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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.

Minimalist Family: Start With Yourself

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

If you’re a practicing minimalist you know that’s not true, but, unfortunately, that’s the misconception for many newcomers. They say things like, I can’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 minimalism can work for anyone.

One of the questions we get most frequently is how to approach minimalism with your family, friends, and loved ones:

I want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, but my partner, friends, family, and coworkers aren’t on board. 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 odd questions from people we love and care about.

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

So, how do you become a minimalist when your friends or family aren’t ready to take the plunge? Start with yourself: you must set the example for the people around you.

Start with your stuff.
Declutter your closet.
Donate your time.
Donate your stuff.
Change your habits.
Change your routines.
Reclaim your time.
Cultivate your passions.
Find your mission.

Once you 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 asked us how they could declutter, donate, and live a more meaningful life.

Start with yourself—the others will follow.

Additional reading: 12 articles to further explore this topic.