THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MINIMALISM
Having less ain’t all it used to be
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.