boston the minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn Ryan Nicodemus The Minimalists,' Ryan Nicodemus, right, and Joshua Fields Millburn.
Credit: The Minimalists

Joshua Fields 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 spoke with Metro about his change and had some advice for those interested in making the switch, which will vary from person to person.


Start with a question.Millburn said people should ask themselves how might your life be better if you own less stuff. He also said that tasks that seem insurmountable to achieve to him - like getting rid of his debt - were not as hard in the end. "Looking at those things, a lot of them were easier to tackle than I anticipated. Anytime I wanted to make a change in my life, whether finances or de-cluttering or following up with relationships, it almost always much easier in retrospect."

Find supportive friends.Millburn said de-cluttering became sort of boring, so he and Nicodemus came up with The Minimalism Game. They partnered up and each got rid of a different item on the first day of the month. Then they got rid of two items on the second day. By the end of the month they had de-cluttered by hundreds of items. Nicodemus threw a "packing party" at his home and put all of his items in boxes as if he were moving, only removing them when he needed them. By the end of 21 days, he still had 80 percent of his items in boxes, which he sold or donated.

Keep the momentum.To stick to the minimalist lifestyle, Millburn suggests people continuously ask themselves "Does this thing add value to my life" until it becomes automatic. "If you ask it enough, it becomes habitual, it becomes ingrained. It's being a lot more deliberate with things," he said.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.

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