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Talk Nerdy to Me – The Danshari Method of Decluttering by Yamashita Hideko

“Danshari” is a Japanese word, which translates to “decluttering and detaching for a happier life” in English. If we want to dive deeper into the ideologies of Danshari, it can be broken down into three stages: Dan, Sha, and Ri.


“Dan” is to refuse. We are stuck in a toxic culture of mass consumption. The exponential growth of eCommerce has made impulse buying much easier even if there is a pandemic keeping us away from stores. Oftentimes we buy something simply because it’s on sale, and later we feel guilty of our irrationality after receiving packages pile up at our doors, as well as credit card bills that are way beyond our budgets. Black Friday is around the corner, and it wouldn’t be surprising if we are attracted to the constant advertisements and clickbait from shopping websites. It’s time to get back control and keep ourselves away from mindless consumerism. To slow our roll, we should start by making a list that only consists of essential items that we plan to get and weed out the superfluous. 


“Sha” is to dispose of. To begin with, the act of eliminating clutter items in our daily life can help regain the focus on things that are more important. If a piece of clothing has been hidden somewhere in our closet for more than a year, we are not likely to wear it anymore. We should all find ourselves some time to clear out our old or unused clothes so that we will have more room in our wardrobe to make it more organized. Dropping old clothes to Goodwill, selling luxury goods on second-hand vintage shops, or reselling books to other interested readers are all reasonable options. Following Sha, however, isn’t as simple as what we do to “organize and clean stuff.” The devil is in the detail because we ultimately want to control mess and excess in the long term.


“Ri” is to separate. It’s probably the hardest to detach from material possessions, but the gist is to appreciate our possessions and to realize that our lives consist of much more than just what we own. Being surrounded by a fast-paced world full of peer pressure and anxiety, we are goal-driven, yet sometimes we become too greedy. We keep chasing what we want and yet we never get satisfied. Be mindful of the fact that we strive for the goal of happiness. If what we are doing is consuming us in a negative way, there is a high chance that we are going off the track along the way of pursuing our holistic goals.

Before embarking on my new life in 2021, I’ve decided that I’ll get rid of most of the things that I’m not using. In contrast to the suffocating marketing campaigns from digital media, we shall resist the temptation, and hence be wiser when making choices.

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Zhilan is a current sophomore at Boston University. Being an extroverted introvert, she loves to cook healthy food, explore aesthetic coffee shops, and read mysteries.
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