Clean home

Organise your home, free your energy

Chi is the energy of life. Feng shui, a term meaning “wind water”, can be used to enhance the flow of chi, or energy, through your space. Chi moves like a gentle breeze and, just like a closed window stops the wind, clutter or misplaced objects block and distort chi.

This makes clutter the first topic to address when applying feng shui, as clutter is the biggest barrier to energy flow. Over time, clutter leads to stagnant energy and can block opportunities and abundance. But what if you’ve decluttered and are now left with objects you’ve decided to keep but must store? Feng shui principles can then be used to ensure your storage areas enhance rather than block chi.

The first step to successful feng shui involves removing broken or no-longer-useful objects, as well as generally tidying up. Different feng shui techniques identify unique ways to use your stored stuff to maximise energy flow. Pyramid School feng shui consultant Dana Claudat says, “I like to use storage as ‘potential energy’ in a home. If it is being stored, that means it will be used. Stored items should be inspiring.”

Assuming you’ve taken the essential first step and have recycled, donated or returned excess stuff, here’s how you can incorporate techniques associated with the bagua map and vastu shastra (Indian feng shui) into your storage strategy.

Elements & the compass

In vastu shastra, the links between elements and compass directions provide clues as to how to arrange furniture, including storage systems or shelving.

Direction Element Qualities
Southwest Air Movement, indecision
Northwest Earth Heaviness, strength
Northeast Fire Heat, light
Southeast Water Serenity, contemplation

Each element is associated with different qualities, which can be honoured through furniture or storage styles. Vastu practitioner Kathleen Cox, in her book The Power of Vastu Living, writes, “The movement of cosmic energy and spiritual power flows from the element of water to the element of earth.” Support this energy flow with your storage by placing “lightweight and delicate furnishings in the south and west so that you don’t obstruct the flow of the gifts of the gods”.

Instead, Cox suggests you “put heavy, bulky furnishings in the north and east to create barriers that trap these gifts and keep them in the room”. This is where storage units or furniture come in. As they are typically heavier or made from more solid materials, it’s ideal to arrange bookshelves, storage cabinets or shelving units on the north and east walls. Consider this arrangement for your garage, laundry or even for the location of the wardrobe, chest of drawers or armoire in your bedroom.

Specific topics

The bagua map
The bagua map is a traditional feng shui tool that’s been modified for modern use. It divides your space into nine equal squares. Each square symbolises a particular topic, including associated elements and colours. You can enhance your chi by storing objects in their bagua area of your home.

For instance, the bagua map highlights the far right-hand corner (of your home, each room, even your desk) as the love and marriage sector. This would be an appropriate area to store mementoes from your wedding, photos of you and your partner or sentimental objects associated with happy relationships. If you’re single and looking for love, or keen to improve an existing relationship, it’s an important area to declutter and generally organise.

Bagua map template
Using the bagua is simple. Stand at the door to your house or a room. The bagua is overlaid on your space from this entryway, as if you’re facing into your space. If the door is on the right-hand side of your home or the room in question, you’ll enter through the helpful people and travel segment. If the door is on the left-hand side, you’re entering through the knowledge and self-cultivation sector.

Wealth and prosperity

Blue, purple, red

Back left

Fame and reputation



Back middle

Love and marriage

Red, pink, white

Back right


Health and family

Blue, green


Centre left


Yellow, earth tones



Creativity and children

White, pastels


Centre right

Knowledge and self-cultivation

Blue, green, black

Front left


Black, dark tones


Front middle

Helpful people and travel

White, grey, black

Front right

To apply the bagua map you might store filing cabinets, especially for financial papers, in the wealth and prosperity sector (back left). If you have a home office, reapply the bagua map from the door of the home office, and store the financial files in the rear left-hand corner of that room.

University degrees or professional awards could be stored in the fame and reputation sector (rear centre). If this is a suitable wall in your home, hang these objects there. You may prefer to keep work-related paraphernalia in your home study. If so, hang or store these on the rear wall or a shelf on the middle of the rear wall.

Toys and other gear for children (such as prams, cots, beach toys) are best stored in the creativity and children sector, which is the right-hand side of the room or home, about halfway down.

Colour & the bagua

Another approach with the bagua map is to stimulate each area by using colour. Consider painting bookshelves in bright colours for an energy pop (use the bagua as a colour guide) or cover bland shelves and storage cabinets in funky wallpaper or eye-catching fabrics.

Using colour can be especially useful if you have limited ability to rearrange larger pieces of furniture. Personally, I like to add colour through fabric and often charge chi by decorating furniture with a bright scarf. While writing this piece, I realised the wealth corner (which falls in our master bedroom) could use some activating red, so I draped a neutral book shelf in this corner with a vibrant red scarf. Instant feng fix!

