Oosouji – A Japanese Custom Becomes Your New Year Tradition

December 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Oosouji” is the name of a Japanese annual ritual; it’s literal translation is “the big cleaning.” “Oo” meaning big,”souji” meaning cleaning.

At the end of every year, usually on New Years Eve for many families, Japanese homes are meticulously cleaned in an effort to drive out any impure influences that may have taken up residence during the previous year.  The timing is important: It’s considered inauspicious to drag old business, clutter and dust into a brand-new year. Purification is the key objective here, the end result (i.e. a clean and uncluttered house), is something I’m sure we all want and strive for.

This resonates with me. I know all too well that clutter can derail productivity. It’s distracting. And it can be downright depressing. Clutter wastes time and is uninspiring. The more clutter the more time is wasted.

Christmas 2011 is past, and if your house looks anything like mine, you might indeed be uninspired. How did this happen? Look at all this STUFF. Ugh! Where do you put it all? How do you organize it all?

New Years is less than a week away, and you are determined to be organized, use your time more wisely and in turn be less stressed. Why not take a page out of our Japanese friends old customs? It does after all make sense, a lot of sense.  Most Americans wait until spring to do the Big Cleaning. It is between now and then that we become lethargic and depressed with the weather and state of our own households, waiting for that nice spring day when the birds start chirping and we decide now, this is the perfect time to get our homes in order.

But this day won’t be here for a few months. And the New Year is upon us. How do we keep to our New Years Resolutions when we are doomed to sabotage them before the year even begins?

This week do yourselves a favor. Commit a day to Oosouji.

Start at the top.  The kids rooms are always the hardest to do, but what more perfect time than when they are home on break? Go through their toys and clothes with them. Use the 1-2 Rule. For every toy or item of clothes they received for Christmas, donate 2 items to charity.

Another tip, take inventory of what Christmas items you have and what you will need next year as you put them away this week. The stores are having their clearance sales on all of their left over holiday items and it might be a good time to go buy wrapping paper if you see that you will need more next year. Just be sure that you pack it away and make a note to yourself that you won’t need to purchase it next year. This will not only save you money, but save you stress when the holidays come around next year.

Keep your holiday storage boxes numbered (i.e. 1 0f 5) and keep your inventory list in the first box that you will open  (you will be relieved when you pull it out next year, trust me this is something I have done for 2 years now and I always breathe easy once I see and remember the best gift I could have given myself, that awesome list telling me what works, what doesn’t and what I have and what I need).

Continue on to every room in the house picking up the clutter, making a pile of things to donate and things to trash.

There are some amazing lists that you can find online for “spring cleaning”.  Click here to find one that we found that has every possible task that needs done.

This New Year, go into 2012 with a positive mind and a clean house and you will be getting a jump and the upper hand on your New Years Resolutions.

Happy New Year Everyone! 


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