Is it for the rich? Is it for the poor?
Does it matter?
Minimalism is for anyone who wants to live a lifestyle that has less to do with the stuff in our lives and more to do with the experiences we can have.
And even though it is for anyone, there is a stigma for some reason that it is something that a person who is well off does. Although, I don't agree with this rationale, I do get it.
When I think about Joshua Field Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists, they went from a dirt poor upbringing, to six-figure salaries in which they had anything and everything they wanted (including large amounts of debt), to where they are now as minimalists.
When you're poor, I think there is a tendency (and I'm stereotyping here) to want the material possessions you don't have. It's that whole idea of keeping up with the Joneses, or at the very least, to have what they have.
I think about my own childhood. My parents divorced when I was seven-years-old. While neither of my parents was dirt poor, I would say that my dad certainly had a lot less when it came to material possessions. I don't know if he would agree, but he seemed to try to make up for it by giving me stuff when he could.
When I was about to turn 10, I wanted a 10-speed bicycle for my birthday. My mom told me no, so I did what most children of divorce do, I asked my dad. He got the bicycle for me. I don't know whether or not he could actually afford it, but he got it anyway. By the way, that's the last time I got away with getting something from one parent when the other one said no.
It feels like when you don't have much, you yearn to have more. Once you have it, though, it isn't what it's all cracked up to be. As Joshua and Ryan said, many times the MMM syndrome sets in: Make More Money so that you can have more stuff.
And then you hit a point where enough is enough, and you no longer want the stuff.
I'm 49-years-old, and I'm finally figuring that out. I'm being held hostage by my personal debt (luckily, I have a husband who is financially solvent), and I'm tired of it. I have put myself on a spending fast for the next year to pay off as much debt as possible.
I'm slowly but surely getting rid of all the excess in my possessions (no, my husband is not moving toward minimalism...yet). I used to have a tub with the clothes I wasn't wearing during that season of the year. That tub is now gone, and I currently have 37 items hanging in my closet. I still have my dresser with clothes in it, but I have empty spaces in it. I love books, but I have given myself one container to put them in and the rest have been boxed up to be donated. If the knick-knacks aren't serving a purpose, more than being dusted around, then they are going as well. I've gone through my kitchen once to get rid of what I don't use.
It's a process, but I'm getting there.
As Joshua and Ryan say, if it doesn't add value then get rid of it.
I just wish I had learned this lesson a lot sooner. It isn't about the stuff. It should never be about the stuff. Life is supposed to be about experiences, about enjoying the people in your life. It's about curling up in a chair to read a book. It's about taking a walk with your partner. It's about getting outside to enjoy the sunshine. It's about attending an event. It's about being with your family and cherishing those special moments.
To borrow one more phrase from these two guys, "Love people. Use things. The opposite never works."
That is the way life is supposed to be.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.