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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.

The Irony of Minimalism

A word of warning as you consider simplifying your life: if you call yourself a minimalist, or if you tell people you are interested in minimalism, then everything you do will instantly be steeped in irony.

Oh, you drive a car? That’s not very minimalist of you!
Wait, you have more than one pair of shoes? Hypocrite!
You own a blowdryer? Phony!

What people don’t understand, however, is that minimalism is not about deprivation. Rather, minimalists—anyone who’s deliberately seeking a life with less stuff—find more value in the stuff they do own. They do this by jettisoning the superfluous, keeping only the possessions that serve a purpose or bring joy. Everything else goes by the wayside.

There is no Minimalist Rulebook. We’re all different. The things that add value to one man’s life may not add value to yours. So hold on to that hair straightener, those colorful socks, that collection of angel statuettes—but only if they are appropriate for your life. Only if they serve a purpose or bring you joy.

People will judge. Let them. Judgment is but a mirror reflecting the insecurities of the person who’s doing the judging.

Here’s one more irony for you: a day after our recent Chicago tour stop, The Minimalists hosted a free moderated discussion about minimalism at the Apple Store on North Michigan Avenue.

Apple Store? Gasp! You frauds!

Hehe. Well, what better place to talk about living more intentionally than the most profitable retail store on earth—in front of the people who may benefit from our message most. Much better than, say, a Buddhist temple, don’t you think? Besides, even though we don’t endorse any particular brands, it would be hypocritical to pretend that we don’t get value from any Apple products.

Related reading: Preaching to the Congregation.