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Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

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The best-selling phenomenon from Japan that shows us a minimalist life is a happy life.

Fumio Sasaki is not an enlightened minimalism expert or organizing guru like Marie Kondo—he’s just a regular guy who was stressed out and constantly comparing himself to others, until one day he decided to change his life by saying goodbye to everything he didn’t absolutely need. The effects were remarkable: Sasaki gained true freedom, new focus, and a real sense of gratitude for everything around him. In Goodbye, Things Sasaki modestly shares his personal minimalist experience, offering specific tips on the minimizing process and revealing how the new minimalist movement can not only transform your space but truly enrich your life. The benefits of a minimalist life can be realized by anyone, and Sasaki’s humble vision of true happiness will open your eyes to minimalism’s potential.

259 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2015

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About the author

Fumio Sasaki

7 books489 followers
Fumio Sasaki is the former co-editor-in-chief of Wani Books, and lives in a 215-square-foot apartment in Tokyo, furnished with a small wooden box, a desk, and a roll-up futon pad.

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5 stars
10,066 (28%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,493 reviews
Profile Image for Paul Secor.
545 reviews45 followers
July 2, 2018
Some thoughts on Goodbye, Things:

Mr. Sasaki writes about minimalism in maximalist manner. A good editor could have cut this book down to the length of a magazine article, added a few of the book's photographs, and nothing much would have been lost. In fact, the book could have almost been condensed to the "55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things" on the last few pages of the book. That would have been true minimalism. But then, Mr. Sasaki wouldn't have had a book to sell.

Mr. Sasaki writes about people gaining an identity through the things they have. However, he's gained an identity as a minimalist by giving things up. In a way, it's the same deal - just going in another direction.

Reading Goodbye Things, I felt as if I was listening to a combination TV preacher and motivational speaker. Minimalism is the one true religion and you can change your life for the better by converting to minimalism.
Mr. Sasaki writes about being an alcoholic (he doesn't use the term but, to me, getting drunk every night and going to work hung over the next morning is being an alcoholic) before finding minimalism. If finding a minimalism lifestyle worked for him, that's great, but I doubt that it would be a common cure for alcoholism, as he implies.

This book is an advertisement for Apple and its products. I could have done without that.

All of that said, I did find some good points in the book, and reading it did make me think about my life and some changes I could make to it.
I know that I have too many things cluttering up my life, and as I was reading, I found myself getting rid of some things I hadn't used in years and probably never would use.
I also thought about buying things, often for no good reason. Until recently, I owned two watches -
one with a black face and a black band, and one with a light colored face and a brown band. (I know people who don't even own a watch, and just look at their phone if they need to know the time.) The watch with the brown band started losing time after about 25 years, so I decided to replace it. I bought an relatively inexpensive but solid watch from L.L. Bean that I figure will last me for a good many years. If I had read this book a week ago, I would have stuck to one watch and would have been happy with it.

Mr. Sasaki also writes about valuing things that we have and not growing tired of them because they're no longer new or novel. To me, that's a very important concept. There are things in our home that I value, and clothes that I enjoy wearing, even though they're far from being new.

The book also makes the point that by placing less value on things and by becoming less attached and involved with those things, we may become more involved with the people in our lives. That's probably true and certainly a good thing.

A good quote from the book: p.253: "Because I don't own very much, I have the luxury of time."

In the end, I wasn't converted. I want to sleep on a real mattress on a bed. I like to read books with paper pages, not words illuminated on a screen. (If Mr. Sasaki reads non e-book books, it's only at the library, they don't seem to be welcome in his home.) I don't want to listen to recorded music played through computer speakers, or through ear buds or head phones. I no doubt have more clothes than I need (though I'm very far from being whatever the male version of a fashionista is called), but I enjoy changing what I wear. Three white shirts (shown in the photograph of Mr. Sasaki's closet) wouldn't do it for me.
Another Goodreads reviewer of this book https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... quoted William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." That says it for me, much more so than minimalism does.

My rating - five stars for the ideas presented - two stars for the manner in which they were presented - so three.
Profile Image for 7jane.
675 reviews247 followers
September 3, 2019
I've read a couple of books on minimalist lifestyle, and this is one of the best in my opinion. I especially like that all the photos included with the book are at the start, helps to make the book appealing. You can see from them not only single persons, but also a couple, a family and a traveling person's backpack contents (though only scarf can be counted as clothes in it, which leaves me wondering about the rest of the clothes that could be there).

This includes the author's own pictures and comments deeper in the book on how he made a journey from maximalist (lots of stuff) to minimalist one. He certainly has reached a satisfying point doing this, and offers now his thoughts and ideas on how to do it etc. First chapter defines what a minimalist is and what it means to be one, plus some reasons for its popularity. Second chapter talks about why we are (or have been) maximalists. In the third chapter we finally get ways to reduce our possessions. And in chapters four and five we read about positive changes that becoming minimalist has given to the author (and many others). Then there are very grateful, and unusually cute afterwords and thank-yous, plus finally two lists of the tips explained in the third chapter, handily attached at the end.

