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The heart of essentialism isn’t about asking how little we can live with, but determining what we simply cannot live without.

Like its austere doppelgänger minimalism, essentialism dislikes excess. But you don’t have to wear only black, drink coffee without cream or purge your secondhand books to hone life to a fine point. Although living sparely has its virtues, the grand task of essential living is to uncover the elements that bring us rapture.

The thing that encumbers one person is often the buoyant must-have of another. If you search online for “things people can’t live without, ” you’ll find lists including anything from a morning cup of coffee to punctuation and a good cry every now and then. We’ve all witnessed the caprices of another: A friend of mine can’t go a day without drinking a shot of melting chocolate, and another never travels without his pillow, stuffing the goose-down rectangle into

  • Words:
    Margaret Everton
  • Photography:
    Mikkel Mortensen
  • Styling:
    Lene Rønfeldt

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  • Words:
    Margaret Everton
  • Photography:
    Mikkel Mortensen
  • Styling:
    Lene Rønfeldt
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