Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui (Jan 24-31)

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Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui (Jan 24-31)

1LibThingDan
Jan 24, 2011, 12:05pm

Please welcome Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. Karen will be chatting on LibraryThing until January 31st

2Louve_de_mer
Jan 24, 2011, 12:22pm

Hi !

I’m lost with Feng Shui. Some authors say to use the real South, West, North and East and some others say to use the front door as an artificial North. What do you think and why? Thanks.

3maggie1944
Jan 24, 2011, 1:58pm

What a great question. One question I've had is what if a Feng Shui suggestion for placing an object, say a bed, is just impractical given where the windows and doors are in the bedroom. How do you create "good enough"?

4infiniteletters
Jan 24, 2011, 2:23pm

3: Mirrors?

5karenkingston
Jan 24, 2011, 2:37pm

Very happy to answer questions here relating to my book.

Near the beginning of the book, I explain:

"My own approach to Feng Shui is rather different to that of other practitioners because I work directly with the energy of each space. I have a highly developed ability to see, hear, smell, taste and sense energy, so to begin a consultation the first thing I do is to go around the entire inside perimeter of the building, taking an energy reading with my hands. The history of events is recorded in the walls and furniture in the form of subtle etheric and astral imprints, and through reading and interpreting these I can detect everything of significance that has ever happened there. Traumatic or repetitive events are the most deeply embedded and have a correspondingly greater effect on present-day occupants. I am also able to find areas where the energy in the building has become stagnant and discover what needs to be done to improve its flow.

Whenever I come across clutter, its energy field is unmistakable. It presents an obstacle to the flow of energy and has an unpleasant, sticky, unclean feel to it, like moving my hands through unseen cobwebs. This is what first made me realize that clutter causes problems in people's lives. It also has a distinctive musty, pervasive odour that I can smell if I walk into someone's home, even if the clutter is hidden away from sight. Actually, if I tune in, I can also smell it in a person's energy field around their body if they stand near me, because they become imbued with the smell of it. But don't worry about this if you ever meet me in person – there is so much clutter in the world that I don't tune in all the time!

The good news is that after clearing clutter, this unwholesome, stagnant energy and accompanying odour quickly disappears."

6karenkingston
Editado: Jan 24, 2011, 3:04pm

Reading the first three questions posted here, I just want to clarify that my book does not contain the kind of information you will find in other Feng Shui books about furniture positioning, mirrors and all that kind of thing. I included a section about this at the end of my first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, if you're really interested in this.

What's different about my 'Clear Your Clutter' book is that it was the first Feng Shui book to ever tackle the question of clutter. As I wrote in Chapter 2:

"It's important to realize how fundamentally intrinsic clutter clearing is to the whole practice of Feng Shui. Before this book was first published in 1998, other Feng Shui books mentioned the subject only in passing or not at all. Perhaps they assumed their readers had already dealt with this issue, but of course the truth is that most had not. Now, I'm glad to say that all Feng Shui books worth reading have a section on this topic and it is given the importance it deserves.

I do not consider clutter clearing to be one process and Feng Shui to be another. I have come to realize that clutter clearing is one of the most powerful, transformative aspects of Feng Shui there is, and in most cases, Feng Shui cures and enhancements are at best only minimally effective until clutter clearing has been done.

If you have already been using Feng Shui for years without knowing this you will be delighted at the energy upsurge clearing your clutter will bring about. And if you are new to Feng Shui, you will be pleasantly surprised to realize that the first and most important steps to learning this art are already well within your reach."

7SqueakyChu
Jan 24, 2011, 5:12pm

Hi Karen,

I'll be interested in following your chat as I'm in my 60's and definitely see the need to start removing clutter from my life. I guess that happens frequently to parents of kids who leave home, but want to leave their lifetime accumulations behind.

I'm really interested in your sensitivity to clutter. Was this an ability you had from the time you were a child? Did you ever collect things or was your impulse to always be free from clutter? When did you become interested in Feng Shui, and how did you decide that decluttering was an important part of it?

For the first time in my life, clutter is starting to make me feel very uncomfortable. I'llbe curious as to what others have to say about this.