The author benefited much from the change. No more need to compare himself to others, no heaviness of all the things, no feeling of 'my possessions = my worthiness', no dissatisfaction with bad habits. He relates to people better, feels grateful and happy easier, dares to try new things and experiences. This book is a Japanese point of view, but not too different. He's clearly a Steve Jobs fan *lol*

I like that he stresses that each one of us can define our own level of minimalism. It's merely a method of reducing possessions to the one that are necessary and truly matter to us, and not owning just to pretend or 'someday I'll do' things. There is so repeat, but so lightly it didn't manage to annoy me at all. Everything is just said so cheerfully, calmly and not-pushy. The author clearly loves minimalism, and this letting go of things has none of the 'hello trees hello sky'-ism of the Konmari method (it is mentioned in the book, but briefly).

I think that if you want only one book on minimalism and how to do it, it is this one.


Myself, I think I will aim somewhere in-between minimalism and the maximalist ends, for reasons. I like chairs and beds with legs (all the getting up from the floor is not my thing),
want to own enough clothes to fill the washing machine properly (having just 3 shirts won't do),
and my books, movies and music I prefer to have as visible things - I don't own these to show off, and do seriously cherish them; if I don't, they don't stay, no worries.
So, perhaps I will own more than minimalism might be like, but getting rid of maximalism is perhaps the best intention for me now. Then again, who knows what the future will be like? :)
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,394 followers
December 5, 2017
Sasaki’s photographs in the beginning of this book jolt one awake to what he means by minimalism. Some people are so radical that it makes the rest of us look like hoarders. But by the end of this very simply-written and superbly-argued short book, most of the arguments we have for cluttering our space and complicating our lives are defeated.

One must recognize at some point that whatever dreams are mixed up in purchases we have made, the potential of the ideas quickly fade when not acted on immediately, as in when the objects are “saved” for something we vaguely anticipate in the future. In the minimalist outlook, objects should do some kind of worthwhile duty, even if that duty is to make us happy, or please our senses.

When objects become a burden, or chastise us by their silent immobility, collecting dust, literally taking up the space we need to breathe, we can give them away, throw them out, auction them off, or otherwise get them out of our lives so that some potential can grow back into our ideas. That means even books we bought with the intention to read but which make us sad every time we look at them.

But don’t take my word for it. Sasaki really does have an answer for every possible objection you may have. For instance, #37. Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories. Sasaki quotes Tatsuya Nakazaki: “Even if we were to throw away photos and records that are filled with memorable moments, the past continues to exist in our memories…All the important memories that we have inside us will naturally remain.” I am not convinced this is so at every stage of life, but think there is a natural life to what we need in terms of archival items. If your children don’t want it, you don’t need to keep all of it. Keep the ones that matter only.

Note that Sasaki recommends scanning documents like old letters that are important to you because you can’t go out and buy another if you find you were too radical in your culling. However, even the archival record becomes a burden when it becomes too large unless well-marked with dates, etc. He admits that letting go of those stored memories is a further step in true minimalist living.

The freedom one experiences when one owns fewer things is undeniable. Sasaki expresses the joy he experiences when he visits a hotel or a friend who uses big bath towels. He’d limited himself to a microfiber quick-drying hand towel for all his household needs, and enjoyed the lack of big loads of washing at home and using big thick towels while he was out: a twofer of happiness.

We are encouraged to find our own minimalism. Everyone has their own limits and definition. The author explains that #15. Minimalism is a method and a beginning. The concept is like a prologue and the act of minimizing is a story that each practitioner needs to create individually. We definitely don’t need all we have, and the things we own aren’t who we are. We are still us, underneath all the stuff. Some people will find this reassuring; others may find it disconcerting.

At the end of this small book, Sasaki reminds us the clarity that comes with minimalism. Concentration is easier. Waste is minimized. Social relationships are enhanced. You don’t need forty seconds in a disaster to decide what to take. You live in the now.

The translation of this book is fantastic, by Eriko Sugita. It does not read like a translation, but as an intimate sharing by someone who has been through the hard work of paring down one’s possessions so that his own personality shines through. It is a kind of gift. Even if one doesn’t throw a thing away (I heartily doubt that will be the case) after (or during) the reading of this book, the notions are seeds. Gratitude grows in the absence of things.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
3,094 reviews29 followers
May 26, 2017
Fumio Sasaki takes minimalism to an entirely new level. I could not live in such a fundamental environment. I need beauty and plant life; my home is my sanctuary, not just a place to sleep. This lifestyle works for him and others, I am sure, but just not for me. I much prefer William Morris's quote "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
Profile Image for Nguyễn Quang Vũ.
131 reviews178 followers
April 7, 2017
Đầu tiên phải nói về cái Tít. Quyển này có tên tiếng Nhựt Bổn là: "ぼくたちに、もうモノは必要ない。 断捨離からミニマリストへ". Đương nhiên là tớ copy paste chứ hiểu chết liền luôn nếu không có thằng Google Translate. Ý cái Tít là: Không cần cái gì nữa, tối giản đi mà sống ... Đại khái thế. Xuất bản bằng tiếng Anh thì nó tên là "Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living". Nói chung là không có chữ nào liên quan đến việc cả nước Nhật sống như thế cả. Cơ mà dân nhà mình xính ngoại. Kiểu làm dạy con làm giàu thì học người Do Thái (thế éo nào mà hình như cứ việc gì dân Do Thái làm thì mục đích chính luôn là để làm giàu, từ đọc sách đến đi ỉa, thề luôn); dạy con tự lập thì học người Mỹ; dạy con làm cái gì cũng giỏi và bá cmn đạo thì học người Nhật. Chỉ không biết có ai học người Việt mình cái gì không thôi. Chắc là học đánh nhau với bọn giãy chết thì OK.

