You can sage your home every single day, but if it's littered with clutter and dust, there is still negative energy forever flowing through. This was a huge "aha" moment for me towards the end of last year, and I knew I had to make a change. I had the chance to work and speak with LA-based Danyelle D'Andrea of Spatial Soulutions, a professional organizing service and yogi who incorporates elements of mindfulness and psychology into her practice. "Yoga creates strength and space in the mind and body. Meditation creates space and quiets the mind. But what about your immediate external environment?" says Dany.
The approach Dany takes to "home improvement" goes far beyond physical space organization. She approaches everything from a soulful (hence, soul-ution) perspective — What lifts you up and fuels your energy? What depletes you? For me, I was hoarding all of my half-used beauty products, [disgusting] dinnerware from college (!!?!), random gifts I've accumulated that have never seen the light of day, and every single piece of clothing/jewelry that "reminded me of something." Mind you, I live in a teeny tiny apartment in Venice Beach (you might have seen it here), and there is no space for all that.
Through all of these years, I had a problem letting things go — not that I'm a hoarder, but you know what I mean. The way Dany explains personal space, energy and memories resonated so well, that I ended up tossing and/or donating up to 25 bags of STUFF. And I miss... NOTHING. I had to have her share these gems of knowledge with you. It's the perfect start to a New Year, and arguably better for your health than your new workout plan. Read on:
On your space and your energy:
For many people, they don't actually realize how much they value and appreciate a decluttered space (just because you have a housekeeper doesn't mean you are organized... wink wink). Everything in your home has the potential to uplift you or deplete you. Whether it is that one closet where you just shove miscellaneous items you don't want to look at, or the pile of mail sitting on your desk, or even that gift your ex-partner gave you, your space is sacred. Everything that exists in it contributes to the energy circulating in your life. Both animate and inanimate. So, whether you come home totally exhausted from a tough day at work or a relaxing day out with friends, my wish is that you never have to put blinders on. My hope is that regardless of what happened in the outside world, your space is a safe haven. It's filled with beautiful objects and open spaces — regardless of the amount of space you have, you can always create a sense of openness.
In the Eastern Tradition of Feng Shui, the main idea is that everything is energy. And when there is clutter, there is dust, and where there is clutter and there is dust, there is stagnant old energy. Whether the clutter is visible, hidden, or both, energy is stuck.
When there is no space for energy to move and flow, things in your life feel as though they are at a standstill. You carry a sense of heaviness with you. Part of that heaviness comes from the physical clutter and the other part comes from the emotional attachments you have to the things that make up the clutter. There is no void. No opening for energy to move through space with fluidity and ease. Magic happens as you clear out the clutter that has been weighing you down mentally, physically and emotionally.
What about keepsake memorabilia?
Well this is a touchy because there is no one absolute answer for this. But, I will say, I encourage my clients to start with one bin, and that first bin is the structure that determines the amount of items that they can keep. There is A LOT of variance on the size of the bin(s), what will go in it, and how it will be grouped with like items depending on the size of the clients space. However, I highly encourage everyone to go through their keepsakes AT LEAST twice a year.
Is there a space in your home that is "most important" when it comes to less clutter?
That is a trick question! Every space is the most important because every space is a part that makes up the whole. But one particular area that is really important to me is the entry way. In the section of Feng Shui that I have researched, your entryway is the part of your home that symbolizes your "career and life path." Your entryway is the first thing you see when you walk into your home. It is the first thing your guests see when they enter. You travel through this space often and having stagnant energy here stays with each time you walk in or out of the door. That being said, I truly believe every item in your home, must have "a home" of its own within it.
What is the best way to maximize storage space you have?
Well my best answer is, to purge often and acquire less. We live in a culture that tells us to consume. I mean think about it, kids get toys in their food bags at McDonalds, they get party favors from birthday parties, adults get samples with purchases made over a certain amount, I could actually go on forever. We are constantly consuming (often mindlessly), and constantly throwing things away. We don't even realize the repercussions of our trash because they are so out of sight, out of mind.
Maximize your space by only owning things you truly love and that bring you joy. Part of that also means taking into account the size of the space you live in. If you have a large home with tons of storage, that doesn't mean you should acquire a ton of stuff just because you can. However, it does mean that you can have "more" than the person who lives in the studio apartment. It isn't necessarily about becoming a minimalist either… it is about getting really honest with yourself and a bit uncomfortable as well. At first you might find the space and the openness in your drawers to means that there is emptiness. That something is missing. But I promise my friends, nothing is missing. It is in that space, that void, where the magic truly lies. Because through that space energy flows, and you get that much clearer and closer to living your best life.