Minimalist lifestyle change focus of Boston book talk

boston the minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn Ryan Nicodemus
‘The Minimalists,’ Ryan Nicodemus, left, and Joshua Fields Millburn.
Credit: The Minimalists

Space in Boston is at a premium and with micro-apartments and a micro-hotel eyed for the Hub, minimalist living may be a lesson Bostonians are going to quickly learn.

But learning to live with the bare essentials is more than getting rid of a collection of old Red Sox hats, unused cookbooks and a pile of yellowing ticket stubs. It’s a mindset change, said minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn.

“Ultimately minimalism isn’t about deprivation, but asking does this thing add value to your life,” he said. “It goes beyond the stuff and spills into other areas like my relationships and my health and pursuing things I’m passionate about.”

Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, both 32, call themselves “The Minimalists.” The childhood best friends from Ohio were in their late 20s, had homes, cars and jobs with a telecommunications company that earned them six-figure salaries when a few years ago they realized they weren’t happy, reassessed and switched to minimalist living.

The two now live in apartments in Montana, have written two books about their change and are on a book tour that brings them to Boston for a talk on Wednesday.

Millburn said he sees the minimalist lifestyle catching on, and not just because of the interest in smaller living spaces. He said the sharing economy and technology make it easier for those interested in the lifestyle change.

“We’re looking for ways to live a more meaningful life and quite often it’s about having access to … things rather than ownership,” he said. “The whole sharing economy, it’s becoming easier than ever because of technology.”

While he’s gotten rid of TV and Internet in his home, Millburn still has a cellphone and travels in a Toyota. He said living minimally will vary from person to person, but it’s about living deliberately.

“I think why it’s appealing is not because of the ‘how to’ aspect of it, but the ‘why to;’ the purpose behind it,” he said.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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