Quyển này thuộc thể loại life-style, mình đưa nó vào danh sách sách "thông-não" và "tự-giúp-mình". Nói chung là nó có tác động lên não thật. Nội dung chính là tư tưởng bỏ bớt đồ đạc đi, sống tối giản nhất có thể để tập trung tâm trí vào những việc mà mình quan tâm hơn. Não con người ta là một cỗ máy vi tính 50 ngàn năm nay chưa bao giờ được nâng cấp. Ổ cứng vẫn thế, Ram, CPU vẫn thế. Từ xưa đến nay nó chỉ có vậy mà không tiến hóa gì thêm. Vậy tại sao lại để cho những vật dụng lộn xộn bừa bộn không thể kiểm soát được chiếm mất cái dung lượng não bộ, vốn vẫn thế từ hàng chục ngàn năm nay, và trở vật cản trong cuộc sống của chúng ta. Fumio Sasaki đưa ra một con đường (trong cả vạn con đường) để dẫn đến sự an bình và hạnh phúc hơn trong cuộc sống. Con đường đó bắt đầu từ việc giảm bớt đồ đạc trong nhà.

Mình hầu hết ủng hộ phong cách này. Nhưng giảm đến mức nào thì lại là một vấn đề. Mình nghi ngờ việc tác giả nói rằng mình là một người thích xem phim, nghe nhạc và đ���c sách. Nếu là người thích xem phim, đặc biệt là điện ảnh thì chả bao giờ họ chấp nhận xem phim bằng cách đeo kính thực tại ảo cả. Nhất định là phải màn hình to và âm thanh lập thể. Dùng kính VR chỉ là bất đắc dĩ. Tương tự như vậy với đọc sách. Cảm giác cầm quyển sách giấy xịn, dù có cũ thì cũng vẫn khác với cầm cái Kindle để lướt. Đồng ý là kiến thức thì chả khác đếch gì nhau. Nhưng cảm giác là khác đấy. Mình không đời nào scan sách giấy để đọc trên Kindle cả. Máy đọc sách hoàn toàn chỉ để dùng khi nhỡ nhàng, đi du lịch hoặc để đọc những quyển không bán ở Việt Nam. Cũng có thể mình chưa đủ độ tối giản. Có lẽ phải chiêm nghiệm thêm trong tương lai.

Nhưng nói chung, quyển này (và cả mấy tác phẩm có liên quan, VD như quyển "Nghệ thuật bài trí của người Nhật" của Marie Kondō) là rất đáng đọc và suy nghĩ. Mình cũng đã vứt đi được kha khá đồ và rõ ràng là cảm thấy nhẹ nhàng. Tương lai sẽ còn vứt tiếp. Nên nhớ, chẳng có cái gì là không thể vứt đi được. Cứ yên tâm là như thế.

Vote: 4/5
Profile Image for Kelli.
844 reviews391 followers
April 10, 2018
I’m not interested in becoming this extreme of a minimalist, nor did this book hold my attention, though I did finish it. This is super extreme...as in you only need one fork and nothing on the walls, as in you don’t need chairs if you “host” your friends at a local restaurant and use the local cafe as your living room. I found the sweeping generalization that you cannot lead a life of gratitude whilst owning a lot of things to be a little offputting, not to mention, very subjective.

Overall, I didn’t care for the writing or the method. I couldn’t relate to much of this book because unlike the author, I don’t worry about what others think of me nor did I amass items to impress people or attempt to be like them.

Also, I’m not sure how warm it is in Japan, but just the winter gear I packed away this weekend is easily more than every item the author owns. Also, the narrator sounded like an agitated American cop and that was just odd. 1.5 stars
Profile Image for Ana  Lelis.
451 reviews143 followers
March 7, 2023
I`m not a minimalist, but I`ve trying to declutter my house and donate lots of things I own. So books like that help to motivate me. I`m never going to be like the author of the book, but I agree with the things he said. This book was recommended by a youtube called ``The Minimal Mom`` and I liked it a lot. For anyone interested in the topic I suggest reading this book and watching her channel as well.
Profile Image for Caro the Helmet Lady.
759 reviews341 followers
June 12, 2020
So you thought Marie Kondo was funny when she told us to get rid of the garbage in our homes and to only keep the stuff that gave us "sparks of joy"?
Well, Fumio Sasaki goes deeper - he says it's awesome that there are things that give us those "sparks of joy" and he tells us to get rid of them all!!!
Fumio is a minimalist and I dare say an extremist too - he got rid of 95% of the stuff he used to own, including hundreds of books, CDs, DVDs, expensive multimedia devices and fancy clothes and many other pretty and pricey things, together with the big apartment that stored it all. I think that's really impressive, even if I don't want to follow his steps. Fumio says many interesting things in his book - about many sides of owning things and how this owning becomes a burden at some point and even a blockage for our energy, dreams and ambitions and even our self esteem. He's a follower of danshari - which means decluttering not just as a home cleaning ritual but a whole lifestyle.
Together with Naoki Numahata Sasaki writes a blog, but the text is all in Japanese, alas, so here's the link to the article about mr Numahata and his many minimalist friends https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/... , google about Sasaki yourself. And here's one about danshari https://japanahome.com/journal/dansha... if you care to learn more about it. Because I do. :)

My only problem with the book was that it needed a stricter editor, so it would avoid unnecessary repeating. We surely learn better through repeating, but this one was supposed to be minimalist, wasn't it?
Profile Image for Amanda NEVER MANDY.
446 reviews96 followers
November 6, 2017
**I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.**

Nothing better than throwing out everything you own to make space for nothing. All you need is a bed that doubles as a couch, one set of dishes to cook and eat off of and one towel to dry said dishes and yourself off with. What an easy-peasy, simplified life.


