Oosouji is the Japanese tradition of cleaning up and getting ready for the new year. When translated it means the “big clean”. The Japanese actually spend their New Year’s Eve cleaning their home to get it ready for the incoming new year. (These are people after my own heart.)
Let’s do an American version of oosouji for our homes. Nothing feels better than getting a fresh start into the new year.
Deal with your presents
The holidays are over so it’s time to put your presents where they belong. If you got something you really didn’t need or want, take it back and return it for something you really do need. There’s no point in keeping something you don’t want.
Go through your holiday cards and create a spreadsheet so you can keep a record about who sent you a card and their addresses. Don’t bother with an address book as it will just create clutter. Instead keep a digital copy you can access it from your computer or phone.
Back to the guest room
In our 20-day countdown to clean we started with the guest bedroom, getting it clean and ready for our guests. Now time to start there again and clean it really well. Remove and launder the sheets so they are lovely and fresh. Putting the pillows in the dryer on a high heat will disinfect them. Also disinfect areas that could contain germs like light switches and door knobs. Your next guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Organize your Christmas ornaments
Taking down the tree needs to be done with care because throwing all the ornaments into a box will just create a terrible mess. Instead, remove any wire ornament hangers and store them in a zip lock bag. Separate the breakable ornaments, pack them with tissue paper and store them in specialty ornament boxes. Wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard or the cardboard tube from an empty paper towel or wrapping paper roll. Then seal everything in an airtight container with a clear label.
Clean out the refrigerator
It’s time to deal with all those party leftovers in the frig, so grab the garbage can and start tossing. Take time to check expiration dates on bottles and condiments too. Wipe the shelves with warm soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Rinse them with hot water and start restocking.
Spot clean your spots
In the busyness of the holidays, things get spilled and left to be dealt with later. Later is NOW. You can spot clean carpets and fabric furniture with some club soda and a microfiber cloth. Sprinkle a few drops onto the microfiber and work the club soda into the spot. Let the area air dry and repeat the process if any of the stain remains.
Check your china and crystal for chips and cracks
Before you put your china and crystal away, make sure you check the rims and edges for chips and cracks. You don’t want to discover at your next event that some of your beautiful crystal was chipped during the holidays. You can try filing a small chip down by yourself with a specialized tool or even a nail file. There are a number of professional companies that will grind the entire rim so that the chip is unnoticeable. If it’s a quality piece, sending it away is definitely worth the cost.
Launder the linens
All your linens need to be check for spots, laundered and ironed so they are ready for your next event. The usual spots you will find on linen napkins are red wine and lipstick. Lipstick can be treated with rubbing alcohol and red wine will disappear with hydrogen peroxide. Treat the napkins before placing them in the laundry. Check them before you place them in the dryer – if any stains remain, re-treat and re-launder. Do NOT dry them until you know the stain is totally gone.