7 Tips to Help a Hoarder with Feng Shui

Chi/energy becomes stuck in a hoarded home

Chi/energy becomes stuck in a hoarded home

It is bizarre – I literally had the book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter in my hand this morning, and then lo-and-behold her newsletter pops into my inbox not a few minutes later, which then led me to another article on her blog titled: Can a Hoarder be Helped with Feng Shui?

I have been helping hoarders to declutter for a number of years now and I am always interested on other’s experiences on what has worked or what hasn’t so this article was perfect for me. I am guessing it will be for you too! Read on…

I recently had a consultation with a full-on hoarder, so I thought I’d share some ideas on this subject in case you aren’t sure if you are one, or in case you know someone who is but doesn’t know it. I don’t really think that the label is necessary mind you, but if it helps, as in this case, I say use it.

I have helped and have seen other colleagues of mine help the chronically cluttered and the hopelessly hoarded. It can be done. I admire the friends and family members that try to take this job on for their lived ones. My caveat to you before helping is that you support yourself as much as possible first.

1. Make sure you have a clean, neat home that makes you feel alive and vital, so that when returning from helping your friend or family member, you can rebuild your personal energy. Just like the hoarder, you can’t afford to have anything dead (plants, animals or people in urns,) dirt, clutter, grime, or anything that is sitting on the floor (like a stack of magazines, boxes of papers or tools, etc.) or anything that has literally not moved in your home for years.

2. Give your furnishing a little shake and wipe-down to freshen-up the energy.

3. Open a window to exchange the air.

4. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT bring anything home from the hoarder’s home and place it in yours – I don’t care how much room you’ve got to spare. Results I’ve seen from taking this on are weight gain and lung issue ailments.

5. A space clearing or ground  blessing may help start the process (rituals can be helpful in helping the person who needs the help to actually switch from being resistant to being willing to see from a different perspective and want to change.) You can use salt with the intention of absorbing negative energy (place a bowl of salt water on the front porch and invite stale energies out to be transformed into positive energy or released from the home – warning this is akin to the house throwing up which actually may make the client feel nauseous.)

You can also ring bells, bang drums or pots and pans or even play loud classical music as you circle the house (or property, as I’ve seen hoarding in the form of many cars on the property.) There are many other space clearing rituals out there – look one up and try it. I like the ones in my friend Denise Linn’s book Sacred Space.

Read the entire article here.

Send Kerri to China (it’s for a good cause!)

I am the one on the left...

I am so excited – I am taking the trip of a lifetime to walk the Great Wall of China to help my beloved bears find freedom and a new home!

I’m raising much needed funds in the China Moon Bear Challenge for Animals Asia to assist them with the vital work they do in trying to make the horrible practice of bear farming a thing of the past!


The China Moon Bear Challenge aims to raise funds to continue the rescue and rehabilitation of Moon Bears from the extremely cruel practice of bear bile farming inChina, and bring them to the sanctuary inChengdu,Sichuan Province to live out their lives freely in a beautiful bamboo forest without pain or fear.

In the bile farms, the bears experience unimaginable horror by spending all day, every day, in tight, coffin-sized cages for as long as 25 years. They are milked daily (usually twice) for their bile in an excruciatingly painful process through crude (often filthy) implanted catheters and are sometimes  fitted with an iron corset to hold the catheters in place.

The bears moan and writhe in pain as the bile drains from their bodies. Sometimes the farmers mutilate the bears by breaking their teeth or pulling out their claws (sometimes removing entire digits) so that they can approach them without being injured.

Some cages have a collapsible top that can “crush” the bear and immobilise it better during the process. The bears are denied adequate water and food as this produces more bile.

The bile is used in traditional Chinese medicine, even though there are more than 50 cheap and effective herbal and synthetic alternatives readily available.

In 2000, after years of lobbying and negotiating, Animals Asia signed a landmark agreement with the Chinese authorities to rescue 500 Moon Bears and work towards ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming.

Officially there are about 7000 bears  in bile farms in China, but Animals Asia fear there could be as many as 10,000.

