For almost a year now, I’ve been contemplating a more minimalist lifestyle as part of an effort to become more focused, more energetic. So far, I’ve read a couple books on the concept, and have started collecting quotes on the matter.

I started by reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, which offered a good process (commonly called KonMari) for reducing possessions: only keep an item if it ‘sparks joy’ or is otherwise extremely useful. She doesn’t like storage containers and recommends placing things in drawers so that every single item is visible. I plan on re-reading this book (on Kindle, of course, as I’m working on dismantling my physical collection).

More recently, I read Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things. Sasaki is influenced by the KonMari method, but takes a more practical approach to determining what to keep. He really encourages examining why we keep each item. Bad reasons include it being received as a gift, having belonged to a deceased person, part of our childhood, or being something we hope to begin using at some point in the future. Our Things, Sasaki says, are often like bad roommates: they demand time, space, and energy. They demand but do not contribute. Kicking them out brings relief, but keeping the ones that enhance our experience can be a good thing.

From where I stand, minimalism is not a design aesthetic, but a way of simple living that focuses on the inner person and on experiences rather than some external display.

There are a few beautiful verses about simple living and focusing on spirituality and inner happiness rather than material things.

A few things, though, are needed, or just one. –Luke 10:42

The lamp of your body is the eye. When your eye is focused, your whole body is also bright; but when it is envious, your body is also dark. –Luke 11:34

Everything in the world – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the showy display of one’s means of life – does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. –1 John 2:16

KonMari, Step 0: Visualize

“To start discarding without thinking ahead at all would be like casting yourself into the negative spiral of clutter. Instead, begin by identifying your goal. … This means visualizing the ideal lifestyle you dream of. … Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.”

-Marie Kondo, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, pages 35-36

Visualize, not your ideal home, but your ideal lifestyle. Why, then, does Kondo say that “looking in interior decorating magazines” can be useful? Because once clutter-free, a space facilitates your lifestyle, and its decor can evoke certain feelings. As Kondo continues, “your next step is to identify why you want to live like that. … The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.”

Konmari is encouraging people to think in terms of what they will do in a clutter-free life, not what they will have. A Konmari vision is full of action and feelings; things are tertiary.