Moving your stuff can be good for you

In our first year of marriage, we rented a fully-furnished house in western Pennsylvania.
The people who lived there were on sabbatical, and we felt very fortunate.
It was great to use their furniture. But still, there was a downside. The couple had taken only their clothes. As a result, the closets were empty but all the cupboards and drawers were brimming full.
There was too much clutter in the house. And no space for our beautiful wedding gifts!
But our second-year living situation was quite different. We were back at seminary and lived at the student trailer court.
Our home was eight feet wide and 36 feet long. It was small, but very well-planned. And the best thing of all was that when we moved in, there was nothing at all in the trailer except the built-in furniture.
I loved the two years we lived in the trailer, and I especially enjoyed entertaining. Two special occasions stand out.
The first one is the time I invited an older man who was at the college for a seminar. It was special because I had boarded in his home my first year of teaching in Ontario, Canada.
Our pull-down table seated three comfortably, or four if we didn’t mind being crowded.
When he came, everything was ready. The food was cooked and the table was set. But as he pulled up, I noticed he had two other people from Ontario in the car.
I had little time, but quickly stirred the table service for three into a jumble in the middle of the tiny table. Then after they sat down on the sofa, I once again set the table—this time for five!
My husband and I ate very lightly that evening!
The other special occasion was when we invited our favourite professor and his wife for dinner. The table was nicely set, but I had no flowers for the middle. In desperation, I went out and gathered some beautiful dandelions.
They looked beautiful in a simple black flower bowl–a wedding gift.
I remembered these stories as I read the best-selling book, “Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life” by Karen Rauch Carter.
Carter is a landscape architect, as well as a teacher of feng shui. The subtitle of her book is “How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect and Happiness.”
“Feng shui” is an ancient Chinese practice of positioning objects to generate positive energy. Feng shui incorporates water, air, and living things in a room to enhance the good energy.
A good feng shui room is free of clutter and lures you in–a room that both calms you and excites you at the same time.
Our first two living spaces illustrate the principles of feng shui very well. Our first house had wall-to-wall clutter. Our trailer, on the other hand, only had the things we really needed.
And no clutter!
In her book, Carter also mentions the importance of fresh flowers. Either “dandelions from the crack in the sidewalk, or long-stem roses–if they’re beautiful, fragrant, they’ll work,” she says.
So as you begin the new year, why not clean out your clutter and buy some fresh flowers to bring positive energy into your life?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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