Chinese New Year
Whilst for many of us New Year is a distant memory, Chinese New Year is just about to start! Chinese New Year follows the lunar cycle and falls on the second new moon of the year. For 2019, that will be the 5th February and heralds the Year of The Pig! And if you were born on 1971, 1983, 1995 (or roughly every 12 years before or after), then according to Chinese mythology this is your year for wealth and reward! But before the Chinese New Year kicks in, there is one Chinese New Year ritual that caught our eye- house cleaning! Here’s how you can sweep out the old and let the new in.
1) Cleansing air. The idea of starting a new year with a fresh, clean slate is very appealing. And that’s entirely what the tradition of house clearing in the days and weeks before Chinese New Year is all about. As you mop, sweep and polish, the dust and grime is removed and you are left with the shiny and appealing- just what a New Year should look like. Gary O’Donnell, Editor at Happily Tania, a site dedicated to Domestic Bliss says: “Use scent to cleanse a room and clear out underlying tensions. Rosemary and sage are traditional herbs used in cleaning.” Try making your own natural cleansing solution by mixing water, fresh rosemary and sage, white vinegar and a few drops of rosemary or sage essential oil in a clean plastic spray bottle and use to refresh and deodorise your home.
2) Reorganise and reconnect. Chinese New Year is a time to visit family and reconnect, and for family to visit you! Little wonder then that getting the house clean and organised is such a priority! Think about your guests’ needs such as space for shoes and coats. A small 1 metre Hanging Rail teamed with a single 8 pocket Shoe Organiser and some Wooden Hangers is a quick and cost effective way to fit out an under-stairs cupboard with everything you need to host guests in your home.
3) Energy flow. Another reason for cleaning in advance of Chinese New Year is the need to create positive and harmonious energy flow in line with the principles of Feng Shui. You clean, then allow the clear energy to settle. Tackling a whole house worth of cleaning and tidying can be a challenge but Gary O’Donnell suggests starting from the floor upwards: “Let energy move freely around a room by ensuring you keep things off the floor. The more you trip over stuff, the more frustrating your experience of your home will be.” Take a sweep through the house and see what odds and ends are restricting your energy flow. Often some well-positioned Wall Shelving can be just the thing to keep floors clear and energy positive.
4) Focus your time. If you are limited on time, focus on jobs that will deliver the greatest reward like hoovering carpets, making beds and cleaning surfaces. Gary from Happily Tania suggests: “Keep mirrors and glass clean- that quick wipe around will do more to make your home look sparkling than most other chores. Again, it is easy to make your own natural cleaning solution for mirrors and glass. Mix 60 ml of rubbing alcohol, 60 ml of white vinegar, 240 ml of water, 1 tbs of cornflour and around 10 drops of essential oil like lemon or lime together in a plastic spray bottle. If you don’t have essential oil, you could add the rinds of lemons or limes instead. Then get cleaning! This natural cleaning solution will also work well on surfaces and bathrooms.
5) Decorate and enjoy. After the cleaning comes the decoration, and the traditional auspicious colour for Chinese New Year is red, but you could also place symbols of good luck around your home like kumquats, peaches and chrysanthemums. We’re seeing kumquat plants in golden pots, chrysanthemums in red vases and bowls of peaches on serving trolleys. Then, with the cleaning complete, energy flow restored and your home looking fresh and welcoming, you can relax and enjoy time with your family! In fact, tradition states that you actively shouldn’t clean after Chinese New Year for another two weeks so that you don’t sweep away all of the good luck you have invited into your home! Well, we’ll look forward to that…