Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Osoji: or my bizarre take on the clutter free home equaling inner peace

So a few years ago I read an article about the ancient Japanese practice of Osoji. To my Eastern friends, I assure you that I have not studied up on Osoji other than taking time to google articles. That being said for the purpose of this blog we shall pretend I am an expert.

I love the holidays. I love to wrap gifts. I love all the trappings and merry makings. I was overjoyed that I convinced my spouse this was the wonderful year of two trees (one real, one not so much) and I go overboard in decking the halls. The problem is that once the holiday ends you are left with so much stuff and such a mess.The holiday joy is no free lunch.

I think that the first time I found myself googling "unclutter" had a lot to do with my first post Christmas as a mom. Not only do I have my halls to undeck and my belongings to put away but oh my the toys, toys, toys, toys. It was truly enough to make me understand the Grinch a bit better.

Enter Osoji. Translation: Free and Clean. Of all the resolution making we do in America it seems so simple and speaks to me. A clean house and tidy affairs...what better way to enter the New Year? In Japan they clean and clean and enter the New Year free of the burdens of the past. Being busy over the holidays I have given myself a westerner's pass and try to spend the month of January (because it takes a month) purging, forgiving, and loosing the clutter. I figure the Chinese New Year comes later and so as long as I am in the ballpark it will work.

What is it about the clutter that drives me so insane? I think it has something to do with control. Like a table covered in mail is a visual that I didn't have the self discipline to open and sort mail. Piles of dirty laundry just scream that I am not a mom on top of her game. Perhaps it is an article I read ages ago claiming that people with dirty houses tend to gain weight faster and afterall--aren't we all conditioned to want to shed pounds in a New Year?

Now I could read a ton of self help articles telling me not to beat myself up, but I know I feel better surrounded by tidiness and order. Getting there is simply a battle. I consider control and how around the holidays I feel so out of control by the demands of my job, the hectic schedules, family obligations, unpredictable weather and for me there is no worse feeling than being out of control except perhaps being controlled.

And so I clean. Yesterday it was maybe the unseasonable sunshine or the 4 bags at Goodwill but I felt better. Lighter. Happier. And it only took 10 days.

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