How to downsize, declutter

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Jan Springer, Director
Heritage School of Interior Design,
Beaverton, Oregon

My understanding is that the days of the “McMansions” are coming to a close.  There are many factors that contribute to this trend…  first and foremost cost. “McMansions” are not only expensive to purchase but very expensive to maintain.  Second …with the population growing older, home buyers (empty nesters) are looking for less home to care for and more importantly, the thought is that these large homes contribute to the break-down of the family.

Growing up I shared a room with 2 siblings and thought nothing of it.  The family sat down to dinner together and for that matter breakfast and lunch as well. We all watched  TV together in the living room and when friends came over we were in clear view of the other family members.  Today… with homes so big and everyone having their own space it’s easy to lose the closeness that families once shared.

The recession has changed our priorities and we are re-thinking our needs and if we are downsizing the following guidelines may be helpful.

What I know and understand about Feng Shui you could put in a thimble…but I do understand two concepts and the first involves clutter.  We all seem to hold on to “stuff”  or better known as clutter.  Clutter creates chaos in our lives and chaos creates stress.  Sress is the most common physical ailment that leads to more serious health problems.  Sooooo if clutter is the culprit, now what?  Here comes the second concept to embrace.  A wise Feng Shui expert explained this to me and I have embraced this clutter theory ever since.

She said ” Everything we touch and everything that surrounds us has energy”.  If we could reduce a table or a chair or a vase down to the most infinite microscopic level we would see movement.  If an object has movement, it has energy. This means we are surrounded by energy and when we hold onto “stuff” that is meaningless to us we are surrounded by negative energy.  When we surround ourselves with things that we love and have meaning to us we are surrounding ourselves with positive energy.

This concept has helped me edit the “stuff” out of my home.  In other words I don’t keep things because I feel obligated or I don’t really like. I do not want negative energy surrounding me.  Every time I help a client remove clutter from their home they say the same thing.  They did not realized how much stress the clutter was creating for them.

I am always amazed for example, how many homeowners park a $40,000 car in their driveway because the garage is loaded with worthless “stuff”.

Start editing with these two questions:  Do I need it?  Do I love it?  Then pare down so you are surrounding yourself with the things that truly bring you joy and watch the stress disappear and your energy improve.