The film classic “Psycho” and the value of clearing the clutter

psycho movieEver wonder how the classic Hitchcock thriller “Psycho” is related to clearing the clutter?  Probably not, so read on.

If your nerves were on edge while watching “Psycho,” here’s why:   every time director Alfred Hitchcock cut to the house on the hill, something was different.

In each shot he would change the location of the door, or the number or placement of windows, or the number of panes in each window.

The shots weren’t held long enough for the viewer to be conscious of what the changes were, only that something was “wrong” with that house.   The result?  An uneasy feeling throughout the film.  That’s why Hitchcock was such a master director.

I took that lesson seriously which is why when I teach workshops, I make sure everything is neat and orderly so the students feel that everything is right in the space.

There are many more areas of our lives in which this lesson can be fruitful.

Lessons from Feng Shui

In my last post, I wrote about Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of balancing energies in a space to bring health and good fortune for the inhabitants.

One of the first rules of Feng Shui is to create order and clear any clutter.  Our homes are not just where we eat and sleep; they are a manifestation of our inner spiritual life.

Here’s what clutter represents:

  • Stagnant or blocked energy.
  • Indecision and the inability to move forward in life.
  • Disorder and confusion.
  • Inconvenience and time wasted; how much time do we spend looking for things lost in our own house?  [I am raising my hand here.  Thus the saying we teach what we need to learn].

In business, studies show that the average person wastes 4.3 hours searching for papers. Time which could be much better spent!

Research also shows that clutter equals stress and reduces productivity.  Since scientists agree that 75% of illness is stress-related, anything that reduces stress is good for our health.

Dealing with material clutter

clearing the clutterThe easiest way is keep your living space clutter-free is to regularly go through the house and remove those things you no longer use.  Give it away to your local thrift store and let someone else enjoy it.

My personal rule is if it hasn’t been used it in a year, let it go.  If that’s too hard, Plan B is to put it in a box, dated, and wait another year to see if you missed it.  You will get a great sense of freedom in taking dated boxes of things you never missed to the local thrift store.

Ask yourself,

  • “Do I want this?”
  • “Does it make me happy?”
  • “Can someone else put it to better use?”

If it’s broken, fix it or get rid of it.  Do you really want fractured energy around your house?

Do you really need to be holding onto letters that you haven’t read in years?  Out they go!!  Even the IRS only requires us to keep records for seven years.

Vacuum, dust and clean on a regular basis.  It’s not healthy to be living in a Psycho house full of cobwebs.

Every time you bring something new into the house, try to make sure something old goes out.

Clearing energetic clutter

Make arrangements to pay off unpaid bills or debts.

Make a plan for when and how you will complete unfinished projects or else realize you never will and give the remnants away.

Set aside an hour each week to respond to unanswered letters and emails.

Start with ten minutes a day of putting things away, always being conscious of whether or not these are things you still want.

Some Feng Shui consultants recommended spending 9 minutes a day clearing clutter, or else putting away 9 things a day, as the number 9 in Chinese denotes completion.

Clearing workspace clutter:

Make a weekly appointment with yourself to organize information.  Friday afternoon is a good time so you can start fresh Monday morning.

At the end of each day: 80% of your desktop must be visible.

Eliminate anything on top of your desk not used often.  Everything else should have a file or drawer.

Check emails no more than 3 times a day and either delete or handle them right then and there.

Schedule a quarterly re-organization day.

And the final tip:

Do empowered recycling.  For example, discarded cell phones account for nearly 65,000 TONS of toxic waste each year.  Visit

to download a free mailing label for sending in your old cell phone to be recycled and help a worthy cause.  It will definitely bring a smile to your face and help the planet, too.

[quote]“Nothing new comes into your life until you make room for it.”  Feng Shui saying[/quote]

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Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at

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