Kitchens are considered one of most important rooms in the house. They represent the hearth and home and should be clean, well-lit, happy places for friends and family to gather and connect.
They are also a key place for you and your family’s health, which is closely connected to wealth. Having good health is paramount if we are to be able to successfully go out into the world and make a living.
This is one of the more active or yang areas of the home (see Erica Sofrina’s Yin-Yang article), so bring in brighter colors, active, happy and inspiring artwork and brighter lighting.
Kitchens are magnets for everything to land, so you want to head it off at the pass and create places for everything to land. Vowing we are going to turn over a new leaf and keep counters clutter-free is often self-defeating.
Give the Small Stuff a Place to Land
Install a key rack/holder on the wall near the main entry door and train yourself to always hang them there when you come in. A small table next to the door with a basket on top is another option for organizing keys and spare change. Give them a place to land and discipline yourself to always put them in their designated place when you come in. After one week it will become a habit.
Mail and papers can be dealt with in many ways depending upon how you receive them. I get mine from the post office, which is great because I de-clutter all junk mail and shred all unnecessary envelopes into their recycle bins before leaving the premises. If you have to walk to get your mail, try passing by your recycle containers on the way back and do the same. Always try to deal with junk mail the instant you get it and bring into your home just what is necessary.
Have an attractive basket on the kitchen counter where everything seems to be deposited. It should have a lid and be large enough to handle a week’s worth of mail and papers. Commit to emptying it and sorting everything out at least weekly. If the papers haven’t been read – recycle them. For unread magazines, give yourself a place to store them and limit it to five issues. As you bring in new ones, either recycle them or deliver them to places that would welcome them such as senior centers, beauty salons or non-profits that can use them. Remember the three R’s – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.
Pottery Barn and IKEA have an inexpensive piece of furniture that is great for organizing some of the larger things that land in the kitchen. It has hooks to hold book bags and coats with drawers, cabinets or cubbies below to hold multiple articles. Shoes for a shoeless home can be stored there, as well as books and homework that needs to be addressed later. If you enter the kitchen from the garage, train family members to unload these objects here.
Refrigerator doors are great places to celebrate achievements and display pictures of friends and loved ones. Use this prime real estate for affirmations, vision boards and celebrations. The problem is that the few pictures displayed tend to have offspring and now you have a cluttered hodgepodge. If this has happened, take them all down, store in a shoebox and rotate five or six pictures each week giving everything and everyone a place of honor.
Clutter Clear Drawers and Cupboards
Kitchens are great places to do some quick purging of clutter and the junk drawer is a great place to start. If you haven’t used it in six months, deep six it. You will become inspired and will want to continue. Next tackle the pan cupboard and utensils drawers. You may be surprised at how many of those objects that were supposed to save you time just takes up space. Pack them up and donate to a charity that can use it for the benefit of others.
Clear Counter Tops
Discipline yourself to keep objects off the counters that you do not use on a daily basis such as toasters, blenders, mixers and Cuisinarts. Store them in your newly cleared cupboards and replace with a few lovely vases and/or objects that inspire you. Juxtaposing functional cooking objects with whimsical or uplifting ones will greatly enhance the cooking experience and bring a higher vibrational energy into the food you are preparing.
Safety is Paramount
Safety is always of utmost importance in Feng Shui. We not only look at the things that are obviously dangerous, but the subtle things. Anything that looks like a weapon will keep us on ‘alert’ in the space. Kitchen knives should be put out of sight in knife blocks or drawers designed for them. Remove all heavy pans, hooks or objects hanging off walls, ceilings and up high on cabinets. Store up high only lighter things such as baskets that will not injure if they fall. Remove all flammable objects from close proximity to the stove. You will be amazed how much more you enjoy being in the space when the pans hanging on unfriendly hooks are removed.
The Importance of the Stove
The stove is considered extremely important and is connected to our health and wealth. Stoves and burners should always be clean and in working order and ideally be in the empowered position, where the cook can see the action. If they have their back to the door while cooking, put a mirror or a reflective metal piece behind the stove so they can see what is going on behind. If you are remodeling your kitchen anyway, the happiest place for the stove is on a cooking island where the important chef will always feel like a vital part of the family while preparing meals.
Sharing a meal with family and loved ones should be an intimate and nurturing experience. It is an important time to share our day, calm down and replenish our bodies. You need a good place to eat everyday, a place for people to connect and communicate. It is important to have comfortable chairs and an inspiring piece of artwork on the wall. Television shows are fine to watch as a family but are not conducive to good conversation or good digestion during a meal. Discipline yourself to always keep them off during meals.
If you live alone, make a ritual of eating. Turn off the television, light a candle, put on inspiring music and treat yourself as if you are the important person coming to dinner.
Bring in the Earth Element
Balancing the Five Elements in each room is an important part of Feng Shui for the home. Kitchens should have a good amount of the earth element represented by earth tones, squares and rectangles and things made from earth such as tiles, adobe and stucco. The earth element encourages us to be in our bodies which is important in kitchens where we are working with potentially dangerous things like fire and knives.
If you were planning on remodeling your kitchen, a good choice for the counter tops would be earthy granites or tiles in earth tones. There are beautiful tiles made of recycled glass that look spectacular on counter tops and will support our commitment to green building. Avoid darker tone in counter-top materials such as black, dark green or dark blues. These represent the water element and encourage us to be out of our bodies, which is counterproductive to the activities we need to perform in kitchens. If you already have a lot of black and metal you can add still add the earth element by bringing these colors onto the walls, adding terracotta or earth- tone pottery, table mats and table cloths.
We are all deeply connected to the natural world and biologically programmed to feel a sense of belonging and connection when we encounter it. Bringing in vibrant plants along with pictures and objects made from natural elements will energize your kitchen and make every one feel truly ‘at home’ here.
Creating a nurturing, happy, organized and inspiring kitchen will support the needs of the family while uplifting their souls, making your hearth truly the heart of your home!