“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club
In terms of lifestyle bestsellers, Goodbye, Things was always a must-read. It is one of the most talked about books amongst minimalists I’ve come across; an essay (that reads like a part memoir, part self-help book) by Fumio Sasaki, a writer who owns three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and not much else.
Before the book begins, I’m captivated by the photos illustrating a minimalist lifestyle – beginning with Sasaki’s transition from Maximalist to Minimalist. After showing us his apartment and that of a client’s, we’re also shown a minimalist style home for a couple and for a family. For travel lovers, there’s also an illustrative guide for the minimalist globetrotter.
Sasaki introduces the structure of the book with ease and simplicity, just as the chapters are named:
Why did we accumulate so much in the first place?
55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things
15 more tips for the next stage of your minimalist journey
12 ways I’ve changed since I said goodbye to my things
“Feeling” happy instead of “becoming” happy
This theme of simplicity continues throughout the book, as Sasaki explores minimalism through a combination of philosophy and practical tips. He spends just the right amount of time building intrigue, by introducing minimalism, habits and desires behind the accumulation of things, and why minimalism is growing in popularity. Beside reasons relating to humanity and society, he includes a reflection of his before & after and why he became a minimalist (like I did!).
This is followed by the part I found most relevant and helpful: 55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things.
This section was just chock full of enriching advice. I never thought I’d need advice on how to throw things away, but this definitely opened up my mind to new perspectives and ideas behind decluttering and minimising. Some tips were completely new to me, and some tips were ones I had already applied to minimalism but in other areas of my life!
Here are some of my favourites:
3. When you discard something, you gain more than you lose.
6. There are limits to the capacity of your brain, your energy, and your time.
12. Discard it if you have it for the sake of appearance.
20. Let go of the idea of “someday.”
33. Discard any possessions that you can’t discuss with passion.
34. If you lost it, would you buy it again?
12 ways I’ve changed since I said goodbye to my things was truly inspiring and uplifting to read. From having more time, to better concentration and health, to feeling more gratitude, to being liberated from caring about what others think – not only could I relate to a lot of Sasaki’s personal experience, it highlighted and brought to my attention other factors I’d taken for granted along my own minimalism journey.
Overall, Goodbye, Things was a pleasure to read. Every sentence reads perfectly in line with the message of the book, written simply, cheerfully and light-heartedly. It’s extremely easy to read, yet full of profound inspiration. I finished this book feeling refreshed: aware that I still have much to simplify and declutter in my life, but sincerely thankful for how much joy minimalism has brought me so far. This is a book I’ll definitely come back to again and again, and highly recommend to others looking for minimalism inspiration!