When should you smudge? When your home is full of turmoil, after an argument, when you are just feeling "out of sorts", when your kids are acting up, when you are feeling emotional, ALWAYS when you move into a new space or home, after a large gathering at your home or office, when you sense a presence or spirit in your home, or whenever you think you need too. There is never a wrong time to smudge. I also recommend smudging during a full moon. I also smudge myself when I feel emotional.
How to Smudge? Place a fireproof container and the smudge stick on a table, desk, or any other appropriate surface. It is best to perform smudging at a time when you will not be disturbed. It is best if you create a sense of ceremony when you smudge your home or personal space—allow yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes if you can. I have had to smudge in an emergency and that's ok!!!
Hold the smudge stick over the abalone shell at all times to prevent burning or glowing herbs from falling on the floor as you smudge. You can use a feather if you have one, but it is usually sufficient to simply wave your hand through the air gently to waft smoke where you want it. Remind yourself to stay connected to your breathing throughout your smudging session.
Move in a clockwise direction around your house (usually starting at the front door), and gently wave the smoke into the air. Spend a bit more time smudging the room corners, as they tend to accumulate stagnant energy. Be sure to also open the closet doors and carefully smudge inside. Do not forget about spaces such as the laundry room, the garage, and the basement.
When you have smudged all areas of your house, return to the starting point and gently extinguish your smudge stick. Dipping it into your abalone shell or fireproof container with a small amount of salt while applying a bit of pressure usually works well. Wait a bit, then pack away your smudge and container until your next smudging session. I like to keep mine in a wooden box.