#nonfiction Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Part memoir, part minimalism instruction manual, part personal development.

Goodbye Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki is a thought provoking read.

Perfect further reading for fans of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

However, this book is also detailed enough to be an introduction to decluttering & minimalist lifestyle.


The author takes the stance that by reducing your things to a minimal state you can discover what is really important to you.

It's strange to think that by parting with our worldly possessions our life, personality, and level of happiness could increase so drastically. And yet, the author experienced this very phenomena in his own life.

The rest of the book breaks down how to undergo this process yourself & lays out a decent argument for why it occurs.

5 Notable Ideas from the Book


By becoming willing to part with objects you don't really need, you clear the fog on your judgment about whats really important in life and identify the lies you've fabricated about yourself while not being mindful.


Arguments are made that we horde objects that remind us of the past, and that we think we'll need for the future.

So getting rid of them grounds us firmly in the present where we actually exist.


The things in our home don't just sit there collecting dust, and taking up space, they also send us subliminal messages all the time.

The longer objects are neglected the louder the messages become.

  • Dishes want to be washed

  • Laundry wants to be folded

  • Items in the back of closets want to be useful again

  • Endless books demand to be read

  • Language textbooks want to be learned

  • Games played

Oh and that clothing that doesn't quite fit, but you've saved anyway because it will hopefully fit someday -- all of these are negative subliminal messages.

These subliminals weigh on us over time and can even contribute to us feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed, unable to move forward.

By taking these items out of our homes we won't be bombarded by past failures and we can focus, with a clear mind, on what we would actually like to do right in the present moment.

Is it possible that hotels feel so relaxing because they lack this bombardment of messages?


A concept hard to argue with is that a minimally furnished space is very easy to keep clean & everyone feels relaxed in a clean space.


When it comes to collections -- things pile up quickly.

Often collections we keep aren't truly because we enjoy the things in them, but because we are attached to what they say about us.

The author had a large book collection because he was attached to the idea of seeming intellectual. And a large dvd collection because he was known as a movie enthusiast.

Yet, the book collection took up much of his hallway, and was largely unread. And being a movie enthusiast required constant buying and watching of new movies.

In the end these collections turn into space taken up, hours lost, and they begin to feel like work to keep up with.

For this reason, its important to be honest with yourself about whether or not your collection is adding meaning to your life. For example, can you recall the title and look of every item in your precious collection from memory?


I found this book to be motivational in a personal development sense & interesting in memoir sense. The author sounds like he really turned his life around & found new purpose through minimalism.

I see where he is coming from. In my own life, I have found that decluttering and maximizing empty space in my home brings in a peace of mind you just can't achieve when surrounded by clutter.

It all comes down to freedom. Untethering yourself from all these things is liberating.

The author supports his argument in a common sense sort of fashion, mentioning famous and wealthy minimalist's such as Steve Jobs.

He also correlates the effects of minimalism with various psychological studies.

And of course spiritualism, zen, & meditation come into play as they have urged us to live simply all along.

I actually really enjoyed the small section in which the author explained that Gratitude is NOT a Method -- it is happiness (pg 240).

You can't make yourself feel gratitude, it happens naturally. So to live in gratitude, you must align to true happiness, paying attention, finding it in the everyday simplicities of life.

When this becomes a focus in your life, you can't BS yourself any longer. And that's a beautiful thing.

In Conclusion

All that being said, minimalists always agree that minimalism looks different to each person, because at our core different things are important to different people.

It's not really about the amount of stuff you have, but about loving and using all the stuff you choose to bring into your home.

The author includes 55 steps to undertake on a minimalism journey. While I didn't necessarily find all of these to be something I wish to do in my own life, reading his reasoning behind them was interesting.

Therefore, I think it possible to enjoy this read even if you don't necessarily relate to its message.

This author takes the minimalism approach further than Marie Kondo by taking the stance that we can improve our lives by even getting rid of the items that spark joy.

What's your thoughts on minimalism & decluttering? I'm certainly a fan of it, even if I do own an absurd amount of books 😄

Thanks for reading!


Photo taken by me edited on Line Camera.

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