A disorganised dwelling leads to confusion so take control of clutter – you’ll feel better for it.
Feng shui consultant Pat Duggan holds a cleansing ritual in his home on the first day of spring, February 1, St. Bridget’s Day. “We let go of all the old year’s energy and bring in the new, concluding our ceremony by taking down the old St Bridget’s crosses and replacing them with new ones to protect us from negative or toxic energy entering our home from the front or back of the house,” he says.
Pat recommends we do the same when we need to make changes in our lives. “It’s worthwhile whenever you want to make a fresh start, if you’re moving house, want to improve your luck or relationships, to clear out other people’s negative energy, after someone has been ill or there’s been a death in the family, or simply to cheer yourself up.”
As well as leaving you with a clearer head, getting back to basics will boost your health. Dust mites are a common cause of allergies and a single bed can hold over a million. They are also in carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains, matresses and box springs, bedding, pillows and soft toys. Vaccum using special filters to trap allergens and zap the bugs by hot washing, freezing or putting items in the tumble drier.
Mould and mildew in bathrooms, fridge door gaskets, fridge cooling coils, underneath sinks, in washing machines and bins also cause allergies.
Kickstart your home detox diet by opening windows, airing matresses and burning essential oils such as bergamot or jasmine. Then it’s time for some elbow grease, Kim and Aggie style. Start upstairs and move from wet to dry rooms. Purge the hotpress. In the kitchen, target the oven, fridge, and overburdened presses. Clean surfaces, mirrors, windows, doors and doorknobs, wall tiles, and floors. Spot wash walls and leave dusting until vacuuming.
Be ruthless with clothes you’ve been hoarding and donate them to charity. Bin broken items. If rooms are clogged up by excess furniture, create a better flow by downsizing and rearranging. Take action on repairs and hanging pictures. Once you’ve cleared the clutter, don’t let it build up again, especially on stairs and hallways where it can be downright dangerous.
Carefully consider all new purchases and if you buy, banish something to make room for it. “All items that have already found their way into your home should have a place to live. If they haven’t, put things away in easily accessible storage such as concertina files, drawers and boxes. There should also be places for in-between items – clothes that you have worn and plan to wear again or magazines that are half read,” advises Josephine Collins, author of ‘Detox for Life’ (Ryland Peters & Small.)
After the cleaning and clearing is complete, she recommends refreshing the energy in the house by adding fresh flowers or plants. Just don’t go for cactus in the bedroom – it may repel others!
- If building or renovating, make storage a priority. Architects can advise on sleek solutions in wall-mounted storage; combining concealed storage with open displays; and incorporating bookshelves over doors or around staircases.
- In small spaces, insist everything works. Think of creating a utility area under the stairs; opt for wall-mounted racks; put raised beds in children’s bedrooms; and provide built-in furniture.
- Think dual-purpose – coffee tables with hidden storage; footstools with lids; beds with drawers; and boxes on castors that double as seats.
- Invest in storage such as leather boxes or canvas hanging storage; trolleys; pop-up laundry bins and CD towers. Buy see-through boxes for shoes and accessories.
- Accessories such as wallmounted coat hooks and keyholders can combine practicality and style.
For home offices that are part of another room, a foldway desk will curb clutter.