Feng Shui Friday—wash your windows

Hello and hurray! It's Friday! (Fridays are the one day I don't have to go anywhere these days—except to and from the bus stop, so I LOVE them.) I think it is time for a new Feng Shui Challenge, don't you? Don't worry, this one is highly practical and fairly obvious: Wash your Windows (#18 in the book 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home)

Dirty windows stop your vision from seeing the view beyond. It's not hard to relate this in a figurative sense. Cloudy vision keeps you from looking beyond yourself into the world around you. Likewise, dirty windows keep the sun from shining into your home, thus blocking the energy/chi that flows into your home. 

When we built our home in Utah, we moved in next door to a professional window washer. Yes, Dave actually washed windows for a living and he was very good at it. Since he offered to wash our windows in exchange for dinner and a movie out (double date), we took him up on it—multiple times. In fact, I'm pretty sure I never once washed my own windows during the 5 years we lived there. They just didn't get dirty very often in the city.

Now on the farm, dirty windows are hard to ignore.

Between pets' noses, baby's sticky hands, and the dust and grit that is ever present on the farm, my windows do not stay clean for long. And so, I have had to learn to do this job which, I'm afraid, isn't my favorite. I've had to come up with a system that works for me.

These are my tools:

A bucket of hot, soapy water: I use Dawn dish soap. And the hottest water possible. Wash the inside windows first (less dirty) and then the outside. My outside windows are always covered in spider webs in the corners, so my water gets pretty gross by the time I'm finished. 

A good scrubber: Mine comes off the handle and I can toss it in the wash. 

A good squeegee: Squeegee quality and technique is everything, I'm telling you. Neighbor Dave could work the squeegee like I've never seen—so fast and no streaks. He could do our entire house, inside and out, in about an hour. It takes me about an hour to do just my main living areas. (The bedrooms don't get done very often!) 

A long handle: I prefer not to use the handle for better control, but outside there are just places I can't reach without it.

A micro fiber cloth: I use this to wipe the excess water from the sills and clean the window frames if needed. 

Rubber gloves: Fold the edges back into a cuff to catch the drips.

Newspaper and Windex: Follow up with this for a streak-free shine. If you care about that. My windows are old and imperfect anyway, so I embrace the streaks and do the best job I can do with the squeegee. They'll get dirty again anyway, right?

Ah, much better. I love having clean windows. Though now you can see all the chipped paint on the deck, the sad railing, the half-done landscaping job, the weeds, and the dry dry grass that hasn't seen a lick of rain lately and hasn't been watered either. And this door leaks like a sieve (despite the extra weather stripping we've added and our pets have proceeded to chew up) and needs replaced badly.

Gotta go. I have too much work to do!

Feng Shui Friday—Add pink to enhance your love life

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 Challenge #26: Add pink to enhance your love life

Number 26 in the book 27 Things To Feng Shui Your Home (as promised I'm not going in order!) suggests adding pink to the "Love and Relationships" corner of your home.

How do you find the Love and Relationships corner? I'm glad you asked. Stand at your front door and imagine your house divided into a grid of 9 squares. The upper right corner is the Love and Relationship corner (according to what is called a Bagua Map.)

Step 1: Declutter this area and make sure it is a comfortable place to be.

Step 2: Add some pink. I'm not saying you have to paint your walls pink. This can be subtle, such as adding some artwork with a touch of pink, or even a peice of pink paper tucked into a drawer.

Feng Shui My Way:

In my house the Love and Relationships corner is the Master bedroom. How appropriate—huzzah!

 In a house with 6 girls (if you count the pets), there is no shortage of pink. But this is what I like to do. Occasionally, when I'm shopping at Sam's Club (or Costco), I like to pick up their big, inexpensive bundles of flowers. Next time, make them pink! Bring them home and separate them into smaller vases so you can enjoy them throughout your home. Especially in the "love" area of your house if you so desire.

 So, does it work? Ahem.... that's for me know and for you to find out. Happy Friday!

Feng Shui Friday—Challenge #1 Closet Cleanout

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Happy Friday, my friends! Last week I wrote about the first Feng Shui My Way Challenge—Cleaning out your closet. Any closet. I picked my bedroom closet. (And its a good thing I had a deadline for this project, because I waited until yesterday to start it. I think this challenge is going good motivation to tackle some projects that I would otherwise put off indefinitely!)

This is what I started with:

I had 2 bins of clothes on my bedroom floor that I hadn't completely emptied when we moved. Much of it was winter clothes, so I was often digging through it to find things. (Please try to ignore the white dog hair all over these clothes. It is driving me nutso!)

My closet itself wasn't terrible, but it was overfull and still contained a lot of summer clothes.

When I was done it was so much better; much less crowded, and seasonally appropriate. One little trick to share with you: see my boot collection up on top? This Christmas I collected all my empty wrapping paper rolls, cut them in half, and stuffed them inside my tall boots to help them stand up and keep their shape. Something beefier would work better, but for now, this helps tremendously.

Here is the cupboard next to my closet:

I also cleaned out the drawers below it and even emptied an extra drawer for Tom to use.

This project seemd like torture. Not the work itself—that was relatively easy—but the getting rid of things. I have to admit I wasn't as strict as I wish I would have been on purging. When I acquired most of these clothes I had a professional desk job that paid me well, and I wanted to look the part. I spent good money on them, so it made it harder to part with them—even though heels, dress pants, and fancy work clothes no longer fit my lifestyle. I cut myself some slack and will get rid of more things over time.

This is how I tackled the project:

I completely cleared the closet first. See? Here it is looking completely bare.

My intention was to replace those clip thingies with a traditional closet rod. But then I discovered the rods we bought were too long and would need to be cut down. So, the clips remain until my hubby has time to cut the bar and install it.

I sorted all the clothes into piles on my bed:

What didn't go in my closet ended up here:

The bin on the left is full of clothes that don't fit right now. I know you aren't supposed to do this, but I'm sorry—I paid good money for these and I intend to wear them again! My post-baby nursing-momma body can't wear them, but it isn't like I have to lose 50 pounds. Its attainable, and so I will store them until I accomplish this goal. At least they aren't taking space in my closet and making me feel bad every day whe I look at them.

The second bin is summer clothes to store in another closet. I have them all on hangers so they can be swapped out easily in warmer weather.

The bin on the right is clothes and shoes to donate. A good start!

And one more bonus. (Do I get extra credit?) I was on a roll so I organized Tom's closet too. (No before pictures, but trust me—it wasn't pretty.)

I didn't purge anything—I'll leave that up to him—but it is so much neater and hopefully will encourage him to put his clothes away instead of in piles in front of his closet. Yahoo!

The author of 27 Things To Feng Shui Your Home says "Clearing clutter creates space for something new to come in, and what is new can be empowering". Shopping, anyone????? I kid, but as I was going through this process I did reveal a few gaps in my wardrobe and made a list of things that I can concentrate on looking for when I do have a rare moment to shop.

I have so many closets in my home that need this treatment that I am thinking of tackling a different closet every other week (in between my other Feng Shui challenges). If I do I will share it with you.

I hope you will take the Feng Shui challenge and clean out a closet of your own! If you do, leave me a comment below. I will be back next Friday with a new challenge!