That was the moment I realized a minimalist lifestyle was not for me. I know the author says to each their own and not everyone will go as lean as others and they for sure are not required to. That a person should make living with less work for them in their own way and all that but seriously…one freaking towel. That towel stands for everything I own that is a comfort object. I work hard to have what I deem necessary and for what I enjoy. I want a towel to dry my dishes with and I want a separate extremely fluffy huge ass towel to dry my bum with. I want to walk around in that towel, lay around in that towel, wrap that towel around my hair and just be cuddly, warm and happy in it however I want. I do not want said towel to dry off a freshly washed glass after coming in contact with my ass, just like I do not want said towel to wipe down the counter and then my face.


I get that throwing out stuff does simplify life but like most things in life, going to the extreme is not the best way to have at it. I see that saving money by not owning all of the crap frees you up to travel, to work less, pursue hobbies you love and so on, but what if owning a super comfy towel is one of the things you love most? Said towel is not a status symbol for me, it didn’t cost me a lot of money and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. It is the thing I seek and enjoy after a nice long hot shower. It stands for the simple things I appreciate the most in life. The basic little things that make it all worth it, the things our mind defaults to in a pinch.

Wow…that was quite a rant. Pretty sure I am arguing against nothing and I probably missed the main point of the book somewhere along the way or I received it and didn’t care. I’m going to go with option two here because I feel like the length of the book was a bit much and it pulled my mind away from the main point. Which is kind of comical considering the book is supposed to be about less being more. I think my rant is just me trying to entertain myself because I usually do agree with the subject matter’s line of thinking. I love throwing/giving away my excess and do try to live with only what I need and ENJOY (emphasis on enjoy). This read just didn’t do it for me and has been relegated to the not-helping-me-at-all pile of self-help books.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,667 followers
February 18, 2018
“Minimalism is built around the idea that there’s nothing that you’re lacking.”
― Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism


I wasn't a fan of the writing. Perhaps, I went in expecting more of a Zen minimalism asthetic. Perhaps, I am just comparing it to other design/living books that seemed to resonate better (S, M, L, XL, A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, etc.). By the end of the book, it all just seemed overwritten/overhyped. So, 2-stars.

It also seemed like a bit too self-help, too superficial, too list-oriented. I felt I was given a bunch of bullet points for tossing out things that never traveled very deep. I also (and I've seen this expressed by others) find it odd that a book on minimalism would have a list 55 items long. Perhaps, Sasaki could have slimmed that list down to 25? Some of the items seemed a bit redundant and others seemed a bit weak. Even Sasaki's explanation for they why, seemed a bit superficial. Also, I wasn't a fan of the corporate minimalism. He name-dropped Apple and Steve Jobs (also Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, etc) as if the New Japanese Minimalism existed in an app on the iPhone. Hell, it probably does.

That all said, however, it DID encourage me to drop off a couple boxes of books to Goodwill and start ditching some dishes in our kitchen and clothes in our closet. So, I gave it an extra star (three-stars) for JUST that.
Profile Image for Alice.
62 reviews16 followers
January 6, 2021
I received an advanced copy from Goodreads, and was, to be honest, skeptical at first. Hasn't Marie Kondo already turned the minimalism trend around? Sasaki's book is his own, however. He is a humble and honest guide throughout the book. Sasaki offers insights on minimalism through his own mind and life. I really enjoyed reading the book. It felt very cleansing, like taking a shower at the end of a long day.

I took notes throughout the book, for personal reference. Here is a slice:
* Our minds are old, unequipped for technological overload.
* You get used to things you buy. They're only new and shiny for a week or a month.
* Why less possessions? You get less messages sent from them. Messages = the connotations. You know, that old composition notebook that's half written in. You don't want to waste the rest of the unwritten pages. You have to use it. Yes, you'll use it tomorrow for a grocery list. But there are so many pages left to finish writing in. Tomorrow comes, you forget to use it. And it still sits on your desk and you're still convinced you'll use it.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,175 reviews1,045 followers
September 2, 2018
Sasaki's "new Japanese minimalism" relies on a) living in a 24-hour metropolis so you can go out to buy something at 2am at an all-night store if you urgently need something b) a culture that offers rentable suitcases and c) steady, reliable full-time work with sufficient disposable income so you can afford to rent a suitcase, or buy anything you can't rent, which you will give away or sell (at a large loss) whenever you are done with it. Also being a 35-year-old single man helps.

