Words for Spring Cleaning in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot

The winter is almost over and if you’re anything like us, you spent so long huddled under the duvet that you probably have an apartment full of bulky jackets that need a good dusting or throwing out and a couple of dark places that haven’t seen a vacuum cleaner in far too long (hint: if it starts moving, it has been waaaaay too long… ).

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to 断捨離(だんしゃり) (throw some things out), 部屋(へや)を片付(かたづ)ける (clean your room), roll up your sleeves and get involved in some hardcore 大掃除(おおそうじ) (housecleaning).

Of course, when it comes to the life changing magic of tidying up in Japanese, not only are the tasks difficult and time consuming, but you’ll also have to learn some tricky nouns and verbs to describe it at the same time.

The first words are, of course, the names of some of the weapons that are needed for this monumental task of fighting that ゴミ (trash). These include:

  • ホウキ (broom)
  • ちりとり (dustpan)
  • 雑巾(ぞうきん) (dust cloth)
  • バケツ (cleaning bucket)
  • 掃除機(ぞうじき) (vacuum cleaner)
  • エプロン (apron)
  • はたき (feather duster)
  • ゴム手袋(てぶくろ) (rubber gloves)
  • ブラシ (brush)

And, of course, plenty of ゴミ箱(ばこ) (trash bags).

As well as cleaning, it can also be a useful time to expand your vocabulary with some of the weird and wonderful verbs that are associated with cleaning in Japanese.

As well as cleaning, it can also be a useful time to expand your vocabulary with some of the weird and wonderful verbs that are associated with cleaning in Japanese. Likely you recognize the verbs 捨(す)てる (throw away), かける (to turn on or set a machine), 取(と)る (take) and 磨(みが)く (polish) from other uses. However, which of the aforementioned nouns — so far we’ve studied ほうき, ゴミ, ちりとり, 雑巾, バケツ, 掃除機, エプロン, はたき, ゴム手袋 and ブラシ — do you think these verbs go with?

Some examples:

  • ゴミをさらう (throw out the trash)
  • 掃除機をかける (clean the …continue reading