As readers of my blog will know, I’m always interested in learning more about minimalism and how to live a simpler lifestyle. So when I saw this book on my Instagram feed, it fascinated me from the start. It’s the journey of a man, Fumio Sasaki, who “lives in a tiny studio in Tokyo with three shirts, four pairs of socks and not much else.” I was intrigued to read about the journey of this man, who got rid of most of his material possessions and started living a life with only the bare essentials. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no desire to become a “hardcore” minimalist, but I couldn’t help wondering what I could learn from the experiences of Fumio Sasaki … could his book help me live a simpler, happier, lifestyle?
The introduction begins with 5 case studies – photographs of minimalist homes – including the apartment of Fumio Sasaki himself. Who doesn’t enjoy getting a glimpse into someone else’s home? The images are inspiring to look at and they also introduce a couple of “before” pictures – the “maximalist” apartment that is cluttered and untidy – as well as the after ones.
In the first chapters Fumio Sasaki describes his own journey towards minimalism. He talks about how he used to believe that his objects and belongings reflected who he was as a person. How he used to believe that his piles of books, DVDs, CDs and antique pieces represented how well-read, intelligent or knowledgeable he was about complex issues. Then he relates how rather than owning these items…..they started to own him. He didn’t have time to care for so many items properly, and the piles of stuff just left him feeling overwhelmed. Instead of enjoying his belongings, he almost felt enslaved to them. They left him feeling devoid of energy and unable to clean his apartment; resulting in an inability to enjoy life.
He then contrasts his before with his now and talks about the new lightness and freedom of his daily routine. How, when he’s not surrounded by clutter, he enjoys the simple things in life such as taking the time to savour a relaxed breakfast, or to watch the changing seasons on his walk into work. How he gets pleasures from the simple things.
He also introduces famous minimalists, for example Steve Jobs, whose love of minimalism can be seen in the simplicity of the products he created and Mark Zuckerberg’s choice of having a minimalist wardrobe. He opens our eyes to how making minimalist choices can lead to having more time to be creative, or to enjoy a simpler life. The book is also interspersed with beautiful quotes to inspire you on your minimalist journey and includes a step-by-step guide on how to live a more minimalist lifestyle. There are no less than 70 tips in all, to help the reader say goodbye to possessions that they no longer use, need or get pleasure from.
All in all, I can see that this is a book that I will keep returning to again and again. It’s full of little snippets of inspiration that really make me think about my daily choices and goals in life. It’s a book you can dip into when you have ten minutes to spare, or you can sit down and devour it in a few sittings if you have the time. If you’d like to check this book out, it’s available to purchase here.
If you’re already read the book yourself, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. Or perhaps you’ve got some other books you’d be able to recommend.
You may also be interested in reading my review for The Joy of Less by Francine Jay.