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Feng Shui for Small Spaces

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Feng Shui for Small Spaces

By Erica Sofrina, author of Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World

If you live in a small place you must be committed to becoming a minimalist or you will forever feel overwhelmed by your living space. With a little planning you can pull it off and enjoy the deeper satisfaction a life that is not encumbered by stuff, allowing you greater mobility and the comfort of knowing you are leaving a much lighter footprint on the planet.

First, I would like to say that Feng Shui is about much more than organizing — but in dealing with small spaces, organizing becomes paramount. Please see my past articles on Yin and Yang, The Five Elements, Charting the Energy Centers, Feng Shui for Offices, Kitchens, Bedrooms and Family Rooms. All of these same principles will apply to small spaces, with the addition of a little adapting.

When you live in a small space you want to carefully access every object you put into it. Pretend you are living on a boat and think- efficiency! The one bowl you choose to keep in the kitchen should be something you love that can serve multiple purposes. A vegetable peeler doubles as a zester. Edit your plates to  six favorite ones and have them double as serving platters. The goal is to create a peaceful space where every object you select brings  joy and moves your life  forward. It should fall into the category of useful, absolutely necessary, or something that inspires and uplifts. Become committed to the three R’s – Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and I would add a fourth-Revitalize!

I asked my Professional Organizer friend Jeri Dansky what kind of advice she gives to clients who live in small spaces and she shared these great ideas.

Pearls of Widom from Professional Organizer Jeri Dansky:

1. Be very thoughtful about what you save.

Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home or office? Is it useful – like a toaster, or a shredder, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring – something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value – one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.

If you have limited space, you probably don’t have room for things that are just OK. Try to surround yourself with things that make your life easier, or make your heart sing.

2. If there’s something you use very infrequently, do you need to own it? Could you borrow it or rent it when you need it ?

3. You can limit the amount of space you’re willing to give to any type of item: only the books that fit on the bookshelf, only the toys that fit in the bins, only the greeting cards that fit in the box you designate for that kind of memorabilia.

4. Regarding the sentimental stuff: Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go.

5. For children’s art projects and schoolwork: Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” – but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child colored in a form.

6. Make use of all the space you have. Sometimes that means adding a shelf to a cabinet, so the space can be used better. Sometimes that means putting artwork on the inside of cabinet doors. Sometimes that means using the walls – adding hooks, for example.

7. Pick your storage containers wisely. Square or rectangular pieces make better use of limited space than do round containers.

Wicker Baskets are attractive storage containers that can be slipped under things and stacked on shelves. Cubes double as storage, extra seating and as a coffee table. Found at Pottery Barn.

8. Keep the clutter from ever entering your space. Again, this matters for everyone – but even more in a small space. Get off junk mailing lists. (See http://www.recycleworks.org/junkmail/residential.html) Stop taking free samples of products you don’t really want. And leave the hotel toiletries in the hotel.

9. You may not have room to be a Costco shopper. If you don’t have room to easily store large quantities of products, limit how much you buy – especially for things you don’t run through quickly. (But do make sure you have emergency supplies: sufficient water, appropriate food items, etc.)

To Jeri’s pearls of wisdom I would add a few more tips…

Next: 8 more tips for living in small spaces

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Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at www.ericasofrina.com.

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Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World

By Erica Sofrina A Simple Guide to Feng Shui for our Western Lifestylesbuy now

187 comments

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4:13AM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

thank you

4:36AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

interesting ideas. if you are unfortunate to be in a small space, you should question if you could upscale if it's really causing problems [we were renting a 2 bedroomed small bungalow and have been able to buy a 3 bedroomed house=so much more space!] but it's the way you deal with space. we have an attic, so all boxes are packed and up there. rucksacks and camping stuff up there too. basically anything i don't want in the shed. and in the shed, i have plastic shelves for storing items on.

our kitchen and bathroom need serious modernisation not only for aesthetics, but because i am disabled, i'm not able to use a lot of it properly. the bathroom and toilet is separate, so we are going to knock down the partition wall and put in a hot water shower as it's more efficient than an electric one. the extra space will mean we can put things in the bathroom as there is no space in there now. the door takes up the floor space and there is a window on the other wall, so no room to put up shelves.

so sometimes it's down to doing what you need to do to get more space; and shop at ikea!

6:19AM PDT on Mar 31, 2012

Thanks for sharing!!

4:42AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Thanks for all the great tips.

7:54AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Thanks for the idea of having a picture of a landscape in front of me! I switched places for two pictures so that the one from my childhood summer paradise (my Granny's place by the Oulu river) now is in front of me. What a difference! Breathtaking is the first word I came to think of!

8:58AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

You are...how you live ;-)

4:46PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Thanks for the information.

9:21PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Thank you

12:38PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Very cool ideas. Definitely will be useful when I move into my new apartment!

7:55AM PST on Nov 17, 2011

These are great tips to keep in mind. I have a small living space so it's important that I keep streamlined and organized for the sake of comfort and to help keep the door open for positive energy. Thanks Erica!

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