Feng Shui --my new wealth-building program--has already made me richer and ready for a rainy day. My new wealth: seven pennies and one black and red umbrella, which I found while clearing away a pile of papers from under my bed.
What's more, I re-discovered a manuscript and pages from an old screenplay that I had once fed to dust bunnies in a fit of creative angst. The old material wasn't as bad as I had feared and I may be able to salvage bits for future writing projects.
As such, my space-clearing, energy-flowing Eastern Path to wealth & enlightenment is only two days old, but already I've gained a few insights:
1. Count pennies. It's the treasure hunt principal. My cleaning spree has extra zip because I know there is hidden wealth (pennies, quarters and dimes) under my messy piles. Finding seven pennies under my bed made me feel like I hit the jackpot. I can smell gold under my old issues of Vogue.
2. Create time and space limits: While treasure hunting, I lingered way too long in the deep mines of clutter during my first Feng Shui purge. The cleanup, I discovered, works best when I set time limits and target a specific space. During one cleaning drive, for example, I spun my wheels when I tried to clean a large area. I aimed too high and too wide. But when I set out to clean the small area under the right side of my bed, I had better results.
3. Maintain clutter-free zones: After investing time and energy, I have become very vigilant about retaining a clutter-free zone near my bed and on the long counter top in the kitchen. It's so easy to backslide, but using my father's clean-as-you-go approach helps me to keep the clutter banished.
4. Document the process: I started to write down my penny tally because I wanted to have an accurate report for this space. But my record-keeping duties yielded an extra bonus. The notepad scribbles made my progress seem real rather than mythical. The seven pennies had more power on paper.
5. Look for tax credits or future income: During one of my purging episodes, I glanced at the clothes in my walk-in closet: lots of expensive suits in classic cuts. When I worked in the newsroom office as a business reporter, I dressed like a Gothic banker (conservative, but edgy). But as a write-at-home mom, I look like a middle-aged Gothic slacker in black sweats and a black hoodie. I don't need so many suits. So in my drive for wealth and a cleaner home, I've packed away some of my designer suits.
I may donate the pile to a nonprofit program or a thrift store, thereby collecting a tax credit. Or maybe, I'll sell my suits on eBay or offer them up on Craig's List. I've even thought about selling the garments in a consignment store. Maybe I'll even try a pawn shop: I sell my clutter for cash.
Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is the author of The Frugal Duchess of South Beach:How to Live Well and Save Money... Anywhere!, which will be published in the Spring of 2008 by DPL Press.