Your home is your safe space. It’s where you eat, sleep, and spend most of your days. So, it’s only natural to want to optimize it in order to create a serene, creative, and healthy oasis. That’s where feng shui—the ancient Chinese art of arranging buildings, objects, and space to promote peace, balance, and good fortune—comes in. If you want to cultivate good feng shui, there are a few easy ways to start—for example, by getting rid of items that actively work against the principles of the practice. Read on to discover the six things feng shui experts want you to throw out right now.
The artwork you choose to put in your space is up to you. However, if you want your home to be a feng shui oasis, you may want to skip those eerier pieces. “If it is dark, sad, or scary, then that’s the energy you’re promoting in your home,” says Kendra Gardner, an architect, designer, and feng shui expert. “Your home reflects your dreams and desires. Do you desire what those images are representing? If not, why encourage that energy in your home?”
This same principle applies to using items like axes and swords as decorations. “These weapons are considered inauspicious and can lead to bad luck or injuries in your home,” says Gardner. If you prefer more jarring artwork and feel it serves you, Gardner recommends keeping it out of the bedroom and away from places where guests would encounter it.
As for the items you should swap instead? “Good artwork examples can include plants and flowers, ocean and lakes, as well as waterfalls,” says Berry. “That will not only inspire growth and creativity but also prosperity and the flow of money into the home.”
Sure, your great-grandmother may have loved that creepy doll collection, but that doesn’t mean you have to. If an unwanted antique or gift is given to you, consider rehoming it with someone who will value it. “Whether they are displayed throughout the home or relegated to a storage container, these items are keeping the home’s energy mired in the past,” says Berry. “It is best to get rid of undesired family gifts, supposed treasures, and antiques that have no real value to successfully move on.” Your local auction house or donation center will be more than happy to take these items off your hands.
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In most cases, plants improve the feng shui of your home. Unfortunately for those of us with a black thumb, that’s not true with cacti, despite being easy to care for. “Those plants have points that are sending prickly energy to everyone in the space,” says Gardner. “They serve as protection if used on the exterior, but I would avoid using them inside.” She also recommends against choosing plants and trees that grow downward, such as a weeping willow. “I love these trees and they are beautiful, but that energy is low and encouraging things to move downward.”
Many of the spaces in our home serve a variety of purposes. Your dining room is your office, your living room is your daycare, and, maybe, your bedroom is your gym. But if you can avoid that, you should. “The bedroom is a room that evokes play, not work,” says Berry. “Also, using and storing an exercise bike or stair climber in the boudoir will contribute to exhausting and arduous relationships.” Similarly, you’ll want to remove technology like TVs, laptops, and tablets, which give off too much energy and brightness. “Your bedroom is for sleep and romance, and that’s it,” says Gardner.
Unfortunately, not all greenery is good greenery. Past-prime flowers—and even purposefully pressed flowers—can throw off your home’s feng shui. “Dried flowers are dead and that is an energy you don’t want to encourage in your home,” says Gardner. “If you have a black thumb, use faux flowers instead.” She says these flower lookalikes are almost as good as the real thing. That, in turn, will bring serenity and joy, so you can experience the true benefits of the art of feng shui.
Clutter is a more general concept—disordered shoe collections, overflowing snack shelves, and too-full junk drawers—but it’s something we all struggle with. If your clutter is constant, take note. “Clutter in any area blocks the flow of chi, therefore stifling creativity, good health, and success,” says intuitive coach and feng shui expert Angela Lenhardt.
One place you’ll want to focus your decluttering efforts is your closet. “Closets represent the home’s capacity to be receptive,” says feng shui consultant Linda Berry. “Keeping them stuffed with non-useful items and clothing, sports equipment, and just plain junk cuts the energy off from helpful people, experiences, and situations.” She recommends clearing them out to be at least one-third empty to lift that burden.