minimal stuff

stuff energetics | home energy purification

I’ve blogged about our relationship with food, our relationship with tech, and our relationship with time, and this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about another relationship—with our stuff. Yes, I‘ve already confessed to being a fan of Marie Kondo’s work. And if her method really worked for me, I wouldn’t still have areas of my home that become re-cluttered.

I conducted a massive declutter in 2013 because my entire family was away in the UK and had zero input about what stayed or went—and guess what? Nobody missed anything.

I’ve done some minor projects in the years since then, and my husband and I did a massive excavation (to the tune of 7 carloads of donations) last summer before he moved to Hong Kong.

And yet, that basement “workroom” continues to act for the house as the “everything drawer” that I think exists in everyone’s kitchen, and there are pockets of stuff I really “should” keep. (If you have followed me for a while, you will know that the Chris Farley quotes are there because “should” is one of my big trigger words: we are very good about shoulding all over ourselves.)

stuff energetics

I’m a big believer in food energetics, and I’ve been known to geek out about feng shui, which I’ve heard referred to as “acupuncture of space,” so I guess it was only a matter of time for me to find someone who teaches about our relationship with stuff based on a few of the principles I teach applied to our relationship with food. Because that’s how the Universe works!

I met Michael Spencer (virtually, of course, as everything seems to be these days!) through an online group that connects podcasters with guests and vice versa, and I’ve been captivated by her work ever since. I recently interviewed her in the (Sorta) Secret Sisterhood, and she’ll be the first guest on my podcast in an upcoming episode talking about purifying your home during the pandemic.

In some ways, we work in very different fields—me in Integrative Nutrition®, which is all about holistic health of our bodies, and Michael in home energy purification, which is about the holistic health of our homes.

Think of her as a health coach for your home!

it begins with going inside

I love that the first activity Michael recommends is to go inside—not just into each room but into ourselves, into the place where we can tap into our inner wisdom about the stuff in the room using all our senses.

Once we have a deep sense of what we really want to do with an item, we can let go of all those “shoulds”—I should keep this because Aunt X gave it to me, because this was a wedding gift, because it reminds me of this or that place, because one doesn’t get rid of things like this….

It’s rather like reclaiming your agency over your stuff rather than letting yourself become overwhelmed with it.

If you think about it, all those shoulds come from outside: it’s like being told by others that we should eat, move, worship, relate, love, etc. a certain way.

And I like that Michael gives our stuff a voice in the matter as well: it’s as if an item is asking to move on, and letting it go is honoring that wish. (I can’t help but think about my tattered flannel hoodie messaging me: You no longer spark joy, Lady! Please let me retire already.)

it’s about taking baby steps

Another part of Michael’s work that really speaks to me is that she encourages us to think about purifying small areas—particularly those that are in daily use—if taking on an entire house feels overwhelming.

For me, my kitchen counter is one such place: why is it that everyone feels that it is okay to drop everything there when they enter the house? Keys, wallets, backpack contents, lunch boxes, books, mail….

I’ve decided that hollering about it is useless, and so I’ve turned purifying that space on a daily basis into a ritual, something that takes only a few minutes and allows me to walk into a healthy space first thing in the morning.

chicken + egg

Our external physical environments are inextricably connected to our internal state of mind: even my teenager has admitted a better focus when the room is not in a state of chaos (not enough to keep it tidy yet, but these things take time?)

It’s hard to say whether the external reflects the internal or vice versa—and in some ways that may not really matter.

I think that perhaps it’s just easier to start with our physical environment to support our state of mind rather than the other way around, and perhaps shifting the health of our home to a higher vibration can be especially helpful during these weeks when we continue to be in lockdown.

And I don’t want to minimize that for some of us, there is no bandwidth for this type of project right now. That’s okay—if some of us do have the capacity to do it, we’ll be increasing the good energy in the world for all.

make the connection

Be sure to check out the Let’s Purify podcast, and stay tuned for a notice about Michael’s interview on the Simply: Health Coaching podcast! And leave me a comment and tell me about your relationship with your stuff.


  1. Audrey

    Love the idea of cleansing that kitchen space. I think all of us have that space that gathers everything to it, like a magnet that works on crap that no one knows where to put it. We have one too, although, it only belongs to Daniel. Wait, do I have to clean up after him now? This is a conundrum! Lol. I love this post though. I used to purge my house every 6 months when I was younger. I got out of the habit and now am moving back into it, once a year though since it is only the 2 of us, not 6 of us gathering crap from hither and yon.

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      I’m guessing an upcoming move might spark that big purge again? Maybe this time it will feel more like purifying…?

      1. Audrey

        Hadn’t thought of it like that, I will shift that mindset. Thanks!

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