Harmony in a small space

Despite the unrest and clutter that may invade your dorm room space, there are a number of simple ways to keep it feeling homey and comfortable.

In a number of Eastern philosophies, the chi is the vital but invisible energy flowing within and around us at all times. The practice of feng shui is focused on achieving a harmonious flow of chi between yourself and your surroundings, allowing you to feel at ease, mentally and physically.

The ancient Chinese philosophy of feng shui has various perspectives, ranging from a nearly common sense feeling to one that is thoroughly complex. Today, feng shui has been transformed and developed into a practice that is accessible to anyone who wishes to make his or her dwelling space comfortable and conducive to whatever tasks are at hand.

This can be especially difficult for those living in cramped dorm rooms. Fortunately, feng shui has been recently tailored to college living in the new book Dorm Room Feng Shui. Here are some simple solutions to get your space feeling pleasant and comfortable.

The trash can. Stagnant energy lies in overstuffed wastebaskets. Empty the trash every chance you can, otherwise it can leave your life feeling stuffy and, well, full of crap.

The closet.

Many students treat their closet like a hideaway for messes. Unfortunately, hiding a mess does not make it, or its energy, go away. To keep the chi of your closet flowing right, you must keep it organized and easily accessible. Getting rid of anything you no longer use is key to clearing the air.

If you don’t love it or haven’t worn it in years, find it another home. If it has sentimental value and you just can’t get rid of it, send it to your parents’ house. With college bringing so many new things to the table, you can’t afford to be held back by old and ignored mementos of the past. Besides, they crowd the already limited living space. Another good rule: When you buy a shirt, get rid of one in your closet. This way, your clothes are in a constant, chi-flowing rotation.

The couch, err- bed. Friends who sit on your bed leave a bit of their energy behind. The problem? If they’re jittery or upset, you don’t want to be sleeping with that. A simple solution to this problem is to put a bedspread on your comforter. This way you can take the bedspread off and sleep soundly with your clear and protected comforter.

Storage bins. The number-one rule for stronger chi: the less stuff, the better. Make sure your storage containers are used for things you need and will use in the future. Otherwise, they, and other useless chi-slowing trinkets, should be thrown out.

Clutter under the bed. If you’re in dire need of extra room and must keep stuff under your bed, make sure it’s neatly stored and organized. This means no dirty laundry. For those with the extra room, keep nothing under your bed. There should be enough open room for the air to circulate underneath it so that the chi continues to flow right.


Make sure your drawers are neat and not overstuffed. The more your room is unorganized, the more you will feel scatterbrained. With that in mind, keeping the top of your dresser somewhat clear allows the chi to move smoothly. Do not bombard it with “stuff.”

Pictures and posters.

You want to make sure that the pictures on your walls correspond with the energy you want to bring to your room. For example, if you’re having a hard time concentrating at your desk, a contemplative or meditative print should go up. If you feel like your room is too conducive to studying and not hanging out, a few bright and busy prints should liven things up.

The messy roommate.

Unfortunately, not much can be done to whip them into shape. However, focusing on “what is wrong” will not make things better. Envision your roommate cleaning things up or having a feng shui revelation. Maybe he or she will be inspired by what you’ve done with your space. The more you focus on what you want to happen, the more likely it will.