Ai's clients share their experiences.
M. U (Medical) Ehime, Japan
The reason why I ordered Ai Feng Shui Interior Consulting's 4 weeks Decluttering Program was that I wanted to change my life.
Two years ago when I switched my job, I moved into this apartment.
I went to the college again to change my career after quitting my previous job, and I was very lucky to get a job that I desired, but I felt it was so hard starting all over again as a freshman in my 40's. I had been too tired to take care my house. Home to me was just a place where I sleep. My 2 bedroom apt is a bit spacious for a single person, where I subconsciously kept holding so much stuff and I did not feel comfortable at all at home.
I wanted to do something about it but I was too tired...and I had no idea where to start. But more and more things were filling my house....I was in a negative cycle.
I could not invite anyone to my house. I used to invite people every week before, but finally my house became a place where I could not invite anybody, even my family.
I was trying not to face the fact and was pretending that I was living a happy life.
But soon after the new year came, I started feeling I wanted to fix this problem, maybe because now I am in 40"s-the middle point of my life.
Do I want to live a single life forever? Or do I want to meet someone and live with him for the rest of my life?
Whichever way lays in front of me....I need to organize my life and home.
I started asking this question to myself.
One day, I received a message from Ai saying she'd like to see me because she was going to visit Japan during her vacation soon.
Ai and I are childhood friends. The last time I met her was almost 5 years ago.
I knew that she has been working as a feng shui interior consultant in New York from SNS.
I had a hope that she might be able to give me some hints to get out of this negative cycle.
My instinct told me that I should meet her no matter what!
Finally we met, even for a couple of hours...we enjoyed our time catching up with each other.
And in the end, I told her I needed her help.
I told her all about my problems.
In the evening on the same day, I sent her pictures and videos of my apartment with a message "Please help me."
Home before consultation
The first thing that Ai told me was "What you need is not Feng Shui or interior coordination....but decluttering. "
She suggested me 4 weeks decluttering program.
In her first consultation, I told her my goals within this program.
-I want my cleaning robot can move around the rooms to clean as it's supposed to do.
-I want to get rid of all unnecessary stuff from my bedroom so that I can focus on just resting.
-I want to invite people to my house again.
Ai said, "Sure you can do it. Believe in your power. "
But I was still worried wondering if I really could do it.
I have to admit that I shouted to myself "Oh, no, it's impossible for me!!" so many times when Ai said:
This and this and this......do you really need them? I guess not. .....Well, be ready to let them go."
Ai pointed out:
Each furniture is too big for the size of this room....
Why do you have this many tables in this room?
Do you really need this much stuff for a single person living?
She was totally right.
But I could not admit that right away.
I could have got rid of them already if it was easy.
I even knew all of the stuff she pointed out were not really necessary to me but I was trying to find as many excuses as possible:
I can still use them...
I will use them someday...
It's troublesome to get rid of them...
They were expensive....
I think I like them...
My friends/family gave them to me.....
50% of the stuff in my house was something I did not need any more and my house was filled with those stuff.
On the 1st day of the program, we started with Entrance area. I got rid of half of my shoes collections and unnecessary stuff for the entrance area such as flyers, newspaper, etc.
Gloves, helmet and other miscellaneous stuff were left out messily on the shoe shelf top. The entrance area was chaotically messed up by so many pairs of shoes as if everyday there's party here.
But once all of them were organized properly, something in my mind changed...it was just like some new wind blew in me.
On the second week, I worked on my living room, bedroom and closets.
I got rid of so many clothes, bags, accessories, make ups, books, and files that I did not use anymore.
I even felt so good when I was decluttering those unnecessary stuff.
During decluttering, I found many boxes and bags that I did not even open to use.
I totally forgot what I had bought before.
Ai told me that my impulsive shopping could give me a short tern satisfaction but it wouldn't satisfy me truly.
Ai also pointed out that I had not valued things and appreciated them and that I was not responsible for those things and being controlled by them.
She even said my attitudes towards things should represent my attitudes towards people around me.
Her words stuck into my hearts.
I started realizing that I contacted my friends or partners only when I needed their help. I realized that I expressed my love to them only when I felt lonely....I did not care their situation and their feeling.
In the past, there were some friends who tried to make me realize that with their tough love...but eventually I got distanced from them and then I started feeling maybe they must have walked away from me because I was selfish to them.
During decluttering, I had reflected on how I treated them in the past.
I think decluttering is not only making space clean but also giving me an opportunity to reflect on my life and also to break my old pattern.
Sometimes I felt tired from decluttering but I did not give up because Ai kept encouraging me like a strict coach.
On the final week, Ai said "Now you are ready to work on the dining/kitchen and the bathroom without my guidance I know you can do it by yourself. Believe in yourself. "
Kitchen and bathroom where I eat and clean myself. What shall I do with them?
I had only one week left.
