Week 42: Tidying Up – Dan Sha Ri

I made a decision to undertake Dan Sha Ri (meaning ‘Refuse’ – ‘Throw away’ – ‘Separate’) in my house. I have disposed of dozens of stuff!


Dan Sha Ri and KonMari

The concept of tidying up, Dan Sha Ri proposed by Hideko Yamashita, has been well-known in Japan since 2010. I had not read the book until recently, and had been following the tidying up method proposed by another author, Marie Kondo. I liked her first book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. These two authors published their first books in the same year 2010.

Marie Kondo’s (KonMari) method is much simpler: ‘Tidying is a special event. Don’t do it every day’. She calls this a tidying marathon. The selection criterion of KonMari method when it comes to throwing things out is taking each item in your hand and asking yourself ‘does it spark joy?’ If it does, keep it; if not, say thank you to the item and dispose of it.

I was not really interested in the concept of Dan Sha Ri until I read the book last week, because I had thought that it would be something similar to ‘Spark Joy’ and the three letters that Dan Sha Ri discusses are enough to make a guess at what the book was about. But what was remarkable for me was that Dan Sha Ri focuses on the ‘relationship’ between possessions and a possessor, drawing on yoga’s philosophy (Dan Sha Ri, Refuse – Throw away – Separate).


Dan Sha Ri Rule

Hideko Yamashita proposed a systematic method, ‘The Rule of 7:5:1’, which sets three criteria for cleaning up:

  1. If items are in invisible storage (inside of a closet, drawer, etc.), discard items until you secure 30% of the space
  2. If items are in a visible shelf (cupboards, etc.), discard items until you secure 50% of the space
  3. For a display shelf (such as ornamental objects), restrict objects to occupy 10% of the space


In 2016, Yamashita said that she distinguished Dan Sha Ri as NOT minimalist. She did not consider Dan Sha Ri as ‘I do not need stuff anymore’ or only having a ‘few things at home’. Instead, Dan Sha Ri is something that is constantly aware of the quantity of the material possessions and the balance between excess and deficiency of them (in a systematic way). I think that some minimalists also share such a relationship with personal items – like my perception of who I am is constantly manifested by the things I actually use.


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