Last question:
Are dried flowers bad to have in a home under the "rules" of feng shui? If so, why?

8bookherd
Jan 24, 2011, 6:58pm

I'm interested in clutter clearing, but know very little about Feng Shui. How can it help me reduce and organize my possessions more effectively?

9karenkingston
Editado: Jan 24, 2011, 7:48pm

Hi SqueakyChu

Thank you for your questions.

I didn't realize clutter was a problem until I started energy sensing other people's homes and discovered how much stagnant energy collects around clutter, and how it affects people in their lives (the full story of how I developed my energy sensing ability is told in Chapter 1 of my book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui). Before then, like most people, I thought of all the things I was keeping as assets, or at least potential assets that might come in useful one day.

I put my new discoveries to the test by radically clutter clearing my own home and was amazed at the difference it made to every aspect of my life. Since then I've unreservedly recommended it to others as a pathway to creating a better quality of life.

You ask when I became interested in Feng Shui. Many years later, after my Space Clearing and Clutter Clearing work was already well advanced, someone told me there were books about something called Feng Shui that I might be interested to read. In time I came to realize that the Space Clearing ceremony I've developed to clear the energy of spaces is in fact a specialized branch of Feng Shui. The great Feng Shui masters of old would have been able to feel the energies Feng Shui is based on as tangibly as I do today, and would have known how to very effectively clear the energy of spaces. So I actually discovered the Chinese form of Feng Shui long after I had been practising the energetic principles of it for myself, and have found forms of Feng Shui in every traditional culture I've explored.

10karenkingston
Jan 24, 2011, 7:35pm

The question has been asked: "Are dried flowers bad to have in a home under the "rules" of feng shui?"

I don't personally rely on Feng Shui rules. I rely on what I can perceive energetically. And when I energy sense dried flowers, they are dead. Unlike live flowers, they do not bring any vitality to a space. In fact, if left for a while, they start to collect dust and stagnant energies, which pulls the energy of a space down.

I would never have them in my home.

11karenkingston
Jan 24, 2011, 7:47pm

Hello bookherd,

It's not necessary to know anything at all about Feng Shui to do clutter clearing, but by doing it you will be taking one of the first and most important steps towards improving the Feng Shui of your home.

The way it works is this:

Your home is a reflection of you. Feng Shui is the art of creating a beautiful flow of energy aorund your home, which in turn will create a good flow of energy in your life. Clutter impedes the flow of energy around your home and will have a corresponding stagnating effect in your life. So if you sort through your possessions and let go of the things that no longer fit with who you are, you'll transform your home into a place that reflects who you are and who you want to be. Which makes it much easier to live that.

12SqueakyChu
Editado: Jan 24, 2011, 9:50pm

> 9

radically clutter clearing my own home

Can "storing" clutter so it's unseen be done instead of clearing out the clutter or is that just a way of rationalizing?

and have found forms of Feng Shui in every traditional culture I've explored.

I'd love to hear about some examples of these.

> 10

they are dead

However, dried flowers have a beauty of their own. They have shape and color. What about objects for decoration as colorful, dried gourds? I have those in my living room. Would they also devitalize an area because they are dead?

I have plants in my home, but I'm so bad at taking care of them. They always look half dead anyway. :)

> 11

So if you sort through your possessions and let go of the things that no longer fit with who you are, you'll transform your home into a place that reflects who you are and who you want to be.

Easier said than done. What if my other family members don't wish to part with objects I don't love?

13Delanan
Editado: Jan 24, 2011, 10:01pm

Dear Karen,
I have enjoyed reading your books. They have changed my life for the better. Now, however; I have reached a point where I still have too much in my life, including books, records and bricabrac. How can I become less focused on "things"?
Signed,
"Don't Call Me A Hoarder"

14karenkingston
Editado: Jan 25, 2011, 9:11am

@ SqueakyChu

You ask: "Can "storing" clutter so it's unseen be done instead of clearing out the clutter or is that just a way of rationalizing?"

'Out of sight, out of mind' is a very common approach to clutter, but it doesn't work. The work I have pioneered over the last 35 years has shown that we are energetically connected to the places we occupy and everything we keep affects us in some way. Keeping too many things from the time of a failed relationship will hinder the creation of a new relationship with a new partner, for example.

