When Less is More

Documentary: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2016). How might your life be better with less? The synopsis on the film’s website notes the purpose is to examine the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.

I was interested to see this documentary as I have previously written about minimalism – a cousin to frugalism or frugality in my mind – and was familiar with the minimalists behind the documentary, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Known as “The Minimalists” to their 4 million readers, Ryan and Joshua help people live more meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and this documentary.

While I’m not prepared to embrace minimalism to the extent those in the documentary do – I think it’s possible some go too far with the practice – I do appreciate the fact that we are a nation of hyper-consumers and less is often more; and there are certainly things we can all cut out of our lives to make them less stressful, more streamlined, and more focused on the people and things that are truly important.

Check it out today. Considering the time of year, when our materialism and consumerism go into hyper-drive, and we focus a lot on stuff, this may be just the documentary to see. It is available for streaming on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Vimeo.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. James, thanks for reminding me about this documentary. It keeps popping up on our Netflix account as well – and probably for good reason.

    I read your previous post on minimalism, and I’m in the same boat with you. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take it so far as a tiny, tiny house.

    However, the mindset is in the right place. By practicing the thought process, I find myself constantly looking for things we don’t need and what things are most important in my life.

    For example, instead of having so many different hobbies, I try to focus on the ones I love the most. Golf is one of those. By ignoring many of the other distractions one could have, I use the extra savings to do more of what I love.

    It’s really liberating. It takes practice, but it’s worth it.

    What has been your biggest challenge when practicing ideas of minimalism?

    • You’re right on target when you note there are some things that are a bridge too far (e.g. a tiny home) but that is a better mindset. There aren’t too many ways in which I feel too challenged when trying to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle. As I noted in the earlier blog post, the wife and I bought less house than we could afford – no McMansion for us – and we regularly get rid of items we don’t need via the Salvation Army, Big Brothers – Big Sisters, and Disabled Veterans of America. One thing I’m willing to try, but the wife has yet to agree to, is to get rid of one car. Both are paid for, so it isn’t really an expense thing, it’s just that I believe we could reduce our footprint a little and not be inconvenienced a great deal. Perhaps one day she’ll come around.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend and sharing your thoughts.

      • For what it’s worth, my wife and I have been down to one car for the better part of two years now. It was and is still difficult, however I feel like we’ve learned a few things.

        1. We’ve learned to become better planners with our schedules. I work from home most of the time, so it’s a little bit easier. For example, if we both need to be somewhere, we can usually make a couple small tweaks and make it happen. The worst that happens is I have to wait around until she’s done, but that time can be filled with a good book or some writing.
        2. Rental cars are important. If one of us needs to travel, we try to rent a car so there’s still a vehicle at home. This has worked well for the most part, but it’s still a challenge. However, if you have the money budgeted and plan ahead, it’s easily solved.
        3. We still have friends who question us about it. Living with one vehicle seems to be one of those things you just have to try. Since everyone’s situation is different, you won’t know for sure until you jump off the cliff – maybe you’ll learn how to fly on the way down 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *