Living with less: An interview with minimalist Ryan Nicodemus

So you may have heard the term “minimalism” thrown around lately. Minimalism, when applied to life, means stripping down your life (and your belongings) to the bare essentials, under the premise that with less things, you can focus on what matters. It is, in many ways, an anti-consumerism movement reinvented. Through blogs like Zenhabits and The Minimalists, the idea has gained popularity. But what’s it really like to live a minimalist lifestyle? I sat down with Ryan Nicodemus to discuss his journey as a minimalist and find out.

A simply good life. (SGL): How did you first learn about minimalism? What attracted you to the movement?

Ryan Nicodemus (RN): I first heard about minimalism from Joshua. The thought of pairing down my stuff and not pursuing the accumulation of more stuff was a freeing thought. Seeing others who were experiencing that freedom also attracted me to minimalism.

SGL: What has been the hardest thing for you to let go of? Why?

RN: For me TV was the hardest thing to let go of. I didn’t realize how much it was part of my routine  i.e. getting up in the morning and turning on the news, coming home to watching the news first thing, catching up on TV shows that friends recommended so we would hae something more to talk about etc.

SGL: What has made the biggest impact?

RN: Giving up TV had the biggest impact for me. I have a lot more time to take care of more meaningful tasks, as well as picking up on more meaningful habits i.e. reading, writing, time with family etc.

SGL: You were recently laid off from your job, how has minimalism helped or hurt you through this transition?

RN: It has helped tremendously with my expenses. Minimalists have less bills!

SGL: What has minimalism allowed you to do that you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise?

RN: It has helped me be more aware of everything in my life. the good and bad. It has helped me stay focused on what is important/most valuable to me and those closest to me.

SGL: If someone is just getting started down a minimalist path, what would you recommend their first steps be?

RN: First they need to focus on themselves when it comes to their journey with minimalism. They shouldn’t worry about how others will react or if others will go along with their journey. I would also recommend they do a packing party (where one packs up all their belongings and only removes what they need when they need it). A packing party  is a great way to start one’s minimalist journey. Here are details of mine:

SGL: How can minimalism lead to happiness?

RN: Minimalism can give you a clearer definition of what happiness and well-being means to you.

If you think minimalism might be for you, check out Ryan’s blog that he writes with friend, and hard-core minimalist Josh, and his book entitled Minimalism: Essential Essays.

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