Then there's the location of where clutter is stored to consider. In Chapter 8 of my Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui book, I explain in detail about the Feng Shui bagua, which is a grid that reveals how the different areas of any building you occupy are connected to specific aspects of your life such as relationships, prosperity, health, career, and so on. There is a bagua for the building as a whole, a larger bagua for the plot of land it stands on, and a bagua for each room within the building.

As I expain in my book, "That puts paid to any ideas you may have had about secretly shifting your junk to a shed at the bottom of the garden. A junk shed in the far left-hand corner of your garden will sabotage your finances, one in the far right-hand corner will put a strain on your relationships, one in the centre at the back of your garden can damage your reputation, and so on. There is nowhere you can put clutter where it will not affect you!"

15SqueakyChu
Editado: Jan 25, 2011, 8:38am

Out of sight, out of mind' is a very common approach to clutter, but it doesn't work

LOL! I was afraid you'd say that! I'm really eager to read your book. I think it might have been written just for me! :)

How do you advise people with larger families who live in smaller homes/apartments? That they not keep as many belongings or that they are more careful how they arrange their belongings?

For example, I have a son who moved out to an apartment with his fiancee last year. I recently boxed most of his belongings and warned him to take his things to his new place. His complaint is that the place in which he is now living is too small to put everything. I don't feel comfortable discarding or giving away what belongs to him.

16karenkingston
Jan 25, 2011, 9:10am


@ SqueakyChu

You say: "However, dried flowers have a beauty of their own. They have shape and color. What about objects for decoration as colorful, dried gourds? I have those in my living room. Would they also devitalize an area because they are dead? I have plants in my home, but I'm so bad at taking care of them. They always look half dead anyway. :)"

Dried flowers, branches, pot pourri, and yes, gourds and other dead and dried up items will all have the same dulling effect on the vitality of your home. So will dying plants or cut flowers that are past their prime.

Based on the principle that everything in your home is in some way a reflectoon of you, if your plants keep dying because you fail to care for them then this says something about how you care for yourself. But if you care for them as well as you can and they still die, the most likely cause is that you've unknowingly placed them in areas that are geopathically stressed (see Chapter 14 of Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui for more information about this).

An alternative to live plants, and a Feng Shui solution that has been popular for centuries (long before anyone in the West had even heard of Feng Shui), is to hang a vibrant picture of flowers or plants on your wall. Hospitals are increasingly adopting this policy as a result of a number of researches showing that images of nature, rather than abstract art or no art at all, significantly improve recovery rates in patients and can also reduce their need for medication.

Personally I like a mixture of the two. Healthy growing plants not only uplift the energy of a space but can also help to cleanse the indoor environment which these days, in many buildings, is more chemically polluted than outdoors. A very well researched book called How To Grow Fresh Air, lists the abilities of 50 common houseplants to remove toxic chemicals from the air. Originally developed by NASA to create life-support systems for moon bases, the information is invaluable for earthbound homes and workplaces too.

17karenkingston
Jan 25, 2011, 12:45pm

@ Delanan

You say, "I have enjoyed reading your books. They have changed my life for the better. Now, however, I have reached a point where I still have too much in my life, including books, records and bricabrac. How can I become less focused on "things"?"

Priorities change as people move through life and things that were useful and once served you well may no longer do so today. Clutter clearing is not a one-time thing. It's a process you repeat again and again to stay up-to-date with who you are. And there are levels of clutter clearing. Your first pass will help you let go of the most obvious things, and the next time you do it you can go to a deeper level of letting go.

Knowing it works this way, I wrote my 'Clear Your Clutter' book so that it could be read and re-read, and each time you read it you will discover things in it that you've never noticed before.

In the new, revised version of the book (the 2008 paperback edition and 2010 Kindle/ebook edition) there is a section on establishing priorities that you may find will help you a lot. When you know what your priorities in life are, it becomes a much simpler matter to decide what stays and what goes. You keep the things that uplift your energy and are relevant to your life now, and let the rest go.

