It’s Time to Hit the Books
Curling up with a good book is a great way to unwind. Just make sure you avoid book disorganization, which can weigh you down and sap your home of positive energy
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I love books, and our home has many of them. I never thought much about it until I started reading your column, but as much as I love my books, I am feeling the need to lighten up and don’t know where to start. What do you suggest?
Ah! I love this question. Symbolizing knowledge, books can be a great and wonderful support in the home, as long as you know how to manage them. Too many books can feel “heavy” energetically, weighing down the home; but if organized, dust-free and strategically placed on spacious shelves, they can also work as a grounding tool, especially if placed in an area where slowing down is the intent — a reading room or reading nook. I will start by dispelling two myths I’ve heard over the years.
Books in the bedroom are bad feng shui
Beware of absolute rules about what constitutes “good” or “bad” feng shui. Feng shui is about balance. Books in the bedroom are not “bad” per se, but you do not want too many overtaking the space. The main purpose of the bedroom is for sleep and intimacy, and too many books shift the energy away from those two main activities.
The books in your bedroom should promote a harmonious flow of nurturing and intimate energy, pulling you in, yet igniting calm passion. With that thought in mind, the type of books you keep in the bedroom is pivotal. Survey the books in terms of the “energetic messages” they convey. For example, How to Create More Love or Honoring Myself, is better in the bedroom than Nightmare on Elm Street or Avoid Dying Broke. You get the idea.
Bookshelves have to be covered
Some say that uncovered bookshelves housing hardcover books with sharp edges create a cutting energy in the space. To avoid this, use fabric to cover the shelves or cover them with doors. Personally, I like to see my books. If you are like me, style a bookshelf to become a room accessory, using your uncovered bookshelf to advantage.
From time to time, book lovers have to ask themselves, “What do I do with all these books?” Below is a downsizing idea that will help you decide what to do with your cherished books when the time comes.
Go through every bookshelf or box of books and count the number of books you have. Then, set a goal, such as decreasing the number of books you own by 20 percent.” Next, do the math. If you have 100 books, you will have to let go of 20 of them. Picking out those 20 books is much easier than you think. I promise.
If you need parameters, ask yourself these questions to help you decide what to let go of.
• Have I read it? Will I ever read it again? Keep what you haven’t read. • Dispose of “expired” books, such as medical reference and travel books you have had over “x” number of years. • If you have cookbooks whose recipes you have never used, you probably never will. • If you need an answer will you look for it in the particular book, or will you look it up on the Internet? • Do you have the book on your electronic reader?
Avoid packing books for storage. You will more than likely be moving clutter from one place to another, and it is unlikely that you will go through boxes just to find that one book you want to read.
What can you do with these books?
• Donate your books to www.books4cause.com or sell them to www.cash4books.net. Both cover shipping costs. You can also donate them to the library, Goodwill, The Salvation Army or a school. Before donating old or unwanted reading material, consider their condition. Generally speaking, only new, gently read or lightly used books are accepted for donation. Magazines are rarely accepted, but are usually recyclable. Schools will accept books if they are historical or biographical or will be a good resource for the school’s library. • If you have the time and energy, sell them on Amazon.com or eBay.
As far as good bookshelf feng shui goes, the better the books are situated, the more likely you are to want to read them, so follow these guidelines: • Create a system. Organize the books by title, subject or author. • Dust them off. Dust accumulates around books, making them uninviting, hampering the mental energy in the home, and impairing your focus in life. • Leave space. Leave blocks of space on your bookshelves for figurines, decorative book-ends, paperweights, or anything visually pleasing, turning your bookshelf into a decoration.
You will be amazed at how clearing out and dressing up just one bookcase will change the energy of your home. Just like the rippling water of a pond when a stone is skipped across it, positive energy is created and will permeate your entire home.
Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant, and offers a series of instructional DVDs on feng shui, as well as her award-winning books on feng shui, happiness and spiritual life wisdom. Visit www.aliceinspired.com to read her blog, sign up for her newsletters and download useful feng shui tips.