With micro apartments soon to hit the market, New Yorkers will definitely need to learn how to live with less stuff. It's a practice some residents in Tokyo have perfected. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner visited one man who's taken decluttering to the extreme.
Fumio Sasaki lives in a tiny apartment — less than 300 square feet total — but it looks positively spacious given his almost complete lack of belongings. When he first heard the term minimalist, he Googled it to learn more and came across the writings of Andrew Hyde, an American who once pared down his possessions to just 15 things.
"I felt in my gut that this was what's been missing in my life," Sasaki said.
Since then he’s published his own best-selling book entitled "We Do Not Need Things".
A visit to his home is proof. Furniture is limited to a Japanese style futon mattress that doubles as a chair and a bed. A small box serves as his table when he needs it and is stored in the closet when he doesn’t. That closet also holds his entire wardrobe — a few pieces that he wears repeatedly. And, rather than dish towels and bath towels, he has one quick drying towel which serves all his purposes. Living like this doesn’t just free up your space, he says. It frees up your mind.
"This room does not have any agenda," Sasaki said. "It does not have a 'to-do list'. As things do not send messages to you, your mind stays very clear and fresh."
Minimalism has been around for centuries — but the movement is growing, spurred in part by the internet.
Recently Sasaki served as a judge for an online minimalist contest. And he admits that living a simple lifestyle is made easier by sophisticated modern technology.
"I have a Kindle," he said. "Movies and all TV shows can be viewed on my MacBook Air. Though there is nothing in this room, any entertainment can be enjoyed in this room."
The money he no longer spends on things, he spends instead on experiences. In that way, he says, his life is richer now that his possessions are few.
"I have become more thankful for what I have, and I no longer have the sense there is something lacking," he said. "That led me to my happiness."