No, we’re not talking about the latest dance craze or new herbal fad. We’re dishing how you can incorporate a traditional Japanese practice into your home to destress and declutter after the holidays.

Oosouji is the Japanese ritual of clearing of dirt, clutter and disorganization from the passing year to ensure a “clean” state of mind and environment for the new year. Oosouji literally means “the big cleaning.” The final week of the old year is devoted to cleaning, decluttering, and organizing in the hopes of inviting health and prosperity in the upcoming year. To observe oosouji, Japanese homes and businesses receive a ceilings-to-floorings deep clean. Business offices are sorted and organized, and children are encouraged to clean out their lockers and desks.

Even though most of us are caught up in the midst of holiday cheer at the moment, it’s a great idea to take a few minutes to prepare how we can practice oosouji in our own homes before we ring in the New Year. We’ve put together a few ideas to help you get your oosouji on, and shake out the ghosts of Christmas Past!

  • Get one, toss two. This is a simple way to declutter and make room for all of the fun gifts received over the holidays. For every item brought into your house over the holiday season, remove two similar items. Did you get a fancy new coat? Make room in your closet and help the less fortunate by donating two unused coats to charity. This can be a great family event:  did your kids get new sweatshirts? Have them find two shirts that they don’t wear or have outgrown and put them in the donate bin. Easy-peasy. Outgrown toys can be donated or sold, making room for the new dolls and trucks that will take their place.
  • Take the Amazon Box Challenge. Do you have mailing boxes that have piled up as gifts for you and for others arrived on your doorstep? Don’t recycle or reuse them–they are perfect for oosouji! Challenge your family to fill each box with suitable items for Goodwill or a local charity, and make sure to deliver them by the end of the year. By filling up these boxes with unused items, you will have plenty of space for the presents you received during the holidays. As a bonus–and incentive for completing this task before the end of the year–most places will give you a receipt for your donation that can be used on your 2017 taxes!
  • Sort before you stow. Once the last holiday party is over and new year is welcomed in, it’s easy to want to take down the decorations and get your house back to “normal” as soon as possible. However, plan to take a little more time this year and be intentional when you put away the Christmas décor. Before each item goes into storage, make sure to toss the broken, tattered and tired items into the trash or donate pile. Stained linens can be repurposed to wrap breakable items or cut into cleaning cloths.
  • Release the white elephants. When it comes to gift-giving, it’s the thought that counts. But the thought can also take up valuable real estate in your house that could be used for something else. Come up with a plan before Christmas for what you are going to do with those “really, you shouldn’t have!” gifts when they come into your home. Options include storing usable but “just not you” items in a gift closet for re-gifting (be sure to put a note on the gift stating who it was from to avoid awkwardly giving it back to the same person or family). You could also hold a “White Elephant Exchange” if you are hosting a New Year’s Eve or Superbowl party. Ask everyone to bring a wrapped unwanted gift for a post-holiday exchange—just don’t bring gifts given by any of your guests!
  • Unload the library. Do you prefer the look and feel of actual books over your Kindle? Don’t let your reading obsession overwhelm your shelves! Review your collection, and reduce your previous-reads to a few favorites. Donate the rest to a nursing home, hospice center, or one of the “little lending libraries” that are popular in many neighborhoods.
  • Ditch the dirt. Once you’ve decluttered, the final step in oosouji is to CLEAN! Schedule a professional cleaning company like Brody’s Dry to remove every last bit of 2017 grime from your carpets, tile, upholstery and rugs.

2017 has been a great year for our family, and we hope you are looking back on the past year with fond memories. If you’re ready to get your home clean, healthy and ready for the new year, give us a call today to schedule your FREE estimate! Give us a ring at (816) 895-7000 or just click HERE.