The Book talk #9 – Goodbye, Things

10 min read…

If you are new here, this is the 9th episode of our book series – The Book Talk. Check our other posts here. In this episode, we’ll discuss Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki. This is my 2nd book on Minimalism after Essential Essays. I thank my cricket mate Ollie Newton for recommending this book.

Minimalism (or, essentialism) means reducing our necessary items to a minimum and removing the excess so we can focus more on things that are truly important to us.

Minimalism is not a rule; you don’t need to own exactly 100 things or less to be called a minimalist. Also, minimalism is not a goal; it is a way of living. Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things is a practical guide for people interested in knowing what this new ‘-ism’ is all about and wondering where to start. I will try and condense the best bits from the book for you. Let’s begin.

  1. Is minimalism a fad?
  2. Why do we accumulate things?
  3. Five starter tips
  4. Two bonus tips

 

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Is minimalism a fad? 

Fumio doesn’t think so. He believes the concept of minimalism has been around for a while. Moreover, minimalism is inevitable because of the changes in our lifestyles.

First, there is information and material overload due to globalization. Social media has overwhelmed us with more than we can consume. Then, there’s the advancement of technology – we can now get by without owning a lot of things. We can do anything on our smartphones. Also, technology has bred a new sharing culture (Rental cars, Airbnb, etc). We don’t need to own everything; the Internet has made it possible for us to offer our resources to people who need, and to receive resources from others in return.

Minimalism had to be born. It is not a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ idea. It is just the desire and fervent need to rethink our lives.

 

Why do we accumulate things?

The biggest reason we feel unsatisfied even after buying all that we want in our life is: we get used to things. The glory of acquisition starts to dim with usage and eventually leads to boredom. After a while, the item you bought no longer excites you. Though your wish was fulfilled, you end up being unhappy.

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Are you ready to say goodbye to the things that are holding you back?

5 STARTER TIPS

1. Start with things that are clearly junk – Discarding things is a habit. If you don’t have the skill, start small, and gradually improve. The first step is to throw out anything you consider garbage. Throw away empty cans or food containers. Clean up your refrigerator. Discard old clothes and broken appliances.

2. Minimize anything you have in multiples – It’s easy to discard something you have in multiple numbers. Three pairs of scissors? Too many unused pens? We often lose track of the number of same items we have because we don’t have a designated space to store them. Slowly, they start cluttering our space. Try to reduce the multiples of anything you have to one.

While I was reading this, I decided to discard something from our kitchen and discovered we had five knives. We open the drawer every day and yet, we paid little attention to those unused knives. I let Kavi make the decision and we threw away two of them.

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Knives out

3. Get rid of it if you haven’t used it in a year – Also, get rid of the items for which you don’t have firm plans in the future. Of course, don’t go and throw away your winter jacket saying you haven’t used it in a long time; the seasonal things are an exception. But, if there’s something you haven’t used for the past four seasons, probably you don’t need it.

“An item that you haven’t used this past year probably won’t suddenly become necessary next year or the year after that. And if there is something you happen to use once every three years, why not rent it when you need it? Let’s free up all that time and energy we spend maintaining things that we never use.”

4. Leave your “unused” space empty – This is important in the home organization. Appliances like the washing machine and refrigerator are set up in designated spots once and rarely moved. In the due course, we start building racks over or just stock up things on top of them. When we have extra storage, we get creative and often end up owning extra things. Try and leave the unused space empty. It offers peace of mind.

5. One in, one out – This is the golden rule of minimizing – if you want to buy something new, first get rid of something old. Once you’re down to just your essential possessions, stick with the “one in, one out” rule. Note that this rule is only applicable for items of the same type. Don’t buy television and throw out a pencil. That’s not the point.

 

2 BONUS TIPS

1. Organizing is not minimizing – We all do this to some extent, don’t we? When we don’t have the heart to throw something away, we try and organize or put it out of sight somewhere in the attic or storeroom. But, we might again go through the same cycle in a year when we start cleaning. Before relying on organizing techniques, let’s first focus on discarding excess.

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When I thought I was a minimalist! Turns out, I was just organizing. Frankly, I have only used two of these bags.

2. Let go of the idea of “someday” – When we buy any electrical appliance (vacuum cleaner, trimmer) we get an array of utilities along with it. What’s that little screw for, anyway? Still, we keep all the parts and wires thinking they’ll come in handy “someday” and believe me, that day will never come.

It is a good time to add another point. Sometimes in the rarest of rare circumstances, we might need something we threw away. But, don’t regret discarding it. The chances of this happening are very low and when it happens, we can always buy a new one.

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I hope these tips help you start decluttering the right way. If you are interested in reading more, Fumio gives you 70 odd tips in his book. He also draws experiences from his life to show how minimalism has changed his life for the better. So, what are your thoughts?


If you like this book, purchase it on Amazon now! US: Amazon.com | UK: Amazon.co.uk

We hope you liked this post. What is your ONE takeaway?

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– Kavi & Ninja

Design credits: Canva

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