While many Americans begin spring cleaning when the weather starts to warm, throughout Asia it’s customary to clean house before the start of a new year.
In Japan, the practice is called o-souji, defined as a “big cleaning” of one’s home and workplace that must be completed by the end of the year.
The Chinese refer to the cleaning tradition before the lunar new year in February as “sweeping the dust.” The practice is based on the belief that one’s surroundings affect well-being. Cleaning encourages people to get rid of old baggage, old energy and resentments that hold them back in order to focus on moving forward in a positive way. Considering the political hostility and negativity we experienced in 2017, I think we all want to welcome good energy in 2018.
Marie Kondo calls the process of cleaning “life-changing magic” and to attest to the desire to clear one’s life and space, her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising” has sold more than 5 million copies in 40-plus countries. She followed that success with “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying.”
It’s because starting with a clean slate, a clear mind and tidy work and living spaces liberates individuals from the psychological burden of clutter. That is why people feel lighter, more focused and energized in a clear space.
In this ideal state of balance and intention, those lofty new year goals of prosperity, health, happiness and many other good things, can flow.
And if you can’t finish by Dec. 31, you have a second chance before the Lunar New Year Feb. 16, 2018.