18karenkingston
Jan 25, 2011, 1:05pm

Back to SqueakyChu's questions...

You ask, "What if my other family members don't wish to part with objects I don't love?"

Other people's clutter is such a tricky topic that I devoted the whole of Chapter 14 to it in my book. Here's a quote from that chapter about it:

"One of the questions I am most frequently asked is what to do about other people's clutter, and especially the clutter of people you live with... Nagging, arguing, threatening and issuing ultimatums only makes clutterholics more entrenched, and NEVER, EVER, EVER clear their clutter for them unless they specifically ask you to. People have deep emotional attachments to their junk and can get very upset or even go berserk if it is tampered with... In all the years I have been teaching this material, there are only two remedies I have consistently found to be effective in dealing with other people's clutter: education and leading by example."

19karenkingston
Editado: Jan 25, 2011, 1:13pm

Some of you may know I have a blog where I post articles about Space Clearing, Clutter Clearing and related topics. You can find the articles relating to clutter clearing at:

www.spaceclearing.com/html/blog/category/clutter-clearing

For those of you following this chat who haven't yet read my 'Clear Your Clutter' book, it may help you to browse some of these articles and then I'll be happy to answer questions about them.

20Dyrfinna
Jan 25, 2011, 3:35pm

Hi Karen,

I would like to thank you for your work and for how much it has helped me, my family, and my friends. I bought 'Clear Your Clutter' for someone else back in 1999, and since then I've cleared away hundreds of pounds of clutter (including my ex-husband!) and helped others do the same.

I do an annual clutter purge right before the New Year. This year I went even deeper than usual. Then my husband lost his job. While it was definitely time to move on, it's created a certain amount of turmoil. I've noticed that major clutter clearing often seems to have the effect of precipitating events. (My divorce would be a good example). While in retrospect life is better after this kind of chaos, it can be confusing and challenging at the time.

My question is, have you noticed this before and, if so, do you have any recommendations about the speed and pacing of clutter clearing?

Jessica

21karenkingston
Jan 25, 2011, 5:13pm

Hi Jessica (Dyrfinna)

Very happy to hear you've found my book so helpful :-)

It's my experience that people do clutter clearing when they're ready for change. Although the changes may not always take the form they expect or hope for, I hear time and time again that it works out for the best - usually way better than if they had tried to plan it themselves.

This certainly seems to be the case in the first example you describe, but it sounds to me like you're taking too much responsibility for what happened after the second. If you did the New Year clutter clearing by yourself, then your husband losing his job won't have had anything to do with you. If he actively participated in the clutter clearing with you, then on some level he wanted the change and was ready for it. Either way, it's not down to you. My advice is to give your husband as much support as you can in finding what he really wants to do, and be sure to be receptive to the new opportunities that your clearing out the old will have opened for you too.

22SqueakyChu
Jan 25, 2011, 11:27pm

> 16

But if you care for them as well as you can and they still die, the most likely cause is that you've unknowingly placed them in areas that are geopathically stressed

I do try with my plants...and sometimes the orchids even bloom! That's very exciting. I keep trying, though. I will take a look at the dead flowers, gourds, etc. and see what I can replace them with. Oh, well. I dearly love vegetable gardening, but for that I have to wait until spring. What about bowls of fruit for decoration? Are they okay (as long as they're not past their prime)?

Hospitals are increasingly adopting this policy as a result of a number of researches showing that images of nature, rather than abstract art or no art at all, significantly improve recovery rates in patients and can also reduce their need for medication.

Interesting. When I was visiting a family member last year in hospice, there was a streaming video playing of nature (ocean waves, trees, etc.). It was very calming.

I think indoor pollution is truly a big problem. Thanks for the information about How to Grow Fresh Air.

23Airycat
Jan 26, 2011, 2:59am

How do you determine what is clutter? If it gets in my way I see it as clutter, but if it's something that makes me feel good, but others see as clutter, it's not clutter to me even though it does tend toward disarray. I'm thinking of my books, often double shelved or piled on a table.

Also I do recycled art/craft/restoration and that necessitates having a place for "junk." It really is junk before being remade. I agree with that, but I don't think my final products are. Where do I keep it before it becomes part of something I love and use? - or give to someone who loves it?

