This post was originally published on April 18, 2009; because today is the Spring Equinox we’re pulling it out of the archives as a reminder that this is a great time of year to tackle your “winter is over – summer’s on its way” cleaning details or to start preparing for an upcoming PCS if this is the year you’ll be picking up and moving… again..



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Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” I saw this random quote a few days ago (on some calendar I think), and I couldn’t help thinking how true it is. There is something about spring that awakens your senses and puts that extra bounce in your step.

And I don’t know about you, but I seem to enjoy longer periods of cheerfulness and fewer bouts of hormonal-induced outbursts, breakdowns, grown-up tantrums, or whatever you like to call them. I also seem to have more focus and motivation to get things done, no easy feat when you’re a multi-tasker like myself.


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So it makes sense then, that while my mind is in this rejuvenated state I should make the most of it and tackle some of those arduous and bothersome chores that I continue to put off. One such chore that immediately comes to mind is the major spring clean that I always intend to do, but never do!

There are so many things in our house that really need to move on to either the thrift shop or the trash collector, and then once they’ve been moved on there will be empty spaces that will need a good and proper wipe-down and dusting. And then there are the appliances that need a thorough dusting and those conspicuous black marks on the white walls that need cleaning; the list goes on. It’s no wonder I prolong this event as long as possible, and yet I marvel at the Japanese people who set aside an actual day each year to fulfill precisely this task.

“Oosouji” is the name of this annual ritual; its literal translation is “the big cleaning.” At the end of every year, usually on New Year’s Eve for many families, Japanese homes are meticulously cleaned in an effort to drive out any impure influences that may have taken up residence during the previous year.

Purification is the key objective here, and while us foreigners here in Japan may choose to ignore or disregard the symbolism behind this age-old Japanese custom, the end result (i.e. a clean and uncluttered house), is something I’m sure we all want and strive for. Granted, not in the middle of our Christmas and New Years celebrations, but don’t you think that spring is the perfect time to adopt this wonderful Japanese tradition and get your home in order? I do!


  1. Just as I am labeling “donate”, “recycle” and “trash”- I check Okinawa Yard sales and find more outdoor crap to add to my kids clutter. I am a sucker for outdoor toys.
    I need to remember that he prefers rocks and broken cardboard boxes.
    Need to get back on the de-clutter train!

  2. Thanks Denise, I had never heard of; I checked their site out yesterday and you’re right, they do have some excellent tips on how to keep your home CHAOS-free! And although I don’t really like the idea of spring-cleaning at Christmas, I do appreciate your suggestion Melonie to pass on some of our unwanted things to those less fortunate; who knows what kind of blessing our items might bring to someone else at Christmas time? Well, guess I should get back to reading FlyLady and see how I can start to de-clutter my home.

  3. Hmm, I like spring cleaning but I also think it would be good to adopt the day in the middle of our American holidays. After all, what do we get over Christmas and such? Lots of STUFF. What better time to get rid of old stuff that someone else could make use of? Better yet, try doing it before the holidays. That way those less fortunate can pick it up at the thrift store or wherever and have some nice things for their families over the holidays. I kinda dig it, personally. 🙂

  4. I joined about 2 yrs ago now and started receiving daily FLYmail. The FLYing Lessons guide you through babysteps to help you set up routines, get rid of your clutter, and put your home and life in order. Joining Flylady is easy and it’s free. I love it because I went from feeling like I was living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). To realizing I’m not behind because I can conquer anything in 15 min increments.
    From a Fly baby 🙂