In my early twenties as a jobbing dancer who was spending the majority of each day in an audition queue, I once picked up a Feng Shui book in the wishful hope that it might help me break a leg and get paid for it. I devoured the pages in eager anticipation, drew maps of the flat I shared with a then-boyfriend and carefully aligned the various corners….wealth, happiness, relationships etc….with the compass. The basic principle is to then address the issues, which can at times be extreme, found within each section of your abode to allow the chi, or Feng-shui energy, to move freely about the space. However, with restrictions imposed by the landlord….no movement of staircases, walls or doors for example….I found myself a touch limited as to the measures I could feasibly put in place. I decided I would weed the path….and a new job writing for a dance magazine was mine shortly after.
Spurred on by my success I purchased another book but discovered, to my confusion, that the maps, or ‘baguas’, were different. While one said my ‘Career’ corner was in the North West flanked by ‘Relationships’ the other said it was in the North flanked by ‘Wisdom and Knowledge’.
T’was the end of me and Feng Shui.
Despite my annoyance at being tricked into tidying up my house, I readily admit that there is indeed something about having a clean and organised space which helps me and my brain to function. This year that theory has been tested over and over with S seeming to agree. When the house is in disarray and we can’t instantly find a tape measure, that letter that arrived last week or the new camera manual, sparks fly. We are nearer to getting the calm functional space of which we dream though a few areas are still letting the side down.
The office was one of them.
With me now freelancing, still within dance but decidedly less physical than once upon a time, my work-from-home space has begun to escalate quickly up the to do list and this week it vaulted the garden…halted anyway as the paint is on order (did I go black? All will soon be revealed….) So whilst I waited I decided I had best sort out the headache that was this…
Criteria, particularly as the garden has just cost us double in paint, was that the office revamp should cost £0 and instead be done with items we already own.
First came the paint. Dusted off from within the depths of one of the other troublesome areas in need of serious bagua-ing – the cupboard under the stairs – came the Marram paint once earmarked for the snug until the safer choice of soft grey usurped it. However within the box room the colourful pop of the blueish green looks both calming and uplifting and, perhaps more importantly, covers up the less than perfect walls.
It was, I will admit with hands up, a rather hurried makeover squeezed into a two hour window before nursery pick up. I painted around the desk. I’ll be scraping paint off the floor with wire wool this week as it was nigh on impossible to lay a floor cover plus manipulate the two filing cabinets and ladder around the room. I carried no wet cloth, though did occasionally leg it to O’s room for a wet wipe and I almost didn’t even bother with a second coat ….but my conscience would simply not let me cheat to that degree and a hasty application took place the following day.
Despite not extracting the desk, I did extract everything else and proceeded to clutter the ‘chi’ of every other space in the house in doing so. A filing cabinet missing a wheel which would drunkenly spill out its contents of old, dried-up biros jammed the landing. Multiple boxes of cards and photos which I know I should do something with but never find the time to do it were piled into the snug along with old textbooks from our distance learning days, about 350 chargers which fit we know not what, enough software CD’s to start a shop, 16 sets of keys, handfuls of foreign coins and manila file upon manila file of recipes torn from favourite food magazines painstakingly (and worryingly obsessively) filed by main ingredient (rarely looked at since).
It was time for a cull.
Recipes went in the bin, filing cabinet will be skipped (or used in that godforsaken cupboard where it might serve some kind of wobbly purpose) and textbooks recycled. The cards and photos were the only things to survive and remain hidden away safely (and prettily) in an old charity shop suitcase stored atop a wardrobe.
So, the verdict?
We now have a clean and clear office that does at last feel like a calm and organised place to work.
And did my feng shui luck strike again?
Our computer’s external disc containing photos, financial records and important work related documents broke (possibly recoverable…..possibly not.) Then I smashed my phone at the gym as it flew off the treadmill behind me.
My cynicism remains unchallenged…..