I have and have read your book, but I guess I need to reread it. I don't think it had any life changing effect on me.

I can often feel if a room has/had a lot of negative or positive energy. I'd love to get rid of the vaguely depressed energy in parts of my house (a very depressed person lived here before us - I assume that's where it came from), but not at the expense of my books, needlework supplies or art supplies (and my mom, also has lots of art supplies - items to paint, paints, paper, etc.), all of which we are working to keep in a more organized fashion, but space is tight.

I'd also love to hone that ability to sense the positive or negative energy. Any tips for that?

24karenkingston
Editado: Jan 26, 2011, 9:14am

@ SqueakyChu

Bowls of fresh fruit are fine.

25karenkingston
Jan 26, 2011, 10:41am

@ Airycat

In my book I describe in detail the four categories of clutter:

~ Things you do not use or love
~ Things that are untidy or disorganized
~ Too many things in too small a space
~ Anything unfinished

These four categories are not limited to just the physical stuff you can see. There are also deeper levels, such as mental, emotional and even spiritual clutter.

26karenkingston
Editado: Jan 26, 2011, 11:30am

@ Airycat

You say, "I'd love to get rid of the vaguely depressed energy in parts of my house (a very depressed person lived here before us - I assume that's where it came from)".

You also say, "I'd also love to hone that ability to sense the positive or negative energy. Any tips for that?"

Here area couple of blog articles I wrote that may help you:

www.spaceclearing.com/html/blog/2010/11/06/space-clearing-to-help-clutter-clearing/

www.spaceclearing.com/html/blog/2009/06/12/space-clearing-imprints/

The Space Clearing and Clutter Clearing practitioners I train learn how to read enery imprints in walls and furniture in depth. It's pretty easy to learn the basic skill which I teach at my public workshops but to become really good at it (meaning being able to read walls with your hands as easily as you can read a book with your eyes) can take years.

27karenkingston
Jan 26, 2011, 2:08pm

@ Airycat

I often receive emails from creative people who ask similar questions to yours about their art supplies. The trick is to keep the items organized and limit the amount you keep to the amount of space you comfortably have available.

Regular clear-outs to weed out the things that have never 'come in useful' are also a must. Without this, the stagnant energy that accumulates around the materials stifles creativity. Although it may feel like a chore, many artists tell me they find things they had forgotten they had, which inspires them to fresh creativity.

28karenkingston
Editado: Jan 27, 2011, 4:47am

By the way, I'm really enjoying this. I receive thousands of questions each year and read them all, but I usually only have time to reply to a few each week. Because I've specifically put time aside to chat here, it feels like a real treat to be able to reply to so many :-)

29L-Anne
Jan 26, 2011, 9:01pm

Hello Karen,

Your book is wonderful and very helpful! I still have more clutter clearing to do, but so far my fave room in my home is my living room. It is not a large room, but it has no clutter, and there is a distinctively different feeling in this room than elsewhere in my house. Every item in this room (art, framed family photos, cushions etc) has been placed there with a purpose. They are all things that I love, things I find beautiful, and the result is a space that makes me feel uplifted every time I walk in the room. Lingering for even 5 minutes with a cup of tea is a holiday for my spirit! Trust me, this room is used daily!

Quite a different scenario in my home office. Any further advice for handling paper clutter? It multiplies overnight!

30karenkingston
Jan 27, 2011, 8:52am

@ Lousanne

Ah, paper clutter. I'm surprised this hasn't come up sooner. For many people, paper in its many forms is their No. 1 clutter problem - books, magazines, leaflets, office paperwork, accounting records... the list goes on and on.

I have a lot to say about this topic but to keep it brief, the thing that I'd say has helped me the most is investing in a scanner and some PDF creation software. Being an author, I went top end and got myself a high resolution scanner and a copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro but most scanners these days will allow you to create PDFs. All my paper items are scanned and stored electronically now, except for legal documents (passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc) and accounts receipts, which I'm legally required to keep orginals of for the presecribed number of years. But even those I file by the year so that that I can gleefully trash them as soon as the tax office allows me to.

