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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.


In the Western world, money may serve as a loose marker of competence (one’s ability to provide for a family, save for retirement, and stay out of debt are all signs of his or her proficiency). Ostentatious displays of material wealth, however, are evidence of incompetence.

Not unlike peacocks, humans feel the need to signal their supposed prosperity to attract others. And even when we don’t have the means, the modern world makes it easy for us to flex our consumerist muscles by way of “0% financing,” “luxury rentals,” and other modes of consumer fakery. Even nine-year-olds are flaunting their excess these days.

When you step back, though, you realize how silly this is: look at my chrome-plated rims, my logo-plated handbag, my oversized house with more toilets than people—don’t I look relevant?

But of course, excess isn’t a symptom of relevancy; it isn’t even a demonstration of happiness or significance or wellbeing. In fact, the opposite is usually true: our “excessories” merely hide our discontent while showcasing our insecurities at the same time.