Ping Deters, PhD

Phoenix Holistic Feng Shui

Harmony and transformation in your inner and outer life

Here is a picture of me at our fruit stand in 1968. We had a grocery store in the original Toronto Chinatown. Note the BC apples in the background!

My Apple Box Story

Everyone can create a harmonious space. For me, it all began with a BC Apple box, which was the only space I had.

My family immigrated to Canada in the 1960s. I grew up in the original Chinatown in downtown Toronto, on Dundas Street between University and Bay. We had a grocery store and lived in two small rooms above the store. The only one source of running water was the bathtub tap, and it was used for washing rice and vegetables, washing dishes, washing clothes, as well as washing ourselves.

For a newcomer family with 9 children, those early years in Canada were difficult. My father told us that he decided to open a grocery store because at least there would always be something to eat. I grew up eating lots of over-ripe fruits that could no longer be sold!

How do you fit so many people into two small rooms? The living room doubled as a second bedroom. When I was a young child, my younger sister and I shared a small sofa bed with our parents, and one of my older sisters slept on the floor. My other siblings were in the other bedroom. Later, when some of my older siblings started to move out, I graduated to the other bedroom, but we still had to share beds. Finally, at the age of 8, I had my very own bed.

With so many people living in such a small space, and with my parents working 7 days a week, from the early morning till 11 pm when we closed shop, interior decorating was not a priority. Our living quarters were a cluttered mess.

But even at the age of 8, I craved a harmonious space! Next to my bed was a tiny area that I claimed for myself. I created a shelf by stacking 2 carton BC Apple boxes.

I chose apple boxes because they were strong and sturdy. I put the heavier items – my books – on the bottom ‘shelf’ and all my other worldly possessions on the top shelf. I created my own little haven that gave me a feeling of serenity and harmony among the chaos.

So that how it all began, my love for organization and creating a comfortable and comforting space. That’s why I believe that everyone can create a harmonious space, no matter where you are or what you have.