Book notes: Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki book summary review and key ideas.

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumo Sasaki


“Fumio Sasaki is not an enlightened minimalism expert or organizing guru like Marie Kondo – he’s just a regular guy who was stressed out and constantly comparing himself to others, until one day he decided to change his life by saying goodbye to everything he didn’t absolutely need. The effects were remarkable: Sasaki gained true freedom, new focus, and a real sense of gratitude for everything around him. In Goodbye, Things Sasaki modestly shares his personal minimalist experience, offering specific tips on the minimizing process and revealing how the new minimalist movement can not only transform your space but truly enrich your life. The benefits of a minimalist life can be realized by anyone, and Sasaki’s humble vision of true happiness will open your eyes to minimalism’s potential.” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I believe I added this to my list because it was recommende dby Audible and had good reviews. I read the book Essentialism last month so I’m thinking maybe this could be a good follow-up read.

Key notes:

  • Minimalism:
    1. Reducing our necessary items to a minimum
    2. Doing away with excess so we can focus on the things that are truly important to us
  • Minimalist version of this book’s message: there’s happiness in having less, that’s why it’s time to say goodbye to all of our extra things
  • When you get down to it, we’re all just looking for happiness. The quintessential energy that drives us is the desire to be happy

Chapter 1: Why minimalism?

  • Everyone started out a minimalist. Our worth is not the sum of our belongings

Chapter 2: Why did we accumulate so much in the first place?

  • Our self-worth drives our behavior
  • The problem occurs when we buy things and equate our possessions to value in order to communicate our value to others

Chapter 3: 55 Tips to Help You Say Goodbye to Your Things

  1. Discard the preconception that you can’t discard your things
  2. Discarding something takes skill
  3. When you discard something, you gain more than you lose
  4. Ask yourself why you can’t part with your things
  5. Minimizing is difficult, but not impossible
  6. There are limits to the capacity of your brain, energy, and time
  7. Discard something right now
  8. There isn’t a single item you’ll regret throwing away
  9. Start with things that are clearly junk. The best way to get used to discarding things is to make it a habit
  10. Minimize anything you have in multiples
  11. Get rid of it if you haven’t used it in a year
  12. Discard it if you have it for the sake of appearance
  13. Differentiate between the things you want and the things you need
  14. Take photos of the items that are hard to part with
  15. It’s easy to revisit your memories when you go digital
  16. Our things are like roommates except we pay the rent
  17. Organizing is not minimizing
  18. Top of the nest, storage, before the pest, clutter
  19. Leave your unused space empty
  20. Let go of the idea of someday
  21. Say goodbye to who you used to be
  22. Discard the things you’ve already forgotten about
  23. Don’t be creative when you’re trying to discard things
  24. Let go of the idea of getting your moneys worth
  25. There’s no need to stock up
  26. Feeling a spark of joy will help you focus
  27. Auction services are a quick way to part with your possessions
  28. Use auctions to take one last look at your things
  29. Use a pick up service to get rid of your possessions
  30. Don’t get hung up on the prices you initially paid
  31. Think of stores as your personal warehouses
  32. The city is our personal floor plan 
  33. Discard any possessions that you can’t discuss with passion
    • As long as we stick to owning things that we really love, we aren’t likely to want more
  34. If you lost it, would you buy it again?
  35. If you can’t remember how many presents you’ve given, don’t worry about the gifts you’ve gotten
  36. Try to imagine what the person who passed away would’ve wanted
  37. Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories
  38. Our biggest items trigger chain reactions
  39. Our homes aren’t museums, they don’t need collections
  40. Be social, be a borrower. You can always ask to borrow things that many other people have
    • As long as you expressed gratitude, you won’t be a nuisance but maybe even deep in the relationship
  41. Rent what can be rented
    • We can start by renting something as a trial, then buy it if you use it a lot and are crazy about it
  42. Social media can boost your minimizing motivation
    • We can leverage social media to keep ourselves accountable with our goals
    • Sharing can gain encouragement and even help giving away things
  43. What if he started from scratch?
    • Reader’s note: this reminds me of me zero-based budgeting from a book I recently read Essentialism
    • This will help make it clear which items are essential
  44. Say see “you later” before you say goodbye
    • You can store things away in a place they don’t belong like a garbage bag and see if you can do without them
  45. Discard anything that creates visual noise
  46. One in one out
    • One of the golden rules of minimizing: if you want to buy some thing first get rid of another
  47. Avoid the Concorde fallacy
    • This refers to the Concorde jet which governments sunk money into, similar to the sunk cost bias
  48. Be quick to admit mistakes. They help you grow
  49. Think of buying as renting
    • When you treat items like they are renting, you handle them with more care and then you can recycle them in better condition and you won’t be letting anything go to waste
      • This keeps us humble and allows us to better appreciate them
  50. Don’t buy it because it’s cheap and don’t take it because it’s free
    • If you do the math, the value you think you saved or earned when you buy something gets canceled out by the cost of the space it takes up
  51. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no
    • If you’re wondering about something, it’s probably a sign you should discard it
  52. The things we really need will always find their way back to us
  53. Keep the gratitude
    • We should embrace the feelings of gratitude from an item or a gift, not the actual item itself
  54. Discarding things can be wasteful, but the guilt that keeps you from minimizing is the true waste
  55. The things we say goodbye to are the things we will remember forever

