How to Cleanse Your Home Without Actually Getting Rid of Anything

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If cleaning is on your agenda, then you're likely thinking about how to purge your life of anything you've deemed unnecessary. We have a tendency to take this quite literally this time of year, but it's also a great opportunity to think about it in a more abstract way: If you're getting rid of everything that doesn't serve you, why not extend that mindset to stagnant or negative energy?

Energy clearing is a form of alternative healing that uses mindfulness to help address and release blockages that are cluttering up your mind and, by extension, your larger environment—and vice versa. When you live in the same space on a daily basis, it's easy to feel stuck or stagnant, and energy clearing is a way to basically shift residual emotions or memories so that your home feels inspiring and fresh again. If this all sounds terribly woo-woo, look at it this way: Psychologically, our homes are reflections of ourselves, and taking the time to observe the feelings that might be holding you back—and show gratitude for everything else—is a great way to shift your perspective without actually changing much in your space.

"The more conscious and intentional you are with your energy in your home, the more your home will reciprocate," says Lili Pettit, a professional organizer. Through her business, Clutter Healing, Pettit utilizes alternative healing methods like energy clearing and reiki for a more holistic approach to organizing and cleaning. The first thing to know about her approach? It's actually not as complicated or out-there as it might initially seem. Below, she shares how to clear out stagnant or negative energy at home for your freshest start yet.

Start by raising your awareness.

It'll be difficult to focus on clearing out negative energy if you can't sense it in the first place. "Tuning into subtle energies that you may be feeling in your space is a good place to start," says Pettit.

And doing so isn't as woo-woo as you'd think—it's basically just an extended exercise in meditation. Begin by considering any thoughts or memories that might be holding you back, and how your space feeds those thoughts. For example, are there any objects that remind you of a toxic relationship or negative time in your life? Even if you don't necessarily want to get rid of these things, it's still helpful to identify and observe your feelings around them.

(And if you do feel compelled to get rid of stuff, remove guilt from the equation.)

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"Cleaning is awesome and very important," says Pettit. Even if you don't want to make drastic changes to your space, it never hurts to consider physical obstacles—especially those that tend to get overlooked.

That includes "a mattress you may have shared with an ex, chipped and cracked dishes, or a painting you received as a gift that you never really liked," says Pettit. "Give yourself permission to donate, recycle, and sell things that you no longer love."

Add greenery.

"Adding fresh-cut flowers and lots of green plants is another way to add life into your home without getting rid of anything," says Pettit. That's not to mention some of the health benefits of indoor plants, like the fact that they boost your mood and purify the air.

Reconsider your cleaning tools.

The beauty of alternative cleansing methods like smudging, incense, and aromatherapy is that they offer physical ways to "christen" your space—it's transformative without actually physically changing anything. The trick while burning sage, for example, is to be in a meditative mindset and see the smoke as an extension of your intention, whether that's creativity, calm, or just general well-being. "Studying your cleansing tools and developing a relationship with them goes a long way," says Pettit.

Practice gratitude.

Once you've selected your tools, you're ready to walk through your home and mindfully cleanse the space. Pettit says that if you're struggling to access that positive energy, it can be helpful to think back to when you first moved in since you were likely feeling excited by the possibilities of your new home at that time.

Otherwise, just say thank you. Journaling can be helpful if you're coming up empty, but try not to overthink it, either. "You can simply walk around your home giving it gratitude, asking any unwanted energy to leave and say a few present-tense affirmations to really lock in a high vibration," says Pettit. "Thank your home, your bed, your running water, your bathtub, all the areas that you use on autopilot. We can easily forget how much our home provides because we get used to having it consistently there for us."

Next up: 15 Rules to Follow If You Live With Someone Else