Energy Cleansing a New Home

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Eva Amurri Martino holding a smudge bowl with sage, and a piece of palo santo wood to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

I’m a big believer in the energy we put out in to the world sticking around in our environments and effecting our mood, our health, and the vibe of our spaces.  This might seem a little “alternative” to some people, but as somebody who is very sensitive to other people’s energies (I have been since I was a little girl!) I find that I need to be mindful of the energy spaces hold.  Same with jewelry, for me, actually.  A space can hold both bad or good energy, and I always find it a really regenerative process to energy cleanse a new home or space to make way for a clean slate and good vibes! Today I thought I would share how I energy cleanse a new home, since I have always done it– and have gotten lots of questions about it when I’ve shared tidbits on social media. 

Eva Amurri Martino holding a smudge bowl with sage, and a piece of palo santo wood to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

Whenever we have purchased a new home, I’ve made sure to cleanse it right when we move in.  My process involves two steps:  first, cleansing with Sage, and then bringing in good energy with Palo Santo (A traditionally sacred wood).  The process is pretty simple, but there are lots of variations people use.  I’ll just share mine, but feel free to do your own research if you’re interested! Make sure you always cleanse your home in a controlled way, and never leave anything burning unattended! There is fire involved with this so use your common sense and best judgement.  

A smudge bowl with sage, and a piece of palo santo wood on the counter of Eva Amurri Martino's Westport CT home

What you’ll need…

  • A stick of dried Sage
  • A “smudge bowl”, I use a small jewelry tray, but some people use a shell or clay bowl.
  • A piece of Palo Santo wood
  • A lighter or matches
  • A feather to waft the smoke (optional)
Eva Amurri Martino lighting sage to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

Sage has been used for cleansing for centuries, across many different cultures. The process is called “Smudging”, which is a traditional Native American practice in our nation. The burnt sage sends off a smoke that repels negative energies and spirits, and helps remove them from the space you are cleansing.  Begin by cracking a window or door, as it’s said that the negative energy or spirits need a place to escape! Light your sage stick until it has a strong ember, and hold it over your smudge bowl to catch the embers.  Slowly wave the burning smudge stick throughout your space, drawing attention to corners where energy often gets stuck or any areas that feel heavy or dark. For objects, pass them through or the sage smoke to clear them of any lingering negativity. How do you know when you’ve cleansed your space enough? Trust your insticts! I’ve read that the sage will glow, crackle or even extinguish itself when you reach heavy areas, so continue to smudge until the energy feels light and clear.  When finished, extinguish the lit part of the sage well by running it under cold water.  Dispose of the ashes in your smudge bowl by pouring them down the drain under running water or placing them outside and mixing with dirt.  

Eva Amurri Martino lighting sage to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

I like to not only use a smudge stick in a new home or space, but also after our space has had any significantly negative energy– after Kyle and I have argued, if there’s been a bad day where the kids have acted funky all day, or if there’s been an illness that has passed through.  Sometimes if you’re feeling in a funk yourself, it’s a nice practice to sage your space! My kids are super familiar with this practice now, and help me complete the practice when we do it! They like to clap in to the corners to release the negative energy also. Ha! 

Eva Amurri Martino lighting sage to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

After cleansing, it’s just as important to let the good energy in.  I love using Palo Santo for this. Palo Santo is a tree that grows on the coast of South America and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal. In Spanish, the name translates to“Holy Wood”. It is part of the citrus family and has sweet notes of pine, mint and lemon.  I absolutely love the smell, it helps me feel grounded and calm. Palo Santo is said to bring creativity, love, and good fortune into your space. The wood can help brighten energy, and promote feelings of positivity and joy. The scent is also shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance clarity and concentration.  After smudging, I light a palo Santo stick and allow it to smoke and burn in my smudge bowl.  I like to do this on my kitchen island or on a mantle to really allow the scent to permeate my space.  You can also throw a piece of this on your fire in the winter months!

Eva Amurri Martino lighting sage to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

I’m so curious to hear if you ever cleanse your spaces in this way.  Let me know in the comments below!

Eva Amurri Martino holding a smudge bowl with sage, and a piece of palo santo wood to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home
Eva Amurri Martino holding a smudge bowl with sage, and a piece of palo santo wood to cleanse the energy in her Westport CT home

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Photographs by Julia Dags

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  1. Olivia says:

    This is the best article I’ve read about smudging in so long! Thank you!!! I just moved and can’t wait to do this myself. I like your Palo santo trick too. I haven’t tried that yet.

