I once saw a client who had read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up years ago. She loved the book, and believed in the Method. She joined KonMari®-themed groups on Facebook and told her friends about the book. Then, she tidied her home… in her head. Thoughts without action got her nowhere. Years went by. And she never got started.
Two years ago I helped a client move into a new home and unpack. This week, I helped her move out. Since she had already completed her big tidying event, she instead asked me to come perform a home cleansing ritual. I had never done anything like this, but I wanted to try. It seemed new-agey, which is not my style, but I do value peace, harmony, and cleansing. With the client’s perspective in mind, I put together a fitting ritual. It was exquisite! Here I share with you some simple tips to cleanse your home so you can purify your space with mindful intention. Home Cleansing is especially relevant before moving out, but after completing your tidying event or at year-end are other great times to cleanse your space.
Before you begin, gather your supplies. For the Tidy Upgrade Home Cleansing Ritual, I used a tuning fork, incense, an incense holder, salt, and a small bowl to hold the salt. A pen and paper or a journal are optional, and encouraged. When you do your home cleansing, use your own creative ideas that feel right for you. You may want to add or substitute music, essential oils, gratitude sharing with family, or special prayers. I also dressed up to give the home a proper send-off. Tidying your space as much as possible before the ritual will aid in creating a peaceful environment for your home cleansing.
Once you are properly dressed and have all your supplies at the ready, begin the Home Cleansing by opening the windows in the home. Allow the fresh air to refresh you and your space.
Then, greet your home. The home greeting Marie Kondo does with her clients involves taking a moment of gratitude for how your home serves you. In the case of the home cleansing, kneel or sit on the floor, close your eyes, and think of all the ways your home supports you. Be mindful to release any negativity, leaving your mind and body at peace.
If you have one, use a tuning fork or something similar and set an objective for a clear, refreshed space. Strike the tuning fork, close your eyes, and let the sound resonate in your body and through the space. Repeat this action as desired.
Light a stick of incense, place it in an incense holder, then carry it through the home to cleanse the air. During this time, show your gratitude, and thank the home for sheltering you and supporting you. Allow the incense to continue burning until it burns itself out.
After touring the home with the incense, grab a small vessel of salt. Sprinkle a pinch of salt in the corner of each room to purify your space. After a day or two, sweep up the small piles. If you have pets that freely roam your house like dogs or cats, you can safely drop a few grains in each corner for purity.
Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle
With the incense still burning, find a seat in a comfortable location. This is where your pen and paper may come in handy. At this point, take a moment to visualize yourself living your ideal lifestyle in your home. What is your ideal lifestyle? How do you see yourself living in your home? What habits do you perform there on a daily basis? Open your mind and heart, allowing any changes to take place within you that better allow you to find your mission in life and freely carry it out. If you are moving out, see yourself in your new space and consider how you would like to live in your new home.
I recommend writing this vision down to seal your commitment to achieving it. Review your vision frequently and make adjustments to your habits as needed with determination to live a more joyful life.
Reset The Space
Resetting the space is important after completing any activity you perform in your home. Resetting is essential to keeping your home tidy. Close the windows with gratitude for the fresh air. Restore items you have finished using to their homes with thanks for helping you. Finally, spread the remaining salt on the front steps.
I was surprised how fitting this ritual felt to perform and witness! It truly did leave a clear and refreshed feeling, similar to the feeling of tidying your space.
While we’re on the subject of purifying your space, would you like to sweep the dirt of this year out of your home? December is a great time to not only cleanse your space but to clean it as well! I’ve already started to wash comforters and curtains, and dust my fan blades and cold air returns in my annual “Osouji,” or “Big Cleaning,” event. Click for more about the year-end Japanese cleaning tradition known as Osouji.
May the dirt of this year be gone, leaving you with a peaceful and purified space. Happy cleansing!
Other home purification ideas and more details on the ones listed can be found here on Marie Kondo’s blog.
For more tips on moving house, check out KonMari’s guide to moving.
Right now, if we focus on what we have and how we can use our resources to the best of our ability, we will see that we can get through this and we can make it work with what we already have. That’s how the KonMari™ Method works, too!
