Yet again, Bryan and I raced off after work for another minimalist opportunity. Last week, I met Bryan in King of Prussia to see The Minimalists’ documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. I was a little worried going in, concerned that it was just going to be rehashing their books I’ve already read and their podcast that I religiously listen to. Thankfully, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While the film did touch upon Ryan and Joshua’s story, it was in a different light. There’s something powerful about seeing the emotion of Joshua’s face up close on a movie theater screen when he describes the death of his mother that strikes you more than any paragraph or podcast could. As the title indicates, the film focuses on the important things and I definitely felt that every word and image that washed over me was important. Here are some snippets of what I learned:
1. Ryan Nicodemus wears flip flops
The opening scene of Minimalism is Ryan skateboarding down a street wearing tied on sandals with shorts and his uniform black tshirt. Since I’ve always imagined him more as a mountain man than surfer dude, I was quite entertained by his shoe choice. I definitely was expecting a sturdy pair of boots instead of sandals. For some reason I feel like this gave me more insight as to who Ryan is. He’s not just some minimalist archetype that I have in my head. He’s a real person with many different layers that I don’t see through my limited scope.
2. Joshua Fields Millburn really does love to read his writing aloud
I always think it’s funny during The Minimalists’ podcast when Joshua references how much Ryan hates it when he reads their essays out loud. When I saw Joshua walking through the sand and then masterfully gain attention as he began to read from Everything That Remains, I couldn’t help but laugh and imagine Ryan rolling his eyes ever so slightly. However, I have to hand it to Joshua. That scene was epic and beautifully shot, giving much more meaning to the book than when my internal monologue narrated.
3. Convertible furniture is amazing
I think the convertible furniture by LifeEdited blew Bryan’s mind. He’s been interested in furniture that serves multiple purposes, but the way his face lit up when he saw the flawless design of the furniture from LifeEdited was priceless. Since then he’s been dreaming up ways to incorporate more multipurpose furniture into his home and has been coming up with all sorts of wonderful ideas.
4. Tammy Strobel is as adorable on screen as she is in real life
I definitely geeked out when I saw Rowdy Kittens on the big screen. Like I did when we saw her in person, I immediately started squeezing Bryan’s hand and whispering, “It’s her!” Seeing Tammy’s life on screen confirmed my imaginations that I had about her tiny house on her husband’s family’s ranch. While I don’t think I have any business living on a ranch, I definitely fell even more in love with the tiny house lifestyle.
5. I need to reprogram my media consumption
As hard as I try to fight it, I definitely still fall victim to the Twitch–the compulsive urge to pick up my phone to check for notifications or updates. And let’s be honest, the current state of affairs with my social media life doesn’t involve a lot of interaction. I have to work hard for the involvement I do have and the likelihood of anything I’ve posted gaining any real traction is slim to none. I’ve consciously deleted several apps from my phone in hope of limiting the notifications I’m obsessively looking out for. I’m also trying not to check my phone as much in general and it’s something I plan on working more on in the future.
6. I’m not using most of my apartment
There’s a section in the film that discusses a heat map study that was conducted that illustrated where people spend the majority of their time in their house. And unsurprisingly, we only spend time in a fraction of the space we have. In an effort to use more of my too large, 880-sq foot apartment, I decided to get rid of the kitchen table and chairs I never use (I moved the table outside on my balcony to use for my vegetable garden and currently have the chairs stacked in the corner until I decide how to proceed with them) and turn the kitchen area into a “yoga studio,” meaning I rolled out my yoga mat, charged up my iPad to watch Yoga with Adriene, and added my inspiration white board as a way to inspire me as I move through the routine.
7. The minimalist community is everywhere…and going strong
I have to admit, I was really, really surprised that the movie theater was packed. I knew that enough people had bought tickets for the movie to “tip” (have enough people registered to make the film worth showing), but I never expected the whole theater to basically be filled up. It’s nice to see just how much the movement is spreading and my hope of finding like-minded people only continues to grow.
There are numerous other important things I could write about. I plan on watching the film again when it’s available for download and will probably share a follow up post of the things I learned from my second viewing. In the meantime, I encourage you to engage with The Minimalists as much as possible and to download the documentary when it becomes available. And in true The Minimalists fashion, I’ll leave you with this: Love people. Use things. Because the opposite never works.