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The Minimalists share what minimalism means to them, discuss new book

For Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, minimalism isn't just about getting rid of material goods, it's also about having meaningful relationships. #newdaynw
Credit: Celadon Books / KING 5
The Minimalists', Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, new book "Love People, Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works," is available now.

If you think minimalism is about getting rid of material things, you're not wrong, but for The Minimalists, it's more than that.

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus join New Day NW to talk about their version of minimalism and their new book, "Love People, Use Things."


What is minimalism? How is your idea of minimalism different from what other people might expect?

When most people hear the word "minimalism", they think of their overflowing closet and feel stressed. Joshua and Ryan's idea of minimalism is different in that the material stuff isn't the focus — it's about holding onto less material goods to make room for the meaningful stuff in your life, such as people, relationships, family. Getting rid of clutter is not the end result — it's the first step.

The Minimalists don’t focus on having less; they focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life creates room for the intangibles that make life rewarding.

How did you begin your journey into minimalism?

Joshua and Ryan’s journey begins long before documentary stardom, as best friends growing up in poverty in Dayton, Ohio. Growing up poor really warped their relationship with stuff, and after spending years miserably determined to “make it” in the corporate world, they gave up their jobs — and 90% of their possessions — in an attempt to find happiness. They started chronicling their journey on a WordPress blog, and to their shock, it took off — culminating in tens of millions of podcast downloads, two Netflix documentaries, 100+ city speaking tours, and more.

Why write this new book, "Love People, Use Things?" How is it different from previous projects?

After two Netflix documentaries, Ryan and Joshua thought they’d said everything they needed to say about living with less. But then they came to a realization: The main thing that had changed since they first embraced a minimalist lifestyle was their intimate relationships. Paradoxically, those relationships were, in many ways, the most difficult relationships of their lives. Which begged the questions: Why? And would it be possible to write a minimalist-relationship book? And with those questions, more questions emerged, leading to "Love People, Use Things."

Tell us about "Love People, Use Things."

In the book, Ryan and Joshua examine the seven essential relationships that make us who we are: stuff, truth, self, values, money, creativity, and people. These relationships criss-cross our lives in unexpected ways, providing destructive patterns that frequently repeat themselves, too often left unexamined because we have buried them beneath materialistic clutter. Confronted and explored, this book offers the tools to help in the fight against consumerism, clearing the slate to make room for a meaningful life.

Why is the message of living with less resonating with people now? How has the pandemic changed their thoughts about minimalism?

Amid the panic of the pandemic, Joshua and Ryan noticed many people grappling with the question they have been attempting to answer for more than a decade: What is essential?

With online shopping at an all-time high, many people can relate to an excess of online orders during quarantine. Now that people have had a year to sit inside with a pile of Amazon boxes, they are coming to truly understand what is necessary. Too often, people conflate essential items with both nonessential items and junk; the excess of material goods and lack of meaningful interaction over the past year have helped many to rethink what is truly important.

Decluttering seems overwhelming - but Joshua and Ryan can highlight clear tips for even the most overwhelmed.

Tips and tricks for viewers interested in minimalism, or feeling overwhelmed about decluttering post-pandemic:

If you spent the entire pandemic ordering random stuff from Amazon, you’re not alone! In the book, Joshua and Ryan help readers sort through the junk, and become smarter about purchases moving forward.

One example is the 30 Day Minimalism Game, which helps readers declutter through the course of one month (on the first of the month, you get rid of one item; on the second of the month, two items, etc).


Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as The Minimalists, help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and Netflix films. Their new book "Love People, Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works," is available now.

RELATED: Tips on how to embrace minimalism from minimalist Christine Platt

Segment Producer Derek Haas. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.

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