Books used to be a problem. I would scan passages I liked, but this was very time consuming. Now I buy the ebook edition whenever possible and electronically bookmark my favourite bits. No scanning required, and no bookshelf space required either.

Hope this is helpful.

31emunah
Jan 27, 2011, 3:01pm

My bedroom in my apartment has a full wall of mirrored closet doors. It doesn't appear that they can be turned around. The only place for my bed is directly across from the mirrored doors. I have taken to rarely going into the room and I've been sleeping on the couch in my living room. I don't have the liberty of changing the doors, but I'm really hating living here, yet can't move right now either. Any advice?

32karenkingston
Jan 27, 2011, 5:03pm

This is a Feng Shui question rather than anything to do with clutter clearing, so I'll keep my reply brief.

The best solution to this problem is usually to fix a lightweight rail and hang net or voile curtains over the mirrored doors. This will allow you to open the curtains to get access to the closet during the day and draw them at night so you don't have the mirror effect in the room while you sleep.

33infiniteletters
Jan 27, 2011, 5:35pm

31: Could you ask the landlord if you could turn the mirrors into frosted glass? I don't know how this would fit in with feng shui, but it would make them "not mirrors"

34connieknoxville
Jan 27, 2011, 10:59pm

I am a very depressed. low energy person. I would love to do everthing I've seen so far, but am new to the whole concept. I actually stumbled upon this accidentally ((maybe not!?!). What would be the first and most important step I could do to get started immediatley and begin to feel the results? Also, since you sre so adept with energy, is it possible for you to feel the energy of people here, or people who write you letters? Hope that's not a weird question, I just think it's possible, and wonder if you can.

35karenkingston
Jan 28, 2011, 3:04am

@ connieknoxville

Here's an excerpt from my book that may help you:

"The stagnant energy of clutter pulls you down and can make you feel depressed. In fact, I have yet to meet a depressed person who doesn't surround themselves with clutter. Feelings of hopelessness are compounded by clutter and can be relieved to some extent by clearing it because you create space for something new to come into your life. The reason I think this works is because many types of depression are caused by a higher part of your consciousness stopping you doing what you have been doing because it is time for you to do something else.

If you are so depressed that you can't even begin to think about having a clear out, at least get your clutter off the ground (depressed people tend to stack their clutter at low level), which will lift your energy and your spirits too. It would also be a good idea to have your home checked for geopathic stress (harmful earth energies). Clutter often accumulates in geopathically stressed areas, and it may well be a causative factor in your depression too. See the chapter about Geopathic Stress in my book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, for more information about this."

36karenkingston
Jan 28, 2011, 3:25am

@ connieknoxville

You ask, "Is it possible for you to feel the energy of people here, or people who write you letters? Hope that's not a weird question, I just think it's possible, and wonder if you can."

When I meet someone in person, I can certainly get a lot of information about the energy of their home from tuning into their personal energy. I can generally tell, for example, if someone is sleeping in a geopathically stressed space and if they have clutter at home. But I don't do this over distance or by email. I don't find that to be at all reliable.

I'm also very reluctant to give anything but the most general Feng Shui advice by email. I need to physically be in a place, feel the energies, see the building, and meet the people who live or work there. I'm frankly very suspicious of Feng Shui consultants who give advice from a distance. It's very convenient for them, and generally cheaper for the client, but there is so much vital information they will miss by not travelling to the place to be physically present.

37karenkingston
Jan 28, 2011, 7:55am

@ infiniteletters

You ask, "Could you ask the landlord if you could turn the mirrors into frosted glass? I don't know how this would fit in with feng shui, but it would make them 'not mirrors' "

Frosted glass could work in terms of Feng Shui, but from my experience I'd say it would be a very rare landlord indeed who would understand the need for this, want to go to the expense of paying for it, or be willing to lose the perceived value of having an expanse of mirrors in the bedroom.

38SqueakyChu
Jan 28, 2011, 2:52pm

> 35

depressed people tend to stack their clutter at low level

Fascinating! I was recently really mood-elevated by the process of clearing out everything on my son's floor(!) in his old room. I didn't toss his things, but merely put them in numbered boxes for him to take when he can (and expecting him to take at least one box each time he visits).

