An Introduction to Minimalism

A good friend of mine ( a blogger at has the amazing gift of being able to talk me into doing a lot of things that would normally be outside of my “comfort zone”.  So far on that list are: starting an art journal, duck pin bowling, and baking a cake (my attempt to complete the simple task, as her assistant, of flouring a pan had both of us laughing until we cried).  When she asked me if I was still going with her to “The Minimalists” thing in Baltimore, I said “Of course!”  I vaguely remembered making the plans several months before.  From what I remembered, I had no idea what she was talking about when she first explained this event to me and didn’t understand at all what I was signing up for, but I agreed to go because I love spending time with this friend (There is never a dull moment with her!).  🙂  So Wednesday night we ended up standing in “The Ivy Bookstore” in North Baltimore with my friend listening to Josh and Ryan, on their “Everything that Remains” book tour, speak about minimalism.

Josh and Ryan from "The Minimalists"

Josh and Ryan from “The Minimalists”

This wasn’t my first time hearing about minimalism; my friend has been talking to me about her ideas on it and how she has been “decluttering” her life, removing all of the material things that do not serve a purpose or bring her joy.  I’ve known her for years, and have noticed since she starting practicing this new philosophy in her life how much happier and how much more at peace with things she has seemed.

I loved listening to Josh and Ryan speak, and it has opened my mind even more to the idea of becoming more of a minimalist.  They told their stories; of how they both were worked high paying corporate jobs and surrounded themselves with material things that they thought defined them.  At some point they both left their corporate jobs to live more meaningful lives. They now focus their time on writing and teaching others about minimalism; their blog has 5 million viewers a year! They explained that there are no set rules on being a minimalist and that there is nothing wrong with working a 9-5 job (After all, grown ups do have to pay the bills).  The basic idea is to remove the things from your life that don’t matter to make room for the things that do.  Here are a few of my favorite Josh and Ryan advice/quotes:

  • Minimalism is not about deprivation.  Consumption isn’t the problem, compulsive consumption is the problem.
  • (On simplifying your own life) Ask your self does this thing add value to my life?  Does it serve a purpose or does it bring me joy?
  • Temporarily remove things from your life to see if they are really necessary.
  • Don’t act on impulse, take time to consider before making a purchase.
  • Don’t sacrifice your values for a paycheck.
  • (On sentimental items) Memories do not reside in things, they reside in us.
  • When you sale and donate items, someone else can get value out of those items.
  • Focus on the things that matter in your life.  For them they listed 5 things; Health, Relationships, Cultivating a passion, growth, and contribution.
  • (On being around positive and supportive people) You can’t change the people who are around you, but you can change who the people who are around you.
  • Love people and use things because the opposite never works.

If you get the chance to read their books (or blog) or to see them on tour (They have 50 cities left to visit), I highly recommend it.  They are two positive individuals with enlightening ideas to share with others.  I have been making some changes in my life, to focus less on material possessions and to have more free time to spend on the things that matter in my life.  It definitely isn’t something that happens overnight, it is a process.  I believe that removing personal attachments to things can empower me to live a more purposeful and happy life.



11 thoughts on “An Introduction to Minimalism

    • Lol – i paraphrased a bit – don’t think the exact words matter, it’s more about the meaning. I did take notes though because I’m a perfectionist/dork that way! Lol

  1. I’ve been reading about minimalism on and off for about a year now, and find the idea really appealing-our basement is FULL of stuff we don’t use and don’t need, but somehow can’t get rid of. I’m hoping to start doing some small de-cluttering projects this summer

    • Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we accumulate! Every time I move I wonder where it all came from. I get rid of things all the time, but I need to work on not bringing more back in, only buying the things I need. Good luck on your decluttering projects this summer!

    • I’ve still been exploring these ideas! I’ve taken a significant pay cut in the last year to have more free time to pursue the things I care about. I’ve been learning to live with less and have felt significantly happier. Now I’m ready to start decluttering and removing the distractions around me.

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