De-clutter: Attempting the impossible!

By on August 27, 2008
Photo © Elena Derevstova
September arrives and it’s Back To School season, much to the consternation of children and the delight of parents everywhere. With the stress that the extra focus on academic studies can bring, creating a room that supports a child’s study habits and creativity is essential.
Children’s rooms are a challenge because they are multi-purposed. While bedrooms in general should be focused on rest (and on romance as adolescence moves to adulthood), children also have to study, read, relax, and play in their rooms. The required furniture and paraphernalia can create some serious Feng Shui challenges. Among the top priorities is having the bed and desk in supportive positions that are ideally not too close to one another.
The ideal position for a bed is with the headboard against an unwindowed inner wall, with the head not too close to the door. Pre-teens should have the side of their beds up against an inner wall too, to help them feel protected and supported. Tall furniture should not be located nearby because it can feel like a threatening authority figure looming over them. If there are posters around the bed, they should be less stimulating and more fun and relaxing: sports players, racing cars, and Darth Vader will have a less positive impact on sleep than pets and scenery. Keep the more active images for play areas.
Toys should be well-stored when not in use. One of the reasons children believe that something is moving in their room at night is because the toys that come to life at playtime also come to life as children approach the world of dreams. Dolls and action figures in particular need to be contained and kept away from the bed, except for a favourite cuddly toy if there is one. Floors are particularly prone to being littered with objects: for safety’s sake, the floor should be kept clear. Symbolically, cluttered floors speak of unconscious influences standing between us and our envisioned goals.
Desks are most supportive when placed in the executive position – back to an inner wall, facing the door. If a crowded room necessitates the front of the desk being up against a wall, it is best that it have a view of the door (preferably at some distance) to support the child feeling able to face whatever challenges may come their way. The desk should feel separate from the sleeping and play areas to help prevent thoughts of school from interfering with sleep, while also limiting thoughts of play from preventing schoolwork from being done; carpeting the area or having a different colour scheme can achieve this purpose.
Messy areas speak to scattered minds, so keeping the whole room and particularly the desk clutter-free can nurture a child’s scholastic success. Fun-coloured storage units can teach a child to enjoy organising their possessions and, as a result, their minds. Visual motivation in the form of coloured charts that map out their aspirations and successes can teach them to visualise and reach their desired goals.
Keeping a child’s room organised can take work, but done in partnership and following some of the above guidelines, it will be a huge support to the whole family.

Mark Ainley is a contemporary Feng Shui consultant based in Vancouver. A former resident of Tokyo, he consults internationally for home and business owners.

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About Mark Ainley

Mark Ainley is a Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant and Emotional Stress Consultant living in Vancouver. A former 5-year resident of Tokyo, Mark consults with clients internationally to help them design living and work spaces in alignment with their goals. He also provides consulting in emotional stress management, as well as in the connection between facial structure and innate behavioural and communication patterns. He can be reached through his website: and