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Tackle Your Paper Clutter with Feng Shui

Just as plants grow best when winter detritus is cleared, we grow and thrive best when our environments are set up to support and nourish us.

One major way to do that is by clearing our own detritus—clutter.

The biggest clutter issue for many of my clients is paper—it just keeps accumulating! Huge piles of paper create a negative atmosphere in any space. They’re overwhelming and intimidating, and are likely to represent either unfinished business or materials you need that haven’t found a home.

From a Feng Shui perspective paper is essentially “dead trees,” so keep your environment feeling vital and alive by clearing out anything that’s unnecessary.

Here are a few tips to put into place right now that will bring a vital new feeling into your space.

1. Dealing with mail
Set up a spot as close to your front door as possible for dealing with incoming mail. Make sure it includes a surface you can work on, a good-quality letter-opener, a pair of scissors and—very important—a recycling container or waste basket.

Use this place to sort through your mail every day, immediately throwing out junk mail, catalogs, etc., that you don’t need or aren’t interested in. When the recycling container gets full, it’s well-positioned to be taken out and discarded, and you’re guaranteed that less unnecessary paper will make it very far into your home.

2. Paying bills
If you haven’t started paying bills online, now’s the time to start. You’ll save paper from coming in, save postage, and save some measure of sanity by having to keep track of the bills around your home. It’s easy, it’s efficient, and it’s ecologically wise.

3. Putting paper in its place
When’s the last time you cleaned out your file cabinet? It’s something that needs to be done at least once a year, both to get rid of things that are no longer useful to you, and also to make room for projects, receipts, and other paper that needs a home. Devoting just one half-hour to this project every day for a week (or less!) will reduce the piles and create a channel for paper to move more easily through your space.