In Japan, to observe Oosouji means to clean the clutter, the dirt and the dust of the past. It is often practiced at the end of one year and into the new, the purpose being to banish any old problems or ways of thinking and to welcome a new start, with a clean slate (and home).
The word Oosouji literally means “big cleaning,” and that is exactly what takes place. Japanese businesses close open contracts and files and organize them; children clean out their school desks, and homes receive a thorough clean from top to bottom. It is not only a chance to have a fresh start, but also a ritual of respect, to present a clean home in which to welcome in the gods.
While the Japanese view the changing of the year as a distinct time to clear out the dirt and bad habits of disorganization, homeowners can observe Oosouji any time of year. In fact, in America, we often have similar aspirations and resolutions to get things back in order. Sometimes this is through New Year resolutions for home organization, or through the annual spring cleaning.
Observing Oosouji is more than just cleaning and organizing in a physical sense. It carries with it a state of mind. Creating order out of chaos can be good for the soul, so can letting go of unwanted things. The Japanese view this ritual as a way of driving out any impure influences while avoiding dragging old business over into the new year.
To cultivate a Oosouji home, one should adopt the attitude of cleaning and decluttering as a ritual, not as a monotonous chore. When you sweep the dust, you are also sweeping away the dirt of the past.
Along with the annual ritual of Oosouji, the Japanese place an emphasis on minimalism. Reflected in everything from architecture to home decor, minimalism is cultivated as an art form, creating a pleasing home with fewer, more meaningful, objects and with an emphasis on design and function instead of acquisition. By these thoughts, there should be nothing in the home that is not meaningful, useful or pleasing.
Of course, things creep in through the year, and so, Oosouji is a way of resolving what gets to stay and what doesn’t, and honoring the home and possessions in a purposeful way.
To practice the Japanese art of cleaning in the New Year, you should:
Image Source: HomeandGardenDesignIdeas.com