Free Your Space:You say tomato, I say…feng shui

Feng shui, pronounced “fung
shway,” is the Chinese practice of placement and design of man-made structures
as they relate to the natural world.
It is used to promote prosperity and the flow of positive energy. The principals of feng shui may be applied to any number of things or spaces. For instance: an outdoor walkway or the
layout of furniture in a room.

recently participated in a training on how feng
can be used to help with organizing and room design. I am going to share here some of the
basics with you so that, if you are interested, you can assess your own space.

start off, the literal English translation of “feng-shui” is “wind-water”.
As it is important that wind and water each be free to flow, so too in
your home, the placement of a large piece of furniture in a small hallway
becomes an obstruction to the path and flow of the space. Conversely, there are times and places
wind and water need to be guided or controlled so that they flow smoothly and
not too fast – i.e. a meandering path through a garden may be preferable to a
straight one when trying to create a peaceful atmosphere and artistic display
of flowers and plants.

there is the idea of “Bagua
mapping. In feng shui natural elements, colors and directions (north, south,
etc.) represent all parts of life.
The aspects of life represented are career, relationship, family, wealth,
health, friends, creativity, knowledge, and reputation. The way in which energy flows through
certain areas of the home is seen as source of the energy flow in our
lives. A bedroom is a source of
emotional and relationship health and a kitchen, a source of physical health
and wealth. The map can also be applied to
a single room.

I must stop here to confess that there is a wing-back chair in the corner of my
bedroom next to and behind which I have stored (more like stashed) some
items. Upon learning about the Bagua map and purveying my own home to
see how we were fairing, I realized that this chair was in the “relationship”
corner of my bedroom! I did not
divulge this information to my husband right away. Instead, I spent two restless nights bothered not only by
the stuff that I knew I didn’t want to have there in the first place, but now
by the implications of all that stuff – Aah! Two days later, my husband heard my confession while I
purged and found homes for the remainder.

final feng shui tidbit I will share
is that in each room there is a “command” position. This is a spot that gives good visibility of the entire room,
especially of the entrances, giving the best visual advantage. It is where (depending on the room) one
would place their desk, bed, couch or stove. It was pointed out that, ironically, it is the T.V. that is
often found in the command position.

am, admittedly, not an expert in the art of feng
and seriously do not put too much weight into creating happiness in my
life through the placement of a couch, nevertheless many of my organizing
practices tend toward the values and principles of space-clearing and design
embodied in this Eastern art. The
bottom line: live in harmony with the peace and beauty of the world. Free your space, free your life.

Annette Reyman is a member of the National Association of Professional
Organizers and its Philadelphia Chapter. View her Web site at
To contact Annette for organizing work or speaking engagements in the Greater
Philadelphia area call (908) 361-7105 or email her at



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