I recently reclaimed a space in our home for a dedicated office. This space had been meant to be my office for years, actually. But through a series of events in my personal life that brought chaos to our home, I had to leave it for awhile. We had to focus on the rest of the house, ensuring bedrooms were appointed and other living spaces were set. And my “office” became that catch-all room of camping and Christmas and all things miscellaneous. Do you have that kind of room? I imagine you know the one I mean. It’s fairly common. And it drains us more than we realize, even when we aren’t in it day to day.
CLUTTER & CLARITY CONNECTION
I have always felt as though there was an energy aspect to our clutter – a negative one, specifically. I believe our clutter blocks good energy from coming into and flowing through our lives. It’s a little woo-woo perhaps, but I’m ok with that. The thing is, clutter is very much an actual block and studies are showing the link to our minds as well. Anxiety and overwhelm do NOT inspire productivity and the pursuit of success, regardless of your definition. So I don’t think it’s that far off to suggest the concept of energy flow. Even if you aren’t completely sure what it is that clutter creates, I’m sure you can agree that it’s not something you want. Clutter distracts and deters. And in most circumstances, it’s avoidable and removable.
When designing my “new” office, my first goal was to declutter the space and organize what items I had to work with so that I’d have a functional office. I was working with a budget and knew we had a lot of pieces that had potential. At one time we’d had a desk and bookshelf set, so I planned to pull them together. I went up to the space and began the process like I do with any client:
- Begin with an understanding of the purpose of the room. Mine was an office for me, but I knew I would need the closet for family seasonal storage.
- Prep with many garbage bags, some for garbage and some for donation. Have boxes and bins ready too, as well as some basic cleaning supplies. (Dusting supplies are especially important when you are working with a space that’s been cluttered for awhile.)
- Begin where you are. Pick up the first item and ask yourself if it belongs in the room or not. If it does, designate a spot to place it with others like it (e.g., books, office supplies). If it doesn’t belong in the room, decide on a category – keep elsewhere, toss, or donate. Create bags and bins for these things.
- Once you have only what’s meant for the room, begin the process of structuring the space.
Keep in mind as you organize that you have the option to change it up. More often than not trial and error is necessary to create a space that works for you. You need to live and work in a space to really know if it’s organized correctly for you.
UPLEVELING THE FENG-TIONALITY
Once I had the basic office in place, I wanted to tweak it to serve me in my quest for success. This meant creating a space that doesn’t just work, but inspires. This is where some design work comes into play as beauty and personalizing play an important role in such a space. My go-to for stepping up the style and flow was some very basic Bagua-based Feng Shui. I used a map from Go With Harmony I found on Pinterest. (I’ve been keeping a board for Feng Shui if you’re curious about it.) Feng Shui’s principles for an office:
“A neat office inspires confidence and states you’re in control of your business. It also allows positive chi energy to enter and move about your office.”
Please note that I am not truly versed in Feng Shui, but rather using it as an inspiration to create a space that literally and figuratively “flows”. I break many of the rules, but the ones I have selected I believe really work.
To bring in “Feng Shui Flair” I started with the Bagua map for “theme” segments of the room (relationships, weath, career, travel, etc.) I liked the idea of bringing in design elements that gave a nod to those topics. There is also a rule about desk placement. There are “command positions” for desks so that you’re able to see who is coming in and out of the door. It protects you and keeps you safe. You are aware. (I turned the desk 90 degrees from the picture above and it works great.) What’s funny is, I’ve never wanted my back to the door. Do you? I’ve always felt uncomfortable with that from a practical standpoint. I thought it might have to do with mafia connections from an unknown past (ha!) but Feng Shui principles give much more energy-focused reasons for why I should feel this way. Another great reason? You see opportunities coming in your door. Works for me!
I’ve also included artwork and colors that touch upon the various aspects of my life and have limited desktop and other clutter. I’m doing my best to keep things minimal and have removed a significant amount from the room. Some of the placement isn’t ideal, but it’s the best I can do with the space and represents a combination of these principles and my own needs, so I am happy with the results.
As I sit at my desk typing, I can see who is coming in the door and I can gaze out the window, which is a perfect combination. As a matter of fact, I was so inspired recently, I took a video of the breeze and birds and sounds of nature. The space is so inspiring, I had to write about it.
So my style is, yet again, a bit of a hybrid. (Those who know me aren’t shocked.) It’s functional meets Feng Shui. I’m calling it Feng-tional. (Should I trademark that now?)
If you’d like to take a step in this direction as well, here is my very basic take on Feng Shui for your office:
- Clear the clutter from the space and think of the energy (Chi) just as you would the air flowing.
- Open windows if you can and allow for an airing of the space. There is something to the traditional of spring cleaning.
- Use various colors to inspire and energize your space (e.g., red stimulates)
- Place your desk in a command position to allow you maximum visibility.
As you can see, these work brilliantly with traditional organizing and a bit of design too. And I do believe that even partial effort on this will get you more than partial benefits.
Have you ever tried Feng Shui in a room or ever wondered how you might? Do you think there is something to it? Have you felt the shift in energy in a space when you’ve removed clutter? Please comment below and share your thoughts. As always, I welcome you to contact me if you have additional questions or ideas or if you’d like to explore a Feng-tional space with me.