own home and identify the areas that act like a clutter magnet. If you share your home with others, it may be their stuff as well as yours, or it may be all their stuff and none of yours. Whatever the case, the way it slows and stagnates the flow of energy around your home will affect you and everyone else who lives there in some way, so it’s in your interests to do something about it.

Clutter clearing these areas presents a different kind of challenge to other places in your home because it rarely stays that way. You roll up your sleeves, tidy it up, and a few days later, it’s started to fill again. Clutter, by definition, is unconscious, so the only way to prevent this is to consciously own the space and declare it a clutter-free zone.

What does that mean?

It means you can still use the area for its intended purpose, such as eating at your dining table, but as soon as you have finished, you make a conscious effort to clear it. You can also use the area for other purposes, such as doing paperwork, but then you pack it all away again and return the table to its clutter-free state.

It also means that in a clutter-free zone you never put anything “just for now” because it doesn’t have a home, or it does have a home but you can’t be bothered to put it there. You make the extra effort to put it where it belongs. If necessary, make a CLUTTER-FREE ZONE sign and place it there to remind yourself and others you live with, until you all get the knack.

If you have children, some persistence may be required. I stayed at a friend’s house recently and watched as a 9-year old child arrived home, kicked off her shoes in the hallway, threw her jacket and bag on a chair, and left it all there for her mother to tidy up later. She’d never been taught any other way.

But allowing children to live like this is doing them a great disservice. They will grow up to become the next generation of clutterers, with no idea how to organize their own home or manage their own affairs. You can start by introducing clutter-free zones, and then gradually expand this to other areas, such as tidying their own bedrooms.

Untidy partners can be trickier to handle but as with all types of clutter, the underlying issues are the problem, not the clutter itself. Agreeing to specific clutter-free zones can be a very helpful  first step towards resolving this.

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2014


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The art of living with clear space in your home

Empty spaceClutter clearing brings an exhilarating sense of new-found freedom and space, but if you’ve become used to living with a certain quantity of stuff in your life, it can take a while to get used to the clear space that clutter clearing creates.

One person described it to me like this: ‘Each time I enter my home and see the empty spaces on the bookcase, I’m still sort of shocked and then immediately feel very relieved. It’s so good to have some empty spaces. It’s such a new sight. I will get used to it.’

Another client I worked with reported similar emotions. The first time he arrived home after going out for a few hours, he was so taken aback by how bare his shelves looked that he thought he’d been burgled! We actually only cleared about 30% of the objects, and there were still about 100 decorative items left on three small shelves, but this just goes to show how much the unconscious mind sees all these things even if the conscious mind has long since learned how to tune them all out.

Then there are people who find it difficult to tolerate any unfilled space at all. It makes them too uncomfortable. They use their possessions as a protective layer, and any clear space makes them feel emotionally vulnerable and exposed. They feel compelled to fill it as quickly as they can.

A teenage girl I once met gave me some deep insights into this. She lived at home with her parents in a very tidy house, except for her bedroom that was filled halfway to the ceiling with piles of clothes and other things. For six months or more, she hadn’t opened the windows, changed the bedsheets, or allowed anyone in there. ‘I don’t like it like this’, she confided, ‘and I did tidy it up once. But so many emotions came up that I had to clutter it again’.

She was going through a very difficult time in her life and this was her way of coping, using clutter to suppress her emotions. It didn’t resolve anything. In fact, it made her situation worse, because the stagnant energy that surrounds clutter made her feel even more stuck. But there it stayed until she was ready to face her problems and found a capable therapist to help her move through them. After that, she didn’t need the clutter any more. She tidied it all up and got on with her life.

The truth is that to some degree, everyone who has clutter of any kind uses it to suppress emotions in some way. It creates a numbing effect that allows you not to feel things you would rather not feel.