But in amongst all that there was some good stuff. Like, if you've thought about getting rid of something 5 times, just get rid of it. Still, I don't rec: overall it was just barely OK.
Profile Image for lauren.
287 reviews4 followers
May 23, 2017
I hate-read this book for fun. I don't aspire to minimalism, but I would like to get rid of a lot of the stuff in my life. I got a bit out of reading the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and was expecting more along those lines. This book however made Marie Kondo seem like a very reasonable person, and her idea of what to have in your home cozy and comfortable by comparison. The minimalism advocated for in this book is stark and lifeless. A photo of the ideal room was literally an empty room. It feels like some twisted attempt at being the most minimal minimalist ever. And as with many efforts at intentional minimalism, there is an inherent, often unexamined, privilege that one needs to have to live this way.
Profile Image for Jane.
2,681 reviews52 followers
November 25, 2017
Oh, Fumio, Fumio,
I absolutely loathe your bookio.
When I look at your roomio
It makes me quite gloomio.
Your simple creed
May be anti-greed
but there's not a woman alive
who'd want to share your empty hive.
The poet Browning wrote that less is more
I disagree - less is a bore.
Seriously, who but a monk would choose to live in such an empty apartment? If
your possessions are supposed to make people admire you, what is this minimal
pose except a tricky way to accomplish the same thing?
And Fumio, what is it with your obsession with fancy brand names? For someone
who wants to give it all up, you drop labels like they're going out of style. If I'd
bought a hard copy of this book, I'd happily take your advice and throw it out. I
wouldn't even bother recycling it.

Profile Image for Prashasti .
112 reviews173 followers
March 17, 2019
“The things you own end up owning you.”

I strongly recommend this book to all!

For anyone who struggles hard to let go of their materialistic possessions or their maximalist self, the author says-

the more things you have, the more you accumulate. You’ll never be satisfied when trapped in this cycle; it will only make you want more and more.
It’s like a monster that becomes hungrier and hungrier as it eats.
Wetiko is a Native American word, literally translated as “man-eater,” which refers to a mental disorder in which you want more than you need. This disorder destroys people’s lives.

I think owning aesthetic objects gives us a false sense of fulfillment and makes us feel entitled some way, we think it makes us happy but it doesn't work in long-term, they're there to fulfill our senses and not to cure our satiation.

The author has very simplistically explained the art of Minimalism in this book.
He convinces that each one of us needs to learn it & apply it in our lives. When he gave examples of Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Lionel Messi, Mahatma Gandhi I instantly realized how we are overshadowed by people's accomplishments rather, but fail to retrospect the lifestyles that lead them to success & make them what they are...and of course, all of these aforementioned personalities are minimalists.

Minimalism is beautiful & I strongly believe that
"We find our originality when we own less" .

When I just started reading this book I felt like I was dragged in an existential crisis, I mean I'm 21 and suddenly I started contemplating everything & all about how I was leading my life until that very moment. It's crazy how books possess the power to metamorphose your psyche in seconds.
But, as I immersed in and reached towards the end I realized I was rather been pulled out of it.

I've always found myself deeply connected to Japan, be it the religion, language, culture, literature or even music. I really admire some of their teachings, which are rather modernistic even if wrapped in traditions.
And so, when I came across this book, I was instantly bedazzled to learn more about "minimalism", though I've known about it before from various sources like Pinterest, lifestyle blogs or interior decorators I wasn't really familiarized by the concept but again, the zen ideology per se isn't completely new to me, I'd like to thank my mum for that, for being the first person to introduce me to it.

I'm basically a hoarder of all sorts of knick-knacks ( & a BIG book hoarder ), I think that how I naturally am & it'd always been like that...since my childhood, I felt deeply attached not just to people, animals, places but also to inanimate things like my first digital camera, the greeting card my best friend made for me, the sweater I used to wear as a 4-year-old kid, the shells I found at the shore, the postal stamps, the different currency notes/coins, and the list is probably never-ending.

But it wasn't much before I read this book that I was lectured by my mum one day, how I need to let go of all the things that I've been excessively clinging to. She probably didn't know that there's this thing called "minimalism" and people legit practice it but she's always tried to teach me these things mentioned in the book ( which back then and still today, dreaded to change, anyway ).
After much angst, I once sold all my old Reader Digests, disposed of unnecessary clutter and many other things that I religiously preserved in my closet/wardrobe for years. I actually felt lighter & I can't possibly explain it in words. Having parted with the bulk of my belongings, I felt true contentment with my day-to-day life.
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

I think this book just forced me to think and have encouraged me to bring this major lifestyle change and practice clearance of things I no longer need, at regular intervals in my life.

I'm already on my way to become a minimalist.
Profile Image for Op.
341 reviews123 followers
December 26, 2018
itu kata men-summarize buku ini. baikla karna saya sudah bilang mau nggambleh di sini jadi saya tulis ya.

tidak ada yang salah dengan kehidupan minimalis endebray-endebray. kalau disuruh pilih mau hidup minimalis atau maksimalis, jelas saya pilih minimalis. karena apa? karena menurut saya lebih bersih, lebih gampang bersih-bersihnya, lebih irit, dan yang berlebihan itu tidak baik, bukan?

soal hidup minimalis ini juga sudah lama kok di Indonesia. cuma ya gegap gempitanya di dunia perbukuan keknya baru-baru ini saat Marie Kondo mulai ngehitz dan memberikan petuah-petuah bagaimana membuang benda-bendamu yang nirmanfaat. dan pastinya buku ini akan dibandingkan dengan si Mbak Marie itu. Saya baik-baik saja sama bukunya Mbak Marie. Bukan berarti saya setuju 100% tapi itu buku yang cukup menyenangkan karena berupa tips tips yang mungkin bisa dipraktikkan.

