Much as I love the summer, and much as I love my children, I have been known to feel the strain of the summer school holidays. I take my hat off to all the mums who manage to enjoy, rather than endure, the long break. However, I will admit, it does have its perks – my favourite being: time to read.

I’m a big reader all year but I seem to get through more books than usual during those endless summer days. So I thought I would share with you some of the valuable things I learned this summer, as I tried to escape the mess, noise and chaos surrounding me and saught sanctuary in my books….

Possibly the most effective read of the summer was Karen Rauch Carter’s, Move your stuff, change your life. It’s a guide to the Black Hat school of Feng Shui.

I have been a casual student of Feng Shui for many years and find it fascinating. However, it is a complex art/science. In the past, I have been left so confused and bewildered that I haven’t known whether I was firing-up my Six Killings or ignoring my Heavenly Doctor.

The fact that instructions depended on your date and time of birth, and possibly your name as well, meant there were no hard and fast rules to learn and quickly apply. This is obviously why feng shui practitioners in the East are so revered, because they have mastered the many nuances and variations, usually after years, even lifetimes, of study.

Well, call me impatient but I’d like a speedier option. Enter Karen Rauch Carter. Now, Karen has been accused of over-simplifying the complex intricacies of feng shui but I’m not enough of an expert to judge. What I do know, however, is that this is the first time I’ve really grasped the basic principles; The Five Elements, The Bagua, The Creative and Destructive cycles.

I also liked the way that Karen linked the results of feng shui with the effects of positive-thinking and the power of intention and belief. This did make me question whether there’s a placebo-effect element to feng shui – but does it really matter? If you move some things and life seems to flow more smoothly, where’s the harm?

So, I would certainly recommend Move your stuff, change your life, if you’re at all interested in feng shui. It’s an easy and enjoyable read. Given the theme of this blog, though, I found the most powerful aspect of the book was this:

it inspired and motivated me to do housework.

(No mean feat.)

When you discover that clutter and grime are the enemy of healthy Chi, you don’t need to understand the Bagua to know which areas could do with a spruce-up. Whether it turns out to be your wealth zone or your relationships area or your career section, wouldn’t a boost in any department be nice?

Be warned, though, it is much more difficult to ignore the mess and clutter when you learn how it can affect your health, wealth and happiness. So if you’re prone to despair or hiding from the inevitable, this may not help. (Though if you follow the ideas in the book, despair and denial could be the first things to go…)

But if you’re looking for some extra motivation to bust your clutter or get your housework done, this book may just do the trick. And even if you don’t suddenly come into money or meet the man of your dreams, at least the consolation prize will be a cleaner, tidier, healthier home.

Thanks, Karen!

UPDATE 23.9.10

After a little attention in my Love & Relationship sector and my Prosperity sector, I have received 2 unexpected cash influxes and my husband has brought me flowers and promised to take me away for my birthday (both rare treats)!

There just may be something in this feng shui business….