But when it gets to the stage where every shelf is full, every surface is covered, and even the tiniest unfilled space feels unbearable, there are some serious issues that need to be looked at and you may need help to do so, such as working with a professional clutter clearing practitioner or a cognitive behaviour therapist, or both. If left unchecked, this can lead to full-blown hoarding, where every space in your homes becomes full. That’s very difficult to reverse, so you really don’t want to wait that long to address this.

The photo near the top of this article of a solitary jar on a shelf will feel artistic and pleasing to some but not at all so to anyone who dislikes clear space and sees it instead as empty space. However the concept is well known in graphic design. Called “white space” or “negative space”, the area around the subject of a picture is just as important as the subject itself. It’s what makes it stand out. It’s also why text in advertisements is usually in upper and lower case, because the space around capitals is not as easy for the human eye to read.

Rubins vaseThere is also the famous example of Rubin’s vase, which one person might see as a black vase surrounded by white space, and another might see as two human silhouettes in white against a black background. The choice is in the eye of the beholder, and you can view any clear space in the same way.

So if you want to change your relationship to space, take a playful approach. Clear a shelf in your home, put a single item on it, and keep it that way for a day. Each time you see it, look at the item as well as the space around it. See how they fit together. If seeing the space brings up feelings, let them surface, feel them, and let them go. You’ll discover it gets easier each time. Repeat this exercise one day at a time until empty space becomes normal and holds no fear. Most people find it doesn’t take very long. You just have to be willing to give it a whirl and begin.

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2014


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Christmas decorations clutter

Christmas treeNo festive season would be complete without all the accompanying paraphernalia of Christmas decorations, but how did they come into being, and what do they really mean?

The tradition certainly didn’t start in Bethlehem, or anywhere near it. It’s thought that Christmas trees were first introduced to Germany in the 7th or 8th Century by a monk called Saint Boniface, and the practice of Christmas decorations spread to the rest of the western world from there.

There may well have been a genuine spiritual impulse behind this. The conical shape of the fir tree, for example, was said to represent the Holy Trinity, and the reason it was adorned with white candles may well have been because people at that time knew how to use the physical structure of the tree and the flames of the candles to anchor high spiritual forces during the Christmas period.

This knowledge has long since been lost, and what remains is a symbolic imitation, with many Christmas trees now made of plastic, and spiritual forces now symbolically represented by electric fairy lights, shiny balls, stars and angels.

The same is true of tinsel, which was introduced in the early 17th Century and was made of shredded strips of real silver. Originally I’m sure there would have been people who knew how to use the qualities of this precious metal to anchor the spiritual frequencies that resonate with it, but now it’s all plastic and purely for decoration.

In fact, Christmas decorations have become a huge, multi-billion dollar industry, tempting us all with their glitter and glitz. It’s the part of us that yearns for the spiritual realms from which we came that is so attracted to these items, but the sad fact is that no amount of tinsel can bridge that gap. There certainly are spiritual practices that can facilitate this, but decorating your home with Christmas bling isn’t one of them.

I’m not saying that Christmas decorations are bad or wrong. But you will certainly see how insubstantial they are if you ever go to Bali and experience first-hand the 10-day festival of Galungan, where the island’s 20,000 temples are adorned with decorations, and ancient rituals are used to invoke sacred presences. This is not symbolic. You can go to a temple, participate in the ceremony, and tangibly feel the presences land and wash over you. It’s deeply refreshing, revitalizing, and uplifting. When you leave you feel like you are walking on air.

In Bali, as in the west, when the festive season is over, the decorations come down. In many western homes they are stored up in the attic or down in the basement, but clever commercial marketing and ever more tempting designs means the collection tends to grow with each passing year. One box becomes two, three, or ten. One woman I heard of recently has an entire room in her home just for storing Christmas décor.

So this year, when Christmas ends, I suggest you do some clutter clearing before you pack it all away. The first to go can be any decorations you didn’t like enough to put up this time. Next can be any that are broken, damaged, or beyond repair. Then seriously assess how long it takes you to put them all up and take them all down, and whether a more modest quantity would suffice. Or – dare I suggest it – none at all, now that you understand more about them.

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2014


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