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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 3 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY Show, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Tour The Minimalists’ Montana Cabin: A Photo Essay

Old School Montana License Plate

Westward

At the beginning of October 2012, The Minimalists moved to a mountainside cabin in Big Sky Country to hunker down and do some hard work.

When Joshua first arrived on October 3, after a 2,000-mile trek from Dayton, he was greeted by an early snowfall. We knew straightaway that a productive winter was around the bend. Q.E.D.

Fortunately, the snow lasted only a day, and autumn fell back again, and Joshua was able to experience gorgeous mountainviews from our cabin’s side deck…

While taking in the scenery, JFM chopped wood to prepare for the forthcoming winter months…

What can we say, except…

Ryan tootled into MT a week later and together we colonized our new livingspace (which should prove to be an interesting little mini-experiment of its own merit since, although we’ve known each other for more than 20 years—ever since we were fat little fifth graders back at Berry Middle School in Lebanon, Ohio—we’ve not once lived together), taking our time to settle in, meeting our new neighbors and spending time with a few friends, after which we traversed the dirt roads to the nearest five-bar one-church town for supplies (which honestly is just our pathetic attempt to make grocery shopping sound vaguely manly) and then we began carving out our Q.D. routines: viz., working, cooking, teaching, writing, playing music, mentoring, exercising, and reading (Sc. Ryan frequently likes to read our new book, as demonstrated in several of the photos below, q.v. $5 Simplicity).

The Great Indoors: Photos of Our Minimalist(ish) Cabin

N.B. we ventured out and snapped all the photos herein, including the beautiful outdoorsy shots towards the bottom of this essay, specifically for you; but a few spontanious experiences are not pictured (cf. Reasons I Don’t Take Photos During Vacation): e.g., a breathtakingly large waterfall alongside Hwy 38, several large bucks who enjoy grazing in our sideyard at dusk, and the frigid secluded lake in which one of us may’ve or may not’ve skinnydipped.

Welcome to our new home (whereupon you might notice the existing satellite dish, remnants of a previous tenant, which dish won’t help us much, as we’re televisually impaired at the moment)…

Thankfully, the place was already (mostly) furnished when we arrived, making our cabin nights comfortable…

Ryan lounging and reading and eating an apple in his new bedroom…

Below you’ll find Ryan reading with a smile and a cup of tea in the diningroom. He’s seated next to a laptop that’s connected to (gasp!) the Internet (N.B.: w/r/t Internet access, we had to convince the local telephone company to run a telephone line to the cabin [the original line had longsince been cut], which, after working in the telecom industry for more than a dozen years, we knew who to talk to and how to get it done, a somewhat impressive feat for a place to which the U.S. Postal Service does not deliver, which on an unrelated note also means we had to get a P.O. Box)…

Camera-hog Nicodemus reading and rocking on the porch…

Done reading, Ryan is now simply rockin’ on the porch…

It’s laundry day…

Joshua reading on the throne…

Yes, we do in fact have running water; our sink came equipped with two temperatures: scalding and icy…

We typically cook meals twice a day on our gas stove (Ryan has caught only two things on fire thus far [not kidding] and stabbed himself [unintentionally] only once). Often we rustle up rice and beans and vegetables (e.g., avocados, spinach, carrots, &c.). Simple men, simple diet, simple eating. Plus snacks: v.i., apples and a teakettle in the kitchen…

Since Joshua arrived before Ryan, he was able to commandeer the larger upstairs bedroom with better views (and way more flies buzzing around, which flies are massive and unhurried and fairly obtuse, and thus annoying but easy to kill), leaving Ryan with the downstairs bedroom, just a few feet off the refrigerator, perfect for late-night PB&J sandwiches. Pictured below is Joshua’s second-floor sleeping quarters and home gym and writing area and guitar-playing space, equipped with stunning mountainviews through every window (although, to be fair, he does usually hit his 6’2″ head on the ridiculously low ceiling most mornings or in the middle of the night when its dark and he gets out of bed to use the facilities)…

We found Joshua’s new $3 writing desk (yes, it was literally three bucks) at a local Montana thrift shop…

You can take the Ohio out of the OCD (one, two, three, four), but you can’t take the OCD out of Joshua (five, six, seven, eight)…

Ryan modeling his PJs (Rated G) and striped socks while reading by the nighttime fire…

At night, to keep warm, a man becomes a slave to the woodburning stove…

What’s Next for The Mins: Tour, Projects, Charity, Etc.

We have wholeheartedly embraced our new woodshedding situation, working hard to add value to as many lives as we can reach. We’re enjoying the change and we have a lot happening in the coming months. We hope you’ll join us for the fun…

October 2012: We just published inexpensive audiobook versions for three of our bestselling books. All three audiobooks were read by professionals, and they sound amazing (listen to the free samples; they’re great). Also, Ryan raised more than $5,000 for Charity Water on this birthday, which proceeds will bring clean water to more than 250 people in Africa.

November 2012: Joshua’s solo essay collection, A Day in the Life of a Minimalist, will be published by Asymmetrical Press in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats on November 26, 2012. This is our third essay collection; Joshua saved the best for last: this 208-page book contains Joshua’s best individual essays and arguments from the last three years.

December 2012: The Minimalists are hitting the road for a 10-city media/meetup tour (starting with Missoula on 11/16 and NYC on 11/26). We’d love to meet you, talk, and give you a big ol’ Midwestern hug. Come out and meet us if you’re near Missoula, New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, or Vancouver BC. You can find more info and RSVP for free on our tour page. (NYC charity note: while you’re never required to purchase anything at any our meetups, 100% of the proceeds from books sold during our NYC event will go to Housing Works, a nonprofit whose mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy.)

Christmas 2012: After nearly four years of writing, re-writing, and even more re-writing, Joshua’s 300-page novel, As a Decade Fades, will be published on Christmas Day. Finally! At the same time, we are going to donate our Christmas Holiday to a local soup kitchen in Vancouver BC after the sun sets on our meetup tour. Hit us up on Twitter if you’d like to join us.

January 2013: Joshua will teach a special two-week story-writing class (nonfiction and fiction) called How to Write Better Stories (very limited seating).

Q1 2013: Details for Ryan’s new book, Unstuck, and Joshua’s new project, Struggles, a new kind of memoir, will be announced. Stay tuned.

Twenty-four/seven: As always, the best way to keep abreast of the goings-on at The Minimalists (as well as a slew of upcoming holiday-themed essays) is to subscribe via email.

The Great Outdoors: Photos of The Last Best Place

But so while our cabin is great, and while we’re getting a plethora of work done, the real beauty is outside, in the neighboring mountains and pine forests and khaki fields and hiking trails and big skies and dirt-road small towns…

Find more photos as we post them on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

By the way, most of the fun little overused Latin abbreviations above were inserted tongue-in-cheekishly.

Update: In February 2013 we moved to Missoula. Find out why here.