In 2017, just after I made my first blog post, joy left my life–only briefly, but it’s a story that I have been keeping inside for almost two years. Completing the KonMari Method™ in my home helped me grow in many virtues, including gratitude and courage. It is with that bravery that I begin to tell the story.
Here in the United States, the New Year is seen as a welcome opportunity to make a fresh start. To help you get ahead on your resolution to get organized, The Container Store holds its annual sale on elfa® shelves. In fact, you’ll find plenty of organization tools (as well as yoga mats) on sale in January. But why wait? Put your affairs in order now so you can enjoy life in the new year. Wouldn’t you be able to get an even fresher fresh start by tidying and cleaning your home before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve?
In Japan, the end of December is the time of year to clean the home. It’s called Osouji, (pronounced OH-SOH-jee, and spelled in English in creative ways including oosouji and osoji). Osouji means “Big Cleaning,” and it is similar to what we call Spring Cleaning, except that it is more widely practiced and developed out of spiritual roots. December 13 remains the day that Shinto priests clean and purify the temple, but Osouji has become secularized into the Japanese culture as an end-of-the-year cleaning event that lasts for days or weeks.
It is with intention that you enter into the new year, wrapping up the old year and sweeping out the dust, paving the way for a new year that sparks joy. The general thought is that you do not want to bring the literal and figurative dirt and soot from the current year into the new one. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a difficult year and I find the idea of cleansing particularly appealing.
Bestselling author and tidying advocate Marie Kondo describes the sensible Japanese tradition of Osouji in her book Spark Joy. “Every December, television programs and magazine articles feature cleaning tips, and cleansers and other goods are prominently displayed in stores. People throw themselves into this year-end cleaning spree as if it were a national event,” she writes. Nearly everyone participates in this cleansing ritual. As Tokyo native Moeko Noda of San Francisco put it, “it’s just something we do.”
“You get prepared to invite the new year with a clean slate inside and outside,” says Noda of Osouji. I feel inspired just imagining this feeling. It is a wonder that an-end-of-the-year cleaning ritual is almost unheard of in the United States, except maybe for those hosting relatives for the holidays or tidying up after gift-giving. “The timing is tricky for us in America because everyone is so busy with Christmas,” notes fellow KonMari Consultant and owner of Spark Joy Bay Area Jane Grodem.
Grodem, who studied in Japan during high school brought to light one especially unique aspect of Osouji, which is the effort made by school children to get their school shiny and clean before the new year. Here in the United States it is usually the janitor’s job to clean the school. “In school in Japan, cleaning is done by kids. Everybody participates,” Grodem recalls. “I remember changing into my P.E. clothes [during Osouji] and cleaning the school.”
Any cleaning lady will tell you that it is faster and easier to clean a home that is tidy. “My clients who have finished tidying up frequently say that cleaning now takes them no time at all. In fact, they like doing it whereas before it made them feel totally incompetent,” writes Kondo in Spark Joy. I completely agree. A kitchen counter completely free of clutter, appliances, and cooking utensils, is both easy and joy-sparking to clean!
Not only do people who have finished tidying their homes have an easier time cleaning, but that deep cleaning is more facile as well. “After tidying, I found that I had more time to devote to deeper cleaning practices, such as cleaning chandeliers that I never took the time to dust,” Grodem concurrs. “I also shifted away from chemicals to organic cleaning substances and if feels and smells so much healthier in our home!”
I hope you will join me in completing a Big Cleaning of your home as the year comes to a close. To take full advantage of Osouji (Big Cleaning):
- Start with tidying using the KonMari Method. Consult The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or hire a KonMari Consultant to help you take full advantage of your time tidying. Kondo makes it crystal clear in Spark Joy, “If you want to succeed at year-end cleaning, the secret is to finish your tidying marathon beforehand.”
- Clean your house with intention. You can download a spring cleaning checklist if you’re not sure what to do. Imagine yourself literally sweeping the old dirt out the door. Any trash and items for donation go out the door as well.
- Welcome the new year with a clean slate and spark joy every day!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Spark Joy to the World!