As a participant of the Moon Bear Rescue Challenge for Animals Asia, I am raising vitally required funds used for the medical attention and rehousing of the rescued Moon Bears, and I will be visiting the Moon Bear sanctuary inChinain May 2012.

Please help me make a difference.

Click here to read more and make a donation (every little bit counts!)  https://www.gofundraise.com.au/page/KerriChinaMoonBearChallenge

The bears even have their own Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/Help.Rescue.The.Bears

Purchase a copy of my eBook The Essential Guide to Declutter and Organise Your Home and 100% of all sales goes to the China Moon Bear Challenge! Buy your copy for only $5.95 here:  http://www.domesticdownsizing.com.au/products.htm







The Paradox Of Our Age – wise words from the Dalai Lama

Downsizing with the Dalai Lama

Although I didn’t get to see the Dalai Lama when he was in Australia recently, a friend of mine gave me a little scroll that she bought at his event called “The Paradox Of Our Age”. I found the words so profound, I thought I would share them with you:

We have bigger houses but smaller families;

more conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense;

more knowledge, but less judgement;

more experts, but more problems;

more medicines, but less healthiness;

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies then ever, but have less communication;

We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;

Tall men but short character;

Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It’s a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

How to sort cleaning & organising duties before you move in together.

Ahh, domestic bliss!

I have many couples that call me after they have just moved in together and are trying to work out their organising styles – or lack thereof!

It can be a stressful time as it is without having the added burden of fighting over who does what, or who is tidier than who. These are topics that need to be sorted (pardon the pun) before your get your new keys, so grab a pen and paper and sit down with your significant other to nut out the details.

Unclutterer.com had a similar question for a newly wedded couple with the following advice:

  • What is your vision of your place together and how you will live in that home? Will your home be a place to entertain your friends and family, and how often? Will your home be a place to relax and rejuvenate after a day of school or work? How do you want things to look and what do you expect out of the space?
  • What will the both of you be responsible for every day? Do you expect dirty clothes to be put into the hamper? Do you want all dirty dishes to be loaded into the dishwasher or will it be okay to have them sit in the sink? How long can a project mess be left out on a table or in a room? How will these responsibilities be met and when?
  • What chores will each person will be responsible for in the home? Will you take out the garbage or will he? Will you change the kitty litter box or will he? Who will cook, clean up afterward, scrub the tub and toilet, vacuum the carpet, dust? How will these responsibilities be met and when? Divvy these chores up now to ensure that one of you won’t be carrying the full load.
  • Plan for handling frustrations in the future. There will be times when one of you will be more messy than normal and this will bother the other person. How will you handle conversations about these frustrations so you don’t hurt each others’ feelings, show respect for each other, and help you find the best solution?
  • Review policies. How often will you review your daily and chore responsibilities? How often will you unclutter your closets, garage and other storage spaces? Will you take on spring cleaning? If you hire someone to clean, how often will you review their services and decide if you should keep them or hire someone new?

To read more go to: http://unclutterer.com/2011/03/18/ask-unclutterer-conversation-topics-to-discuss-before-moving-in-with-someone/

Clearing the clutter after a loved one dies

A keepsake box for their treasures

My husband lost his mother last week.

Losing a parent or a loved one is the most stressful thing that can happen in our lives, but for many it doesn’t end there. Although my mother in law had little possessions as she was in a nursing home, for some having to deal with what is left behind is the hardest job of all.

A letter to Unclutterer.com from a lady who recently lost her husband caught my eye addressing this very topic:

The most important thing you need to remember during this process is that you are not trying to forget your husband.

Uncluttering your home does not mean you are banishing him or turning your back on his memory. Uncluttering is a way for you to bring the best of him with you into the future.

As you start this process, seek out the treasured items first. Find the handful of his things that you value most and that best honor your memories of him. You will instantly recognize these special items when you see them, and they will remind you of his life and the life you happily shared together. Store these items temporarily in a secure location.

All the remaining stuff in your home that reminds you of him can be given away to charity, given to friends and family, sold, or distributed in whatever way you wish to unclutter them from your space. This could be a one-time process taking just a matter of weeks, or it might be an on-going process taking years. You need to move at a pace that is right for you. Don’t feel pressured to part with things if you’re not ready — you can spend however long in the reconstruction period as you need to.

