Goodbye, Things

I read “Goodbye, Things” by Fumio Sasaki in the middle of a move. The result of this moving, other than no longer having the space to have an office – I hardly ever used it anyway – was no longer having a practical space for a bookshelf. Of all the boxes I had packaged and accumulated for the move, my book box was by far the heaviest, even after paring them down for the move. While reading “Goodbye, Things”, a brief but impacting ode to the mindset and benefit of a minimalist lifestyle, I noticed a shift in my perception. No longer were things in my home just “things”, they came into having their own weight and gravity. I felt the pull of all the things I owned, and I knew something had to be done. Through the work of Fumio Sasaki, I have moved from physical book to e-reader. I know it is a bit self-blasphemous as one who appreciates and loves physical books more than most, but I could no longer endure their burden.

“Goodbye, Things” reads like a collection of essays, accompanied even with titles like “55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things” or “12 ways I have changed since I said goodbye to my things”. This realization forced me to nearly stop reading the book, but by channeling my inner video game completionist, I kept reading. From its disparate parts the reader gets a jigsaw puzzle-like whole, you can see the full picture, but any onlooker can see the tiny ravines segmenting the picture. This however, did not stop me from grasping the authors points and overall argument. In a time like ours, where more people are reading list formatted articles, this medium becomes apt. It is very much a minimalist book that knows what year it was written in.

Another example I enjoyed from the book was the depiction of multiple family times and their minimalist home. It appealed to me because it seemed that most other books on minimalism were written from the perspective of a person living by themselves, or at least discussed the method of the same apparent ease. It is easier in a minimalist living regard to live simply when one lives alone. As a father and a husband, I don’t have the same opportunities that those who are single have with their homes. I must take others into regard who may have a different idea of minimalism or else a different view entirely of what their home should be like. It came as a relief to see pictures and examples of people with families within this book to emphasize the point that even those with families can make it work.

Overall, I think it is easy to get a takeaway from this book and if taken to heart you might also see your relationship with things transform. So, for “Goodbye, Things”, I’d like to thank it for letting me say “Goodbye, books” and to welcome the digital format.

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