Recently, I listened to the audiobook, Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki. He is a proclaimed minimalist from Japan. Even though he is a single, childless, guy in his early-thirties, he found himself in the trap of having entirely too much stuff. The apartments and living spaces over there are often much smaller too, so he was overwhelmed by how many things he had and what to do about it. That is when he found the ways of minimalism. He realized that many of his possessions were either sentimental, things he planned to something with “eventually,” the latest-technology and electronics that didn’t properly fit in his tiny space, or collections of things he kept mainly to impress people (like books or art).
He purged, over time, the majority of his possessions so that now, according to him, he could pack up all of his things and move out of his apartment entirely in about thirty minutes. Thirty minutes! As someone who is currently experiencing an evacuation warning (due to the raging Mosquito Fire in N. Cal) and having to determine what I would take or leave if we get a mandatory evacuation order, I think about Sasaki’s simplicity of taking a mere half hour to pack up his things and go.
Obviously, he does not have children, animals, and an entire household to think about, but his advice and questions for choosing what to keep in your life and what to give away or toss are very helpful. I will be purging over the winter (I hope and plan to anyway).
Here are some of Sasaki’s tips and questions to help you too:
- If you lost it (or in my case, if it burned up), would you buy it again?
- Start with things that are clearly junk.
- Minimize anything you have in multiples.
- Get rid of it if you haven’t used it in a year. Let go of the idea of “some day.”
- Don’t get creative when you’re trying to discard things (meaning turning that broken lamp into a vase).
- Let go of the idea of getting “your money’s worth.”
- Don’t get hung up on the price that you initially paid for something
- Don’t buy it because it’s cheap, don’t take it because it’s free.
- Discard it if you have it for the sake of appearance.
- Take photos of the items that are tough to part with. It’s easier to revisit your memories once you go digital (i.e. your child’s artwork, trophies, medals, your own childhood things you don’t want to carry around anymore).
- Leave your unused space empty.
- If you are dealing with a deceased loved one’s things, try to imagine what the person who passed away would have wanted.
- Discard anything that creates visual noise.
- When deciding to keep something, if the answer is not a “hell yes!” then it’s a no.
- Ask yourself why you can’t part with your things.
- Remember, the things we really need will always find their way back to us.
Good luck, everyone. I don’t think I can pare down to moving in thirty minutes, but thirty hours would be a nice start!