We all know the feeling: all the food has been eaten, the gift wrap has been shredded and is scattered around the home, and your relatives are finally leaving. Your home is in disarray…just in time for the new year! What a combination— you’re exhausted just when you’re supposed to be making a fresh start. Learn to fix this problem by reading about post-holiday cleaning, the practice of Oosouji, and how you can do it in your own home!
What the Heck is Oosouji?
Oosouji is a Japanese word that literally translates into “big cleaning.” It’s also the name of the annual tradition performed in Japan, usually on New Year’s Eve. For Oosouji, cleaning takes all kinds of forms. Of course, homes are thoroughly cleaned. Kids clean out their desks at school, and everywhere people throw away clutter, junk, and unneeded. The cleaning of the physical environment promotes mental “cleaning.” Oosouji is a time to get mentally organized, bring things to a close or get rid of them. Oosouji is the ritual of creating, in as many ways as possible, a clean slate and a smooth start for the New Year.
Oosouji in Your Home
We have traditions similar to Oosouji in the United States; spring cleaning has a similar vibe. However, spring cleaning comes a little late for it to be a timely response to your well-used guest room and the splatters all over the kitchen from Aunt Martha’s “help” with the holiday cooking. You may be tired from hosting, but use your desire for a great new year to motivate you to clean up! Here are some tips for post-holiday cleaning:
- Start the New Year Without Your Decorations
Make New Year’s Eve a firm deadline for taking down tinsel, or, before you know it, it’ll be the middle of March. You’ll get some exercise (needed after all that eating!), your neighbors will appreciate it, and New Year’s Day will see your home fresh and ready for something new!
- Clean House!
Like we said, a big part of Oosouji is a top-to-bottom cleaning of your home. So enlist the rest of your family and together dust, vacuum, sweep, mop, scrub, and shine until your house feels fresh and new. It may be tiring, but it’s a great way to feel like you’re getting rid of the messes of the old year and preparing for the adventures of the one coming up.
- Donate Old Belongings
Everyone just got a bunch of new presents, so take this time to go through your old belongings and select some for donation. You could also do this in the days or weeks leading up to the holidays. Either way, you’re participating in the giving spirit of the season and also cleaning on two levels: fewer things means less clutter and less to think/worry about. Physical and mental cleaning!
- Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Don’t think you can take down decorations and clean the whole house in time for New Year’s Eve? Don’t sweat it. Part of the point of Oosouji is to not start the new year frazzled, so set goals that you think you can reach. You deserve a cleaner home and that sense of accomplishment without stress or guilt.
Whatever you call it, post-holiday cleaning is important! Take these tips and perform your own big (or not-so-big) cleaning before the next year comes.
Try doing some additional oosouji or deep cleaning checking these posts.