When it comes to how you feel at home, some people talk about ‘good vibes’. Others talk about energy. We all have our own way to refer to how we interact with our home and what role it plays in our lives.
This year, Chinese New Year falls on January 25 and we’re entering the year of the rat, the first of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Anyone born the year the rat comes around (such as 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) is said to be optimistic, practical, and adaptable. So it would be no surprise if they have a clean, minimalist home and a clear mind as a result.
Even if you weren’t born in the year of the rat, it can’t hurt to try and channel that energy, right? Using the Chinese New Year concept of good fortune (traditionally expressed in words and blessings with red paper signs), here are a few ways to bring luck – or good vibes – into your home in 2020:
While you aren’t supposed to clean during the Chinese New Year period (lest you brush away the good luck), in order to sweep out the bad luck, you’re supposed to clean your home a few days prior. Combining this idea with western concepts like “messy house, messy mind” and “you make your own luck”, it’s worth giving your place a comprehensive cleaning. Start by decluttering and organizing, then wash the floors and blinds, vacuum carpets and curtains, give appliances (especially the fridge) a thorough wipe down, and dust and wash all surfaces.
With a clean place, it’ll feel like you’re ‘starting from scratch’, which will give you less to feel stressed about and hopefully bring positive energy into your home.
The traditional practice of Feng Shui (meaning ‘wind’ and ‘water’, words associated with good fortune) looks at how the arrangement of objects relates to the flow of natural energy (‘qi’, pronounced chi). The goal is to create a built environment that’s in harmony with the natural world.
In contemporary interior design, people might use some of the principles of Feng Shui to organize their home in a way that supports the flow of qi. One tip would be to focus on the space inside your front door, which is one place where qi (and you, and your guests) enters your home. Keep it well lit and open, and if you face a wall when entering your home, put up a mirror.
Feng Shui experts also recommend placing a rug or a plant to disrupt qi that might be moving too fast, such as a layout where you can see your back door from your front door, or a hallway that leads to a bedroom. While you want to make sure the flow of energy isn’t obstructed, qi that’s going too fast is said to bring a rushed or stressed feeling to the home.
Different objects are seen as lucky in different cultures. In the Chinese tradition, items like bamboo plants, lucky cats and red knots are talismans of good fortune. Taking a note from Feng Shui, you might want to bestow upon your home an elephant figurine with its trunk in the upright position. Placing a turtle figurine above or facing your front door is also meant to keep bad luck at bay.
You might have another lucky charm that’s more personally meaningful to you. Maybe it’s something you keep in your car or carry it in your wallet. Whether you believe in making your own luck or are looking for new ways to feel more at home, the end result should be a space where you’re happy to spend time. If that means bringing in an antique painting or a zebra bean bag chair, so be it!
On top of everything, Maple Leaf Self Storage is celebrating Chinese New Year with a promotion. From Jan 25 to Feb 29, you can win a $25 GC, free small boxes or other packing supplies when you rent a new storage unit! It’s limited time and quantities so act fast. Contact your local store for more information.