Nah buku ini?

Ekspektasi saya adalah karena Mas Fumio ini minimalisnya cukup ekstrim, saya pengen tau tuh gimana cara hidupnya. Saya pun sudah pernah baca artikelnya dan kayaknya waktu itu ya saya biasa-biasa aja. tapi buku ini ternyata bikin saya kzl. Buku ini lebih tepat kalau judulnya "Mengapa saya membuang barang-barang saya" instead of "hidup minimalis ala orang jepang" karena apa? karena orang jepang tu sakjane ga minimal2 amat, kedua ini mah cuma curhatan mas-e yang hadeh ini.

Inti dari buku ini adalah Mas Fumio yang dulu punya barang sak ndayak koplak lalu tidak bahagia. Kenapa Mas Fumio punya barang uwakeh semacam meja makan besar, home theater, ruang gelap untuk mencuci film, banyak gitar, dan benda-benda yang kayaknya udah bisa menuhi 1 toko ACE Hardware.
Lalu dia tidak bahagia.
YAIYALAH wong dia beli barang-barang itu karena penuh pretensi dan tendensi.
Lalu dia membuang barang-barangnya dan lalu dia bahagia.
Dan lalu dia ngajak orang-orang untuk buang-buang barang supaya bahagia.

Yang adalah...

Tentu, saya setuju akan pendapat gak semua benda atau materi bikin bahagia. Atau kita tidak boleh boros lalala yeyeye, tapi rasanya membaca buku berupa kegundahan mas-mas boros lalu ngongkon-ngongkon ngguwak-ngguwak ki apa banget. Kalo kata Kak Vera di komentarnya saat saya baca buku ini, kok bisa sih buku kayak gini diterbitin.
Makanya saya tuh nggak suka banget sama pendapat orang yang dikit-dikit nyuruh orang lain nulis buku. Nulis ya nulis. Nerbitin buku itu beda lagi (lho ini ngelantur tapi gapapa saya kan emang suka ngelantur).

Saya setuju banget kebahagiaan itu bisa diraih dari hal-hal sederhana. Tapi ada juga lho yang bukan dari hal sederhana. Dan dia aja buang semua bukunya kok nerbitin buku yang berharap orang beli.

Untuk sebuah blog atau curhatan teman, mungkin oke.
Tapi untuk jadi buku... hadeh.
Profile Image for Bach Tran Quang.
199 reviews325 followers
March 29, 2017
Mấy hôm khủng hoảng, đau đầu, không trách trời trách đất, chỉ tự xem lại mình, nhắn nhủ bản thân những điều đã quên trong suốt thời gian đầu tắt mặt tối đã qua và đọc sách.

Cuốn này rất thú vị. Thực ra bản thân đã áp dụng trong gia đình từ lâu rồi, điển hình cho sự thay đổi này là mẹ. Những gì cũ nát, lâu không dùng đến, những bộ quần áo không mặc, đồ bài trí không cần thiết đều đã được giải tán, ủng hộ hết. Nhà cửa không ngồn ngộn đồ, nhìn như triển lãm nữa, khách khứa chỉ ngắm một lần nhưng không gian sống thì tù túng và mọi thành viên đều va với nó hàng ngày nên sự thay đổi này thật ý nghĩa.

Tối giản không có nghĩa là vứt đi hết, là mù quáng chạy theo tuyên ngôn nào đó. Chừng nào hiểu được thứ gì cần, không cần, biết đủ trong mức đủ. Âu là hiểu ra vấn đề.

Buông bỏ, mới là thanh thản.
Profile Image for Rachel (Kalanadi).
718 reviews1,398 followers
March 15, 2018
If you find the Konmari approach to tidying and reducing possessions a little too strict or kooky, then Goodbye, Things might be a good alternative (and a decent introduction to minimalism). I'm not a minimalist, but I'm increasingly finding that shedding my unneccesary possessions is making me happier and more satisfied.

I liked that this book focuses quite a bit on the psychological and emotional benefits of reducing what you own. It's a very personal testament to how minimalism can improve one's quality of life. It's very anecdotal. I was surprised that even though I've read little about minimalism, I already knew quite a bit of what the author describes. To me, a lot of it seemed to be about self-awareness and checking your ego. Separating yourself from your possessions is a journey, and after a while, if you keep going, you are forced to see yourself very clearly... warts and all.
Profile Image for Ksenia.
5 reviews5 followers
February 7, 2017
I've read this book in Norwegian. The English version is not available just yet, so I chose to read in Norwegian.

It can be divided in two parts: useful and not useful. Tips are okay and interesting and rewarding to follow. As a minimalist myself, I have already tried a lot of things listed in the book. An author, however, goes to extreme version of minimalistic approach to life, trying to persuade us to come with him. Someone might find it okay, someone might be taken aback.

To be honest, the whole thing could be twice less than it is. Author repeats himself. He goes from proclaiming prosperity to writing things, after which you just want to hug a poor fellow. I guess he's not in terms with himself just yet. I wish him the best.

And one thing more: you won't like it if you're tired of accolades for Steve Jobs. This book is full of them. And sometimes they are excessively horrible.


A simple book from a guy who seems just looking for something in his life. Practical tips are useful, other things are not (even too much of empty philosophising). Too much Steve Jobs. The book could be twice less its size because the author tends to repeat himself.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
9,025 reviews390 followers
February 12, 2018
More memoir than self-help, actually, as so much of what he says does *not* apply universally. And all his 'research' is just reported, there are no notes, bibliography, etc.

