Goodbye, Things – Book Review



Minimalism is not a new concept, as I’ve said many times before.  What is refreshing though, is learning about an individual’s journey for moving towards a minimalist and more mindful life.  Everyone has different reasons, different goals and a different understanding of what minimalism is.

When I stumbled upon this book I was several hours into a Youtube marathon on minimalism and minimalist fashion.  I was crushing minutes away on the digital platform. Not a proud moment.  Chi sera sera.  One of those videos that was on that circulation featured a woman talking about a book she had just started reading, Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki.  

She was young and according to her video post had just started diving into the idea of minimalism only recently.   The book, she stated, was an interesting take on one man’s process of lessening the weight objects had on his life.

I was intrigued enough to slap that PURCHASE button on Amazon and had ample amount of time on an upcoming flight to barrel through the book at lighting speeds.  It’s a quick read in my opinion, with chapters and subsections being broken down into nice, little bit sized chunks.  If you’ve already read all of MariKondo’s books (reviews to follow) then I would suggest this one to add to your collection.

So what about this book? Why even pick it up?  Is it a good resource for minimalism and people looking to change their lives?

Yes. And no.

I personally enjoyed this book.  Sasaki’s reasoning for cutting off all of the excess fat in his life is one we can all relate to.  He was swimming in things he had acquired in a pursuit of happiness.  A moderate apartment crammed with items in the hope that he would appear as an intellectual with interesting hobbies.  A fairly shallow collection of relationships and even deeper void of real connections.  We have ALL been there.

In Japan, there is a recent reemergence in extreme minimalism.  He touches on that topic in his book.   Th reader gets a glimpse into Sasaki’s journey to this type of minimalism.  Why did he cut so much? Why has he chosen to go to this type of minimalistic lifestyle vs say a more ‘western’ version?  His answers are fairly thought provoking, making you question a little bit “do you really need more than what you already have?”

What I appreciate about this book is the fact that he paints a nice portrait of why we collect crap.  We want brief, quick happiness.  We want people to judge us on our appearance and our belongings and be perceived in a higher manner than we see ourselves.  It’s a point we often overlook when going down this minimalism path.  We know we don’t want to be owned by what we have, and we know that we don’t want that burden weighing us down for various reason; but why did we have it in the first place?

To be looked at and thought about in a certain way.  It’s a psychological aspect of maximalism that I think people often overlook.  No one wants to admit they are peacocking to the masses, but it’s a truth Sasaki unabashedly admits to.

Although his methods and lifestyle may be a bit harsh for some people, they are good guidelines.  One quote he has in his book that speaks volumes is:

“Items are roommates, but you pay their rent.”

It’s true. You pay for a certain square footage in an apartment/condo/house. The items you acquire eat away at that cost.  Unless you love it and it serves a true, money-valued purpose; it’s just basically leaching off of you.

Time is another thing he mentions in this book that I’ve noticed hasn’t been really touched upon in the MariKondo series.  It’s limited, time, and things require time to upkeep.  It also takes precious time to BUY things.  Why do we waste so much of our lives taking care of things we don’t truly love or to waste time  buying things that don’t fulfill us or our dreams?

Although many people might think this book is on the more extreme spectrum (and they’re right) I would definitely suggest this as a read as some supplementary material.  It touches on some things often overlooked by those who are just starting out or even by veteran minimalist.  If you don’t want to pursue minimalism, it’s still a good read to remind you of what to prioritize in your life and to step away from materials as means of happiness.

Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts?


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