Video: Q&A with The Minimalists
Other Written Questions
Question: I’m new to your website. Where should I start?
Ryan: Start at the beginning.
Joshua: That doesn’t make any sense! Actually, we have a helpful Start Here page for our new readers.
Q: What is minimalism?
Ryan: Who wants to know?
Joshua: Will you be quiet and let me answer the questions, please? Minimalism is a tool we use to get rid of the excess stuff in our lives to make room for the essentials. Minimalism allows us to focus on what’s important in life—health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution—so we can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. See our What Is Minimalism? page for a full explanation and some good links that will help you discover minimalism for yourself.
Q: Where do you guys live?
Ryan: I live at my house. Duh!
Joshua: I think they mean, “In what city do you live?” We both live in beautiful Missoula, Montana, by way of Dayton, Ohio.
Q: What inspired you guys to start TheMinimalists.com?
Ryan: The Spanish romantic painter Francisco Goya came to me in a dream and told me to start this site.
Joshua: You don’t even know who that is! Basically, we were tired of not being happy. We stumbled across this thing called minimalism and discovered it as a tool to bring meaning back into our lives. We started this site to chronicle our journey into minimalism and to ultimately help others discover minimalism by taking action. Read our bios here.
Q: How do I become a minimalist?
Ryan: Just call the toll-free number on your screen. Act now! Supplies are limited!
Joshua: There isn’t a phone number on the screen! Besides, minimalism isn’t something you can buy. You can follow our website and follow other minimalists (see our links page) to get a more thorough understanding of minimalism, but perhaps the best way to get started is to play the Minimalism Game.
Q: Did anyone in particular inspire you to start this site?
Ryan: Gotcha! Ha ha.
Joshua: Yes, we were inspired by dozens of minimalist websites, especially Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist, Colin Wright’s Exile Lifestyle, Courtney Carver’s Be More with Less, and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits.
Q: What was the hardest part of your journey? The easiest part?
Ryan: Making the decision to do it was the hardest part for me. And not just do it half-assed, but really do it—really become a minimalist. Making that decision was difficult, and it initially made me anxious. Also, I thought getting rid of my cable TV subscription was going to be hard, but it wasn’t—it was easy (you don’t have to get rid of your TV to be a minimalist, but I did to focus on what’s important in my life—watching MASH reruns wasn’t important).
Joshua: Taking action—especially your first few steps—is usually the hardest part. Culturally, we are taught that “information is power” or “knowledge is power,” but true power is in action. Take action and don’t get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. The easiest part was trashing stuff I didn’t use. Once the decision was made and I started taking action, selling and donating the stuff I didn’t need was easy.
Q: Are there any spiritual or religious aspects in minimalism?
Ryan: Yes, you must practice witchcraft and pray to the forest every fortnight.
Joshua: No. Well, not necessarily. Minimalism isn’t about spirituality or religion, but there are a lot of minimalists who follow God or live by a set of spiritual principles. Whatever you believe (or don’t believe), minimalism can fit that lifestyle. Also, read this essay: Gospel of Minimalism.
Q: How did you guys design such a cool website?
Ryan: I like spaghetti.
Joshua: Yes, yes you do. Honestly, we could hardly spell HTML when we started this thing, let alone build a website. We knew we wanted to document our journey and we wanted to help other people, but we had no clue how to build a website. But, as my mother used to say, Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Ryan: Who’s Will?
Joshua: Um, so this is what we did, plain and simple: How to Start a Successful Blog Today.
Q: Do you guys make money from this site? If so, how?
Ryan: Yes, but I’m not really sure how.
Joshua: Let me elaborate a bit.
Yes, we do make some money from this site, but that’s not the reason we started it. This site is 100% reader-supported, which means we chose not to use any advertisements. We believe this makes a better, more honest experience for our readers.
So, there are only a few ways this site makes money: our books, our classes, and stuff we recommend. For more info, visit our books page. Your generosity helps keep this site alive. Thank you for your support—we appreciate it!
Q: Why did you guys get rid of comments on your website?
Ryan: If we got rid of comments, then how did you ask that question?
Josh: Actually, we wrote an essay about why we killed the comments on this site.
Q: I noticed you guys have two domains: TheMinimalists.com and TheMins.com. What’s the difference?
Ryan: Well, aren’t you Mr. Observant!
Joshua: Ryan, you can’t be belligerent to our readers!
Ryan: Oh—sorry about that.
Joshua: There isn’t much difference between the two URLs: this site is officially TheMinimalists.com, but we also registered TheMins.com so we have a shortened URL if we need it. For example, if we want to tell the world about our “Fight Club’s Tyler Durden is a Minimalist” article via Twitter, we can use the shortened address http://themins.com/fc and it forwards to the longer URL. Plus, we like the sound of “TheMins.com.”
Q: Who did the photography on your website?
Ryan: I did. I used a Polaroid camera and some cool Microsoft Paint effects to really spruce things up. Nice, huh?
Joshua: No, you didn’t—you don’t even own a Polaroid! Our friend, Adam Dressler, does most of our photography. Adam is a pastor at a church in Cincinnati; we went to high school with him in the 90s. There are plenty of his goofy photos of us on Instagram.
Q: How can I contact you guys?
Ryan: Send me a fax, a telegram, or, preferably, a note via carrier pigeon.
Joshua: Yeah, but if that doesn’t work, you can visit our contact page.
Q: Why are you guys so freaking cool, funny, and handsome?
Joshua: Uh, Ryan, you aren’t supposed to be asking the questions here.
Additional reading: 20 Questions for a Minimalist.