bedroom

5 Feng Shui & Decluttering Hacks For Calling In Love

This article was originally written for and posted on mindbodygreen

image //  from our book

image // from our book

You’re ready for love. You’ve got the dating profile and the first date outfit you feel unstoppable in. You’re confident, open, and excited to meet someone new. Yet the type of relationship you desire most eludes you.

As a professional declutterer, I’ve worked with dozens of clients who say they are looking for love but whose spaces not only do not attract love but often repel potential partners.

While your body language may be shouting "Yes!" to romance, chances are your home is yelling "No!" The good news? In just one day, you can shift the energy, layout, and appearance of your home to be optimized for love.

Below are five crucial decluttering and feng shui tips for calling in love:

1. Make emotional space for this person.

We had a client whose walls were full of framed photos of her and her family, her and her friends, and her and *gasp* her ex (see No. 5). While she said that she wanted a partner, everything about her space implied that opposite: Her full walls signified a life without room for someone new. Not only that, having her walls so full of memories energetically pulled her into the past. This is not to say you shouldn’t decorate your home as you prefer, but do make sure that there is room both physically and energetically for someone new to enter your life. Negative space is not an absence; it’s allowing space for things to unfold.

Try this: Designate space in your home to leave open.

This could be a dresser drawer, a couple of open picture frames, a hook next to the door for someone else’s jacket, a towel bar in the bathroom, or, ideally, all of the above. This signals to the universe and subconsciously to people who enter your space that you are ready for love.

2. Shift your layout to support love.

I can’t tell you how many clients we’ve worked with who say that finding love is a top priority, and yet their spaces are completely uninviting or unsupportive of a relationship. There might be only one comfy reading spot, just one good coffee mug, or a bed too small to comfortably sleep two people. The point is not to make some voodoo doll of exactly the person you’re calling in but to make your space, however subconsciously, feel welcoming to the person you choose to invite in. In terms of design, this means making room for another person to be comfortable and relaxed in your bedroom with you.

Try this: Make your bedroom work for two.

Above all, pull your bed out of the corner—the only side of the bed that should be against the wall is where you rest your head. This allows comfortable access to the bed on each side for each person. Ideally, you’ll have a second bedside table with a lamp and room for a water glass, contacts, and so on

image //  via

image // via

3. Remove stuff from under your bed.

This problem seems to be a holdover from college days of tiny dorm rooms shared with strangers. Yet we see so many clients in their 20s, 30s, and 40s with boxes and bins under the bed! This space becomes a musty catchall for things that aren’t needed right now or aren’t a priority. Which is really bad feng shui. You’re literally spending the time you’re supposed to be relaxing and restoring floating just a few inches above dust bunnies and a bunch of to-do's. Ideally, under the bed will be totally empty, no exceptions, which allows for optimal energy circulation around the bed. If you are in a tiny studio or sharing an apartment in Brooklyn where your bed takes up about 60 percent of your room, it might be almost impossible to avoid storing things there.

Try this: Keep under your bed completely clear.

If you must store items under the bed, then do so in this order: clean bed linens, clean towels, clean out-of-season but beloved clothing. Storage should be well-made, closed bins that fit easily under the bed (i.e., if you have to pull everything out in order to find what you want or if the bins are forced up against the bottom of the bed frame, it’s no good). Do not store at any cost: mail, power cords, to-do’s, anything unkempt. Be certain to regularly clean under the bed and declutter any noncrucial items.

4. Get electronics out of the bedroom.

This is a good lifelong practice for everyone: single, partnered, child, adult. Bedrooms are the most aptly and literally named spaces in our homes. Bed. Room. They are meant exclusively for rest, rejuvenation, and intimacy. Electronics, on the other hand, are stimulating: They scatter our energy, steal our focus, and distract us from the pure. Ideally, the only items needing electricity in your room would be lamps and possibly an alarm clock or music source.

Try this: Remove ALL TVs, computers, gaming systems, cellphones, and other stimulating electronics from the bedroom.

Make sure that any remaining electronics are in good shape, dust-free, that their cords are comfortably tucked away, and that there are no overloaded power outlets.

