6 Ways to Purify Your Space
Marie’s philosophy of tidying goes beyond the tangible. That which we cannot see still affects us — including the air we breathe. Thus, it’s important to maintain pure, cleansed energy in your space. By removing stale air from your home, you can enter into a deeper state of reflection and gratitude.
In Japan, purification rituals — or harae — are customary. Before entering a Shinto shrine, visitors must cleanse themselves with water at the temple door — a ritual that inspired Marie’s practice of greeting a space. These purification acts represent becoming one with the natural world and ensure that the atmosphere in the temple remains sacred.
Below are a few of Marie Kondo’s purification tools and practices for cleansing rooms. Use them in your home, office — any personal space you seek to cleanse.
The “wood of the saints,” otherwise known as palo santo, has been used in spiritual practices and healing ceremonies as far back as the Inca empire. Its metaphysical properties are numerous, but its primary role is cleansing. Due to its sacred nature, palo santo — which is indigineous to South America — can only be harvested from trees that have died of natural causes.
How to Use Palo Santo for Energy Cleansing:
Light a stick of palo santo and let the flame burn for up to one minute. Blow it out and walk through the rooms you wish to cleanse, allowing the smoke to waft through the space. Open closets and kitchen cupboards to cleanse every corner. With a spirit of gratitude, ask the smoke for its blessing and protection.
Salt Cleansing Rituals
In the Shinto tradition, salt is a symbol of purity. Marie uses it to say goodbye with gratitude to sentimental objects or mementos — and as a mood lifter in her bathing ritual. She also observes the Japanese practice of mori-shio, in which you place small piles of salt around a room or doorway to ward off negative energy.
Two Ways to Observe Mori-Shio:
Pour a small pile of salt into a bowl. Place it at your front door to keep negative energy from entering.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt into each corner of the room you wish to purify. Keep the area around the salt clean and clear of other objects (dust the corners if necessary!). Leave the salt out for one to two days, and then sweep or vacuum.
In Japan, the tradition of incense dates back to the sixth century — when it emerged in purification rituals for the emperor and his court; before then, the Egyptians used incense in their healing rituals and the Babylonians relied on it when praying to divine oracles. While most commonly burned for its scent, incense can also have strong antibacterial qualities. Marie begins each day by opening the windows and lighting incense to cleanse the air and enhance clarity.
How to Use to Cleanse a Room:
Light the end of an incense stick and let the flame burn for ten seconds. Blow out the flame — make sure the end is still lit — and place the stick in an incense holder. Let the incense burn until it’s fully extinguished.
Music and sound have been utilized for healing purposes for thousands of years. The earliest civilizations used singing bowls for sound therapy, and in ancient Greece, physicians used instruments and vibrations to treat the sick and combat insomnia. Certain sound frequencies can resolve tension and clear out residual stress in the air. Marie uses a tuning fork to reset — its subtle vibrations help to awaken her spirit.
How to Use in Cleansing Rituals:
Find a comfortable seat or stance. Set an intention for a cleared, renewed space. Lightly tap the tuning fork against something solid — Marie uses a crystal. Close your eyes and let the sound vibrate around and through you. Repeat as needed. For more, here is our guide to tuning fork rituals.
Essential oils are a key part of Marie’s nightly routine — she uses them to unwind and reflect on her day (she especially likes lavender as a sleep aid). A diffuser is the best way to enjoy their therapeutic and aromatic benefits — it vaporizes the oils into the air, eliminating impurities and ensuring an even release.
How to Use Cleanse a Room with Essential Oils:
Fill the water reservoir of your diffuser up to the fill line and tap drops of oil into your diffuser, remembering that a little goes a long way. Select your mist setting and bliss out.
Letting fresh air inside is the simplest way to purify a space. Marie opens her windows and doors every morning to circulate air throughout her home. Before you start your day, allow your space to breathe — giving way to new energy for both you and your home.