Hav­ing less ain’t all it used to be

ELLE (Australia) - - Life -

The plight of min­i­mal­ists is now so all-per­va­sive that you’d be hard-pressed to sit down next to some­one at a din­ner ta­ble who hasn’t had joy sparked by a pair of blue socks or changed their en­tire per­spec­tive be­cause they saw the doc­u­men­tary Min­i­mal­ism. Book­store shelves have run­neth over with ti­tles claim­ing to aid the stream­lin­ing process (yet, iron­i­cally, books are of­ten first on the chop­ping block), and this month is no ex­cep­tion.

While Ja­panese or­gan­is­ing guru Marie Kondo’s prag­ma­tism ad­dressed your in­abil­ity to leave a sale with­out buy­ing some­thing, Swedish grand­mother Mar­gareta Mag­nus­son seeks to re­cal­i­brate your en­tire out­look on life it­self. Her new book, The Gen­tle Art Of Swedish Death Clean­ing ($24.99, Scribe), trains min­i­mal­ists in “döstäd­ning”: a prac­tice where one or­gan­ises their be­long­ings so that, upon death, their fam­ily can grieve with­out field­ing Gumtree texts about your mid-cen­tury din­ing set.

The prac­tice seems mor­bid, but as Mag­nus­son says, “[Döstäd­ning] is a word that is used when you or some­one else does a good, thor­ough clean­ing and gets rid of things to make life eas­ier and less crowded. It does not nec­es­sar­ily have to do with your age or death, but of­ten does.” So it’s not just a book you’d buy your grandma – death clean­ing is ba­si­cally spring-clean­ing on crack. Done once every few years, it’ll help en­sure your grat­i­tude for life is al­ways maxed out. She sug­gests a love-it-and-leave-it ap­proach: say good­bye to the things you share a his­tory with now, so you have con­trol over where they end up (ie. dis­played proudly on a thrift-store shelf ready for their sec­ond wind).

Once the big-pic­ture stuff is nailed, kitchen im­pre­sar­ios should pick up home chef Ju­lia Busut­til Nishimura’s Ostro ($44.99, Plum). With a myr­iad of culi­nary in­flu­ences – she has Mal­tese her­itage, spent time in Italy and now lives in Melbourne with her Ja­panese hus­band and son – Nishimura em­pha­sises slow­ing down in the kitchen to en­joy the process as much as the end re­sult. Her love of sim­ple, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents will also en­sure your pantry won’t end up re­sem­bling an ob­scure con­ti­nen­tal gro­cery store. Un­like Kondo, Nishimura’s ap­proach to min­i­mal­ism favours intuition over rules, and you’ll find your­self much more thought­ful about what you’re putting on your plate – and re­alise that sim­ple is of­ten best. Which, in case you got so swept up in the on­slaught of mes­sag­ing, is the whole point of min­i­mal­ism any­way.

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