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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.

Collecting Is Dangerous

Collecting material possessions is not unlike hoarding. Take it from two former hoarders—ahem, collectors—of stuff. The word collector just sounds nicer.

No matter how hard we try to hide behind euphemisms and other semantic trickery, though, the truth will always find us. Don’t believe us? Look it up. The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus lists the following synonyms under the first definition of collection: HOARD, pile, heap, stockpile.

It’s strange: there are myriad TV shows, websites, and clubs all dedicated to collecting things—not creating things, but collecting them.

We don’t believe there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions, but we do wonder why so many of us collect things: why do we give our belongings so much meaning?

The things we collect become elements of us: our collections become part of our identities. But what happens when we take away our collections—are we not the same beautiful people?

Actually, when we jettison our superfluous possessions, we discover we’re already perfect—beautiful through and through.

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