The phenomenal success of Japanese home organizational guru Marie Kondo has turned "decluttering" into a global buzzword. However, Japan's love affair with organizing and storage solutions was well-established before Kondo found international fame with her first book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and her recent Netflix series, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." A plethora of Japanese books, websites, magazine articles and TV show segments cover the subject, and if the DIY approach doesn't appeal, you can always enlist the services of a nationally accredited professional organizer.
Amid this general trend, one particular type of decluttering and organizing has grabbed media attention in the past few years — 終活 (shūkatsu), or "end-of-life planning." A play on words, the term is pronounced in the same way as the expression for job-hunting activities, 就活 (shūkatsu), but with a different character used for the first part of the kanji compound.
In a nutshell, shūkatsu means getting one's affairs in order before departing this world, thus relieving children or others of any burden. Although the term suggests this can wait until the advanced senior years, organizational experts advise starting well before reaching that stage.