Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Tidy Up

by Lauren Becker, LAc |

Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Tidy Up

We’re all familiar with spring cleaning, but from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, fall is a perfect time to de-clutter and tidy up! Here’s why.

Fall welcomes the Metal Element. In Five Element theory, each element (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood) has special associations with particular areas of life, certain emotions, personalities, shapes, colors, seasons, and organ systems in the human body. Understanding of five elements is essential to restore balance in our lives and home.

The Metal Element is concerned with letting things go.

Fall is a season of change, which is the time between summer and winter, i.e. when Yang changes Yin. You can see this transformation happening in the environment: leaves fall off the trees and the days are shorter and cooler. Adhering to the allure of the season, it is obvious to realize the need of changing our homes as well.

The Power of Metal is to Decrease

After the season of spring (Wood), the intensity of summer (Fire), and the reaping of crops in late summer (Earth), we witness fall (Metal), a time to reduce. When summer changes into fall, we sense the burden of excess accumulation in our mental and physical state.

Decluttering our space will help to let go of excess and find levity in our space.

to do list

The Metal Element Likes Structure

Like summer days, fall re-brings routine ad structure. The school year begins, summer travel ends, and its back to the day planner. The Metal Element prospers with structure, organization, and systematic planning. Now is a great time to welcome that metal energy in our living spaces.

In her book The Holistic Home, Laura Benko explains that fall is a time of harvesting and gathering your ideas: “Use this time to prepare yourself for future goals like searching for book, gathering decoration ideas, or planning for wedding or trip. Getting rid of clutter will help to create more space for great ideas, planning, and preparation.


If you need some organizational or décor ideas, consider incorporating some Metal Element fang shui. The metal is a white colored, dome. Use items made from metals, rocks, and minerals in your home. Examples are bronze picture frames, stainless steel kitchen containers, white desk organizers, and geode bookends

Grief Is the Emotion of Metal

Fall is the season when the Qi (energy) moves inward, and days become shorter and darker. Grief is an essential part of Qi of the season, where there is a decomposition of nature, a strong feeling of letting things go as the nature get ready to welcome a new life. De-cluttering our wardrobes will elevate symptoms of sadness and loss to let go in a healthy pattern.

falling leaves


element and fall season. Lungs are a source of inspiration, the large intestine are a source of elimination. Our lungs breathe in fresh air and exhale carbon dioxide. The large intestine eliminates waste from digestion.  Both organs let go of toxins and absorb essential nutrients needed for life. 

Matching the transitions of fall season, we should incorporate this wisdom into home. What is valuable, what is not? Feel the activity of the lungs: breathing, cleansing, and inspiration. Make a space for things that inspire you!

Consider the energetics of the large intestine: elimination. Let go of excess and things that are no longer needed, and tackle spaces that make you feel weighed down. 

We acquire a lot of material possessions during our lifetime. According to spiritual teachers, people continuously undergo the phase of letting go and move throughout their lives, this opposite to the tendency to carry, control, and stick to things. When we hold on to things for too long, there is lack of movement and change, and the Qi (energy) in our home becomes stagnant and our personal energy can feel compromised.

Organizing, decluttering, and perfecting the home will come more naturally to people with more metal energy in their elemental make-up (hello, Marie Kondo!). But achieving a minimalist, highly organized space is not for everyone. The fall de-cluttering means to clean your wardrobe, creating a space for things you inspire, a place where you can BREATHE, a pace that feels calming, and a space that enhance the flow of ideas and creativity of Qi.

  • Benko, Laura. “The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space” (2016).
  • Hicks, Angela. “Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture" (2004).
  • Morris, Laura. “Clutter vs. Mess”: www.mindfuldesignschool.com. March 4, 2019.

Lauren Becker, L.Ac., is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and the founder of Balance Acupuncture. She successfully used acupuncture to support her own health beginning in her teens for allergies and asthma, and has since been dedicated to the medicine. Learn more about her at (https://balancecharleston.com/).

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