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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Day 4: The Essentials


The Essentials (Unpacking Part 1)

I woke up this morning and thought, why is there is a weird echo in my condo? I’m not joking. It actually sounds different in here.

The sound of minimalism, perhaps?

And it obviously looks different in here too. Really clean is the best way I can describe it.

Ninety-nine percent of my junk—everything I own—is packed away in one room, and it feels good. Don’t get me wrong, I feel anxious too, but, more importantly, I feel less overwhelmed. And that is a good feeling.

Last night, I was forced to unpack a few essential items right away. Like my toothbrush and toothpaste, my face wash, my bed and bedding, my fridge (so I could get something to eat), a trash can and trash bags, a glass (to drink some tap water), my cat’s litter box and food bowls and some food for him, and that’s it.

Today, I unpacked some of my most esstential items to get ready for work.

  • Shower supplies
  • Hygiene supplies
  • One suit, one tie
  • One pair of underwear
  • One pair of shoes
  • One pair of socks
  • One belt
  • And a few other items

In the evening I unpacked a few other items too.

After taking the nine bags of trash to the curb for the trash collector, I drank a glass of water and washed the glass right after using it (this is different for me considering how I usually would just put it in the dishwasher and use another glass later when I needed to). This action made realize how lazy I can be. Seriously. It takes my dishwasher about an hour to complete a cycle. If I just washed the dishes myself it would take me about five minutes. Is it worth it, considering I am only saving five minutes by letting my dishwasher do the work for me, not to mention the money it costs to run the actual dishwasher?

Speaking of time and money, we often act as if we have more money than time. It’s almost a cultural imperative nowadays. It hasn’t always been this way though. A couple of decades ago most people had less money and more time, and they knew it too. Today the trend has shifted; people now find themselves with more money than time—or at least more perceived money (vis-à-vis credit cards).

The dishwasher is a good example of this phenomena. The dishwasher provides five minutes of time, which I obviously find more valuable than the money it costs me to run the dishwasher (and the money it cost to buy the dishwasher). That’s one of the things that minimalism is about: reclaiming your time. Time to do whatever. Time to do dishes, time to snowboard, time to wake board on Lake Cumberland, time to help others in need, time to…

You get the point. The fact is that I would rather do my dishes than work for a heartless corporation that puts me through hell, pays me well, but still puts me through hell. Sound like a stretch? Not really. Follow us on the journey and we’ll show you why.

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Go to the main page: Our Journey Into Minimalism: 21 Days That Changed Our Lives