Given that, he's got some great insights here. And each reader will find different bits of value to him or her. And it's short and gracefully written/ translated, so get it from your library if you're interested; give it a go.

I liked the photos in the beginning of five different 'cases'--different people's examples. Incomplete, but interesting.

And the suggestion that "Minimalism is not a goal.... [but] a method for individuals to find the things that are genuinely important to them."

Questionable is the assertion that "Ninety-five percent of [the 60K thoughts we have in a day] is made up of the same things we'd been thinking about the day before., and 80 percent of those thoughts are believed to be negative."

"The joy of victory only lasts three hours..." but we stew over defeat much longer.... This bit is meant to suggest that the joy of acquisition is brief, and we shop for stuff because we need constant stimuli. But if that's the case, then we especially need to remember the above "minimalism is not a goal' because 'achieving a minimal lifestyle' will be a similar triumph leading only to a brief period of happiness....

I do like "If it's not a 'hell, yes!' it's a 'no'."
And I see that as connected to his suggestion to "Discard it even if it sparks joy." In his case, discarding a treasured souvenir has prompted him to focus on the journeys themselves, instead of shopping for souvenirs. "And what is life if not a journey?"
I don't think I'd ever be quite as ruthless as he is, but then I'm minimalizing not to change my attitude towards life so much as just being able to be more mobile upon retirement (which is coming up soon enough to be a concrete goal and not just a 'someday' dream).

We can get used to inconveniences. My example: So what if you have only one pair of scissors. If you need them to open a package in the kitchen, it's ok to walk over to the desk in the living room and fetch them. (currently I probably have at least seven different pairs in the house and though some are somewhat specialized I'm sure I could cut back!).

Mostly I really like the emphasis on the fact that when we have things, we have to take care of them. Even if we don't have tchotchkes or projects that are collecting dust (the author's camera collection and darkroom, for example) or clothes that don't fit, we almost certainly have stuff that we don't need to distract us from our real goals in life & joy. Think of it this way. If there was a big earthquake or fire, how much of what you have would you feel the need to replace? And how long would you mourn for the things you lost?

Well, that's some of what I enjoyed from the book. I'm off to see what other people found insightful.

Profile Image for Kris.
339 reviews52 followers
May 14, 2022
"For a minimalist, the objective isn't to reduce, it's to eliminate distractions so they can focus on the things that are truly important."

17. Organizing is not minimizing.
24. Let go of the idea of getting your money’s worth.
31. Think of stores as your personal warehouses.
43. What if you started from scratch?
34. If you lost it, would you buy it again?

19. Leave your unused space empty.
45. Discard anything that creates visual noise.

+. Question the conventional way you’re supposed to use things.
+. Find your unique uniform.

46. One in, one out.
9. Start with things that are clearly junk.
10. Minimize anything you have in multiples.
11. Get rid of it if you haven’t used it in a year.
22. Discard the things you have already forgotten about.
23. Don’t get creative when you’re trying to discard things.

14. Take photos of the things that are tough to part with.
37. Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories.
39. Our homes aren’t museums; they don’t need collections.

[Updated: Dec 12, 2017]
Profile Image for Gattalucy.
318 reviews109 followers
October 29, 2018
Non l'ho finito: l'ho buttato! Se devo far spazio nella mia vita liberandomi di cose superflue, questo libro è stato il primo esempio.
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,661 followers
December 15, 2017
So this is basically a lot more Marie Kondo, but more all over the place, but I'm giving it 4 stars only because it caused me to go through my closet again and throw away a bunch of crap. This book is more holistic that Kondo and is billed more appropriately as a self-help. But just as with Kondo, it is written by a single person living in Japan who has no children. I want a mom of a bunch of kids to write a minimalism book. None of my kids crap spark any joy for me, but if I throw all their crap away then I will have to entertain them.
Profile Image for Deanna.
921 reviews53 followers
September 20, 2017
The strengths of this book are in the psychological and philosophical insights and the general, sometimes practical principles of minimalist living.

The author is a young single professional in Tokyo, and his chosen style of minimalism is basically monastic. But he doesn't preach that style or suggest it's for everyone. So his story isn't an inspirational how-to for most western readers.

There is no joy sparking (though he has opinions about that), there are no packing parties, nor encouragements to use minimalism as a way to live your religious values, or to live out of a backpack all around the world.

There are so many ways to come at minimalism now, a flavor for everyone. This book fills another corner of the market, and by that I don't mean it's for single urban men. While his story is own interesting and valuable, his insights and reflections are the point of the book. Yes, it's inspiring, in a deeply thoughtful way.

Recommended for anyone interested in this topic at a level beyond "grab three boxes and ask yourself....". This isn't that kind of book.

Profile Image for Philippe.
612 reviews495 followers
August 15, 2017
Recently I had a 'moment of truth'. We switched houses after almost 25 years at the same place. We knew the whole operation was going to be a challenge because of the thousands of books that had accumulated in that period. However, it turned out the books were easy enough. What really got to us was the thick layer of debris upon which our daily lives had been pullulating. Partly things that had some measure of utility, partly obsolete stuff we had forgotten about and had no connection with at all. We had been carting a few minivan loads to the recycling park when the weekend came. The park closed and we kept hauling stuff out of the house. By mid-day Tuesday an enormous amount of junk had been collected, ready to be disposed. It was a disheartening experience that got all of us thinking. We're ready now to adopt a more considerate and sustainable lifestyle in our new house.

