The Japanese pride themselves in cleanliness and neatness. Students are expected to partake in daily school cleanings called gakkou souji. These cleaning habits and expectations are culturally ingrained into young students and carry into their adult lives. This practice is rooted in Buddhist tradition that associates cleaning with morality. Here are some tips on keeping your home and just about any space you encounter neat and tidy.
1. Take off your shoes when entering your home, or anyone else’s. This helps keep the floor for much longer by not letting any dirt or dust dirty up the floor. Simply take off your shoes and put on some comfy slippers.
2. Less clutter. Invest in smart storage. Whether it’s a coffee table with hidden storage or end table with a drawer, make sure each piece of furniture serves more than one purpose. This is a great way to keep things more organized and clutter free.
3. Less is more. When it comes to clothing, only keep things that you love. Anything with a hole should be tossed and more expensive things that you never wear should be donated immediately. In Japan, clothing is said to contain energy, and getting rid of excess clothes is a therapeutic way of letting go of unused and unwanted things to promote self-healing.
4. Fold don’t hang (everything). Give your closet some breathing room and trim the fat by taking excess hanging clothes and folding them. Instead of keeping clothes overstuffed in a closet, use shoe boxes or various boxes and line your drawers. Use the Japanese vertical folding technique to easily fold anything from scarves to sweaters and neatly fill your drawers.
5. Ditch the paperwork. Any paperwork that isn’t necessary should be shredded and recycled. From old bills to pay slips, the only thing you need to keep include contracts and valuable documents. Everything else is just a pile of unnecessary papers that only take up space.