    06.26.19 Reply
  2. Alyssa Trad says:

    I also smudge any new place we move into and when we moved into our newest home we really took our time and I have noticed a complete change in energy! Before we would rush through but we took our time and also took a note out of Marie Kondo’s book and introduced ourselves and set an intention for the home. This has quickly become one of my favorite practices to do when I’m feelin like I’m in a funk!

    06.26.19 Reply
  3. Kate says:


    I would encourage you to read this article and do more research about the appropriation of smudging.

    06.26.19 Reply
    • Polly Yakovich says:

      I did read the article and found it informative. I also think that the way that Eva thoughtfully described her process and intentions is in keeping with what the article suggests, including “that it’s all about the intention of the act, whether the intentions are pure” and “we’re not saying, ‘No you can’t do it, it’s not yours to have’ ’cause smudging is a gift for everyone.”

      06.26.19 Reply
      • Kristen says:

        I agree with Polly. Eva’s post was respectful and meant to be informative. Jumping down her throat because of cultural appropriation seems really petty and from a place of negativity.

        06.27.19 Reply
  4. Connie says:

    I do use sage to smudge my home, and haven’t lately—definitely would like to do it more often.

    I loved reading what you shared because now I understand, a window must be open to release the negative energy, and I now understand how to use Palo Santo—kinda thought they were one and the same when it came to cleansing, releasing stagnant or heavy energy! Love this new info, it helps make the ritual more complete, and more effective!

    06.26.19 Reply
  5. Shawn says:

    It’s all fine and good to mention where the practice comes from but this does not give a white person clearance to use that practice. I follow several indigenous people on Instagram and the message from them is always the same, because white people have started appropriating the burning of sage it has made it very difficult to find for native tribal use. I recommend you all follow @lilnativeboy on Instagram because he lays all out and makes an excellent point when he says, “when it’s literally illegally stolen from Natives (just like everything else in this country) do you really think it’s going to give you good energy?”

    06.27.19 Reply
    • Dana says:

      Oh I didn’t know you were the smudging police. ? If only we could all be experts from following indigenous peoples on instagram.

      06.27.19 Reply
      • Shawn says:

        Never claimed to be an expert, simply passing along what I think is important information from those effected. I’ll take your incredibly snarky comment to mean you have no interest in learning new things or hearing differing opinions. That’s a recipe for a very ignorant existence.

        06.27.19 Reply
      • Courtney says:

        Wow Dana. You’re a pretty hateful, rude person. Someone’s out here advocating for indigenous people, actually doing the work and you have nothing but hate to spew. Pretty telling of your personality I’m sure. I’ve actually found the same information as Shawn has mentioned. That’s three people on this particular topic who are saying that white people need to step back and examine something they are doing. Why not think a little deeper?

        06.27.19 Reply
    • Hi Shawn,
      thanks for sharing your views. Of course I would never try to disrespect anyone, especially a people who I have always held the greatest respect for. I have my own views on learning from different cultures and perpetuating the beauty of those cultures and practices. The people I know personally from varying cultures are not offended when their practices are used in a way that is thankful for, and respectful of, their history so I choose to go off of that informed way of operating in the world. There are definitely many differing opinions about all of this out there, some more extreme than others, and while I respect your opinion I also don’t agree with lack of “clearance” for “white people” to appreciate and participate in a ritual which is intended solely to bring a person lasting peace and tranquility.

      06.28.19 Reply
    • Blair says:

      Being of native descent myself, the indigenous people were not the first to practice smuging, and noone is stealing anything. I understand if someone said, “my 5th grate grandfather who was white invented smudging” but that is far from what this is. This world would be a lot better if people started livng instead of worrying about everyone else.

      03.29.22 Reply
  6. Mary says:

    I am not familiar with smudging but I consider all those traditions,like , also, sprinkling holy water in a house in the orthodox church, a way of soothing our anxiety and fears about the different forms of evil, let’s call it bad energy as well.I have much respect for all these techniques but I really wonder if bad energy dissipates just like that, I don’t think it’so simple especially when you have a place overloaded with the energy of other people for years and years! It’s the reason why I chose for our family to live in a new apartment, I wanted it to be like a tabula rasa.In the past when I rented a house I always used to make a small research in order to find out what life brought to people who lived there because I truly believe that a place can bring positive or negative vibes in one’s life.

    06.28.19 Reply
  7. Melissa foster says:

    I really enjoyed reading your smudging process. Thank you
    My husband and I just bought a new house I always clean the spaces I live in. I couldn’t remember all the steps involved I looked u up and I am sure glad I did you reminded me how to fully enjoy my new house
    Thank y

    08.02.22 Reply