Your feng shui foundation: balanced shapes

Many feng shui practitioners highlight the value of symmetrical structures based on balanced square or rectangle shapes. If your home is a unique design, like an L shape, and thus “missing” a bagua sector, it’s important to simulate completeness. This helps anchor your feng shui efforts and provides a foundation for growth. If the back right-hand side of your house is “missing” — ie if the roof over your home doesn’t cover this space — you may benefit from creating a feature at the point which would mark a complete square or rectangle.

Depending on the size of your property, this could be accomplished through a storage shed, gazebo or by extending the building through a deck or patio to “fill in” this space. Smaller-scale remedies could include a plant, a water feature (if it’s on the right side at the back) or a fire feature (such as a barbecue, heat lamp or firepit, if the empty space is the middle back or the back left) or by grouping together potted plants that express the colour associated with the missing bagua space.


Letting go of clothing can be tough. Gorgeous gowns, favourite jumpers or comfy shoes may remind you of special events or a great bargain. If you hang onto a piece of clothing because you one day dream of fitting back into it, or because it was so expensive you can’t bear to throw it out, it really must go.

Clothing that doesn’t fit keeps you attached to the past. Any improvement to your shape will only happen in the future, so first you must let go of the old before you can create improvements. If you’ve overspent on something you never wear, constantly looking at the garment reminds you of a bad money choice. Since energy goes where attention flows, this is like holding onto negative money energy. Make peace with your less-than-stellar choice and let it go.

Once you’ve assessed and released clothing you’ve outgrown or haven’t worn recently (in the past two years is a good guide) it’s time to think about storage. Shelves, drawers and hanging spaces must be large enough to easily store what you own. Store your clothing so you can fully open the wardrobe door and effortlessly access what’s inside.

Wardrobe tips

  • Avoid using the back of the wardrobe door.
  • Don’t pile stuff on the floor.
  • Don’t store things behind the wardrobe door.

Overhead storage can contribute to heavy thoughts that weigh you down. Carefully consider what goes above head height and use this space selectively. If, after decluttering so your wardrobe reflects the present-day you, you still don’t have enough space, consider investing in an extra chest of drawers or hanging rod. Don’t go overboard, but make sure you have enough room to store your entire wardrobe so everything is accessible. Flow and ease are essential.


As the garage is a larger space, you may find it possible to combine different principles here. Start by arranging your largest or heaviest storage on the north or east walls of the garage. As with the wardrobe, overhead storage isn’t ideal, so if possible avoid this. If you must use the overhead space, be sure it’s secure, stable and clutter-free.

Next, store things within the garage according to the bagua map. For instance, sporting equipment might go in the health and family section (the middle left-hand side), while kids’ stuff would be best placed in the children and creativity section, on the middle of the right-hand side. If you store work-related things in the garage, this may work well in either the back left-hand corner (wealth and prosperity) or on the middle of the back wall (fame and reputation).

Special considerations

Front door
The front door is considered the “mouth of chi”. Keeping your entryway clutter-free is essential for welcoming life-enhancing chi into your home. The area surrounding your front door, both directly outside and immediately inside the house, is not ideal for storage. Keep this area open, bright and welcoming. It’s appropriate to have space for shoes, keys, phones, coats and umbrellas here, but only so you can accommodate what’s used on a day-to-day basis. Longer-term storage — like for umbrellas or for out-of-season shoes or coats — should be located further inside.

Empty space under stairs can be problematic, however this is an ideal location for storage. Set up shelving or an under-stair storage room. Ensure what’s stored under the stairs is organised and easily accessible.

If storage under the stairs isn’t an option, take the time to create sacred space there instead, perhaps by putting together an altar of special objects. Creating calm and order under a staircase helps anchor and balance the otherwise fast-moving energy associated with stairs. It’s not ideal to have bathrooms or other water rooms (such as your laundry) under the staircase as they can drain wealth away.

One storage area to avoid is under the bed. In feng shui, beds represent romance and are an important indicator for relationships. It’s also the prime vehicle for rest and rejuvenation. Ideally, your bed is placed so it’s easily accessible from both sides (encourages equality in relationships) and the space underneath the bed is clear, to encourage energy — and opportunity — to flow.

Stellar storage

Ideal storage is not cluttered. If you’ve got books you want to keep, select a bookshelf that’s big enough to store your books and leave some open space. One feng shui tip is to leave almost a quarter of the space open to encourage chi flow. Even in the best bagua locations, overflowing cupboards, wardrobes or shelves will do more harm than good. Chi needs room to move, so plan to regularly review storage areas so they remain organised, open and accessible.

Now that you’ve learned how to best organise your stuff, hopefully you’re inspired to control your clutter. In feng shui, even the act of moving things around helps activate and energise chi, as summarised in this Chinese saying: “If you want change in your life, move 27 things in your house.” In the process, you’ll better align your space and perhaps take your decluttering to a new level. The potential end result? A more inspired, energised and motivated you!

Kelly Surtees

Kelly Surtees

With more than 14 years in private practice, Kelly Surtees is experienced, warm and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include career and life direction, health and fertility, love, health and happiness. Kelly is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year.

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