In those circumstances it is no surprise that Sasaki's report on a minimalist lifestyle caught my eye (I purchased the Kindle version, to be on the safe side). It's a refreshing read that communicates its enthusiasm about a new-found happiness and contentment with adolescent fervor. But Sasaki is not dogmatic. Important is the message that minimalism is a means to be a better quality of life, not an end in itself. It's not only about disposing things, also minding the cleanliness of your information environment, and living more mindfully overall. Minimalism has the potential to be cheaper, healthier, more time efficient and more ecologically sustainable. If practiced in the right way, it has the potential to impart a sense of freedom that is truly empowering. Sasaki also stresses that there is no gold standard of minimalism. Everyone has to find out what his or her personal brand of minimalism is.

Personally I have no ambition to doggedly follow Sasaki's instructions. Simpler living will already do fine, thank you. For a start, I have no intention to part with our library. The massive presence of books invariably lends a house a very particular liveliness. It's a standing invitation to engage in intellectual and sensory adventure. It's true that the presence of a large number of books may lead to sloppy reading habits (and one has to be particularly careful with being egged on by 'reading challenges' à la GR). But that sloppiness has less to do with ownership than with the mutually reinforcing factors of a general sense of directionlessness and lack of time.

Sasaki's 'On Minimalist Living' is also a very practical book. The author's report on his personal experience is helpful in alleviating the bad conscience or tempering the paradoxical fervor that gets hold of you when you get in the flow of throwing things away. All in all a timely and inspirational read.
Profile Image for Imi.
378 reviews110 followers
June 15, 2019
Note to self - stop buying these self-help books on minimalism/decluttering; they do not help and only irritate you.

This reads like an extended blog post. For a book on "minimalism" it was very wordy and could have been summed up in a few pages. But seeing as Fumio's idea of minimalism was mostly scanning and making digital copies of everything (so not really saying "goodbye" to anything, just hoarding digitally instead of physically), that's not surprising.

Maybe I'm being unfair. I liked the section on how novelty fades from a purchase over time. There were a few other good tips. And good for Fumio for feeling better about himself and his life, but this was all so specific to his context and personal circumstances, I just don't see how this would be helpful to anyone else.

On the whole, I didn't agree with Fumio's concept of minimalism. From how he describes it, minimalism is only perfectly achievable by very rich white men (Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg....). Yes, these men have the means, but why should I possibly look up to them as an example, and why should their way of life be in any way superior to anyone else's? Fumio didn't really explain his reasoning there and I began to think that his idea of minimalism as a means to clear the conscious of the fairly well-off. Yes, they have the means to own stuff, but they choose not to. How morally superior and admirable of them.

The fanboyism/hero-worship of Steve Jobs/Apple really nearly finished me off. Please someone explain to me how buying the latest Apple "innovation" is more minimalistic than buying a phone/computer/tablet/kettle/flying saucer from any other tech giant.
Profile Image for Lisa.
750 reviews133 followers
March 6, 2018
Such a good book. This is not just about minimizing. It's about changing your whole mind frame about your stuff and stuff in general. You can also replace the word "stuff" for the word "life" in that last sentence. Since this is a book about minimalism, I don't want to be too wordy. I just want to say that I agree with Sasaki-san that we should throw out all the superfluous stuff, and it's all superfluous stuff. 5 stars.
Profile Image for Trừng Duyên.
58 reviews18 followers
January 23, 2018
Ơ hay lắm, không thất vọng xíu nào luôn. Trước đây cứ mỗi lần chuyển phòng là phải 20 chuyến xe máy dù cách nhau có 1-2 cây số. Thế mới thấy nhục.
Nhiều lần có ý định chuyển nhà mà do đống đồ nên ngại cực. Thôi, khi nào đi học kiểu gì cũng bán sạch để sống cho thoải mái. Hồi nhỏ cũng thần tượng lắm kiểu sống cả tuần mặc mỗi 1 cái áo của anh Mark hay trong Noblesse, mà thật ra mình cũng xài rất ít quần áo, thế mà chẳng hiểu sao áo quần cứ chất đống lên trong phòng, khiến cái phòng 15m2 không có mấy khoảng trống cho người ở, khiến nhiêu lúc bí bách kinh khủng...
"Có một cách để bạn thấy bất hạnh chỉ trong giây lát. Đó là so sánh mình với người khác."
"Còn giờ đây, khi đã vứt hết giá sách đi rồi, tôi lại có thể tập trung vào một quyển duy nhất mà tôi muốn đọc. Kết quả là số sách tôi đọc còn nhiều hơn cả trước đây."
"Tôi đã gặp nhiều người sống tối giản và không có ai trong số họ là người béo cả."
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,161 reviews2,227 followers
January 6, 2021
This book is what I have been searching for when it comes to minimalism.
This book is just not about the tips and tricks 9j how to be minimalistic but on what it is and how it should be.
Yes. There are actually many tips in summarised form as well as in details.
The language is simple. The pictures and the references really solid.
I love how the book featured some of the best minimalist bloggers.

I loved this one.
And I am going to apply this book rightaway!
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