Why is it so hard for people to part with things? Especially, why is it so hard for people to part with books?

39karenkingston
Jan 28, 2011, 5:20pm

@ SqueakyChu

You ask: "Why is it so hard for people to part with things?"

This is explained in Chapter 6 of my 'Clear Your Clutter' book - So Why Do People Keep Clutter?

The chapter begins:"The answer to this question is complex, and as you read through the following pages you will find that the different sections resonate with you to a greater or lesser degree. In all the many consultations I have done to help people clear their clutter, the junk itself is only the physical aspect of the problem. There are always deeper underlying reasons why clutter has accumulated."

One reader summed up her and her partner's experience of this very succinctly:

"I read five books last year on de-cluttering. None of them really helped us. Turns out we collect clutter for entirely different reasons. Books that try to deal with 'personality' just didn’t seem to work for us. Books that more or less said 'get over it' also didn’t work. But we have to pare down because we are going to move twice in the next two years (ugh.)

The secret to Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui was to find why we both were keeping some things. (There is a section with helpful questions about why you keep stuff, such as inheriting it, sentimental feelings, habits, family habits, and even grief.) In our case, a friend from childhood and a parent had both died within two years and this caused a desire to cling to a lot of old things.

Excess clutter is thought to sap energy. It certainly saps concentration and gathers asthma-inducing dust. Now our apartment looks better, breathes better and yes, smells fresher and thanks to this book. First one I’ve ever read that could help two different people living together because it deals with the individual motivations behind the junk they keep."

40karenkingston
Jan 28, 2011, 5:24pm

@ SqueakyChu

You ask, "Why is it so hard for people to part with books?"

Again, there is a whole section in my 'Clear Your Clutter' book about this. I begin by explaining:

"Holding on to old books is a very common problem, especially for people with inquiring minds. To many, their books are like faithful companions. They are always there to keep you company when you need them, to impart knowledge, inspire, entertain, and stimulate you in a myriad of different ways.

But the problem with holding on to old books is that it doesn't allow you to create space for new ideas and ways of thinking to come into your life. Your books symbolically represent your ideas and beliefs, and when you have too many of them sitting on bookshelves in your home, you become set in your ways and develop fusty energy like the fusty old books you surround yourself with."

41susiesharp
Jan 28, 2011, 5:28pm

I guess my main problem with getting rid of my clutter is figureing out where to start I've let it go so long everytime I try I get overwhelmed.
Is there a way to start small and work your way up?

42SqueakyChu
Jan 28, 2011, 5:38pm

Your books symbolically represent your ideas and beliefs, and when you have too many of them sitting on bookshelves in your home, you become set in your ways and develop fusty energy like the fusty old books you surround yourself with."

So interesting!! I am a Bookcrosser so I love to give away my books. The only books I intend to keep are cookbooks/foodie books, contemporary Israeli novels, signed books, and old Richard Brautigan paperbacks from the 1970's. I know *exactly* how these symbolically represent my ideas. :)

Do you address the issue of compulsive hoarding in your book?

43connieknoxville
Jan 28, 2011, 10:46pm

OMG! Talk about "meant to be"! I went to McKay's Book Store tonight and found the last copy of "Creating Sacred Spaces With Feng Shui", which when I came home and read your response, you had recommended. Sorry, but I do believe in things like this. Thanks for your response - you are very inspiring. I would love to study under you, but according to your requirements, I have years to go. Will start working on it now! God Bless!

44connieknoxville
Jan 28, 2011, 10:57pm

How did you teach yourself to read energies? What books or authors did you go to for inspiration or instruction?

45karenkingston
Jan 29, 2011, 7:32am

@ susiesharp

You ask, "I guess my main problem with getting rid of my clutter is figureing out where to start I've let it go so long everytime I try I get overwhelmed. Is there a way to start small and work your way up?"

