Sunday, June 25, 2017

Review: GOODBYE, THINGS by Fumio Sasaki

Rating: 3/5 stars

If you know me, you know I've been into minimalism for a little over a year now. In that time, I've been trying to read many books about minimalism to gain different perspectives on it. Goodbye, Things offers the perspective that minimalism is living with the bare minimum possible to sustain your life. According to Sasaki's philosophy, I am not a minimalist. I am just "living simply."

I appreciate that he has his own opinions and views about minimalism, but I disagree with him; to me, minimalism is living with the bare minimum to be happy. Yes, I own 400+ books, and yes, I still consider myself to be a minimalist. Why? Because books bring me so much joy. I couldn't imagine walking in the door every day and seeing a blank wall in my living room instead of my three full bookcases. Each book is something that makes me happy, and so I keep them. Could I get rid of them to be more of a minimalist? Of course. But I don't want to. As I've said before, everyone has their own definition of minimalism, and that's okay. Fumio Sasaki's definition includes not owning a bed but instead using a fold-up "airy" mattress, and owning only eight clothing items. That seems a little extreme to me, like a step beyond minimalism. My bed is my number one necessary item.

At one point Sasaki says, "I think the ideal minimalist is someone who can give a rundown of every item that they own." I mostly disagree with this statement. I could tell you what kinds of items are in every drawer and cupboard in my home, but I'm not going to list for you every book I own or every item in my pantry, nor will I describe every shirt in my closet. I don't think being able to do that necessary qualifies someone for being a minimalist.

I appreciate Sasaki's story of his own transformation from a maximalist (I love that terminology) to a minimalist, and I am glad he included photos in the beginning of the book of his journey. It is very enlightening to hear others' stories of their transition to less.

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