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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.

Letting Go of Your DVD Collection

Are you one of those people who collects DVDs, proudly displaying your stockpile on a wall, shelf, or special area designated for your dozens of favorite movies?

Have you thought about why you own all those DVDs? Do you really plan to rewatch the same movies three, four—or a dozen times?

Both of us had fairly sizable DVD collections before taking our journeys into minimalism. We wasted thousands of dollars on these collections, often purchasing movies we’d already seen. And then we allowed our extensive collections to collect dust. Or we’d occasionally re-watch a movie, living in the past, attempting to reconstruct an old moment instead of creating new ones.

But collecting is just hoarding with a prettier name. 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.

Yes, collecting things you don’t need—things you don’t get value from—is tantamount to hoarding.

The two of us still watch movies, but we watch new movies, creating new experiences in our lives; we strengthen our relationships by enjoying movies with friends; we grow by talking about those experiences after they happen, developing a better understanding of ourselves in the process.

Let go of that DVD collection (you can sell it and make some money), and stop watching the same things over and over. Live your life instead. There is an entire world out there, and there is so much value you can add to that world, so much you can contribute beyond yourself—we’re certain of it.

Or, how about this: keep the movies that add value to your life. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional rerun, a glance in the rearview—but then look forward, and let go of the rest.

Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.