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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers. As featured on: CBS, BBC, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Minimalist Resolution: February Update

New Year Joshua Fields Millburn

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Another month has passed—two full months now—since I told the world that I’m not buying anything for an entire year, and it has been another interesting month.

Good news: I still haven’t bought anything. No new physical items at least (I did buy some food and soap this month though, more on that in a moment).

Q&A

I’ve had quite a few questions from readers since I announced this resolution. Two questions really stood out to me this month:

Are there any items that you’ve really wanted to buy so far.

Yes, absolutely! I’ve been trained for 30 years to want things and to make impulse purchases. Right now, I really want a Macbook Air. I can afford it, but I don’t need it. My regular Macbook does me just fine. And one of my favorite local coffeehouses has some really cool Dayton T-shirts that I like. But I don’t need another T-Shirt.

What if you could have done this prior to dwindling down your possessions? Meaning, if you are already surrounded by stuff, does that make the need for more stuff stronger? Or, does the fact your living with few possessions already actually help you in not purchasing more things?

That’s a great question. I think that getting rid of a lot of my stuff has helped me appreciate what I do have. So, yes, if I lived a more cluttered life, it probably would have been a considerably more difficult experiment. Clutter attracts more clutter. Simplicity attracts more simplicity.

Lessons Learned

I’ve learned a lot from this experiment so far, but a few things stand out:

Still easier and more conscious. Last month I wrote about the two largest lessons learned so far: this experiment is easier than I thought and now I’m more conscious about my physical things. This is still the case after another month. Feel free to re-read last month’s update for all the details.

I still have too much stuff. One of the most popular essays on this site is Everything I Own: My 288 Things. I wrote that essay to show people that counting your things is not important. Since then, I’ve gotten rid of quite a few items (viz. I have less than 288 things now). And this month I donated about 25% of my clothes (in 2010 I donated about 90% of my clothes). This experiment has taught me to pare down even more, getting rid of a bunch clothes that I haven’t worn in a month.

Favorite Things. I have favorite things, we all do, right? A favorite shirt. A favorite pair of jeans. A favorite book. But these things don’t define me. Because I am not my things, I am giving away some of my favorite things. I’m giving away my favorite pair of shoes (they are very nice dress shoes), my favorite pair of jeans, and my favorite shirt (picture below). Why? I have to practice what I preach, and I’m going to prove that I don’t need my “favorite things” to live a meaningful life. Go to Craig’s Simple Black Coffee blog for details. You can have any of those items if you want them—you can have the clothes off my back, as it were—otherwise I’m just going to donate them to charity.

Picture of my 3 favorite things (which you can have if you want them):