By Kathryn Weber
One of the frequent targets of feng shui is clutter, and rightly so. Clutter drains our life energies, saps on mental energy and drowns us in the possessions that we once took interest in to where they simply take over our homes, and our lives, in some instances.
It doesn’t matter how a collection starts, but what begins as an interest or even a gift, can go quickly from interesting to overwhelming. The energy of the collection then begins to take on a life of its own.
Think about people who have collections that you may have known….or your own.
Maybe you saw their house went from seemingly normal to feeling somewhat odd or sometimes obsessive, depending on the collection. That’s how fast collections can get out of hand.
Sometimes a collection was never the goal, but they happened anyway.
Like the funny camel your brother gave you and then suddenly, you’re getting camels for every occasion and from everyone. Camels begin to take over your life until you don’t see the camels anymore. All you see is clutter and stuff everywhere.
Or worse, when you look at your camels you just see your Great Aunt Martha when she so lovingly gave you the camel she bought on her bus trip to Pike’s Peak, but now she’s gone and that camel is your connection to her.
But it really isn’t. It was the times you shared with your aunt that mattered, not the camel.
If you have a collection and are not sure if it’s draining or benefitting your life, give these thoughts some consideration. You might not even have a camel but realize there might be some items you’re living with that have gotten out of control.
Is it still interesting to you?
Maybe you loved collecting tennis visors from every hotel you visited years ago, but do you still feel the same? If you don’t still have a passion for tennis visors, that’s OK. It’s alright if you grow and change and no longer feel the same way. If so, donate them – or sell them on Ebay. There’s always someone willing to buy a full “set” of anything.
Is your collection/clocks/visors/spoons/fill in the blank with your item the first thing people notice when they come to your house?
When you’ve been collecting a long time, you may not even notice your collection after a while. But if visitors notice your hats/dolls/porcelain pigs/thing that’s gotten out of control the first thing when they come in and comment on it, you might have become blind to how much your collection has overtaken your home.
Does your collection enhance your home or overrun it?
Take a good, hard look. Does your collection seem interesting or odd? A preoccupation with garden gnomes everywhere make tip the scales toward eccentric…and that’s when the collection can become yin. Instead of lifting up the energy of the home, the collection starts taking the house backwards. The collection drains the energy of the home’s occupants to the point that they’re fatigued, feel uninspired in life and the house seems listless and dull.
Does your collection make you happy?
Again, this could be blindness setting in. If you’ve grown out of your awareness of your collection and don’t really notice it anymore, then ask yourself if it’s still making you happy. If not, it might be time to pass it on, donate it or throw it away.
Are you or your house overwhelmed by your collection?
You might not even notice when a collection has become so large it ceases to be interesting, and is energetically taking over your home in a way that you’ve not noticed, much like the frog that doesn’t realize he’s being boiled to death raising the temperature one degree at a time.
Is your home balanced?
Balance is an important part of feng shui. Just like it’s easier to drink water from a glass than it is from a fire hose, it is hard to succeed in life when your home is overrun by a collection. Even family photos can grow out of control, covering every inch of wall space.
Stand back and really look at your home. Has your attachment to certain items turned into a collection that you didn’t even know you had – like all the old electronics you can’t seem to get rid of or the old magazines you’ve been saving?
Is your attachment to your collection out of an emotional attachment?
A client once has a collection of baby dolls that she started after her daughter died at age 3, a time when little girls start playing with baby dolls. She’d never made the link that the baby dolls she collected were connected to her daughter’s death, but once she did, she was able to donate her collection to a doll museum, and more importantly, move past her grief once and for all.