15 more tips for the next stage of your minimalist journey

  • Reader’s note: Holy f*** there’s more?!
  1. Fewer things does not mean less satisfaction
    • We feel greater satisfaction when we own and cherish one irreplaceable item compared to when we own several we aren’t particularly crazy about
  2. Find your unique personal uniform
    • Fashion can be fun but chasing trends can be excessive in today’s world
  3. Three we find our originality when we own less
    • It’s experience that builds our own unique characteristics, not material objects
  4. Discard it if you thought about doing so five times
  5. If you’ve developed your minimalist skills, you can skip the see you later stage
  6. A little inconvenience can make us happier
    • You can lower your bar for happiness by minimizing, which makes it easier to find happiness in all of the extra things
  7. Discard it even if it sparks joy
  8. Minimalism is freedom
    • The sooner you experience it, the better
  9. Discarding things will leave you with less, but it will never make you a lesser person
  10. Question the conventional ways you’re expecting to use things
    • We can de-clutter surprisingly well if we ignore convention and be creative with our storage and usage of items
  11. Don’t think, discard
    • Trust your instincts. The more we think about it, the more our brain will come up with excuses to keep them
  12. Minimalism is not a competition
    • Don’t boast about how little you have and don’t judge those who have more than you
  13. The desire to discard and the desire to possess are flip sides of the same coin
  14. Find your own minimalism
    • There is no single correct definition for a minimalist. Minimalism is about owning less so that you can focus on what’s important
  15. Minimalism is a method and a beginning
  • Reader’s note: Wow this guy really loves lists. For someone who’s all about minimalism, there’s a good amount of fluff in these lists and I feel like they could be condensed a lot. Some points are insightful, and some just seem like quirky or fun talking points that sound cool but have a little impact

Chapter 4: 12 ways I’ve changed since I said goodbye to my things

  • We save time by not being distracted by marketing and ads for products because we know we already have everything we need
  • Reader’s note: I feel like after going through this book, I might be already on the minimalist end of the spectrum, at least in comparison to most of my peers, my community, and society in general. I’m usually very hesitant to buy new things as I take the time and slow down to ask if I really need it. I also don’t really hoard things. Shopping isn’t necessarily fun for me as it is for many other people and I don’t really get hit with shopping ads as much as other people
  • The qualities he looks for and thinks when he buys are:
    1. The item has a minimalist type of shape and easy to clean
    2. It’s color isn’t too loud
    3. You’ll be able to use it for a long time
    4. It has a simple structure
    5. It’s lightweight and compact
    6. It has multiple uses 
  • Spending less time doing chores and cleaning
  • Packing and moving can be very quick and easy
  • Less time spent looking for missing items
  • Quality time, not quality objects, leads to happiness
  • Finding time to relax is the ultimate luxury
    • Science has proven that relaxed intervals are necessary for us
  • Less possessions mean you have more time to relax and pursue happiness
    • You’ll enjoy life more
  • Reader’s note: it seems like the main idea of this book is that the less you on, the less you focus on the material things that you think will make you happy. This will lead to less stress, more time for relaxation, and more time to be happy and enjoy life. Minimalism anddecluttering your life seems to also declutter and clear your mind, thus making you happier
  • Everyone likes the results of a good house cleaning
  • There’s no such thing as a lazy personality
  • He cleans more not because his personality changed, but because he has less things and it’s easier to do so
  • Making cleaning a habit boosts our confidence and makes us enjoy doing it
  • Simply by living a more organized life, you’ll be invigorated, more confident, and like yourself better compared to when you stayed in bed the last minute and rushed through everything to get to work 
  • When you like yourself, it can be easier to take on other challenges

