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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 5 | Things

The Minimalists, photo by Adam Dressler

It’s amazing to realize we often don’t need the things we think we need. And it’s equally amazing to consider the true costs of these things: everything we buy has extra costs associated with them, not just the prices on the price tags (the dishwasher from Day 4 is one example). They cost us money, which costs us time to earn. Then they cost us even more time, because we must use time to take care of them. Then they cost us even more money, because we must procure more square footage to house them all.

Oh, the things we think we need.

That electronic gadget you so desperately needed six months ago? How long has it been collecting dust?

Or that shirt you just had to have last season? How many times have you worn it since then? When was the last time?

And that new car? How many payments left? No matter—at least it has leather seats that warm your ass on your long drive home from an eleven-hour workday (the workday you’re forced to return to tomorrow so you can continue to make those payments).

The bottom line: it’s all just stuff, and we don’t need most of it.

Having a bounty of belongings doesn’t make you a bad person—it just means your priorities might be misaligned. We know first-hand: our priorities were misaligned for some time. But our journey into minimalism has helped us realign: it has helped us focus on what’s important. And that pair of shoes on layaway just isn’t what’s important.

Today Ryan unpacked a few items—kitchenware, gym clothes, and the furniture he actually uses—but the majority of his stuff is still packed in boxes: Still clean. Still tidy. Still organized.

“Things” is Day 5 of Our 21-Day Journey into Minimalism. Move on to Day 6. Read Ryan’s journal entries from this entire journey in Everything That Remains. You can also subscribe to The Minimalists via email.