Oosouji is a Japanese word that is translated literally into English as
big cleaning. This term is used to refer to the annual ritual of de-cluttering, cleaning, and simplifying your home that Japanese families traditionally undertake on or around New Year's Eve. The process involves meticulously cleaning any mindless clutter that has accumulated throughout the year, carefully removing objects that no longer bring value into the residents' lives and reorganizing objects in order to bring a greater sense of order and efficiency to the living space.
Over the holidays, things at home tend to fall out of routine as families go on vacations, host out-of-town guests, and go out of their way to celebrate the holidays in a special way. After the festivities, motivation to clean up is in short supply, as it's much easier to let things fall to the wayside as you extend the relaxed holiday feeling into January. If you're not sure where to start when it comes to the overwhelming post-holiday clean up, here's a list of five simple items to help you begin your own
oosouji after all of the holiday hullaballoo.
It's no fun to find yourself in a tangle when you drag the strands of Christmas lights out of the attic and discover that half of the strands are out of order. There's no sense in packing up lights that didn't work this year—they certainly won't work next time around! Spend a few extra minutes in your living room determining which strands work and which strands don't. As you pitch your broken lights, consider investing in higher quality, eco-friendly options like LED lights, which are less prone to breakage, use less energy, and have a lesser chance of heating up and catching fire on dry pine needles.
Some Christmas cards are worth keeping, but most can be pitched. You may feel that you'll enjoy reading them next year, but it always seems that once the holidays roll around, you don't have the time to read through them. It's useful to take notes if you're concerned about forgetting details—use an address book to jot down the names of any new arrivals to the family or make note of any major life events so that you can refer to it when you write your cards next year. Save yourself the hassle of storing and pouring over the cards once again in the coming year!
Look through your box of holiday decorations and determine whether there were any ornaments that you simply couldn't bring yourself to hang up. An interior decorator would advise you to display things in your home that reflect your personality, objects that bring a sense of wellbeing when you walk past it, see it, or touch it. If you don't like the tacky look of a certain ornament, pitch it! There are plenty more where that came from!
If you're short on storage space, there's no need to occupy precious space by storing a box full of mostly-used candles. They're relatively inexpensive, and they're easy to find at any store. Save yourself the hassle of toting the box around—if the candle only has a few hours of use left, it's more efficient to simply throw it away. You can also find ways to recycle the wax through various DIY projects—kids might enjoy making their own wax sculptures or molds, for example.
Holiday baking is undoubtably one of the best parts about the holidays—pay homage to this timeless tradition by discriminating between baking supplies that will serve you through the year and baking supplies that won't! Get rid of ingredients that may suffer from prolonged storage. Spices are sure to be useful all year, but a half-used packet of mulled wine seasoning or a pack of miniature candy canes are best bought fresh come Christmas 2017.
For more home improvement tips, see this ideabook with 17 secrets a plumber will never tell you