“Minimalism had to be born, not out of a mere spur-of-the-moment idea or yearning for a new lifestyle, but from an earnest desire and fervent need to rethink our lives.”
Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism
This is the catchphrase of the “first world,” now that consumerism has lost its glamour. We are recycling our “stuff” with the same exuberance that we had when we first purchased the supposedly essential items. From a linear perspective, a radical transformation seems to have occurred between Point A and Point B, with A being the joy of purchase and B, the relief of letting go.
Minimalism is a response to a deep need to find meaning, to feel complete, to embrace a vibrant life. There are many who have adopted this concept and are now eager to help us achieve this state of bliss. A plethora of books are ready to assist us in our pursuit of minimalistic lifestyle.
- The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay
- Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
- The More of Less: Finding the Life You want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
- Etc., Etc. Etc.
I chose to read Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye Things: The New Japanese Minimalism as my first foray into the world of minimalism. Fumio Sasaki lives in a 215-square-foot Tokyo apartment with a small wooden box, a desk, and a roll-up futon pad to keep him company.
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have…”
Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism.
Goodbye, Things focuses on an inner journey, a reflection of personal fears and aspirations. Defining what it means to be full and complete is a responsibility that cannot be delegated. Do we use “things” as a source of validation? A way of comparison? Or to conform to a social structure or expectation?
Fumio chose a new way of living, one that honours his personal values. Minimalism was his way of introducing harmony and a sense of freedom to explore new opportunities. In Goodbye, Things, he shares his insights in a way that encourages readers to consider a “less is more” existence.
The desire to achieve balance and live in peace with ourselves is deeply rooted in our philosophies and mythologies. As the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, advised centuries ago, “Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from few wants.”
De-cluttering seems to be a universal theme that has been with us throughout history. Perhaps, each generation must discover this in their own way.
“Minimalism is built around the idea that there’s nothing that you’re lacking.””
Fumio Sasaki quoting Rabbi Hyman Schachtel