I have the great good fortune to work with many Chinese clients staging their homes in Arcadia, San Marino and Pasadena. I want to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Chinese New Year, also know as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the most important traditional Chinese holiday. Regional customs and family traditions vary widely for the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Traditionally, every family thoroughly cleans their home to sweep away any bad fortune. This makes way for good luck to come in. Windows are opened and rooms are aired out. Brooms and cleaning rags are thrown away and trash is emptied so that no dirt of misfortune is carried into the New Year.
Starting today, Chinese people all over the world engage in a wide variety of traditional customs and practices that involve food and gift giving. Dumplings (sometimes known as Dim Sum) that are shaped like gold bars are eaten. Children receive small amounts of money in red envelopes (Hong Bao). Adults may receive a gift of tangerines, which are symbols of prosperity and happiness, or kumquats, which are another prosperity symbol. Schools and businesses in China close for at least a week.
My nephew, who is an architect in Shanghai, says they don’t get much sleep during this week due to all the firecrackers going off at all hours of the night.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar is set up in 12 year cycles and each year in the cycle is associated with an animal. This coming year is the Year of the Tiger, the third year in the Chinese Zodiac. The tiger is a symbol of Courage, Strength and Prosperity. According to legend, Lord Buddha summoned the animals to him before he departed the earth. Only 12 came to bid him farewell and so he named a year after each one as a reward. It is believed that the animal ruling the birth year of a person has a profound impact on their personality.
Despite diverse customs and traditions across China, and for Chinese living in other parts of the world, the sentiment infusing Lunar New Year is one of peace, prosperity and happiness.
Happy Lunar New Year to all my Chinese friends, clients & business associates. I wish you much happiness, good health and prosperity in the coming year!
In Feng Shui, having orderly closets and dressers is a very good thing. Having closets and dressers that incorporate some empty space is desirable because it allows room for new energy (and Jimmy Choos :o) Holding on to old, damaged or unused items creates clutter, which slows down the flow of energy (Chi). If you are selling a home, clutter free closets with some empty spaces tell potential buyers there is plenty of closet space.
Only have a half hour to spare? Clean out a drawer. 15 minutes? Get rid of all the wire hangers and dry cleaner bags cluttering up the closet.
If you are staging your closets because you are planning on selling your home, then the closets should be no more than half full. Pre-pack any clothes that you want to keep but won’t need for the next few months. Put the unneeded items in storage. Label every box well so that you can grab a particular item in the event you need it. Follow the tips above regarding what to keep and how to organize the remaining items.
If you have women’s business clothing you no longer wear, please consider donating the clothing to an organization like Dress For Success – The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Another great Los Angeles area orgnization is Clothes The Deal. They provide business training and appropriate business attire to men, women and at risk youth job seekers in need.
Here are 8 tips for staging your bedroom with Feng Shui. Invite better sleep, better health and positive changes in the bedroom by staging it with Feng Shui. With the New Year approaching, now is the perfect time to invite positive change into your life.
Despite the fact that different schools have differing “cures”, following are some basic changes you can make that apply to all bedrooms. We can affect many positive changes in our lives just by applying intention – putting the energy into making a change and welcoming that change into our lives.
If you don’t have a significant other, but would like one, the condition of your bedroom will effect your ability to “call in” love. Our goal is creating a calming environment that welcomes intimacy and affection. Of course getting rid of clutter to make room for whatever this new energy will bring is always high up on the list.
1. Your bedroom should be used for sleeping, romantic interludes and getting dressed. NO TELEVISION! NO COMPUTER! NO DESK! NO TREADMILL (AKA place to drape your clothes). Read a book in bed if you must, but only when you are alone. Don’t read self-help books or business books in bed. Electronic devices like TV’s and Computers are greedy for your time. They are constantly calling your name… “Watch me, Bill”, “Just one more comment, Janet”. Don’t make your spouse or partner compete for your attention. TVs and computers are very stimulating and they activate your brain. Watching or using them just before bed will prevent you from falling asleep quickly or sleeping soundly. Give your brain a chance to shut off and relax before bedtime.
2. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress….not too firm and not too soft, and definitely not saggy. This is one of the best investments you can make for your health and well-being. If you cannot afford a new mattress, then purchase a high quality mattress pad. Some of the new ones have a layer of memory foam that will turn your bed into a pillow top mattress. If you can afford a new mattress, now is an ideal time to purchase one. There are some amazing sales going on right now.
3. If you recently ended a long relationship with someone who shared your bed, you should replace the mattress so you are not absorbing their energy every night. Send them, the bad memories and the shared mattress on down the road. If you cannot replace the mattress, then strip the bed, open the windows and beat the mattress with a baseball bat, broom stick or your fists, if necessary. This will raise a lot of dust. Wear a dust mask. When you are finished (and feel better) vacuum the mattress (both sides) and box spring and then re-make the bed with fresh new bedding and blankets. Again, there are some amazing sales right now on sheets and comforters. Under any circumstance, dispose of the other person’s pillows – donate, give away or throw away.
4. Purchase the highest quality sheets you can afford – high thread count sheets, preferably Pima, Supima or Egyptian cotton Sateen. Good quality sheets are not inexpensive but they will last a long time. We just got rid of sheets we got as a wedding present 10 years ago, and only because we upgraded to a king size bed. They just got softer and better with age. The more luxurious your bedroom the more you will feel relaxed and comforted by being there.
- Sheets and bedding in the red/yellow family represent warmth, passion and excitement. The stronger the color the more energizing. They are fire colors. This would include the full spectrum of reds, oranges, yellows and some purples hues that are more red than blue. It also includes pinks, pale oranges, pale yellows and pale lavenders.
- Sheets and bedding in the blue/green family represent calm, cool and relaxation. They are water colors. Think of a bubbling brook or the Mediterranean Sea. This would include the full spectrum of blues, greens and purples with a blue cast. It includes the palest blues, pales greens and palest purples. This is my personal favorite and my bedding and drapes are done in pale Mediterranean blues, which is balanced by pale yellow walls.
- White sheets are clean and pure. White is a metal color, although whites can run the gamut from warm white (influenced by fire) or the palest blue (influenced by water) among other elements. White denotes ever expanding possibilities.
- Animal print sheets are very energizing and ‘active’. You probably won’t get a lot of restful sleep on animal print sheets, (and you may not be able to find someone who is willing to share them with you in the long term) but you may have a lot of ‘fun’ of the animal kind! Animal prints are best confined to accents so they don’t overwhelm the restful energy of your bedroom.
5. Position your bed so that you have a clear view of the door (entry to the bedroom). Do not have your feet pointing toward the door (this is the way they will carry you out if you die in bed, according to old Chinese superstition). Ideally, your bed will be positioned against a solid wall and not in front of a window. The head of your bed should be touching a wall. Solid headboards are preferred over open headboards (they give the feeling of greater security)
6. Clean your bedroom from top to bottom. If you have drapes wash them or clean them according to the manufacturers instructions. If they are clean, but just a little dusty, take them outside and give them a good shake. Wipe down the walls. Vacuum under the bed and get rid of all those dust bunnies.
7. Make sure your have two night stands and two working lamps, one on each side of the bed. If you don’t have a partner, but would like one, this creates a space for them in your life. If you have a partner, and want to keep them, this lets them know you value them and are concerned for their comfort.
8. Remove family photos from your bedroom (do you really want them to ‘see’ and participate in everything you do?) Photos of people should be limited to you and your significant other. Artwork should be calming not energizing.
The new year is just around the corner. Welcome the new year with a clean, relaxing, uncluttered bedroom. In Feng Shui, the condition of the bedroom will influence your relationships, sense of well-being and good health. Follow the above steps and welcome more restful sleep, more fulfilling relationships, better health and greater well-being in 2010.
For more information about home staging using Feng Shui read