Josh and Ryan are two Americans dedicated to living purposeful lives. They are creators of the blog The Minimalists where they share insights about how they’ve improved their lives by learning to live with less stuff and less attachments to material possessions.
When we get rid of excess stuff, we create room for the more wholesome things in life. We have more energy, attention, and time to spend on things that are more important – such as freedom, relationships, hobbies and creative endeavours.
Throughout 2014, The Minimalists have toured the US, UK and Australia hosting over 100 free events where they spoke about their experience of shifting to a more minimalist lifestyle.
In Melbourne, The Minimalists scored a space from Collective Potential for the event which can house over 600 people. Even though the event started at 7pm, by 6.45pm the place was completely full with standing room only. Because of their popularity, The Minimalists organised to do two sessions that night so that all who were interested could hear them share their ideas.
The Minimalists Share Insights
The friends, Joshua and Ryan, had what many would deem ‘successful careers’ in corporate organisations but they began to become more and more dissatisfied with their lives after placing so much value on material goods. After Joshua heard about minimalist living, he started making changes in his life which influenced Ryan to follow suit. They then started blogging about living more simply and getting rid of their ‘stuff’ so that they could create room in their lives for more important things e.g. their relationships, their health, their creative endeavours.
I loved how Ryan (with Joshua’s help) went about living a simpler life with less stuff. They boxed up EVERYTHING that Ryan owned. They put all of his possessions in his home into boxes. Then over the next few months, whenever he needed something Ryan would have to find that item from within one of the boxes. So gradually it was clear what items he used regularly and which added value to his life. The Minimalists suggest that for every item you own, ask yourself the question, ‘Does this add value to my life?‘
After their back story, Ryan then read a passage from one of their books where he explained how we use retail therapy to kit-out our homes to create a particular image. There are many possessions in our homes that provide single or simply aesthetic functions and they emphasise the importance of continually asking, ‘How does this contribute to my life?’
Then the guys opened the floor to the audience for questions. People asked about family, gifts, how to begin and a typical day of living a minimalist lifestyle. The Minimalists answered the no doubt common questions with how everything in life is different for each individual and they always came back to their main point that we can easily create more space for what matters in life when we get rid of the clutter.
Slightly contradictory, The Minimalists have insightful books you can purchase – admittedly they can be purchased as ebooks or audiobooks to save you the physical possession but hardcopies are also available. The books, Everything That Remains and Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life, document their journeys and explore the concept of minimalist living in more detail. Although these simple living lads have books to purchase and travel around the world to share their ideas, they have disconnected themselves from the majority of their possessions and every day they strive to live more simply.
It’s clear these guys really believe and live what they’re talking about, they:
- Have simplified their lifestyles immensely
- Share on their blog Joshua’s 288 possessions
- Offer free events
- Hold two events in one night so that everyone who’s interested can hear their talk
- Stick around after the events for hugs and pictures and more discussion
The Minimalists have a backlog of posts on their blog with plenty of information about living more simply which I highly recommend that you check out.
A quote from the end of their talk really stood out to me:
More Simple Living Materials
Greg Foyster, an Australian writer, has a similar story of down-sizing to a simpler lifestyle. After writing corporate advertising during the week then pursuing his passion in his spare time writing about environmental issues, Greg reached a breaking point and decided something in his life had to change.
Greg and his girlfriend, Sophie, decided to investigate living more simply and chose to ride their bikes from Melbourne along the east coast of Australia all the way up to Northern Queensland via Tasmania – about a 6,500km ride. Along the way, the couple stayed with a variety of interesting characters who shared their lifestyles which revolve around simple values such as sustainability, down-shifting, living off the land and minimalism.
Simple Lives is Greg’s blog of their journey in 2012 where he regularly wrote about their travels, the people they met and the lessons they learned. Changing Gears: A Pedal-Powered Detour from the Rat Race is the book created after the big ride. I highly recommend the book as it’s extremely informative, funny and will change the way you think.
Greg regularly speaks at events around Melbourne and Australia about simple living. He has some great advice for living a simple life of which my favourite is ‘Stuff breeds stuff’.
Becoming Minimalist is another blog which shows insights from a father’s perspective of his family learning to live with less so that they can create room for more. Joshua from Becoming Minimalist helped to show that our consumerist behaviour has helped to create an whole industry of the storage of stuff. There’s more storage facilities in America then there are Starbucks. Becoming Minimalist has some very insightful articles about simplifying our lives.
Being More with Less is a similar blog of a journey from a mother and wife focusing on what really matters in life focusing on more savings, more health, more space and more joy.
The Story of Stuff
100 Thing Challenge
The 100 Thing Challenge is exactly how it sounds – living with 100 items. It’s a challenge because it is difficult to cut down possessions to only 100 items. Simply try counting how many items you have and you’ll see how tricky it can be. The challenge is focused on creating more simplicity, joyfulness and thoughtfulness in our lives while fighting against the common consumerism lifestyle.
Many find living with only 100 items is too big of a challenge for them but the idea of living with less is enough to spark positive change.
You can check out the TEDx 100 things Challenge below.
- Do you question each purchase a similar question to, ‘Will this add value to my life?’
- Do you buy stuff based on how long it will last?
- Do you take notice of how long you keep possessions for?
- How many possessions do you think you have? And how many do you really have?
- How do you try to simplify your life?