Don’t panic. I am neither going blind you with science, nor muddle you with mumbo jumbo because the truth is I think Feng Shui is a load of old codswallop.
Actually that is a big fat lie. I don’t think it’s codswallop at all… I just think that it is, for the most part, common sense. Let’s face it, leaving the toilet seat up just isn’t nice is it? (Never mind that in Feng Shui terms it is an open invitation to flush your money away…) Dead plants ain’t pretty (and thinking about doing something about them makes me feel exhausted) and sleeping under a bookshelf isn’t a good idea because chi or no chi the damn thing could fall down in the night and knock you senseless couldn’t it?
There are billions of Feng Shui laws designed to help you get the energy swooping around your house. Some of them are common sense, some plain old bonkers (with a dollop of truth in them- usually because they make our homes more aesthetically pleasing) and some, quite frankly, designed to fleece rich old ladies and men in suits of their erstwhile cash, while re-arranging the Chippendale furniture or insisting that Mary (with the spiky hair) sets up her desk in the money corner, right next to the water cooler, thus ensuring that the big licks in the room with the shattered glass ceiling still get their bonus’s.
Heavens this is no way to fill you with enthusiasm for an afternoon of puttery treats is it? For that, Housekeepers, is exactly what this is… a little list of puttery treats inspired by the mystical art of Feng Shui because if there is even the tiniest shred of truth in it, we Vintage Housekeepers should embrace every opportunity to make our homes lovelier places to be…
(Please note that I deliver this random little list with no authority at all and indeed a smidgen of Brocante scrumptiousness that shouldn’t be taken too seriously!)
*A bejewelled rabbit in the east corner of your bedroom will bring love and luck…
Bejewelled rabbits are hard to come by, but a homemade little velveteen rabbit wearing a rhinestone brooch should suffice. Get sewing!
* Red apples symbolise peace and have the power to dispel hostile energy.
Fill the prettiest bowl you can find with red apples (always visually stunning!) and place on the kitchen table, especially if dinner is the cause of much childish bickering or grown up argument.
*Shoes lined up by the door prevent good fortune entering the house.
Refuse to allow them to live there. They look messy and often stink!
*Wear jewellery every day for sparkly yang chi.
Pin one of your gorgeous collection of vintage brooches on to your apron or the waistband of your pinny.
*Check your door-bell is working in order to maintain harmonious relationships with your visitors. (Letting them in is always a good start!)
* Dirty windows are said to cloud our judgement. Always keep them spotlessly clean.
I have recently found that adding a squeeze of washing up liquid to my vinegar/water/lavender potion makes all the difference to my windows…
*Chinese matriarchs believe chipped or cracked crockery is a bad omen and always throw it away.
This one makes me sob a little: some of my very favourite vintage crockery is crackled with age. So lets make it a Brocante rule to chuck out chipped pieces inclined to cut our mouths and give everything else a gentle wipe in frothy water…
* Encourage good chi to dance its way up to your front door by planting red flowering bulbs in groups of three along the path. Chi apparently needs to meander…
* Old furniture carries lots of yin energy and should therefore be cleansed and left out for three days before it is brought into your home.
The answer lie’s apparently in rock salt, said to eliminate bad vibrations that may be stuck on the furniture, so tie little muslin bundles of dried lavender and rock salt and place in vintage cupboards and drawers. (Will also absorb damp!)
*The term peach blossom luck means a partner with a roving eye in china, thus banishing peach in the marital bedroom is essential…
But touches of salmon or red will spark passion!
* Dried flowers are technically dead and should not be given house room. Never mind the fact that they harbour dust like it’s going out of fashion!
Go buy yourself a happy bunch of sunflowers instead. Or a money plant (Crassula Ovata) to encourage financial success. Or a Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) to offset geopathic stress…
*De-clutter nine items at a time. Nine items a day for nine days. Or nine weeks. The more you give away, the more luck you bring to your own door…
*Having a little white vase full of pink flowers on your bedside table will bring romance to your door..
*The concept of Yin and Yan can to those of us who prefer plain English, seem a little bewildering. So lets think of feng shui-ing our homes in terms of attending to all the things that drain us…
Armed with your Mission List replace blown bulbs, tighten screws, replace dead batteries, sweep your garden path, eradicate stains…etc, etc. In short do all the things that are bugging you and getting in the way of living your life as fully as possible at home.
*Things that squeak and creak encourage our tendency to be inflexible. Get busy with the WD-40
*The desk where your children do their homework should not face the wall but rather have the chair itself against the wall and the desk facing into the room so they are sub-consciously supported by something solid.
*Have photographs of you and your partner at your happiest in your bedroom. And banish photographs of family in order to establish boundaries. Make it a private,intimate space about you and your relationships.
*Make a ritual out of capturing precious chi by leaving the front door open on a Friday afternoon (!) and burning fragrant incense or bundles of (lovely) white sage.
And if all else fails get yourself a blue hippo. That should do the trick.