Spring cleaning can feel good — until you accidentally inhale harsh chemicals and get a headache, that is. This year, when I did my annual apartment spring clean, I opted for a feng shui approach. Feng shui cleaning focuses on creating more chi energy, or life energy, in the home. This "chi" energy can be blocked by clutter and grime, which creates a depressed state. According to feng shui principles, our homes are a mirror of what's happening inside us, so clearing them out using a few simple tips can literally give us a mental lift, creating opportunities and improving mental energy. Sounds better than bleach, if you ask me.
I know it might sound hokey, and it might be more mental rather than scientific, but applying a feng shui approach to cleaning made organizing my space feel like less of a chore for me. When vacuuming, scrubbing, and clearing out closets is more about creating wealth, bringing balance, and opening yourself up to romantic opportunities... well, suddenly, cleaning feels like it has more of a purpose.
How about a list of ways to freshen your apartment for spring, using some simple feng shui tips? Here are nine pointers to get you started.
1. Minimize clutter in the kitchen for better health
To do this, take everything out of the cabinets, survey what you have, and get rid of stuff you don't use. Throw away spoiled food and condiments, and donate food that you have not used in six months or longer. The purpose is to create space. Think about bringing whole foods, live plants, and potted herbs into the kitchen. The more "alive" the kitchen is, the healthier you will feel.
2. Use orange-infused vinegar for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens
This isn't exactly feng shui, but I love how this easy-to-make natural cleanser smells, and the fact that it is non-toxic makes me happier about wiping down surfaces. Even though vinegar is not inherently feng shui, it is very feng shui to completely clear off and wipe down all counters and surfaces, removing anything that can create stagnant energy — like grimy counters and moldy kitchens. Then, when you put everything back, put it away in cabinets. Keep surfaces clear of clutter.
3. While cleaning the bathroom, think clean lines, use a tea tree oil candle, and add air-purifying plants
Bathrooms should be clean, spare, relaxing, and all about purification. Remove any unneeded objects, including those half-empty bottles of conditioner you never use, then scrub it down with that orange-infused vinegar stuff. I also loved using a tea tree oil candle because it purifies and detoxifies the air, as do plants. Succulents are a great option for bathrooms because they hardly need any water — and they work hard to clean the air.
4. In the bedroom, de-clutter closets
Bad chi energy hides out in hidden spaces, too. A cluttered closet means stagnant energy. Get rid of any clothes you don't wear, and make room for a new you. (And possibly some new spring outfits!)
5. Think of your bed as your symmetrical palace of peace
Your bed, too, should reflect an inner peace. Feng shui suggests arranging your bed so that you can see your door easily, and it also suggests having the same nightstand and lamp on both sides of the bed to reflect equality and balance. Using warm, sensual colors on your bed will promote rest and a healthy sex life.
6. Use coconut oil for polishing furniture
This isn't exactly a feng shui principle, but I loved using this instead of harsh chemical-y stuff. It smells so much better than Pine-Sol.
7. Buy plants and bamboo, and put them everywhere, especially by the door
Plants are alive, and live things create a living "buzz" in your home. I'd recommend a rubber plant or two if you don't have a green thumb. They need very little, and they scrub the air free of chemicals and toxins. Place bamboo in a vase by the door to welcome good energy. It never dies, looks elegant, and doesn't need watering! Use two pieces of bamboo if you are looking to attract a partner.
8. Burn a sage stick to neutralize any negative energy remaining
OK, this might be a bit hokey, but honestly, sage smells really good even if you don't believe in its cleaning powers. And based on feng shui principles, a sage smudge makes sense — a sage burning announces that an old cycle is ending and a new one is beginning. Perfect for spring! Experts suggests burning one end of the sage bundle, holding a ceramic dish underneath to catch the ash. Waft the smoke in a figure eight pattern, moving it into all corners and negative spaces to cleanse the air of winter's woes.
9. After smudging, open up windows AND doors
This lets the bad, stuck energy flow out of the apartment, letting that "fresh air" your mom said was good for you into your newly renovated space. Opening doors and windows is key — this creates a pathway for the good stuff to come in and the bad stuff to exit for good!