Professional organizers and helpful-hint sources often recommend storage solutions such as shelves above doors and in corners, hooks on the backs of doors, and peg-board for tools and small appliances. They are masters at maximizing every square inch of a closet with bins, baskets, shelf dividers, and multiple hanging rods. What they don't realize is that, from a feng shui perspective, these techniques can cause as many problems as they solve.
For good feng shui, it's important to leave some of your storage space unused, for doors to open all the way, and to aim for visual simplicity. As you work toward achieving the organizer's dream of a place for everything and everything in its place, keep these guidelines in mind:
• Spaces that are completely full block the flow of "chi" (vital energy) into your home and your life. Full file drawers block the flow of new business; full bookcases block the flow of new information and knowledge; a full bedroom closet can block your ability to attract a new relationship, and so on. Wherever possible, keep 20-25% of your storage areas available for new ideas, relationships, and opportunities to flow your way.
• Storage units hung from the ceiling create oppressive energy that presses down on whatever is underneath them. Anything stored overhead can contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety, and overwhelm. A pot rack hanging over the stove is considered especially bad because it "weighs down" your finances.
• Shelves over a door, or on a wall beside your bed or desk have a similar oppressive effect, and can lead to headaches, poor sleep, lack of energy, or muddled thinking.
• A hook on the back of the bathroom door is fine if all you hang on it is a summer-weight robe and PJs. If the hook is piled with three terry robes and a few extra towels, so the door no longer opens all the way, that's a feng shui no-no. Never use hooks on the back of the main door to your home or on bedroom doors; it is essential that these doors open freely and completely, with nothing stored behind them. (That means removing anything stored on the floor behind the door as well.)
• Vinyl-coated wire shelves on the inside of a door can be a good way to keep lots of small items tidy; however, they should only be used on closet, cabinet, or pantry doors.
• Avoid under-bed storage if you can. If you must use this space, use it for extra bedding and for soft, seasonal clothing such as sweaters. Never store any kind of sharp objects, information (books, videos or DVDs, paperwork), or exercise equipment under the bed; you may have trouble sleeping or feel exhausted no matter how much rest you get.
• As much as possible, store things where they are accessible but out of sight. Peg board and open shelving create visual clutter, so limit these to the garage, workroom, or pantry where they won't affect the energy of the rest of the house.
• Be thoughtful about how much stuff you display in a room. Filling the den with knick-knack shelves so hubby can have his entire collection of sports memorabilia on display creates visual overwhelm. From a feng shui perspective, it's better to invest in closed storage such as drawers and cabinets and have only a few treasures on display at a time. Change the selection every three to six months, and with each rotation you'll rediscover old favorites. By displaying fewer items at a time, you'll actually enjoy and appreciate your collection more.
• Another common problem is family photos and snapshots scattered lavishly throughout every room and wall in the house. Select a dozen of the best ones, frame them attractively, and create a mini-gallery on one wall in one room or hallway. Store the rest or put them in albums. (Okay, okay, you can stick a few on the fridge, too!)
• Aesthetics are as important as functionality in feng shui. Keeping earrings and small jewelry in an ice-cube tray or egg carton works, but it's cheap-looking, cheap-feeling, and will drag your energy down every time you use it. It's okay to be budget-conscious, but appearance counts, too. A small plastic storage box is more attractive than an ice-cube tray and you can get one at your local discount, craft, or housewares store for less than three dollars. They even come in pretty colors so you can choose one to match your bedroom décor.
With these easy guidelines in mind, you can choose storage solutions that will keep your space tidy and create good feng shui in your home. For even better results, remember to get rid of clutter before you put things away. Why waste time and money finding clever storage solutions for stuff you can do without?