HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for winter to come to an end. Adios thermal underwear, hello shorts! Happily, the spring equinox occurs on March 20th this year, which is today! The equinox marks the two times each year at which day and night are equally balanced. In Feng Shui philosophy, the vernal equinox indicates the moment at which the excess of dark, cold, passive yin energy shifts into balance with the bright, hot, active yang energy. We move away from the extended hours of darkness and move into the longer daylight hours. Most importantly, it symbolizes a time for a new cycle of growth and expansion. We spent the last few months hibernating in winter, and now is the time when the energy of spring sprouts and pushes through the dormant earth. Feng Shui principles encourage us to peek into those dark closets, open up all the windows, and really start shifting the energy in our spaces. In Feng Shui, we seek to release stale stuck energy and welcome in new vibrant life energy. Appropriately enough, according to the Chinese Almanac, this year’s spring equinox falls on a day that’s not much good for anything but substantial cleaning and repairs to your home or workspace. So what better way to observe the vernal equinox than to start some eco-spring cleaning with the help of a little Feng Shui?
1. Look Under Your Bed
Our beds are tied closely to our personal energy, but we often forgot or avoid cleaning underneath them. While you’re down there, maybe it’s time to reorganize and clear out anything you have stored that hasn’t been used in the last three years. Donate to those that can use them. Clutter under the bed symbolizes subconscious blocks in your personal life and relationships. After you’ve cleared everything out, clean up the dust with a vacuum, or my favorite eco-cleaning tool – a microfiber mop or cloth. Not only does the microfiber do a superb job of picking up the dust and dirt without water, it’s reusable. You can throw it in the wash and use it over and over again.
2. De-Clutter Your Closet
As you pack up your sweaters, thermal underwear and other winter clothing, set aside a box for items that have not been worn in the last three years. Then do the same as you unpack your spring and summer closet. If there are things that are in poor condition, you can still donate those items to textile recycling. There are organizations that collect usable as well as unusable clothing and shoes. The unusable shoes and textiles can be made into rags or shredded and recycled for other uses. Keep in mind that in Feng Shui, if your closet is full you will have room for nothing new. This applies literally and metaphorically. If your closet is so full, you will have no space to accept new opportunities. There is no room to grow. So, recycle anything that you don’t need, and create a vacuum for the universe to bring something new and fantastic in your life.
3. Deep Clean the Refrigerator
The refrigerator is an important appliance in your home, and it represents boundaries in life and how you nourish yourself. It’s a good idea to have a well-stocked refrigerator, but not too full and not too empty. Or as we say in Feng Shui, not too yin, and not too yang. With our spring cleaning considerations, it’s an opportunity to deep clean and de-cluttter. Empty out the refrigerator and remove anything expired, old and/or spoiled. Spoiled and expired food symbolizes neglect of one’s overall health. If possible, compost the organic material, or find a compost drop off location and recycle or reuse the glass and plastic containers. When you clean the interior of the refrigerator, I prefer to use natural non-toxic cleaners such as baking soda to scrub and a mixture of vinegar, water and eucalyptus essential oil to wipe down and disinfect. Then open up a new container of baking soda to absorb any odors in your newly organized and clean refrigerator.
4. Open Up and Clean the Windows
In Feng Shui, the windows represent the eyes and mouths of the inhabitants of the home. Therefore windows should be kept in good repair and operable. Dirty and dusty windows can affect your ability to see and communicate with the world. Cleaning the glass as well as the frames and sills of your windows is definitely an essential checklist item. Instead of a toxic commercial glass cleaner, try a green option or make your own using 1 part vinegar and 1 part water with newsprint. Once your windows are squeaky clean, not only will your home look brighter and cleaner, you will also be able to see clearly into the world around you.
5. Check Your Front Door
Walk outside to your front door, and take a good look at what you see. Make sure to clean your front door of any dirt and dust. Clean around and inside the door jamb and frame as well as the edges of the door, where dust collects – these areas are often overlooked. Take care to sweep under the welcome mat, and the whole entry area in general, including any dark corners. It also may be time to get a new welcome mat. Ideally you want to get one that is almost the same width as your front door. The entry to your living space is something you see everyday as you come home, and it affects you and your mood. The influence of a clean and cared for entry will give your home and your visitors a sense of place and stability.
Anjie Cho is the founder of Holistic Spaces and Anjie Cho Architect, integrating beauty, spirituality and green design. She creates and enhances balance and harmony by designing spaces with an understanding of sustainability and informed by the ancient practice of feng shui. Anjie is a licensed Architect, LEED Accredited Professional, and practices BTB Feng Shui. She received a BA in Architecture from the College of Environmental Design at the University of California at Berkeley. With over a decade of experience, Anjie has designed high end residential and commercial spaces throughout New York City, the Tri-State area, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She is available for projects of all sizes, from a two hour feng shui consultation to a full 20,000 sf gut renovation.
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5 Ways To Kick Off Your Green Spring Cleaning With Feng Shui Principles