I’ve been interested in the concept of minimalism for a while now. When you’ve moved as much as I have (a lot) at some point things start looking more and more like burdens and less like joys. At the same time, I don’t quite vibe with the hard core minimalist aesthetic and hate how puritanical the whole things can feel. I know I’m not the only one, so today I’ve rounded up some of the best books on minimalism that take a different view of or approach to the concept.
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The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less by Christine Platt
This is a great book to read if you like the idea of minimalism in theory, but find the popular aesthetic and practice a bit empty. The author does a great job of exploring how to be intentional about your life and possessions, while still acknowledging that these things cannot be separated from culture and history. And don’t feel put off if you’re not black. The author centers black readers and her own experience as a black woman, but there’s still a lot for anyone to learn from.
Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki
If you’ve ever gotten the urge to take minimalism way, way too far, this is the book for you. The author takes an extreme approach to minimalism, but in a way that fully acknowledges that his approach isn’t right for everyone. I love this book because it allowed me to live vicariously through the author, without having to actually give up all my possessions!
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
I recently recommended this book in my post about giving up social media for 30 days, but I love it so much I had to mention it here as well. While so many self help type books are prescriptive, this one is more of a meditation on where we put our attention. If you feel like your digital life is what needs the most simplifying, I highly recommend taking a few days off the socials and reading this book instead.
Consumed by Aja Barber
I’ve read a lot of books on sustainable fashion but the one I’m most likely to recommend is Consumed. The tone of Barber’s writing is approachable, but at the same time she doesn’t dumb anything down. The author explains the larger historic and systematic forces that have lead to our current fashion system in a way that is truly holistic. With this in mind, she lays out action steps that individuals can take to improve the system. Some of these involve methods for reducing personal consumption (very minimalist!), while other methods focus on systemic change.
Wintering by Katharine May
I read Wintering during the height of the Omicron surge when, like many others, I was forced to take a step back and embrace the quiet darkness of January. This is another book that focuses on reducing the demands on your time rather than things. While for the author it was brought on by physical limitations and illness, it contains great lessons for anyone who feels their life is out of control. Because it’s a personal story, the author doesn’t address who unrealistic slowing down is for many people, not working isn’t really an option for those living paycheck to paycheck, but even so I found it a worthwhile read.
Do you have any favorite books on minimalism? I’d love to hear about them below, especially if they’re books that might, at first glance be about something else, or are just not well known! leave a comment below or over on Instagram.