Books have always been my teachers as well as my best friends. Throughout my minimalism journey towards the end of 2017, these three books guided me every step of the way. From decluttering to discarding, from sorting to storing. I put myself through a rigorous self-taught course on minimalism with only applying these teachings, and the end result was truly rewarding. It changed my apartment and surprisingly even my outlook on life.
So today I would like to share my top three books that saw me through the beginning of my journey, though I am nowhere near finished with minimalism (I am still yearning to deepen my practice through zero waste) these books are perfect for beginners or for those wishing to start a more simple life.
Starting with the groundbreaking Marie Kondo book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up (which for me is a true winner in the beginner minimalist department). This is my number one book recommendation because she explains the concepts of her no-fail method which she calls The Konmari Method in a very simple yet straightforward manner. Though not marketed as a minimalism book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up‘s main principle is actually the number one rule of minimalism: keep only what sparks joy and the rest should be discarded. This is fundamentally minimalism because if you only want things that bring you joy, you will stop the unnecessary purchases of so-so things and be content with what you have.
Kondo uses a light tone throughout the whole book, so it is an easy read which won’t stress you out. As a self-proclaimed tidy freak, she arranged her book in a way where all the concepts are categorized and organized from easy to hard. For example, in her decluttering process, she recommends the following order: clothes, books, paper, Komono and sentimental items, because she believes that one must start with the category with the least burdensome change (like the closet) and end with the ones more difficult to discard (sentimental items). She also addresses the common tidying myths that only hurt rather than help, like tidying by room, Kondo says that tidying by categories (as mentioned above) makes the tidying process more sustainable because you are making sure not to leave any item out. This book also gets quite personal about Kondo’s life which I love because it helps form a relationship with the author and make the whole tidying process even more enjoyable for the reason that it’s like getting advice from a friend rather than an expert.
The book is only 206 pages long, short but sweet and easily devoured in a day or two if you’re a bookworm like me.
Confession, before I even finished The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up I immediately headed to the bookstore to by this one, which is the second instalment of the Konmari book series. I was getting so much valuable information from the first book that I panicked when I realized it was almost over. I had to know more.
Spark Joy for me was a more in-depth look at the Konmari method. Although it touches on the same points as the first book this one elaborated on the concepts a little bit more and went into detail as far as storage goes. Especially when it came to the Komono items topic, which for me was the most difficult. If you dont know already, Komono is Japanese for miscellaneous items, which you should declutter in this order specifically:
Looking at that list and imagining taking out all you own in every category, figuring out which you want to keep (key indicator: those which only spark joy), discarding all others and ultimately figuring out where to store them, makes the task seem daunting. But this is where Spark Joy comes in handy because the book gets technical on how to store and the best part is that it has cute illustrations to give you a visual aid.
Essentially, this book is just a good supplement to what you have already learned from The life-changing magic of tidying up by getting you to move and actually do the work to get your apartment clean and minimal.
Once you have a tidy apartment free of clutter, you are now ready for the minimalism ideals and ethics, and Goodbye, Things is inherently that. The book is structured as a collection of essays by Fumio Sasaki on the reasons, benefits and values of minimalism as well as a look inside the lives of the Japanese people who have successfully reached minimalism nirvana.
Sasaki writes in a witty, self-deprecating manner, he highlights his vulnerability in a way that makes himself relatable and just downright cute (I’m a sucker for underdogs if you cant tell so already). He also goes through the psychological and social effects minimalism may have on a person, the good, the bad and the ugly. He expounds on the ideals of society, constant consumerism, realities of a bonafide minimalist along with many other genuinely insightful topics on why we live the way we live, that will leave you questioning your lifestyle long after you put the book down. I recommend this to anyone looking for a more introspective approach to the movement
So there you have it, my top three minimalism books, I hope they help you in your journey as much as they helped me. Also, I just want to add a quick note that asides from books, documentaries helped me in my minimalist transition. I recommend watching the Netflix documentary The Minimalist if you want an additional visual learning experience.
That is all that I have to say about this topic, let me know what you think of the books if you haven’t read them already and I wish you a joyful adventure into the wonderful world of minimalism.