This past weekend I found myself standing amid the rubble of my new apartment, crumpled wrapping paper up to my knees, boxes piled on every available surface, and with the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to begin looming over me. I’d already scrubbed, painted, and vacuumed, a transitional practice I like to perform before bringing my belongings into a new space, but then what? Once the boxes are unpacked and a place has been found for every last knickknack, how do you make your home feel like, well, home? The act of moving can be so transformative that it feels remiss to just launch right back into life as usual after completely uprooting it.
I like to think of the act of moving the same as I do a body cleanse. It’s an opportunity to flush out the bad to make room for the good, and the perfect time to make some major — and meaningful — changes. But the cleanse doesn’t just stop after you’ve had a yard sale or donated unwanted or unneeded items to charity, there’s plenty more to be done after you’ve arrived at your new digs.
As I mentioned above, I like to give a new space a once-over before I even bring my boxes in. While I wash windows, floors, and sinks, and vacuum up cobwebs and sawdust, I visualize wiping away the past to let the sparkling possibility of the future shine through. Whoever occupied the space before me — their memories, struggles, tribulations — is washed away and forgotten in favor of a fresh start. I begin thinking of the space as mine and visualize how my life will fit within its walls. While you’re doing this, keep your thoughts positive and think to the future, do not allow your brain to stray into negative territory.
While it might seem excessive, after you’ve unpacked it’s time to clean all over again with a lighter hand. This time, focus mainly on the floors: Erase the marks of others, mop away the footprints of movers, and the dirt and the grime you’ve most likely tracked in while hauling boxes. To benefit the most from this ritual, you should use all natural, non-toxic cleaning products that won’t bring harm to you, your pets, or the planet. For windows I recommend a solution of 2 cups warm water, 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, and a dab of castile soap, like Dr. Bronner’s. Combine in a spray bottle, spritz windows, and use good old fashioned newspaper to wipe them down. If your windows are the kind that tilt inwards, be sure to wash both the inside and outside panes so the light can shine through as clearly as possible. For floors, dilute 1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner’s in 3 gallons hot water, mop them down, and rinse with fresh water.
I know. It’s a lot. But all that cleaning is worth it in the end when you’re standing in your new place with a fresh start stretched before you and a space that feels entirely yours. At this point, you’ve likely experienced every possible emotion or combination of emotions — stress, worry, excitement, exhaustion, happiness (buried somewhere in there) — and your desire to just move on is palpable. As a final act, a sage smudging ceremony will help to prevent any residual negative energy from clinging to the space and aide in completing your transition into your new life. If you live with someone — especially a significant other — they should be present for the ceremony and encouraged to participate. It’s best to have a discussion beforehand to mutually decide on the intentions you’ll be setting for your home so that you can start your new chapter free from conflict.
Never performed a smudge ceremony before? Here’s how:
What you need:
Sage smudge sticks
A large abalone shell (traditionally used) or tray
Glass of water
First open all the windows and doors in your home or apartment. If you have fans, turn them on — you want as much airflow through the space as possible. With your cup of water near by, light the end of the smudge stick and blow it out (just like incense) – it should be fairly smokey.
Decide which room you want to begin the ceremony in and stand at the center (if you have a partner, have them stand with you). Breathe deeply and set your intention for the room. Your intention can be anything you’d like it to be, but it should include a sentence or two about freeing the space from any pre-existing impurities and negativity. Walk around the room and gently wave the smudge stick (carefully holding the shell beneath it to catch any falling embers) so the smoke wafts into corners, up walls, around window moldings, and into closets. As you do this, visualize the smoke sucking up all the negativity that might have existed in the space before you and drifting out the open windows and doors. Just as you washed away the literal preexisting grime with a mop and bucket, now you’re washing away the spiritual dirt.
As you move throughout your home, repeat the ritual in each room, altering your intention as needed. You may want to promote unity and nourishment in your kitchen, or community and sanctuary in your living room, for example. Once you’ve finished cleansing the space itself, cup your hands around the smoke and waft it over your face and around your body, visualizing any remaining negativity, stress, or pollutants leaving your body and drifting out the open windows. If your partner is performing the ceremony with you, have them do the same. Extinguish any remaining sage in the glass of water and discard.
After a frenetic move, stressful unpacking, and harried organization, this is the perfect way to slow down and appreciate where you are and what you have, and you can begin this next chapter with a clear, uncluttered and grateful mind.
And while it is the perfect way to cleanse a new home, you can also perform the ritual any time you’re feeling like you or your space might be spiritually congested (after an illness, trauma, or stressful situation).
Visit the Spirituality Shop.
Love this, I always try to do this when moving!
Good luck unpacking and getting settled in your new home!
