Tiny Tuesday: Why is “Minimalism” Such a Long Word?

I have a new favorite website: The Minimalists. Authors Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn write not-quite-daily about how to achieve a more meaningful life through minimalism. Their lessons come largely from personal experience, and I love how the site itself presents a minimalist interface, with black-and-white vintage photographs heading each essay.

But they write surprisingly little about possessions. There’s much more to minimalism than getting rid of your stuff, and Ryan and Joshua focus on how you spend your time, make decisions, and relate to other people. An article about how to retire comfortably might follow an article with advice on writing, dating. They don’t sugarcoat issues – an article titled “Is Minimalism Just for Single, Rich, White Guys?” answers a common misgiving (and misconception) about this value system – and they’re not afraid to use profanity. I particularly like their conviction that deliberate consumption produces a much healthier economy than the spend-more ethos of America today.

As it happens, I’m a single (not married), rich (not struggling), white guy and I’m no minimalist (though I try). I moved to rural Vermont 18 months ago, giving up city conveniences for a car-dependent existence. I hang onto books and sports equipment and bank accounts I’m sure I will never use again, because what if I do? I’m not proud of the needless complexities of my life, and these guys give me concrete steps to change for the better.

Read a couple posts a day and you’ll find yourself reevaluating almost every aspect of your life. The interview with Millburn on lifeedited, another website I refer to frequently, is also a must-read.

About the Author Scott

When I decided as a teenager that I would become an engineer, what I really wanted to do was build houses. But then I went to college and got tricked into thinking I should work for a big company, design big structures, and make lots of money. With a professional license in my pocket, it's time to get back to following my dreams, and I hope my perspective can teach you something new.

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