At first, honestly I did not know if I could do if by myself....but soon later I figured decluttering in a past few weeks changed something in me.
I knew first thing I had to do was getting rid of stuff. And then I thought I should change the layout of a refrigerator and a cupboard.
I was very surprised at myself being aware of what was wrong with the kitchen, which was inconvenient and messy.
Once I started working on it, I could not stop myself.
I cleaned and polished a gas stove, an oven, and a kettle which were dirty with dirt and oil.
I thought how I could make the kitchen more convenient to use.
I got rid of many foods that had passed the freshness dates and kitchen tools that I did not use anymore, and I cleaned the kitchen floor very hard.
But there was one problem.....
"The refrigerator and the cupboard must be too heavy for me to relocate....What shall I d?"
However, unbelievably, I could move them by myself. I felt something very powerful inside of me.
I think it was my strong will that gave me the power to move the heavy stuff by myself. I wanted to make this the ideal kitchen, I wanted to see it with my eyes.
And in the same way, I declutter, cleaned, polish and organize the bathroom too.
I said "thank you" to the 20 year old plastic organizing case and let it go.
Instead, I placed an unused rack from the kitchen here after wiping it, and put towels, handkerchieves and hair care products in it.
I moved a washing machine a bit, and got rid of a laundry box.
I figured the laundry box was unnecessary here because it occupied the small space and I kept loading dirty clothes in the box until it got overloaded.
Once I got rid of the laundry box, the bathroom gained more space.
I organized top shelves, and I tried to keep more white colored stuff mainly so that they looked clean and neat.
After I completed the kitchen and the bathroom project, I could't help wowing.
I was really moved by what I achieved.
It's not just because the spaces looked tidy but it's because I made a plan from zero and implemented it by myself!
I sent pictures of the kitchen and the bathroom to Ai, and she was so moved, too.
And she said, "I told you you could do it!"
Her positive encouraging words always gave me huge power.
In the final stage, I finally removed kotatsu which Ai already had told me to remove on the day 1, from the living room into the closet. And I also changed the sofa layout following Ai's suggestion.
That moment, my long termed belief "I can't live without kotatsu in winter because it's cold." was smashed completely.
The living room became more spacious after I removed kotatsu and a rug for it. Not I sit on the sofa instead of the floor.
And now I eat at the table in the dining area.
AI's suggested layout smashed my fixed ideas of living, too.
I used to do everything at kotatsu literally: I kept everything, such as paper, cups, TV remort controller, snacks etc on kotatsu, and I did everything: eating meals, making up, studying..etc while I watching TV at kotatsu.
Now I understand how lazy my life was.
Ai said, "Each rooms in your house has its role and you are not letting them play their roles...you are even forcing them to play different roles. "
In front of he dresser is where I can comfortably put make up on.
It used to be left out unused in the bedroom, but now I have it in the bright living room.
So I use it everyday when I put make up on since I change the location....the dresser used to be something I was considering get rid of, though. Now it is playing its important role.
The table set where I used to put lots of clutters before is not located in a dining kitchen. Now I eat there and also do some work there.
By the way, at first I was complaining to Ai saying "If I put the table in the dining table, I can not watch TV when I eat.", but what she said to me "You can watch TV while eating if you are a college kid. You are a grown up lady..you can focus on your meal and appreciate it." convinced me a lot.
Since then I eat meals in the dining kitchen, and occasionally I eat one plate meal on the sofa in the living room.
Now I enjoy this new system in my house because it gives me choices...I am so comfortable with the system and the flexibility that offers me choices.
Got rid of few oversized tables, placed kotatsu (a Japanese low, wooden table frame covered by a futon upon which a table top sits) in a closet, get rid of all other stuff that is unrelated with the living room area or move them in a closet.
Moved the unsed dresser from the bed foot side to a brighter space of the living room to be able to do make up comfortably. Moved the table set, which used to be covered with piles of stuff, from the living room to the dining area to be able to eat meals here.
This home project with Ai gave me not only a comfortable, clean space to live but also a new way of looking at my life style and self confidence. I can not live the way I used to before. I will never go back to that life style. Now I even enjoy keeping myself and home comfortable. I achieved all the goals I made for this program: Now I run the robot vacuum everyday. I could invite my lovely niece to my home. Since my home transformed into clean, organized space, I smile more and relationships with people are getting better. Now I can change my mood quickly when I come home with stress after work.
I feel now that my home gives me relaxations and also cleansing.
I was moved by Ai's message after the project: "Now you are giving love to your home. It's the same thing as you are giving love to yourself and eventually you will give love to other people too. "After this project, I really love my home and myself. I am hoping that I will be able to share my love with people around me, and love someone nice whom I meet in the future.
Thank you very much, Ai. Without you, I do not think this project succeeded. It was hard for me to show everything to you at first, but you accepted who I am and that was why I could complete this project. I appreciate you believing in me and guiding me where I am now. Thank you.