Read More, Need Less

Claire Rabe

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to live more simply, these books may get you inspired to embrace the joy of letting go.


Goodbye Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, by Fumio Sasaki (2017)

The author found himself restless and unhappy with the life he was living, due to a feeling of “not enough.” Constant comparisons with his peers led to depression and angst. Sasaki's decision was to downsize radically, rid himself of excess, and begin anew. The result was a more peaceful mind and productive life. The book includes before and after pictures, a section of practical suggestions, and a peek into one man's enlightened soul.


Flat Broke with Two Goats, by Jennifer McGaha (2018)

Part memoir, part confessional, and part recipe book, this is the vivid story of a couple's slide into financial quicksand and their climb to freedom. With their home in foreclosure and four years of back taxes due, McGaha and her husband found themselves decamped from the suburbs to a “rustic” cabin in Appalachia. There they learned to live, and ultimately find happiness, in a barebones lifestyle. A cautionary tale about the cost of overextending, along with a message about what is really important (Hint: It's not stuff).


Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space, by Marj Decker and Judi Culbertson (2005)

The authors, both professional organizers and one a former social worker, have created a nuts and bolts approach for even the most timid downsizer. Chapters are neatly divided into categories, such as kitchen and household, collections of all kinds, photos and memorabilia, clothing, and gifts and sentimental items. There's also a helpful section on downsizing the possessions of others, for those of the “sandwich” generation. It is written with real life examples and empathy for the emotions associated with letting go.


Claire Rabe has written for The Arizona Republic, Phoenix Business Journal, Phoenix Magazine, and many other print and online sources. She has written a book on autoimmune health, a popular Arizona restaurant guide, and an e-book on journaling for caregivers. Rabe teaches writing workshops to students age 8 to 80. For more information, visit



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