In the past twelve months, I have read quite a bit on the subject of minimalism. Here is the list of my favorite four books that are each quite different and complementary. These are perfect reads for those who are going through a Marie Kondo withdrawal. Please make suggestions on what I should read next in the comment section below.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
No surprise here…. At the top of our list is the book that might turn you into a professional organizer. Published in 2011, it quickly went to the top of New York Times best seller list. Marie Kondo gained mainstream fame in January 2019 with her Netflix original Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, where she assists several families in decluttering their entire homes. In parallel to reading the book, I highly recommend watching YouTube videos of her clothing folding technique which is the most “life-changing” part of her process. Her approach is quite simple: declutter by category and not by room and keep only the belongings that truly Spark Joy.
Many of her biggest fans go on to become Marie Kondo Certified Consultants, by completing a two-day seminar taught by her assistants twice a year – one in New York City and one in London. The New York one will be held March 29th to 31st with over 100 attendees flying in from around the world (P.S I will be one of the lucky ones there). Stay tuned to read about my experience. Read my posts 10 Tips to successfully Marie Kondo your place and 10 Mistakes I made during my Marie Kondo attempts to learn about my personal experience and advice on the KonMari process.
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
Cait Flanders has been blogging about personal finance for many years, sharing her experience and struggle with getting out of consumer debt. After successfully paying of more than $30K of debt, she found herself reverting to old spending habits that could quickly destroy her progress. Cait challenged herself to attempt to live a whole year without shopping with the exception of a predetermined list of replenishables such as groceries, toiletries, gas for her car etc.
I love this memoir because of how relatable it is for many millennials who find themselves with debt or very little savings despite not being full-fledged shopaholics. This book is a great read for anyone who is dealing with anxiety about their finances and is thinking of finding a way to cut back on their spending, while maximizing overall happiness and quality of life.
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
Josh F. Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are basically the founding fathers of this decade’s minimalism movement. The two best friends drastically changed their lifestyle and adopted minimalism back in 2010. After suffering the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, moving to a new apartment and having to restart his personal life, Josh recounts how his best friend Ryan showed him the ropes to a different kind of existence.
This book tells the deeply personal and emotional experience of trying to find life’s purpose and looking for it outside of the never-ending cycle of accumulating things. This book will inspire you to focus on what you are truly passionate about and perhaps make you reevaluate your priorities.
I highly recommend listening to the audio version of this book on Audible – it is 5h long and is beautifully narrated.
I also recommend you check out Josh and Ryan’s blog The Minimalists and listen to their podcasts.
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki
After spending many years feeling overworked, depressed and anxious, Fumio got rid of most of his belongings and adopted an extreme form of minimalism. He currently lives in a 215 square foot apartment in Tokyo and owns about 150 things. He is not a guru or an organizational expert like Marie Kondo, but just a regular guy that chose minimalism as a way of being happier. In his book, Fumio defines what it means to be a minimalist, explores the reasons why this is a growing trend and why we have accumulated to much stuff in the first place. He shares the positive changes he experienced by decreasing his possessions to an absolute minimum.
Most of you who will read or listen to this book will find his approach too extreme. Fumio does not preach that others should follow his suit and pair-down to 150 belongings. Goodbye, things is not a how-to manual but an interesting read that will make you take a second look at what is left of your tidying marathons.