Starting small is by far the best way to begin clutter clearing. I would go so far as to say that most people who start with big intentions rarely succeed. Here's some information about this from my Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui book:

"First, take a tour of your home with notepad and pen in hand, noting down the clutter zones in each room. If you are not at home (or are lazy!), just close your eyes and imagine yourself walking from room to room. Most people find they know exactly where their clutter is.

Then take another piece of paper and rewrite the list, beginning with smaller clutter zones at the top and working your way down to monster mounds.

Examples of small zones are behind doors, individual drawers, the bathroom cabinet, small cupboards, briefcases, toolboxes.

Middle-sized zones are wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, linen cupboards, desks, filing cabinets, and so on.

Large zones are junk rooms, basements, attics, garden sheds, garages, and any clutter-filled spaces that are clearly going to take longer to conquer.

Now put an asterisk beside the ones that irritate you the most. These are the ones to begin with, starting from small to large. Get some small successes under your belt first and then you will be inspired and encouraged to tackle the bigger areas later. And when you feel how good it feels to tackle the clutter zones that really bug you, you'll be more motivated to wade into those bastions where you wish the clutter would just melt away of its own accord."

46karenkingston
Jan 29, 2011, 7:37am

@ SqueakyChu

You ask, "Do you address the issue of compulsive hoarding in your book?"

I do mention obsessive-compulsive hoarding in my book, but only in passing. The book is not written for people who have such an extreme degree of clutter.

However, there are a couple of articles about this on my blog:
www.spaceclearing.com/html/blog/category/hoarding

47karenkingston
Editado: Jan 29, 2011, 3:17pm

@ connieknoxville

You ask, "How did you teach yourself to read energies? What books or authors did you go to for inspiration or instruction?"

No-one taught me to read energies, and I have never found any mention of the techniques I use in any book. I'm entirely self-taught.

The story of how I developed my Space Clearing skills is in Chapter One of Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, but that only goes up to 1996 when I wrote the book. My knowledge and skills have developed a lot since then, and rather embarrassingly, some of the information in that book is no longer what I practice or recommend. It's worth reading for the chapters on Clutter Clearing, Electromagnetic Stress and Geopathic Stress, but much of the content in the other chapters is in need of update and revision. I've therefore decided to write a whole new book about Space Clearing based on all the clarifications I've made and new things I've learned in the last 15 years.

In my public workshops I have a very good success rate in teaching students the basics of my energy sensing techniques, but it's only the practitioners I train who really learn it in depth. As a prerequisite for the training they need to have a very clean diet (no sugar, caffeine, alcohol, junk food, etc), emotional clarity (as a result of having done in-depth personal work for many years), and certain subtle body structures that I won't go into here because I would need to give a lengthy context for the information to be meaningful.

What I can say is that it never ceases to amaze me how I can walk into a building that looks fantastic because of the furniture, decor, and so on, but energy sensing the place can sometimes reveal a COMPLETELY different story. One example I remember well is a beautiful study, tastefully decorated, with a wonderful view of an English country garden. But when I energy sensed the walls and furniture, I immediately discovered that my client (a woman) had received a series of physical beatings in that room from her (now ex) husband, and could no longer bear to spend any time at all there. As soon as she realized I was not deceived by appearances, her pretenses dropped and she admitted the whole sorry tale. After I conducted a full Space Clearing ceremony for her, the study once again became her favourite room in the house.

48Airycat
Jan 31, 2011, 4:12am

Thank you for your response and the blog links. Clearly I also need to reread Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I also discovered I have Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui, though I hadn't read it. I'll be reading the blog links this week and get the books handy to read as soon as I finish my review books.

49karenkingston
Editado: Jan 31, 2011, 4:24am

Thank you to LibraryThing for hosting this event, and to everyone who has participated in it to make this chat so lively and interesting.

If you are interested to know more, you can find articles about these topics and related topics at: www.spaceclearing.com/html/blog/

50SqueakyChu
Jan 31, 2011, 9:28am

Thank you, Karen.

I'll definitely be looking for your book. In fact, I've already been throwing out dead plants this week!

51carport
Jan 31, 2011, 3:06pm

Thank you, Karen.

Although I haven't posted a question, I've followed your author chat all week and enjoyed it. Additionally, I've benefited from Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, and look forward to future works from you.