5. Release objects from exes.

Objects have energy; that’s why we can have such strong feelings about them. Items from our exes have a powerful vibration that is both negative and pulls us toward the past. Think about stumbling upon an object from a past relationship. Paying close attention, what emotions arise when you see, hold, or wear this item? The best-case scenario is that you feel nostalgia, melancholy, or the distant ache of a fond memory. The worst-case scenario is you spiral into regret, anger, recrimination, loneliness, or heartache. The most effective way to shift your energy—conscious and subconscious—to a positive, present state is to part with the negative items in your space.

Try this: Do a "cord-cutting visualization" alongside a thorough purge of items you associate with your ex-lovers.

The visualization will help to defuse much of the energetic power of these items, making it far more straightforward to bless and release things from your exes. This includes: belongings of your ex, gifts from them, and items you associate strongly with a memory or experience with them (e.g., the dress you wore on your first date, the tchotchke you purchased on a trip together). If there are things you truly do not want to part with, be conscious of clearing the energy associated with them and how you store or display them. Note: Past relationships that end well still require a type of energetic cutting to allow you to move forward. If you’ve had a relationship where you were hurt, betrayed, or brokenhearted, then all the more so.

BTR: Creating a Home Retreat for a Traveling Professional

Room: Wardrobe (all clothing) and Bedroom

Hours to Complete: 10.5

Main Objective:  To open up floor space and lighten the feeling of the cramped room by removing duplicative furniture and clothing the client no longer inspired creativity or joy.

The Details:  Client K approached us to redesign her bedroom.  As with all bedrooms, we start with clothing.  Its a crucial first step because it illustrates how much actual storage a room needs, rather than what might appear necessary while the wardrobe is bloated with outdated and underused clothing.  

Thankfully, K already had plenty of practice creating what we call an Essential Wardrobe.  For work, K often travels to Europe for weeks at a time.  In living out of a carry-on suitcase, she was forced to distill to her most practical, versatile, and loved pieces.  Yet while she was able to travel with a select capsule, K's wardrobe at home still had an abundance of clothing that she was not longer using or inspired by.

In the before image, you can see that there are two large dressers in the room.  There is one on the left of the frame, and one near the windows.  We determined that it would be best for flow and the limited floor space to reduce the clothing so that we could remove one of these dressers.  Not all pieces of clothing can be hung or folded, and we knew that by removing one of these pieces, we would need to create drawer space elsewhere.  In the after photo, you can see how much bigger the room feels with one less piece of furniture.  Now K can easily access her windows and city views!

Above is a photo of one of the two armoires in the bedroom.  We decided to make up for the lost drawer space by adding a free standing set of Elfa drawers here.  Now workout clothing and undergarments have clear homes, extra linens are stored above, bags and scarves to the side.  

K placed two armoires flanking the head of her bed.  We all agreed the armoires added nice definition to the space and K liked the cozy sleeping nook they created.  However there were a few design and feng shui elements we needed to remedy.  

If you look closely in the before image, you can see that the bed was not pushed against the wall but instead had several suitcases and a full but unusable bedside table behind the headboard.  This ate into the already-tight floor space and not being against a wall creates a slight sense of unease while lying in bed.  We decluttered all the items under and behind the bed, finding new homes in the hall closet and in the newly decluttered dresser for the small group of keeps. 

For a finishing touch, we added custom cabinet pulls to the drawers.  This small detail had a huge impact of tying the armoires into the rest of the décor.

By thoughtfully editing her gorgeous shoe collection, we were able to easily fit all of K's shoes on her rack or neatly tucked in the base of the closet (rather than in a large pile like before).  The biggest difference to notice here is that all of K’s winter coats and long dresses now live here in a neat and orderly fashion.  By relocating her long hanging items to this closet, we freed space in one of the armoires to make space for a new shelving unit.  Plus, having her jackets close to entrance of the space makes for an easier transition out the door. 

This shot looks towards the entrance of the bedroom.  You can see the second dresser before was cluttered with daily-used items, and the back of the door was full of jackets and scarves.  We completely emptied this dresser and removed a the majority of makeup (which was expired or out-of-date) and donated a bag of costume jewelry and accessories.  Afterwards, this piece of furniture neatly housed all makeup, non-bathroom toiletries,and office-related materials. With the mirror now, the countertop is clear and able to serve as a proper vanity.

