Don’t Do This Chore on New Year’s Day If You’re Superstitious

Superstitious folks, take note: There’s one household chore that is almost universally avoided on New Year’s Day because of the bad luck it supposedly brings.
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Need a reason to be lazy on New Year’s Day—other than the time-honored excuse of a hangover, that is? We got you!

Everyone knows that eating black-eyed peas and rice is compulsory on Jan. 1, but have you ever heard that some household chores are also the stuff of superstition? Lest bad luck befall you in the next 12 months, take a look at this list of activities to avoid—and a few to tackle—on New Year’s Day.

To err on the safe side, though, why not put off all chores until Jan. 2? That way, you can spend New Year’s Day snuggled up on the couch for a movie marathon, sleeping off the previous night’s excesses, and eating leftover cheese. It’s still the holidays, after all!

RELATED: 12 Inventions That Do All Your Chores

1. Put Down the Laundry Detergent

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Do you ever wonder just who those old wives were, and why they spent so much time telling tales? Despite the ambiguous origin story, it’s hard to argue with this advice: Don’t wash your clothes on New Year’s Day. Cultures around the world caution against performing this particular chore. Those who ignore the superstition run several risks, including washing good fortune down the drain, condemning themselves to be swamped with loads and loads of laundry in the months ahead, or even “washing away” a loved one. Yikes!

RELATED: 12 Genius Tips for Everyday Speed-Cleaning

2. Step Away From the Sink

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Similarly, doing the dishes on the first day of 2023 could cause your good luck to swirl down the drain. Eco-friendly, compostable paper plates it is! We like this pack of 250 heavy-duty plates at Amazon, the choice for dinnerware in our list of best eco-friendly products.

3. Give Your Broom a Break

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It’s something of a stretch to imagine that good fortune would take the form of dust, pet fur, scraps of wrapping paper, and cracker crumbs, but why risk sweeping it away? No one seems to know if this superstition extends to “sucking up all your luck,” but just in case, you might want to leave the vacuum in your utility closet too.

RELATED: Solved! Why Is My House So Dusty?

4. Declutter and Deep Clean—the Day Before

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In China, the days leading up to the Lunar New Year are devoted to deep cleaning, and this is a ritual that you can certainly adapt for the solar calendar’s annual kickoff too.

The idea is to clear away all the bad luck from the previous year. By banishing the dust bunnies, you’re creating a fresh, clean space for an auspicious beginning. Even get the dust under the fridge with this 36-inch flat vacuum attachment at Amazon.

RELATED: 25 Things to Get Rid Of Before the New Year

5. Open the Window…

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A South African superstition takes a slightly different stance, treating Jan. 1 as a fresh start by decluttering and then defenestrating any unwanted items. (“Defenestrate” is just a fancy way to say “throw out of the window.”) That’s one way to deal with clutter!

RELATED: 28 Insanely Clever Ways to Beat Clutter

6. …and Out It Goes

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Italians, too, turn to ritual defenestration to ring in the New Year, but they’re mainly concerned with home decor. Wisely, they stick to soft items—pillows, throw blankets, macramé crafts—instead of raining paperweights, paintings, and other potentially deadly decorative items down on unwitting passersby.

Of course, we hope that these two instances of chucking stuff from casements are purely symbolic. There are much better ways to rid yourself of unwanted but still usable stuff.

RELATED: Suck It Up: 11 Vacuum Attachments You Should Own (and How to Use Them)

7. Don’t Hamper Happiness

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Another argument for sneaking in some housework before the ball drops comes to us from the Portuguese, who make sure their hampers are empty by midnight on Dec. 31. That’s because the dirty clothes themselves, not the act of washing them, are to blame for bad juju. The other new-year-new-you superstition they obey? Changing the sheets. Fresh, clean bed linens, the logic goes, will attract romance and happiness in the months ahead. Try these 100 percent cotton percale sheets at Amazon, the top pick in our list of the best percale sheets for the bedroom.

8. Stash Some Bucks Under the Rug

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Photo: bradleyhebdon from Getty Signature Images

While you’re vacuuming in preparation for your slothful New Year’s Day, tuck a few bills under an area rug. According to a Romanian superstition, this will guarantee that the year to come will be a financially favorable one.

RELATED: The Best Dusters to Clean Every Corner of Your Home

9. Paint It Red

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It’s back to Asia for our last New Year’s superstition. This one invokes feng shui, and all you need is a bucket of red paint, although there are some great painting-related tools that will make the job easier, neater, and faster. Why red? In both China and Japan, the color conveys luck, prosperity, passion, strength, and health. Decking the front door in this vibrant hue at the beginning of the year invites all those desirable qualities to enter the home for its duration.