Friday, January 21, 2011

Sydney is cleaning up for the Year of the Rabbit?

Kerbside cleanup collection is a common sight at this time of the year in many Sydney's suburbs, where local councils normally organise two bulk household collections per year, and that householders are issued with a brochure two weeks before collection is due. General household clean-ups are limited to 2 cubic metres to 3 cubic metres depending on where you live. Accepted collection items such as unwanted furniture, old mattresses, household appliances and bric-a-brac for collection are placed on the nature strip at the front of your property no earlier than the weekend before the cleanup date. But these days, teams of professional kadung guning men go through your thrown-out items and salvage anything that has a recycle value before the council's contractor comes. In case you are a new arrival in Sydney, please check with your local council on what is acceptable or not to be included in the cleanup collection as Council’s contractor has the right to refuse any unsuitable items such as, car tyres and parts, household hazardous waste, renovation and building material and garbage and food straps. And if you have unwanted items which are still in good condition, consider donating them to charitable organisations. Not only it'll benefit the less fortunate but you are also doing a good deed to the environment too.

I am not sure anyone beside me have noticed that the cleanup collections in my neighbouring suburb of Eastwood, where a large Chinese community resides are getting bigger than usual. But I am pretty sure that it is not a collaboration between the council and the many Chinese families performing their annual clean up together . But rather a coincident that in a fortnight from now, we will be bidding farewell to the tiger as it passes the baton to the rabbit to start a new zodiac sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle. The start of a new zodiac is also celebrated on Chinese New Year which falls on the 3rd of February this year along with many other customs. One of the customs for many Singaporean Chinese is to have the annual House Cleaning before the new year begins. I can still vividly remember my mother took this annual task rather seriously. On the designated day, beginning early in the morning, all of the furniture in the family's house was covered with sheets of old newspaper serving as a drop sheet before the walls and ceilings are swept down with brooms made from the ribs from coconut leaves in which a bamboo pole was attached so that the cobwebs on the eaves can be reached. Then the entire house was scrubbed clean from the floor to the window sills. Furniture was moved about to make sure each corner of the house was thoroughly cleaned. The older children were assigned to polish the pair of candle sticks and the big brass josstick urn with brasso and the red ribbons and tinsels on the tablets and urns were replaced with new ones. Even the family ancestor's altar had a makeover for the coming new year.


  1. phil, in s'pore today, spring cleaning is almost redundant. most families have domestic helps and they are cleaning the house/flat perpetually every day, so there is no need for a special day for this.

  2. Hi yg,
    Thanks for your update. But was'nt it an important part of our New Year festivities in our generation?

  3. yeah, my collection is this weekend. It took 3 weeks to book this services. our area only collect as per request. Its a good thing as neighbour and passer by get what they need out of the pile, not much left when the collection guy come.. hahaha.. its good recycling. Happy chinese new year to you..

  4. Hi Mrs T,
    One man's trash is another man's treasure as the saying goes ... :)
    But with the "throw away" mentality of today's society the most frequently used excuse is "get rid of the old to make way for the new" Believe me, you will be amazed by what is thrown out! near new electrical goods, bycicle, etc.
    A Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year to you and your family.

  5. I like the way you think Uncle Phil, and I'm totally agree with you

    Cleaning Sydney

  6. Hi Barbara,
    Just doing my bit for a cleaner enviroment to live in. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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