Things We Love: The Minimalists' picks

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

On the face of it, Dayton natives Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus probably aren’t ideal subjects for a feature called Things We Love. But, as the pair pointed out during a phone interview last week, the minimalist lifestyle they’re promoting at The Book Loft Thursday, May 8, isn’t inherently against things themselves. As Ryan put it, “We try not to love things; we love people and use things, so really our list of things are things that add value to our lives.” For the full list of Ryan and Josh’s “favorite things,” head to


Ryan: Minimalism isn’t about deprivation; it’s about doing things deliberately and with intention — not just using them for the sake of using them. My cell phone I use very intentionally and I get a ton of value out of it. It would be really inconvenient to the point of deprivation if I didn’t have a cell phone, especially on the road. We do a lot of media interviews by cell phone, plus I have my music on there. It’s nice to have all these things on one device, which prevents me from having to carry around all these things separately.


Josh: I went a while without a kitchen table honestly. [When I was younger] I started buying these things I was supposed to buy and one of them was a kitchen table, but I realized I wasn’t really using it. I bought it because I was supposed to have it, instead of having a need for it. My new kitchen table is a really modern, 1950s-looking table, relatively inexpensive — it was less than $100 — but it looks great and has a great function. We had a really great Christmas dinner this past Christmas with a few friends who were in town for the week and that shared experience wasn’t made possible by the table, but it was easier.


Ryan: Snowboarding’s one of the main reasons I moved out to Montana. I can drive an hour in any direction and I’ve got about five different mountains to board on. When I started snowboarding more I went out and splurged and got [my snowboard] on clearance for a few hundred bucks. It’s not just hanging out with someone and talking to them on the chairlift, but it’s sharing that beautiful view of the mountain or valley. It helps me live in the moment, relieve stress, relax and grow.


Josh: I was a suit-and-tie corporate guy, and I don’t own any suits now. I own one pair of blue jeans, and I wear them every day. They’re really comfortable and multi-purpose — you can dress up jeans, dress them down. We live in Montana and I tend to wear a lot of denim anyway, but they work in just about any situation. I went to a wedding last year and dressed up a pair of jeans with a blazer, tie and a dress shirt.


Ryan: We never want to forsake quality over quantity. The beard-trimmer’s a good example of that. I can’t tell you how many times I purchased a $20 beard-trimmer and it would work great for six months and then the battery would start to get funny and it would rip hairs out. Finally I was like, Wait a minute, I need to step it up a little bit and get a nice quality beard-trimmer, so I won’t have these issues.


Josh: I used to have 2,000 print books. The Kindle allows me to carry 2,000 books in a pocket. We are shifting from a culture of ownership to a culture of access … and the access is far more important to me than the actual ownership of the thing. I still really enjoy print books, but the benefit of having an e-reader that’s portable outweighs the cons of having a physical footprint. And I find I read more because I can transfer back and forth between audiobooks and text books, by listening to an audiobook while driving and then picking it back up where I stopped listening.

The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus