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Do you need to be rich to be a minimalist?

So, this post is inspired by two things. First, this article from the New York Times.

And then, this response to it on Tumblr.

Read them both. Or if, you just have a little bit of time, just read the second one. Or, if you really seriously don't have much time, read this:

When you aren't as wealthy, you tend to carry more stuff. Right? I was thinking about this the other day when I was coming home on the bus (frugal) with my bags of groceries, while also carting around my purse and my lunch bag from work earlier (frugal). While necessary, this is clearly not an example of minimalism. But to prevent myself from carrying around all of this stuff, I would need a car. Which I can't afford (and also I can't drive, but that's another story).

Look at the people on the bus, though. There are a bunch of students, carrying their lives around in backpacks. There are older people, with their buggies full of groceries. There are young parents squeezing strollers full of kids into the front part of the bus. While not owning a car is frugal (and, some may argue, minimalist) -- all of these people on the bus are carrying around a lot of stuff with them.

Contrast that to a business woman you see at a coffeeshop downtown. She's got maybe a small purse with her, maybe just an iPhone (you can buy Starbucks now with just an app, or so I hear...), and otherwise is looking easy and breezy. Why? Because she doesn't have to carry her whole life around with her.

It's the same with your lifestyle. It would be great to get rid of a ton of my belongings and go travelling and living simply -- but I could never afford it. I need house. I mean, if I had limitless funds, I could declutter a ton of stuff in my house. I could get rid of my retro Macbook and Kobo Touch reader and get a sleek, tiny iPad Mini. I could stop borrowing books from the Library and just carry my iPad around with me -- this would definitely free up lots of space in my purse. But I can't afford to do either of those things.

I don't mean to suggest that it's not possible to downscale your lifestyle, and that doing so can't help you save money. It just seems to me like embracing a minimalist lifestyle and decluttering are things you can do only when you're well-off enough not to need your stuff anymore. Much like it can be more expensive to eat healthy/organic food -- eating processed, cheaper stuff is sometimes the best option for someone living on a smaller income.

What about you guys? Can you afford to go minimalist?

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