In nearly a decade of designing homes and working with people to make transitions and expand their lives with feng shui in my own way, there's one thing I've recommended to every single one of my clients.

It's not a bunch of sage, a broom, a crystal or anything with magical connotations. In fact, it's not furniture, and it's not art.

It's a journal.

Whether you choose a composition notebook, stacks of papers kept in an envelope, a three-ring binder, a sketchpad or a fancy diary, a journal is a life-changing tool.

After all, life is all stories, isn't it?

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At the end of the day you'll have stories to tell, and more about tomorrow. Your memories are all stories. Your future visions are all stories. Right now you're reading a story.

Your home also tells a story. Your experience of space and life is personal, and it is all rooted in stories. Journals help you to see stories in fresh and innovative and incredible ways.

While I know this isn't the traditional (or in my case, nontraditional) feng shui tip you may have been expecting from me, I believe this is the one thing that helps all kinds of energy shifts and other more "ethereal" ideas come to life in a very practical way.

Journals declutter your mind. When you keep a journal, you start to move ideas out of your mind and onto a page. Instead of holding onto ideas, they pour out into a place where they can start to be sorted and examined with much more clarity.

Writing can show you where you're stuck … and show you ways to become more free. Just like how certain areas of your home collect clutter (like that junk drawer near your kitchen), themes and patterns emerge when you write that show you where and how you are getting stuck in a clutter of ideas or beliefs that you might not easily see in your day-to-day life.

The magical part of this process: It is very hard to complain and worry about the same things on paper, every day, watching yourself write them by hand, and not be moved to take action.

Journals also help you see how far you've come. It's amazing to me that I can move forward in really big ways and somehow forget that I've taken these steps forward.

Are you in the same boat? It's easy to forget where you started, and easy to ignore progress, you know?

With a journal, you can look back and see just how much you have grown and expanded. It was the promise of being able to see my own progress through life that convinced me to start a lifelong journal habit. Looking back even to last year's journals is always eye-opening!

On an academically scientific note, journals can be a form of therapy. One of the luminaries on the topic of writing as therapy, James W. Pennebaker, has demonstrated that a regular habit of writing for at least 20 minutes a day in a journal can increase your immune system, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, and lead to better grades for students.

By all means clear and clean and design and feng shui your home. But, also, keep a journal!

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