Once the clutter is gone, find a way to honor the treasured items you decided to keep. Frame and/or display these things so you can enjoy them. Let these wonderful objects continue to bring you happiness. Since you’ll only have kept the most valuable pieces (and I don’t mean financially valuable, I mean the pieces that make your heart sing), they will remind you of the good times you shared.

Finally, if you find this process difficult to go alone, I really believe that hiring a professional organizer can be a good idea.

Read more here: http://unclutterer.com/2010/11/05/ask-unclutterer-uncluttering-after-the-loss-of-a-loved-one/


Day one in New Zealand…

Meeting the inspirational Julie Morgenstern!

Today is actually day 2 in New Zealand but the first day was the plane trip and dinner with my family in Sumner, which I am sure you don’t really want to read about…however I did rearrange their lounge room before I left. Hey, I am an organiser/stylist afterall!

So day 2 in NZ but day 1 at the Professional Organisers Conference in Christchurch and my head is already spinning!

Not only did I get to meet Julie Morgenstern, a world famous professional organiser from the US (who shared her ideas on a good business model with me – thank you Julie!) but who also gave us all some fabulous inspiration to move forward and help make the world a more organised place, one client at a time!

It is soooo refreshing to be part of an industry that is all about sharing and support rather than competing for clients. There are more than enough cluttered and disorganised folks around the world for all of us to help. How does it get any better than that?

I can’t wait until tomorrow…now time for the gala dinner!

Ever wonder what your donation $ buys?

$100 = 10 trees planted

This morning in Australia the top story in the media is how we will be paying a levy through our Medicare system that will help to pay for the Qld andVic flood relief.

Many thousands have already donated to this cause to the tune of  over 176 million dollars. With this in mind I read an interesting article in Real Simple magazine that I thought I may share with you all, on what a $100 donation actually buys, whether it is for floods, animals, medical etc:

Animals: $100 = 10 cats microchipped http://www.rspca.org.au

Nature: $100 = 100 trees planted http://www.nature.org

Building houses: $100 = 1 toilet, 2 hard hats, 3 hammers  www.habitat.org

Children: $100 = 50 children’s books http://cbca.org.au/

Doctors: $100 = 3 first aid kits, 24 blankets, 10 surgical scissors http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

Families in Africa: $100 = 10 mosquito nets http://www.nothingbutnets.net

There are 1,000’s more charities but doesn’t it put it in perspective when you can see how your $$ can be spent?

Reaching out from Hurricane Katrina to the QLD flood victims…

That's rather an understatement!

In the Saturday edition of the Brisbane Courier Mail, there was a lovely letter from a lady called Elisabeth Gleckler, a survivor from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Elisabeth was writing to let flood victims in Queensland know that they were being thought of from across the other side of the world and to share some advice on what she had learnt from the disaster.

She wrote:

The pictures and stories from Queensland touch us her in New Orleans. We know what you are feeling and what you will have to do to rebuild. Maybe I can offer some advice for what to expect as you get back into your houses.

Set your expectations for longer timelines. Things will not happen fast (except the destruction) so be proud of each small step and yet think long-term.

Keep steady and try not to react to the momentary ups and downs.

Take care of one another. Your neighbours, family and friends are the ones who will pull you through the rebuilding.

Don’t forget the little things to help one another – small gestures can be so important. Focus on one another not the swirling rumours.

Don’t let your insurers off the hook. They make profits from you not getting your full measure of a payout for damages.

Don’t give up. Document, file suit, argue, keep the pressure up. If you paid premiums, you deserve all that they owe you.

Be very careful of contractors: The good ones are gold, the bad ones are very persuasive. So if you feel a little warning signal about them, trust the feeling. You may need some repairs but you don’t need to be the victim of fraud or poor workmanship.

Finally, there are some good things that come out of disasters.

I learned a lot in post-hurricane Katrina. I have a new world view and I developed a nuanced sense of humour. I encountered lovely people who came to help us rebuild, volunteers, (some from Australia). I found out that I can thrive and be a fine person even in a disaster – and no amount of water can wash that away.

Elisabeth Gleckler, New Orleans, USA