Danshari: The Art of the Japanese’ Minimal Lifestyle

Learn how simplicity creates a happy life

Consumerism leads many people to look at shopping as an indispensable activity to enjoy life. But, there is a movement that goes against this grain. It is called Danshari (断捨離), meaning ‘decluttering’ in English. Danshari is made up of three kanji words: refuse (Dan: 断); dispose (Sha: 捨); and separate (Ri: 離). The Japanese lifestyle claims to bring peace through a minimal, tidy life.


Excess seems like a disease that many of us carry nowadays. The feeling of abundance can be wonderful, appealing and attractive, but those moments usually do not last long. Danshari says that a clean, minimal lifestyle can make life easier.

  • Fewer things to clean: Bumping into unwanted items while vacuuming or lifting decorative pieces to dust can be quite unpleasant and time-consuming. The fewer goods in the house, the less you have to clean.
  • Easier to organize: When there are fewer items, sorting stuff and arranging the house becomes more convenient. Instead of spending hours cleaning, use the time for your loved ones.
  • Less stress: Decluttering can help make your home a more open space, bringing a feeling of relaxation. Plus, buying only essential items can reduce credit card debt. This increases financial resources for other aspects of life, such as travelling, education or retirement plans.


Dan – Refuse

Saying no to unnecessary things is the first step to adopting a minimal lifestyle. We often buy more than we need, and part of the reason is because of the emotional traps created by marketing campaigns. Review what you’ve purchased, acknowledge mistakes, and adjust your spending habits. Refuse free items, such as promotional gifts, if you don’t need them.

Sha – Dispose

Liquidate items that no longer spark joy or are used in your life. The way that Marie Kondo, a cleaning consultant who owns multiple books and a Netflix series, disposes of her old stuff is to say thank you to them. Don’t laugh too quickly. When we throw away something that is attached to us, we often feel guilty. Those feelings make our cleaning process less effective. Marie Kondo’s method helps us understand the value that the item once brought. By expressing gratitude, you can reduce regret and let it go.

Marie Kondo says thank you to her stuffs before letting them go

You can also give your items a second chance by donating or reselling them to those in need. When disposing of items, do it slowly, one at a time. Repeat over several days to avoid discouragement.

Ri – Separate

It’s important to stay away from the temptation to indulge in excessive purchases. This is not only about physical items. You need to focus more on your inner self. Ask yourself what are the things that truly matter to me? For instance, they could be family, education and a fantastic trip. The more stuff you have, the more you have to care for and clean it, resulting in less personal time.

This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt