“The Japanese have a custom called ōsōji, or ‘big clean.’ It’s similar to spring cleaning in the West, but we do it at the end of the year. They do this with a spirit of gratitude as they prepare to welcome the New Year. In many other parts of the world, too, the end of the year is a special holiday season when families gather together. If that’s true for you, then why not schedule in your very own tidying festival so that you can be finished before celebrating the holidays?”
                                                                                                          – Marie Kondo, Tidying Before the Holidays

As summer turns into autumn, and fall slips into winter, I always find myself thinking about the best times of the year to comprehensively tidy and declutter your home and lifestyle with the KonMari Method created by Marie Kondo.

Conventional wisdom puts spring at the top of the list, and in previous posts I have suggested reasons why fall is also a perfect time.

Reading Marie’s “Tidying Before the Holidays” post has inspired me to believe that holiday season decluttering also should be at the top of the “prime seasons” list.

As Marie notes in the quote at the top of the page, spring cleaning in the West is a significant ritual in most households. Everything outside is coming to life again, fresh and clean, so everything inside should too to create symmetry and harmony.

That does make sense, and so does autumn tidying because it’s the time of year we all turn inward to embrace and hopefully enjoy our own versions of winter hibernating.

After all, when you’re spending much more time in living spaces than during any other time of the year, they should feel like sanctuaries and not sources of stress from the mess.

What I especially like about Marie’s take in “Tidying Before the Holidays” is that she suggests – not overtly perhaps – a fusion of spring cleaning and an autumn hibernation prep.

That feels right to me.

Just as you can’t truly enjoy hibernating in a messy house or enjoy going out on warm weather adventures when you know that disarray awaits you later, you also can’t feel holiday cheer and joy when the clutter of an untidy life is closing in all around you.

“The final days of the year hold a special significance in many homes. They mark quieter days spent together indoors where families can celebrate and look forward to the bright new year ahead,” Marie writes in “Tidying Before the Holidays,” giving a specific shape to an aspect of winter hibernation.

“The holidays are also an ideal time to give thanks for what sparks joy in our lives – and to let go of what doesn’t – as we contemplate how far we’ve come and where we’d like to go next,” Marie goes on to say.

It’s a perfect sentiment that acknowledges the practice of making New Year’s resolutions but repackages those gimmicky (and typically unsuccessful) pledges to change your life into a more meaningful and ultimately more promising process of understanding and encouraging transformation.

Back in 2020, during the pandemic, I published a blog post entitled “Fall KonMari Challenge: Declutter a Space That Doesn’t Spark Joy,” which said, in part:

“The deepening autumn and approaching winter encourage a natural seasonal hibernation, making it a perfect time to declutter.”

There definitely is a natural rhythm to embrace tidying in both autumn and spring – the first to ensure winter sanctuary status and the second to create the freedom to “escape” and enjoy life with the peace of mind you’ll return to a home that is soothing instead of stressful.

After reading “Tidying for the Holidays,” the Japanese custom of a holiday season “big clean” feels like the missing piece of the puzzle that shows how tidying and maintaining a tidy state of grace is really about flow and constantly embracing each (uncluttered) moment.


As a Certified Platinum KonMari Consultant, I’m here to help. Feel free to email me at  [email protected] or call (203) 772-8883 to discuss your situation—or visit my Packages & Rates page. Follow me on Facebook and on Instagram as the Sage of Interiors, as well as Dr. Christine Thorn on Facebook.