Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists have built their careers on helping people live better with less stuff, via their best-selling books, films, live events, and The Minimalists Podcast, co-hosted by T.K. Coleman. On this episode of Milkshake, we speak with all three, as they trade off questions about minimalism, maximalism, and how to consider the objects in our lives.
For those who find this lifestyle philosophy convincing, the key might be easing into it: “There’s no need to get rid of your grandmother’s doily collection right away,” says Fields Millburn, noting that “people tend to struggle with sentimental items.” There are probably other places to look: “Start with the things that are easy to give you the momentum: Have you been in your closet lately? Have you noticed that most of the clothes you own you don’t actually wear? It’s okay to let go of anything you haven’t worn in the last year. We have a rule called the 90-90 rule – we also refer to it as the seasonality rule. If you’re holding onto something that you haven’t worn in the last 90 days, and you know you’re not gonna wear it in the next 90 days, you can give yourself permission to let it go.”
We asked how minimalists give gifts: “The best gift that I can give is the opportunity to help another human being feel, seen, heard, appreciated, validated in a way that matters to them,” says Coleman. “That’s what really matters. You can impress people with things. You can make them jealous of you. But you can’t ‘money’ your way into love. So when you’re trying to get a gift for someone [and] you pay a lot of money but your heart’s not in it, they’re gonna see right through it. But if your heart is in it, they’re gonna see what really matters.”
Also in this Milkshake, we ask how the pandemic changed minimalism, how to determine what’s junk and what’s essential, and where the hosts might permit a little bit of maximalism into their lives. Tune in for the answers!
Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.
Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.