The year-end housecleaning – Why do we Japanese do that at the year-end? –

There should be compelling reasons why we Japanese people rather like to clean the whole house at the year-end. I wondered this tradition while I was scrubbing all dishes in a shelf a couple of weeks ago. But this speculation made me aware of how Japanese people are smart to use the small land efficiently. The whole house cleaning has a noticeable good effect in terms of convenience in your daily life.

First, let us recap Japanese traditions a little bit. For Japanese, the year-end and the new year is one of the most important seasons. In December, it is an extensive party season to forget the woes and troubles of the past year (="bonenkai"). In January, we get together to hold a new year celebration party (again…) to make new year resolution and to wish each other good luck(="shinnenkai"). Those tradition reveals the Japanese people’s special attention to the years border. We look back and forget at the year end and our mind reborn at the year beginning. Here it is plausible enough for having the year-end cleaning to refresh.

I’ve also found a physically good effect of implementing the year-end cleaning. Hey you, please look around your laptop now. I would like to show you a most probable conversation with you here:
Can you find something you have not used for a recent year? Yes. Will you use it next year? Maybe not. When will you through it away? I don’t know, but some time later… Why not do that at they year-end?

The real problem here is that we buy more stuffs than we through away, and often we are unconscious of the fact. Our house is gradually being occupied by such unused products… we need to get our living back from such evil products! – We should through them away, well, probably at the year end?

The fate of any stuffs, goods, products is categorized into 4:
1. Consumed as intended (e.g. your favorite chocolate)
2. Consumed but not as intended (e.g. almost spoiled strawberry for jam)
3. Never consumed (e.g. your favorite pictures with a famous baseball player)
4. Thrown into bin (e.g. 5 years old digital camera)

Just categorize your stuffs into those categories! Then your house becomes bigger. You believe me?

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2 thoughts on “The year-end housecleaning – Why do we Japanese do that at the year-end? –

  1. That makes perfect sense to me. Over here in the US, we usually reserve cleaning up for “Spring Cleaning.” Well after all that stuff from the holidays has had a chance to settle and make a home (and thus creating more clutter)

    I’ll have to make a special effort to get rid of stuff before the new year!

  2. Hi, Susan.

    Thank you for your comment!

    It is good to know that the US culture has the same tradition, and that Spring Clearning made sense to me. I knew from the movie that American people exchange many presents one another during the Christmas season. Yes, surely you will need time to manage some space for those new stuff..

    Merry Christmas and Happy new year!

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