Today I learned about a Japanese end-of-year tradition called Oosouji. It literally means “big clean” and is very similar to spring cleaning. Before starting the new year, Japanese homes, businesses and schools get a deep cleaning to get rid of dirt, clutter and disorganization. I love the thought of starting the fresh goals and resolutions of the New Year with a clean home!
Instead of being overwhelmed at the thought of deep cleaning my entire home, I decided to start with the holiday stuff. When I take down the lights and decorations, I make sure everything is still in good working order. If you happen to have some items that need replaced, do it now when everything is on sale! When you dig things out again next year you will be able to get right to decorating, rather than having to go to the store for an overpriced string of colored lights.
Storage containers are also on sale right now, but I am refusing to buy any. All of my current storage problems can be solved by decluttering, rather than buying more containers. All of our holiday decorations fit into one lime green tote, with room to spare. I actually threw in the Christmas themed books and cookie cutters too, so when we open the box next year, it will all be in one place! Now I just need to make a label for it and put it back under the stairs.
After the decorations are stored, it is time to think about where those holiday gifts are going. If you received appliances or tools, can they replace other things in your kitchen or garage? When you are making space for that new blender, take a good look at what you are storing in the pantry closet. Did you use that bread machine this year? The cupcake maker? Be honest and ruthless. If your new blender is buried under so much stuff that you can’t easily get to it, you won’t use it either!
The same goes for clothes in your closet. I can pretty much tell you which clothes I don’t like and rarely wear without even looking in my closet. Those all went in the donation bag today, to make room for clothes that I am excited to wear. Last week I went shopping with my mom, sister and sis-in-law and scored some awesome new clothes! I am trying to get rid of two things for every one thing I bring in, but I have already gotten rid of most of the items I don’t wear. One for one might have to work for now.
Our kids got some pajamas for Christmas, so out go a pair (or two) of old ones that are too small. They are also outgrowing some of their toys, so clearing them out will make room for the new ones. The tricky part for me is getting the old stuff out of the house before the kids ‘remember’ the toys they don’t play with anymore. If you can possibly get your kids on board with the clearing out/donation process, I am sure it would be much easier.
I love the feeling of a decluttered home, so I am hoping to get to my little office space this week also. I have a lot of personal and professional goals I hope to accomplish this year, and starting off with a clean slate seems like a great way to welcome the New Year. Happy 2016!