Japan's hardcore minimalists, who have sold most of their possessions

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I’m a big fan of less “shit”, it really does work.


Hardcore Japanese Minimalism? Sounds cool, but I much prefer Diminutive Japanese Heavy Metal


He’d never survive in 'Merka. I got stuff I don’t even know I got. All I ever gave up was grammar.


Or read this. My father’s primary economics textbook.


I’m starting to embark on plan to retire early. First order of business is selling my stuff. First stuff to sell is the collections of books, CD’s, DVDs, and video games I have hoarded over the years. As I evaluate all I have to sell I am increasingly overwhelmed at the task at hand but super excited for the day I can cross this task off and feel much lighter.

Is EBay still the best place to sell these types of items?

I think I might try FB Marketplace (as an alternative to Craig’s list) when it’s time to start selling furniture locally. Anyone used it? When I searched for reviews of the service I didn’t find much good or bad which I guess is a passive bad.


“Fumio Sasaki, a 36-year-old editor in Tokyo” and from another article about Sasaki-san “Three shirts, four pairs of trousers: meet Japan’s ‘hardcore’ minimalists”.

Me, I have four shirts and three pairs of trousers. Heh. But that doesn’t make me a minimalist.

I don’t live in an apartment in Tokyo, but a house in the Maritimes. And, to earn a living, a blue pencils won’t cut it.

I use tools, lots of all kinds of tools, to earn a living. In fact, I try to emulate Heinlein’s dictum:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

That last one, I’m saving for later, much later…

/ I always store my beer in the dark.


I have been wanting to down size. But much of what I want to get rid of has some value/worth, but not a large demand, so getting rid of it is cumber some. I have even taken to giving some of it away, but that only goes so far too.


This week on Cool Tools, Fumio Sasaki shows off his travel bag…


I don’t think owning essential tools of the trade and embracing minimalism need to be contradictory. I would consider myself a minimalist if I kept one of every type of screwdriver I need and got rid of all the duplicates I have lying around. (I’m emotionally attached to all of them, so that won’t happen.)

Heinlein’s list mostly refers to knowledge, which like much of what I own might come in handy some time, but unlike the other stuff takes up no space. It’s been said before: the more you know the less you need.


So true Getting rid of things is often much harder than acquiring them, especially if, like me, you can’t bear to throw out anything that still has any value.

My uncle, a farmer, got rid of a lot of stuff when he retired and moved into an apartment in town, then pared everything down again ruthlessly when he went into a retirement home. He kept only what he needed for everyday life, plus the family photos and documents and a few heirlooms. As his executor and heir, I was very grateful. I hope I get around to doing the same before I stick my heirs with the job of disposing of my crap.


I have stuff I could probably sell on eBay, but the problem is all the time required to photograph it, write the sales text to go with it, do all the uploading – and then packaging it up and taking to the post office or UPS store should something be sold. Time is probably the most precious thing I have.

Books at least I give to the library for them to sell. My only other solution is 1-800-got-junk. I’d love to know other time-efficient ways to do this.

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That’s a good start, but to truly achieve “Peace, Isolation, Purity” one needs to fully embrace the tenets of Arturism

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I own four categories of material things.

  1. Things I use.
  2. Things I made, which overlaps heavily with the first category.
  3. Gifts of sentimental value given to me by others (this is by far the smallest category as I don’t encourage gift giving to me and I much prefer people’s company to their gifts).
  4. Rare antiques (mostly 18th and 19th century) I’ve restored (also overlaps heavily with the first category).

I don’t own any shit. I only keep things of value to me. I never understood why people procure things of no value to them.

What is it about material objects that burden people? Is it space? Is it compulsive worrying? I would suggest that if you can’t stop thinking about inanimate objects, the root of the obsession is not the objects themselves.


I have the same dilemma. I would like to get some cash for my items but I’m still trying to determine if the cost in time and effort is worth it. One nice thing I noticed on EBay on my phone is that you can scan UPC labels and most of the data will be filled in for you. The main two things not filled in is the condition of the item and the terms of sale.


I never understand what these people do for fun. I love fishing, camping, hiking, going out for picnics, and cooking. I need a bunch of crap to do those things. I also live in NYC, and thanks to us having four seasons, I need different clothes for when it’s hot and when it’s cold. I don’t have tons of stuff, but how do these minimalists make it work with so few things?


God that book is insufferably woo-ey (the one referenced in the title) - my wife picked it up hoping for advice on dealing with her mom’s hoarding issues and it quickly gets into a bunch of ‘exciting the spirits of books by stroking their spines’ stuff. Ultimately went with another book by a psychologist instead that was much more practical, although I don’t remember the title offhand.

Part of that is probably more normal in a society where ‘little spirits’ are a historical spiritual tradition, but it certainly loses a bit in translation and sounds crazy.


Didn’t know that. Thanks.

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Yep. I’ve yet to meet a sculptor who describes their studio as ‘minimalist’. Every sculptor knows that the best raw materials are free and finding such materials is often a matter of good timing, even when you have a few regular hunting spots. If I find a treasure trove of broken gooseneck lamps by a dumpster, you’re damn right I’m going to hoard them. Sure, I could buy it, but what fun is that?

[Edit for clarity: the gooseneck, not the lamps, is what is valuable. To me, anyway. Gooseneck is hard to fabricate. Lamps, not so much.]