Posted on July 18, 2017
I’ve always got a few books on the go & over the last few months I’ve really stepped up my minimalism & organisation background reading. When delving into the world of minimalism & organisation it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of bad advice & regurgitated nonsense. A lot of the tips & techniques discussed in these books can be common sense & many authors simply borrow each others ideas, meaning you get little value from reading a lot of books.
Over the years I’ve read a plethora of books on minimalism, but I haven’t dedicated much time to organisation. I changed that this month by reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.
I also finally got around to reading Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living. This is perhaps the best book I’ve read about minimalism & it really inspired me. It’s by a japanese author and the translation is just perfect.
After reading these two books I decided to revisit Marie Kondo’s work and the Kon Mari method, by reading her illustrated book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying. – This is a more practical book for organising yourself & your things & really helped me to carry out a lot of the things Marie Kondo discussed in the previous Life Changing Magic book.
The last book I read in this batch of books was Nagisa Tatsumi’s The Art of Discarding: How to get rid of clutter and find joy. This book deals in-depth with discarding things & explains the psychology behind our compulsions to hoard belongings. After reading this book & Fumio Sasaki’s I found myself going through my already fairly minimal house & discarding even more of the things that I don’t tend to use. This includes out of date technology which hasn’t been repurposed, old clothes & books I have read and have no intention of going back to read in the future.
So lets take a more in-depth look at each book.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo
This book by Marie Kondo is a life changer, but I’ve got to say it’s the kind of book you will either love or hate. A lot of the language used & the approach to organising & sorting is quite spiritual. Not religious, but spiritual like yoga or meditation. The main premise is to approach everything you own & ask if it sparks joy in you & if you truly love it. Marie might put people off by suggesting we all say goodbye & thank you to the things we dispose of. We are to thank them for being good to us and providing us with comfort or use. For treating us well. I’m a scientific person, but I can appreciate the approach & while I didn’t start thanking my belongings, I did seek to only keep the things which I really love or really need.
Marie Kondo has been organising all of her life, she has made a career out of helping her clients sort their homes. This book is written by a japanese author so some of the topics discussed have a very japanese feel (such as measuring the size of your home with tatami mats), but I found this cultural parallel fascinating & it was partly the reason I enjoyed the book so much.
One of the major things from this book that I took on board was the folding of clothes. I used Marie’s method of piling all of my clothes in the middle of the room & sorting through them item by item, deciding which items to keep, which to give away and which to discard. This reduced my clothing by around 80% and I’m now down to two drawers in a chest of drawers. I feel much lighter for it.
This is perhaps the best Minimalism book I’ve read. I know that’s a bold statement, but Fumio really gets across in his book what we all feel starting out. Fumio was overworked, surrounded by stuff in his Tokyo apartment, unhealthy & miserable. Long story short, Fumio stumbled upon minimalism and changed his entire life, segwaying into being a minimalism guru along the way. He now lives with a tiny amount of possessions, a sleeping mat, three shirts and a few other essentials. His book takes you on his entire journey & I’m happy that it included pictures which really give you an idea of the before & after of Fumio’s life. I was fascinated by this book. Again, it has a japanese take on Minimalism but I love learning about different cultures. In a city like Tokyo, where space comes at a premium, minimalism makes perfect sense & Fumio manages to convey the benefits in the most polite & calm way. I honestly felt a sense of calm just reading this book.
Since finishing Fumio Sasaki’s book I’ve continued to downsize & sold a lot of things on eBay. I’m also finding that I no longer bring things home from visits to the city & my online shopping is almost non-existent. Having worked so hard to minimise to this point, I’m really conscious of undoing the hard work, which is an added bonus as it saves me a small fortune.
This book is a continuation of the book I mentioned earlier by Marie Kondo (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying). I’d recommend you read the first book & if you decide to carry out any of the KonMari methods discussed you can use this book as your illustrated guide. The first book discusses the broad techniques Marie Kondo uses to help her clients get organised, this book goes in-depth into implementing those methods, including pictures. This is vital if you decided to carry out methods such as the konMari clothing folding techniques.
This book is much more practical and more of a text-book or reference book to keep consulting as you start your minimalism and KonMari. It has really helped me become more organised & I highly recommend both books in this series.
As you can tell, this is yet another book I’ve read by a japanese author. The minimalism movement has always been quite big in Japan, probably due to the space constraints of highly populated cities. The Art Of Discarding deals a lot with the psychology of possessions and also the psychological problems which can develop when we become overwhelmed with stuff. The book offers practical advice to help you change your buying habits & to help you dispose of the clutter and excess in your life. This book covers a broad range of topics from simplifying your wardrobe to letting go of excess in all aspects of your life. Well worth a read.
So there we have it, a quick round-up of some of the best Minimalism & organisational books I’ve read over the last few months. Let me know if you have read any of them & also if you have any other books to recommend.