I recently finished Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki, a recommendation from Tory. This is more about the “why” and not another “how to” book like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Cluttering and Organizing.
I love how the author chronicles his journey to minimalism. He explains why he chose this lifestyle and speaks candidly about how it made him feel before, during, and after the process. It makes sense when he describes how his ego was tied up in what he perceived himself to be based on his possessions. He describes his mounds of books, DVD’s, photography equipment, etc. and how that made him think he was a connoisseur of those topics just through ownership. He didn’t want to let them go because he’d be letting go a part of his image.
I’ve been on my minimalism journey for YEARS. Two items on his “more tips” section really struck me. Now that I’ve been going down this path for so long, it’s really hard for me to understand why everyone else isn’t doing the same thing.
15 more tips for the next stage of your minimalist journey
12. Minimalism is not a competition. Don’t boast about how little you have. Don’t judge someone who has more than you.
13. The desire to discard and the desire to possess are flip sides of the same coin.
I’ve created my own version of tunnel vision about minimalism. I’m a wannabe minimalist snob. I turn up my nose at people with lots of stuff and it physically makes me uncomfortable being around it. The pendulum has swung too far for me.
No matter far I’m on the journey, I realize that I still have so far to go. Recently, Patagonia fleeces have come back in style. I knew they would! My daughter got one and I must admit, it’s warm, cozy, and quite “ski lodge” cute. So I dragged out my ol’ Patagonia fleece. I’ve had this bad boy for TWENTY YEARS. It was a gift from my stepdad who once a year would take me to the bike shop and pick out any one item I wanted. It was glorious! I wore this fleece all over Europe when I backpacked after college. I wore this fleece like a coat for many days. It never got a single rip and the plastic buttons clicked together like they were brand new despite the hundreds of washings.
So I wore it one more time (and here’s the) BUT it no longer fit and felt the way I liked. I didn’t really change shape so much as the styles have changed slightly. Clothes are more fitted and straight lined instead of the rounded bottoms. The fleece wasn’t soft and cozy like the materials now. It was matted and scratchy mostly from design and some from wear after 20 years.
Second, I offered it to my daughter who tried it on and then said, no, I don’t want it because I won’t wear it. Plus she has her new soft fitted one that looks fab.
Third, I had to really stop and think before NOT slipping it back into my closet. I posted it online and within 24 hours, someone bought it for $5. The buyer wanted it as a ski layer and said it was perfect. There you go. My 20 year old Patagonia found new life as someone’s ski gear. Now, I can let go of the guilt and justifications:
- It was a gift from my stepdad
- I wore it through so many seasons of my life
- It was still in really decent shape
- I’ve kept it so long
Two lessons learned from this book:
- I have a LONG way to go on my minimalist journey.
- No matter how far along I am on the journey, someone else is always further so I should be mindful not be so snooty. We are all somewhere along in our minimalist journey.
Goodbye, Things. Goodbye, Patagonia fleece from the late 90s.