When loved ones pass away, clearing the room of their residual energy and belongings can aid in the healing process and allow you to move on in a productive way


QUESTION: My mother-in-law recently passed away after living with us for the past few years, and I wanted your advice on what to do to “clear” the room she was staying in. We miss her dearly, yet know that we have to do something to her room in order to move forward in a positive way. We read your column every week and are interested in your suggestions as to how we can do this.

Your situation is common, and I can definitely give you simple instructions on what to do. Clearing the energy of the room your mother-in-law was staying in is easy and can be done in a way that honors her memory and presence in your hearts. It is never too late to clear a room.

Feng shui room clearing

If you want to follow feng shui tradition, do nothing to the room until after the memorial or burial ceremony, as that is what officially “closes the life” of the person. If the person was ill prior to death, the belief is that he or she leaves a residue of yin or “negative” energy, considered stagnant, that is best cleared from the room; but even if the death was accidental or sudden, a cleansing is always in order afterward.

Bedroom cleansing


On the day of the cleansing, open all the windows in the house, symbolically allowing fresh energy to replace the old. Then you can begin cleansing the rest of the room.

Keep in mind that no “rule” says you have to clear out everything, but clearing the home of your loved one’s items will help you and others in the family more easily process the sadness and grief. Never confuse clearing out your loved one’s things with clearing your loved one from your memory. Remind yourself during the clearing process that your loved one’s items are simply “things” and can never take his or her place or the memories you hold dear. In reality, your loved one’s spirit will live on forever in your heart and memory.

The general method

Set some ground rules before starting. It might be helpful to work by yourself if you’re feeling solitary and want to focus on what you’re doing. In some circumstances, you may want to include others to help with certain decisions or because you may be feeling emotionally and physically drained. Whether you handle these chores on your own or with help is ultimately your decision.

Follow the steps below:

In general, when you cannot make a decision about an item, put it aside and decide at another time. • Remove all personal clothing. Most people donate the clothing if it is in good repair, but that decision is personal. Do what is most comfortable and appropriate for you. • Remove or put away personal mementos and keepsakes. Keep those things you feel will honor the person, and put away or donate the rest. • Strip the bedding completely. Many people dispose of the bedding, but do what feels most comfortable. • Cleanse the room. Use any appropriate cleanser to wipe down the walls and floors, and the inside and outside of the furniture. • Clean the drapes or blinds. Dry-clean the drapes, if you have any, or thoroughly clean the blinds or louvers. • Paint the room. Optional: Sometimes the color of the room is so strongly associated with the unhappiness, or challenge of the final days, that painting the room a different color will dramatically change the energy.

What about the bed?

The bed holds the energy of the person who sleeps in it, which is why it is inadvisable to buy a used bed, especially one from an unknown person. Sleeping in a bed where a death has occurred will often evoke a subtle and “weird” or uncomfortable feeling. However, if replacing the bed and mattress is economically impractical, perform a simple cleansing that will serve to balance the energy of both the bed and the room, allowing for a renewal.

Use salt, rice, incense or light


Salt. Salt helps draw out “old” energy. A small mound of salt can be placed in each of the four corners of the room and on the mattress. Leave the salt until you complete the bedroom cleansing, disposing of it outside the home afterward.

Rice. Rice is thought to draw any old energy from the home’s interior out toward the exterior. A traditional feng shui blessing uses rice. Starting outside your front door, sprinkle rice on the outer perimeter of the home.

Incense or Essential Oils. Choose a scent, such as lavender, sage, eucalyptus or mint, that you and your family find comforting and burn or disperse it in the room. Each of these essences lends its special properties to the environment. Eucalyptus is especially excellent relief for healing and for those going through grief-related challenges.

Light. Light is a great cleanser. Open the drapes and let the sunshine inside. Place prisms or faceted orbs in the window, allowing rainbows of light to enter the room and brighten the energy.

A shift of energy

After you clear the deceased’s energy from the room, it will feel quite different. By clearing and cleansing a room, you enable everyone in the home to more easily move forward in life, carrying the good memories of your loved one in the most positive way.


Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Visit www.aliceinspired.com for more information.