A final look at the beautiful space!

BTR: Duboce Park Entrepreneur's Bike in the Bedroom

Room:  Bedroom

Hours to Complete:  6.5

Main Objective:  Removing items unrelated to the bedroom and creating a peaceful place to rest and start your day.

The Details:  We were thrilled to work with a brilliant entrepreneur throughout his charming Duboce Park one bedroom apartment.  Today we showcase the first of his three redesigned rooms: the bedroom.  

Our client, who we will refer to as C, was very ready to take control of his belongings. His motivation for working with us was threefold.  

  • An entrepreneur who frequently works from home, having a harmonious and organized space was of the utmost importance.
  • As a frequent traveler it was also crucial for him to be able to pack up and head out for a variety of international destinations with ease.
  • And finally, while traveling, C oftens offsets his expenses by renting out his apartment on Airbnb. Clutter free rooms with an elevated design sense not only garner higher rents but also make the transition between C and his guests seamless.

BTR: Uncovering the Hidden Style of this Bedroom

Room:  Bedroom

Hours to Complete:  4.5

Main Objective:  To create a personal retreat from roommate living, and reveal our client's style which was hidden in a mish-mash of accessories.

The Details:  Kira is an active, on-the-go San Francisco resident.  As lovely as she is brilliant, Kira's time is full of concerts, camping trips, and potlucks with friends -- leaving little time to do a deep clean  of her space or thoughtfully arrange her belongings.  

Serving as more of a launching pad to her greater social life than an actual bedroom, her space had become cluttered with weekend bags and changes of clothes. 

Before: Always on the go, Kira's belongings and furniture were haphazardly placed in her bedroom, creating a sense of chaos and discord rather than relaxation or intimacy.

Even after a few years of living in the space, it did not feel like home.  Our design challenge was to make the space cozy and inviting; a place where Kira could relax and read when taking a time out from her busy schedule.  

Redesign Tip:  Sometimes we ask too much of our rooms.  We want our bedroom to function as an office, living room and bedroom.  But the fact is, a bedroom is a bedroom and more often than not the bed should be the focal point.  

Simply rearranging the layout was hugely impactful with this redesign.  A common mistake is to push the bed in the corner of the room, as Kira had, with the misconception that this will result in more space.  

After: The bed serves as the focal point of the bedroom, inviting Kira to pause, relax, and rest in her space.

Kira’s bedroom presented some interesting challenges.  A typically “hacked” bedroom located in a San Francisco Edwardian, the space receives little natural night.  Additionally, one wall is dominated by green-tinted soundproofing which covers the sliding double doors leading to another bedroom. 

We placed the dresser in front of the green soundproofing wall and added the mirror.  This turned the soundproofing into a backdrop for Kira’s cherished photos and art.  We moved the rustic shelving to the wall opposite the bed to let in more natural light, as well as provide a place for keys and such to live.

Before: The green double doors draw unwanted attention to the makeshift status of this former living room.

After: By setting the dresser within the door frame, the green doors and molding take on a feeling of an intentional accent wall and architectural framing element.

Decluttering Tip:  Clutter is often the result of things not have a "home."  When an item doesn't have a place where it belongs, a place where it you can always find it and put it away, then it's easy for it to end up on the ground or in the corner.  Take time when you move somewhere new to create homes for all of your most important items.  Hint: if it's not important enough to have a home, it's not important enough to own!

Kira had stashed away an amazing rug that she loved dearly but didn’t know where to put it.  Our solution?  We hung it from the wall to create a faux headboard and add a much-needed pop of color to the wall.

After: A gorgeous rug previous rolled up and collecting dust under the bed serves as a gorgeous focal point, tying together the style of the entire space.

This redesign was especially stunning because it had some unexpected results.  First, the colors from the hanging rug pulled together all the accessories in the room.  It also made the cream-colored walls look intentionally warm, and cozy, rather than drab and dingy. 

Second, Kira had insisted that she did not have a defined sense of style.  But after helping Kira curate her goods down to the most-loved and meaningful, it became clear that all of Kira’s belongings shared a common look and feel, one we would describe as a warm, rustic Bohemian.

Below are a few more before + after sets -- they're too lovely not to share!