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The Feng Shui of Second-hand Items

The Feng Shui of Second-hand Items
Photo by Julien Pier Belanger on Unsplash

If you’re like many people, you probably have some thrifted or antique items in your home. We love reusing and repurposing items when it makes sense to do so, and the process of finding special vintage pieces for your space can be a lot of fun. If you do enjoy thrifting or antique hunting, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind from a feng shui perspective.

Objects hold memory

There’s a concept we talk about in feng shui called “predecessor qi.” This refers to the memories that live within an object or a place. We are all made up of energy and vibrations, and our homes, possessions, and properties are too. When you purchase or inherit an object that belonged to someone else before you, it has predecessor qi. The older the object, the more memory it contains.

Sometimes people get nervous about predecessor qi and see it as a negative thing, but it doesn’t have to be. One way to look at predecessor qi is as a reminder to be mindful of the things you bring into your home. When you’re bringing in an object that used to belong to somebody else, you are also bringing in the energy of how they felt about it. It’s also important to consider your own feelings about it. You can honor and respect this item by giving it new life, purpose, and intention.

Even if an item does have “negative” qi associated with it, that doesn’t mean it’s negative for everybody. Just like a home can have features that wouldn’t be the best feng shui for most people, there still could be someone who could benefit from that particular situation. It’s possible that something with challenging predecessor qi has even supported or helped you in some way. We would encourage you not to look at things as just “good” or “bad.” It’s easy to fall into this way of thinking, but good and bad are really two sides of the same coin, and there are always different perspectives and nuances to a situation.

When predecessor qi can be a good thing

Sometimes, predecessor qi can be very positive. You may have items from your family lineage that are very meaningful to you. If you adored your grandmother and you now have her credenza that she cherished, that’s a beautiful energy to bring into your home. You may even want to place important objects that have been handed down to you on an altar or another location in your home where you can really honor them.

In general, if you do purchase second hand items, it’s a good idea to consider that they have the energy of the store where you found it, the people who lived with it, and even the storage unit it may have been in. Here are a few things to think about when you’re bringing home a second-hand object:

Do you love it?

Before you bring something into your home, stop and ask yourself if you really love it and if it really serves a purpose. This is part of honoring and respecting the item. It may have meant a lot to someone, so give it a job in your home. Make sure you have space for it, too. Give it a special place in your home. This goes for clothing too — do you really need another leather jacket if you already have several that you wear and love? Is there room for it in your closet?

Clearing second-hand items

If you’re adding an item from someone who you’ve had a great relationship with, you probably don’t need to clear it. However, if it’s an unknown item or something you feel is loaded energetically, you may want to take the time to do this. As practitioners, we have advanced techniques to clear significant places and things like homes, properties, and beds, but here are a few simple ways to clear smaller items:

  • Water

    A simple wash does a lot, especially for clothing. If you’re washing something that won’t be damaged by saltwater, you can also add salt to help to clear energy. Salt is a crystal with many facets, and it can absorb energy and difficulties.

  • Sunlight

    Sunlight is very clarifying, and can be a great method for clearing objects. In feng shui, sunlight is yang energy, so it can really help to clear away predecessor qi, which is very yin. Yin energy is connected to the invisible world and stale energy, and sunlight can help to transform this. On a mundane level, sunlight can also be helpful to freshen up an object by eliminating bacteria.

  • Smoke

    If you are clearing an antique or a piece of jewelry, smoke might be the best method. You can burn incense or a botanical like cedar, juniper, rosemary, or palo santo (make sure it’s ethically sourced) and waft the smoke around the object. Set the intention that you are clearing the item, and make it a ceremony. If you want, you can open a window to let stale qi out while you do this, or you can do it outside.

Letting things go

Lastly, don’t be afraid to let things go. If you have items in your home that hold a lot of sadness, judgment, or difficulty, it is okay not to keep them. For example, if you’re holding onto something that was given to you by a challenging person in your life, you could be holding onto the emotions that are caught up in that as well. By releasing objects that are not supporting you anymore, you can also release things in your life, like extra weight, challenging situations, or difficult people.