Oosouji - an Efficient Japanese Cleaning Method

Oosouji is a Japanese cleaning method that involves freeing up space in your house and cleaning it from top to bottom before the year begins. But you can do it at any time and you'll still get the same effect.
Oosouji - an Efficient Japanese Cleaning Method

Last update: 14 February, 2021

If you want a spotless home you need to learn about Oosouji, an ancient Japanese cleaning method that involves a deep physical and emotional cleansing; the goal is to begin the year on the right foot and say goodbye to clutter and toxic elements.

This type of cleaning is done to welcome in the new year, but you can do it at any time. It focuses on your external world in order to organize it and free up space. The idea is that this in turn will help you declutter your internal world. As a result, new plans will be born in a clean space with room for new goals.

What is Oosouji?

A woman cleaning her floor.

The literal translation is “big cleaning”, and the idea of this ancient Japanese tradition is to get rid of all physical and mental burdens in order to start the year with positive energy.

In Japan, they perform this ritual on December 28th. It’s a symbol of the cleaning out of everything negative – the things that prevent you from moving forward – and starting over with a fresh vibe and more space for positive energy.

We know that cleanliness and order are related to well-being and happiness. When the brain has to focus on too many things, it tends to get stressed. For example, a study by the National Sleep Foundation in the US found that people who make their beds sleep 19% better.

How to perform Oosouji correctly

Unlike Marie Kondo’s method, this one is a little more complicated, since the goal is to clean and tidy the house from top to bottom. However, you’ll need a couple of days for such a mission; it’s even better if you do it as a family.

Also, it’s important to remember that it’s not about cleaning for the sake of cleaning. The Japanese are very meticulous when it comes to hygiene and instill cleaning habits in children from a very early age.

To help understand this, these are the steps that they advise you to follow. Remember that the ultimate goal is to start the year lighter and happier… it’s worth it, don’t you think?

From top to bottom

Always start by cleaning from top to bottom. What does this mean? Simply put, don’t forget about ceilings and lofts. And work down the walls from the ceiling to the floor.


The Japanese recommend always cleaning in a clockwise direction. You start with one room and work your way around in a circle, going over all the different areas. As a result, you end up where you started, which prevents the dirt from spreading.

A father and son cleaning.

For Oosouji you’ll need lots of boxes and bags

Everything you don’t need goes into boxes and bags. What you want to throw away goes directly into the trash; the boxes are for things that can be donated to charity or given away.

A gentle clean

Forget about scrubbing! You should clean very gently, using cotton cloths, and keep a peaceful mindset. In this way, you take care of your possessions, avoid damaging surfaces and cultivate patience.

Sweep towards the entrance

In addition, when cleaning, always start at the back of the house and work towards the entrance. Do the same when you clean the floors; this means you prevent the dirt from dispersing into the air again.

The power of vinegar

In Japan, they don’t usually use aggressive cleaning products since they can damage surfaces and also your health. For the Japanese, vinegar is the best natural cleaner. Check out what it can be used for in the home.

Oosouji and paying off outstanding debts

Paying off outstanding household debts and settling bills that play on your mind is a fundamental part of this method. As a result, you’re free to think about more positive things and remove negative energy, dirt and clutter from your interior world.

As you can see, it’s more than a cleaning method, Oosouji is a philosophy of life. Motivate yourself and clear your house of everything you don’t want.

The benefits of the Oosouji Japanese cleaning method are many – from having a clearer mind to opening yourself up to the possibility of amazing new things coming into your life.