This is so lovely,
I remember my nan used to do it in the beginning of each year to cleanse the house from old spirits and I’ve never quite got it until recently :). Good luck, wish you lots of lovely moments in your new home!
I love cleansing my place every so often. Sometime the shift is subtle, sometimes extreme, but afterwords its always feels like my home is filled with a breath of cool fresh air!
The Weaver Of Words…..give me 15 words and I’ll tell you a tale…….
My Reiki masters use sage all the time– when I leave their shop I definitely feel spiritually clean, and I would say a lot of it has to do with the sage and the atmosphere it provides. Though, I have yet to clean my own home with it (I procrastinated, and then I became pregnant and they recommended staying away from inhaling sage while being pregnant–not exactly sure why?).
I use Dr. Bronner’s soaps on my body but I am looking forward to cleaning my floors with it now. Thanks!
People should note that it’s VERY dangerous to tamper with energy if not properly trained in it. People spend years becoming spiritual masters and this kind of thing should not be taken lightly. Too often sacred practices are mistaken for easy (and not to mention trendy) activities and this can put folks in some bad situations. Energy is POWERFUL, people.
It can definitely be dangerous if you have no idea of what you are doing, not just the ritual, but it is important to have a basic understanding of how energies work.
That being said, while some things most definitely should be left up to masters, some basic energy work, such as cleansing can be done by the average person. I am not saying some random person should go around trying to smudge(or use other techniques). It’s important to have a basic knowledge of energies and of your own ability and limitation. What is even more important is a deep seed of respect for the ritual and culture it comes from. If you cleanse a house(or do other energy work) it must be with sincerity, respect, and yes a certain amount of knowledge.
Sage is a medicine, you can use it for this purpose. It’s for everyone to use. if there is dangerous energy in the home you’ll feel it and would then want to call in a “spiritual master”. using your intuition is better than embracing fear.
I was searching for some information about that for so long! I’m so happy that I’ve found your post! I can not wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great website. Thanks for sharing such a nice information.
I have to do that in my new house! I don’t like the previous owners and I can feel a negative energy around the house! Thank you for sharing!
found myself in a similar position and would like to know all your work out for you and what you did any advice would be helpful thank you
Thank you for sharing, probably I’ll try that when my husband is not around. He is not into anything spiritual.
Cleansing your spirit or soul is just as important, even possibly more so than cleaning your home! There are things in your life that have been building up, clutter in the brain so to speak. It may even be affecting you by little illnesses, allergies, loss of sleep, irritability and/or a variety of other ways. You may not even realize that your soul/spirit needs cleansing… but it does! I promise you’ll feel better both mentally and possibly physically after taking the little time to try this Soul & Spirit Cleansing yourself.
I recently moved house and still can’t get used to my new home. It’s the best house I’ve ever been in and yet I feel foreign to it. I’ve unpacked all my items and now everything is in place, but still can’t feel like home. Perhaps I’ll try cleansing my soul. It’s the only thing I haven’t tried so far. Thanks for sharing. We often times forget our soul is more important than material things.
Gently pour the water into the salt, adding a prayer or invocation. An example of a Universalist prayer: “May the blending the elements of pure salt to preserve the sanctity and pure water cleanse this space, in the Name of ………” (here add your own prayer or finish the invocation to whichever deity you have belief in).
Thanks for all the advice! I will be moving into my first apartment in a month and will have to try this!
Also, odd question: where did you get the ceramic bowl you are holding in the 6th picture? I think I know the ceramist who made it!
Hello our house have been cleansed 3 different times now and we still got negative energy in the home and we can’t get ride of it have you got any different tips for me
I just purchased a house and it is disrepair and will require a complete renovation. My question is should we smudge before we begin the renovation or after? We will be living in the space during most of the construction.
In going to be moving at the end of the month so u have any spiritual advice?
Smudge stick with sage sets off the fire alarm. Any other alternative?
This may be irrelevant at this point, probably is. However, I will answer your question anyway. There are many alternatives. 1) An appropriate essential oil spray can do the same thing. (Doesn’t have to be sage. Many herbs have the proper qualities. Sage is simply the most commonly known. ) 2) If you don’t use essential oils and don’t want the cost of buying them just for this purpose, use floral waters or hydrosols. 3) Charged water (can be charged with crystals, holy water if you’re Christian, the sun or moon, or even the elements or just your own energies(only if you know how to work with the elements and your own energies). 4) Saltwater is great for cleansing.(water is cleansing, while salt is neutralizing) 5) Crystals 6) Singing bowls 7) Bells 8) Many sounds including certain types of music or even chants work to cleanse. 9) Bowl of salt set by a window in each room. (After a few days or so, bury the salt in the yard if possible. The ground will neutralize the negative energy absorbed by the salt. )
These are just a few examples.
time to try to do this being im moving soon-