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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 | Essentials

The Minimalists, photo by Adam Dressler

Ryan woke up this morning and thought, Why is there a weird echo in my condo?

The sound of minimalism, perhaps?

No joke: it literally sounded different.

And it obviously looked different, too: tidy, organized, clean.

Nearly all of Ryan’s possessions are now packed away in one room, which produces an unexpected calming feeling: he feels less overwhelmed, less stressed.

Last night he was forced to unpack a few essential items:

Face wash
Water glass
Trash can
Cat’s litter box
Cat food

And this morning he unpacked a few more to get ready for work:

Shower supplies
Hygiene products
One suit, one tie
One pair of underwear
One pair of shoes
One pair of socks
One belt

This evening, after hauling nine bags of trash to the curb for the sanitation service, Ryan drank a glass of water, and then washed the glass after using it. Although normally a banal action, it felt like a new experience because he is accustomed to putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and then using another glass later. This new action, however, made Ryan realize how lazy we can be: it takes a dishwasher about an hour to complete a cycle; however, if Ryan washes the dishes, it takes less than five minutes.

“Essentials” is Day 4 of Our 21-Day Journey into Minimalism. Move on to Day 5. Read Ryan’s journal entries from this entire journey in Everything That Remains. You can also subscribe to The Minimalists via email.