After lifelong upsizing and collecting stuff, there comes a time when we face downsizing. Overwhelmed by the task? How do you decide what stays and what goes? It’s best to adopt a system and work with a pattern. Feng Shui comes to the rescue with several such systems. One is the energy pattern of the five elements, also called the five dynamics, water, wood, fire, earth and metal.
• As you contemplate your approach, let your ideas germinate in a crystal bowl of clear water.
• Then, try a fountain and use the energy of flowing water to make your next move.
• Use plants for wood energy to help with decision-making and flexibility. Upward growing plants are better than droopy plants. Flowering plants or bouquets symbolize the blossoming of future accomplishments.
• If a huge mess of unwanted stuff piles up, you could visualize a bon fire and watch it all go up in flames. Celebrate with a toast to minimalism! Since fire energy gives joy and charisma, wear a red shirt, burn a candle and work under a bright light to illuminate your project as well as your mental acuity.
• Earth energy will help with stabilizing emotions that flare up with memory-laden objects. Donations are nurturing and community oriented. Selling collectibles in garage or estate sales are neighborhood events and draw people together.
• Metal is the final, consolidating and contracting energy. Metal will help you focus and take pride in your downsizing efforts by closing the chapter of excess and lightening the burden of possessions. Create your own protocol and stick to your organizing principles.
Still Overwhelmed? Try additional patterns. Feng Shui recommends engaging all the senses:
• For visual satisfaction, create to-do-lists that you can checkmark as you go. Use colorful notepads or markers.
• Play uplifting music and listen to your favorite tunes. You could do a sing-a-long as you sort your CDs or old audio tapes.
• For olfactory stimulation essential oils have a wide range of beneficial fragrances; try rosemary for clarity of mind, wild orange or other citrus oils for boosting your energy level, lemon for cleansing, eucalyptus for deep breathing, geranium for decision-making, and many others for multiple benefits.
• Your taste buds will awaken if you put a drop of peppermint oil into a glass of water.
• Your sense of touch is a useful sorting tool if you touch each item and ask yourself, do I need it? Do I love it? Is it a yes, or a no, or a maybe?
File drawers and boxes with papers are most difficult and time consuming to sort and organize. We like to work with categories and find that the feng shui bagua is useful in setting up separate units for what belongs together. The eight or nine units of the bagua will accommodate everything from family and community to business and financial records. If you plan autobiographical writing, keep all related materials in the legacy category. Important cards and letters can be bundled and saved in a relationship box. Label boxes carefully on the outside to know contents at a glance. Arrange them in a bagua pattern with immediate “Now” as the most accessible and “Future” boxes in the far corner. Your brain will reward you with easy access and a readily available memory pattern.