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Purge Your Home of Unlucky Items

I've spent half a century writing for radio and print (mostly print). I hope to still be tapping the keys as I take my last breath.

If you are wondering why you haven't had a big lottery win yet? The answer might be because there's a broken clock in your house or because your front door is painted black. Maybe the reason your soufflé keeps collapsing is because there's a chipped plate lurking somewhere in the back of a cupboard.

There's all manner of malevolent stuff hiding in your home. It has to be evicted.

Feng Shui

The oracle that must be consulted if you want harmonious living spaces is the Chinese practice of Feng Shui. It's about balancing energy fields in the home by moving furniture and objects around. There needs to be a positive interaction between Grandpa's tartan recliner and Billy the budgerigar's birdcage.

There are skeptics who live among us who believe that Feng Shui carries the same gravitas and accuracy of newspaper horoscopes and tea-leaf readings. Perhaps, you suspect the writer might be one of them. You might be right, but that doesn't preclude listing some of Feng Shui's rules:

  • Your front door must be the biggest door in the house and must be kept clean with no squeaky hinges;
  • Never put your bed under a window and never put a television in your bedroom;
  • Your living room needs to be decluttered, no children's toys lying about and no CDs without cases;
  • The kitchen should be uncluttered and face south or southwest; and,
  • Home office desks should face the door and never a window.

This, of course, only skims the do's and don'ts of Feng Shui. For a complete understanding there is a host of Feng Shui consultants plying their trade. One will come to your home to survey the wreckage. Then, you will find that your colour scheme is all wrong and your bank balance is somewhat diminished.

Plants that Carry a Curse

Cactus and other prickly vegetation give off bad vibes. The reason is that they are symbols of survival in harsh conditions such as deserts—the opposite of prosperity, good times, and abundance. And, we all want abundance, except along the waistline.

However, the experts in these matters say if you are determined to dice with misfortune and have a spiny succulent in your dwelling make sure to stick it in a window. There's a school of thought that such a position works as a protector. Better still go with a plant from a long list of friendly and beneficial ones such as:

  • Rubber plant;
  • Peace lily;
  • Boston Fern;
  • Orchids; and,
  • Palms.

It's important not to let your plants dry out, firstly because they tend to die, and secondly, because dried plants are supposed to bring bad luck. Meghan Jones at Reader's Digest tells us “Having dead things in your home is said to bring in dead energy, tainting the dwelling’s mojo.” That's a heavy number to lay on a dead daisy. Anyway, they are horrible dust catchers.

Time for the compost.

Time for the compost.

More Unlucky Household Objects

In Oregon, and perhaps elsewhere, it's bad luck to enter a house by one door and leave by another; this is not likely to be an issue for apartment dwellers.

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Never use green paint. Actually, there used to be a good reason for this. The dye used to achieve the colour contained cupric hydrogen arsenic; yes, the kind of arsenic popular among folk who wanted to bump off an inconvenient spouse. Toxic gas could be released from green-painted walls with distressing results. Even though that was in the Victorian era and arsenic is no longer used in paint, a superstition against green lingers in some quarters.

Rocking chairs with nobody sitting in them is an open invitation for evil spirits to take a pew and mess with the harmony on your household. That's a belief among some in Ireland. It's also the belief among long-tailed cats.

Opening an umbrella indoors will create bad karma. This is a superstition that may have very old origins going back to Ancient Egypt when monarchs were shielded from the sun by umbrellas/parasols made of papyrus or peacock feathers. If the parasols were open indoors they were likely to attract Ra the sun god and, apparently, that was not something to be encouraged.

More recently, umbrellas were believed to protect people from the storms that life throws at us; opening one inside brings the tempests into the household. There are those who say this is hogwash and mark their belief on March 13 every year by designating it National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day.

Dead things in a home give off a terrible aura, such as that stuffed kudu head that Uncle Horace shot in Botswana. Do you really want its glassy-eyed stare following you around the room? No, you don't. Get rid of it. If you don't you will get a severe talking to from a real estate agent when you come to sell your property. They'll tell you a stuffed bear or any other critter will turn off customers.

Never use an old broom to sweep in a new home; apparently you'll be getting rid of good luck.

If you don't want witches visiting hang some fennel by your front door. Garlic is said to have the same repelling power when it comes to vampires.

You could worry yourself silly following all the dictates of self-appointed “experts” in cleansing your home of malicious spirits. Or, you could accept that they have all the accuracy of QAnon conspiracies and ignore them.

Bonus Factoids

  • Nancy Reagan regularly consulted an astrologer, Joan Quigley, and passed on her advice to husband Ronald about affairs of the state.
  • John Dee was a magician, occultist, and astrologer who spoke to angels and was appointed an adviser to Queen Elizabeth I.
  • U.S. President William McKinley always had a “lucky” red carnation in his lapel. In September 1901, he gave his carnation to a young girl and was promptly assassinated.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte believed he was guided by a lucky star.


  • “Why Is it Bad Luck to Have a Cactus in the House?” Ameera Mills,, June 26, 2019.
  • “Why Is it Bad Luck to Have a Cactus in the House?” VEQUILL,, August 7, 2020.
  • “Pushing Your Luck? 9 Surprising Things in Your Home That Give Off Bad Juju.” Jennifer Kelly Geddes,, July 13, 2018.
  • “10 Essential Feng Shui Rules Everyone Needs to Know.” Michael Mohoric,, undated.
  • “9 Unlucky Things to Never Keep in Your Home.” Meghan Jones, Reader's Digest, November 23, 2021.
  • “15 of the Oddest Home Superstitions.” Caroline Picard,, September 2, 2016.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Rupert Taylor

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