Watch The Minimalists' TEDx Talk: A Rich Life with Less Stuff

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.

Minimalist Family: Start With Yourself

Minimalism is only for single white guys in their twenties with no kids and no family and no obligations, right?

If you’re reading this, then you know that’s not true, but unfortunately that’s the misconception for many newcomers. They say things like, I couldn’t be a minimalist because…

I am too old.
I am too young.
I live in the suburbs.
I don’t travel all over the world.
I have a spouse, child, or large family.
I own a car, television, and furniture.

But the truth is that minimalism can work for anyone.

One of the biggest questions we get is about how to approach minimalism with your family, friends, and loved ones. The question usually sounds something like:

I really want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, but my partner, friends, family, and coworkers aren’t on board with me. What should I do?

It’s true, not everyone in your life is going to say “Minimalism? That sounds great! Where do I sign up?” In fact, it’s often the opposite. The two of us have been asked if we joined a cult, if we were going through a phase, if we were experiencing an early mid-life crisis, and many other strange questions from people we love and care about.

When some people first hear about minimalism, they don’t understand it. To them it sounds vaguely occult, unreasonable, outside the status quo, and far away from the comfort zone of the average consumer. In other words, they don’t see why it is a necessary tool to live a more meaningful life.

So, how do you become a minimalist even though your friends or family might not be ready to take the plunge? The answer is easier than you might think: start with yourself. You must first set the example for the people around you.

Start with your stuff.
Declutter your closet.
Donate your time to help others.
Donate your stuff to charity.
Change your habits.
Change your exercise routine.
Reclaim your time.
Cultivate your passions.
Find your mission.

Once you begin to change yourself, others tend to follow because they see the benefits you’re experiencing: they notice your changed life—your passion, freedom, and happiness—and they want in.

Before we knew it, many of the same people who thought we were crazy eventually started asking us how they could declutter and donate and live a more meaningful life.

So, start with yourself. The others will follow.

Also read: 12 articles to further explore this topic.