“Oosouji” The Japanese Art of Cleaning

Though you may have just celebrated the start of 2023, the Lunar New Year on Jan 22nd  begins the year of the Rabbit. I’ve adopted this holiday as my own for about the last ten years, although traditionally, it has been a long-celebrated tradition in Asian countries. Specifically, I love the tradition of “Oosouji” The Japanese Art of Cleaning. Oosouji is traditionally a Japanese methodic cleaning ritual that is supposed to be completed before the Lunar New Year to bring good luck and good health to your new year by removing old energies and bad spirits. Very much like the American tradition of spring cleaning, this practice is the habit of organizing, clearing, de-cluttering, and deeply cleaning all those areas that usually get ignored.

Originally, it started in the Heian dynasty back around 794 and follows the methodology outlined below:

1)      Remove all items that are no longer useful to you. Get rid of any clutter. If you can’t donate, recycle, or sell it, then just make sure it’s organized with the rest of your things. If you have a toxic relationship in your life, get rid of all those broken or unwanted possessions, and you might find that the New Year helps elevate that situation as well.

2)      Think of this section as a moving meditation of cleaning. Start with the entry and move your way around the room. Start at the top floor rooms with the ceiling removing cobwebs, and work your way down. This is as much a spiritual act as it is manual labor.

3)      Remove stains and fix anything that is askew. Old stains are reminders of past mistakes, and you get a fresh mindset by making things look new again.

4)      Everyone in the family should be involved if able, and the whole endeavor should have a designated process with a start and finish.

That’s it! The good news is once you get all your housework done come Jan 22nd, the first day of the New Year festival, it is bad luck to sweep!

(If any purists are reading this, please forgive anything lost in translation. I’m just a gal who has found enjoyment and satisfaction in starting my year this way. Hope you do too!)

This Lunar New Year is the year of the Rabbit, symbolizing peace, hope and prosperity. I hope your year brings all those things and more.

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