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that were free to do anything”

Tyler Durden from Fight Club
  • Lower living costs lead to a freer life
  • Having more things will make you want more, which will trap you in a cycle of greed and want
  • You’ll no longer compare self with others

“When you realize there’s nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you”

Lao Tzu
  • If you want to make yourself instantly unhappy, compare yourself to someone else
  • Experiences resist comparison with others because each experience is different and will lead to longer happiness
    • Therefore we should invest our time and money in experiences, not material things
  • When you stop comparing, you’ll find yourself
  • Keeping up with appearances only hold us back
    • People are less concerned with you or your looks than you think
  • Minimalists can take risks
  • Disorganized work areas become a silent to do list and clutter our minds from focusing on what’s important
  • The happiness of flow
    • Book reference: Flow
  • Fold up your antenna to reduce the amount of information you consume and information overload
  • He’s observed that there are no overweight minimalists, and people believe that this is an added effect of reducing your things
    • He thinks that this helps your chi flow better and help you slim down
  • Some couples say that fewer possessions helped their relationship because they argued less about things
    • Having less things requires less energy and makes you less stressed, which has a positive affect on your relationships
    • There will be fewer things to trigger frustration and fiction
  • It’s important in life to have relationships where happiness can be shared
    • People who have a stronger sense of happiness live longer lives
    • The island in Italy where people live long lives is very communal and close knit
  • We are basically equipped to empathize with others because we feel happy when we are nice to someone
    • Because we are social animals that live in packs, we are programmed to share happiness when we do something for someone
  • In general, when you have less things, you’ll have more energy to focus into your interpersonal relationships, which leads to happiness from better connections
  • Shifting your mindset from needing to hoard things to buying it when you need it will also help you from worrying less about the future
    • Worrying about the future is like dreading over the dishes you will wash in the future
  • Gratitude becomes easier and more possible when you have less things to appreciate and be grateful for

Chapter 5: Feeling happy instead of becoming happy

  • Our environment only accounts for 10% of our happiness
    • This is because we naturally get used to things no matter what our circumstances
  • 50% of our happiness comes form genetics and 40% comes from our actions

Main ideas / Themes:

Benefits of Minimalism

  • Feeling of contentment, not having a need for more material and superfluous things
  • More energy and time to focus on what really leads to happiness: deeper connections/relationships and experiences
  • Better for your mental and emotional health as you’ll feel more relaxed, less stressed, and clear-minded
  • Becoming more productive, less “lazy”, building more discipline
  • A consistently cleaner home
  • Reduced expenses and living a more economically free life
  • Caring less about what others think and not comparing yourself with others
  • Possibly lose weight
  • Better relationships
  • Less worrying about the future
  • More gratitude

Closing thoughts:

Although the book had a lot of fluff and could have been condensed to at least half the length, I thought it was an overall solid book. Good message, good themes/main ideas, and practical tips.

In fact, I decided to take action right away while I was gaining motivation to minimize my own things and ended up cleaning out my room. I must have gotten rid of 1/3 of my things, most of which were just useless clutter. I even went through what was most difficult to sort/discard, which was my pile of sentimental/memorabilia items. These are always hardest to get rid of, but I used my one takeaway to help me part with them.

I think one of the life lessons I learned from reading this book is that sometimes you just need a good book on minimizing/organizing/sorting/tidying to get rid of a lot of your things. I know I had my first major exodus of things after reading Marie Kondo’s book right before I moved into a new apartment, which really helped. This one also helped me sort through, reorganize, and get rid of a lot of things that were taking up physical and mental space for me.

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

My one takeaway is the thing I used when I was sorting through some of the harder things to get rid of, like all of the small little pieces of memorabilia I’ve collected over the years or the gifts I’ve gotten from others:

  • Remember that discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories

Some things I discarded were old christmas/birthday/misc celebrations that I kept because it was convenient and to preserve the thoughtful intentions someone had for me when they gave it. But I had to remember that even if I discard the object, it doesn’t take away the experience, the memory, the feelings of gratitude, or the generosity of the other person.

The relationship and what that gift represented is still there. The object played it’s role in conveying the feelings of the other person and I should treasure what it did to me and how it affected me.

However, I still have a small amount of sentimental items, and I’m not sure if or when I’ll ever discard them. I figure if I can keep the amount to a level where I can store in a shoe-box, I won’t feel guilty about the real estate I give it in my life.


Tips and benefits of living a minimalist life and saying goodbye to most of your things.

Similar books:


Rating: 3 out of 5.


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