Good feng shui often requires making wise decisions based on your specific circumstances, rather than blinding following an ideal rule. The feng shui rule for storing things under your bed is “don’t do it.” But for those who live in small homes every inch of possible storage space is precious. If you are faced with cluttering up some other area of your home with stuff that otherwise might be put under the bed, how do you decide what to do?
My preference as a feng shui professional is to keep the more visible, frequently used areas of the home uncluttered. If that means storing some things under the bed, so be it, as long as it is done thoughtfully and appropriately.
There are two reasons why your bed is so important in feng shui. The first is the principle of proximity, which states that the closer something is to you the stronger its effect will be. The second is the principle of duration, which means that the longer you are exposed to a particular influence the stronger its effect will be.
If we were getting our eight full hours of sleep every night, we’d be spending a third of our lives in bed. Even with long days and not enough sleep, the average person probably spends 25% or more of his or her time in bed. Keeping the factors of proximity and duration in mind, this means that anything that is close to you while you sleep will have a strong effect on you, either physically or symbolically.
Since you are probably well protected from below by a nice thick mattress, whatever you’ve got stashed beneath your bed isn’t likely to be directly harmful. However, in feng shui the symbolic energy of an object or image is just as important as whatever literal impact it may have. If you are using your under bed area for storage, take a moment to think about the implications of whatever is down there, especially if you haven’t been sleeping well lately. If you don’t remember what you’ve stashed under your bed, it’s time to take another look.
Here are some things that you ought to find another place for:
Shoes under the bed can keep you “running around” all night even when you are sound asleep. No matter how many hours of sleep you get, you may never feel well-rested.
Exercise gear, workout clothes, and sports equipment are also less than relaxing. Unless you want to feel like you’re “going nowhere fast” in life, don’t store your treadmill, rowing machine, aerobic step under the bed. Tennis rackets (or other gear for competitive sports) can bring a competitive, adversarial energy to your romantic relationships. It’s best not to have any kind of exercise or sports equipment in the bedroom at all if you can find another place for it.
Books and work or school papers can have an intellectually stimulating effect; if you have trouble turning your mind-chatter off so you can fall asleep at night, make sure you are not sleeping on top of a lot of information. Plus, chances are good that if you’re keeping that stuff under the bed it probably isn’t at all current, so all that old information is also energetically holding you in the past.
Guns and knives. I really hope you don’t feel the need to have these in your house at all. All that potential violence is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, no matter how “safe” it may make you feel. A feng shui friend once told me she’d consulted for a guy who collected knives, and who kept that collection under his bed. No wonder he complained of a long string of failed relationships! Regardless of any other qualities he may or may not have had, that’s a lot of cutting chi underlying what should be a place for romantic connection.
These examples should give you an idea of the sort of potentially disruptive effect the stuff under your bed can have. If you must use the under-bed space for storage, reserve it for soft, cuddly items like extra bedding or your winter sweaters.
You may even find a good use for that space by placing something with positive symbolic meaning there, so you can take conscious advantage of the proximity and duration effect. For example, laying a mirror face up under the bed is a recommended feng shui cure for insomnia; symbolically the mirror reflects the bed “downward” thus drawing into a deep, restful sleep. For a child who is frightened of imaginary monsters under the bed, placing a super-tough-guy action figure under there could provide some important protection and security.
A feng shui client recently asked if it was okay to keep her empty suitcases under the bed. If you enjoy traveling and want to do more of it, then having the luggage under the bed may help to encourage that. Inside the suitcases you can put guidebooks, photos, travel accessories, and other items related to the places where you’d like to go. For example, if you would love to take a trip to Paris put a guidebook to the city, a French-English phrase book, and a photo of the Eiffel Tower in an empty suitcase under your bed. Add some French currency or traveler’s checks for the future trip. The suitcase and its contents is now a feng shui activation to help make your travel dreams come true.
On the other hand, if you’ve been traveling a lot lately and would like to stay home for a change, then I definitely recommend finding some other place to keep your luggage. If you absolutely, positively have no alternative to keeping suitcases under the bed — and you really want a break from travel — put a rock in each one and cover them with a blanket, to help them settle in for a long rest and to keep you grounded at home.