The Danshari Method: Declutter Your Life and Be Happier

This method exploits the benefits of order, simplicity, and minimalism. Would you dare to give it a go?
The Danshari Method: Declutter Your Life and Be Happier

Last update: 28 November, 2021

Would you love to be more organized, but just can’t seem to manage it? If so, this article may well come in handy, as it’ll show you the advantages of applying the Danshari method in your life. This is a way of understanding order, not as an obligation, but as a habit that you can cultivate and that can enhance your happiness.

Proposed by the Japanese writer Hideko Yamashita, the Danshari method advocates a minimalist lifestyle. It means achieving happiness by transforming your relationship with objects. It implies taking everything out of your closets, drawers, and even your life that isn’t completely necessary. In other words, this practice signifies your reconnection with simplicity and harmony, both in your physical space and your thoughts.

According to the author, dan means ‘vital energy’ the kind that’s lost when you fill your personal space with unnecessary objects. Sha refers to eliminating what you no longer use or those things that are no longer useful to you. Finally, ri concerns your need to detect and curb the urge to buy everything that you want.

Therefore, this method would act as an antibody to the temptation to fill your personal space with items that you neither need nor really crave.

Woman sorting clothes

The five rules of the Danshari method

To carry out this practice, you need to keep five rules in mind. They may seem complicated at first, but as you incorporate them as a habit into your daily life, you’ll find it easier to apply and maintain them.

1. Rule of occupation

The first rule refers to the importance of leaving certain areas clear of objects, so you can move freely.

Therefore, you should try not to completely fill up the spaces in your home. In fact, the ideal would be to only occupy them at 80 percent. This helps to avoid stress and visual load and also facilitates air circulation.

2. Replacement rule

The second rule suggests that you should only bring into your home objects to replace others that have lost their functionality. This is a rule that forces you to think about the usefulness of all your things, as well as about the criteria that you often use to justify your unnecessary acquisition of new objects.

3. One-touch rule

The third rule has to do with the way you store objects at home. According to this method, it’s essential that you’re able to locate your tools in an easy and accessible way. For instance, you should avoid boxes, elastic bands, and any other mechanism that hinders your accessibility to them. The idea is that you should be able to access everything in your house in just two movements.

4. Rule of autonomy, freedom, and ease of use

The fourth rule proposes that the most appropriate way to organize your space is in a vertical manner. This type of organization will give you the feeling of order, harmony, and cleanliness in your home.

5. Automatic gear rule

Finally, the fifth rule implies establishing an automatic mechanism of order, incorporating this practice as a habit. It implies self-regulation and learning.

For example, a suggestion that the author of this book makes is not to put any object down unless it’s to put it in its designated place. In this way, as you employ the danshari method, order will emerge harmoniously in each different space of your home.

Woman placing a vase with flowers

How to apply the Danshari method

We could say that the Danshari method is a way of ordering without ordering. In fact, it helps you organize your space in a way that’s not too tedious. The most interesting thing is that it not only applies to your physical space, but it can be extended to your emails, computer files, and even to your interpersonal relationships.

You often accumulate objects that you don’t use. This might be because you received them as gifts, or out of a certain sense of nostalgia because you’ve had them for such a long time. Alternatively, perhaps you simply don’t feel like making the effort of cleaning, organizing, and throwing certain things out. However, the Danshari method proposes that if an object is no longer useful to you or you no longer want it in your home, you should pick it up, thank it for its time with you, and let it go.

In effect, it’s an invitation to stop blaming yourself for getting rid of tools that you don’t use or need. It means embracing a simpler life, with more space to accept everything new that the future holds for you. It’s about having the possibility of turning your home into a reflection of your inner self and making your space and your life a more welcoming place.

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  • Löfgren, O. (2017) Mess: on domestic overflows, Consumption Markets & Culture, 20:1, 1-6, DOI: 10.1080/10253866.2016.1158767
  • Yamashita, H. (2016) Dan-sha-ri: ordena tu vida Quédate solo con lo necesario… ¡y encuentra la felicidad!. Planeta