The Price Tag of Minimalism: Is It a Rich Man’s Game?
You’ve seen those minimalist homes, right?
Spotless white counters, a single monstera plant delicately placed, a lonely iPad resting on a bare desk—sheer simplicity.
But let’s stir the pot a bit: Is minimalism just a sneaky luxury for the well-off?
Or can anyone truly embrace the “less is more” without going broke?
In today’s article, I will show you that minimalism is more than just about physical spaces.
I will discuss…
- The first impression of minimalism on social media: it’s a rich man’s game
- How much does it cost to declutter?
- Other hidden expenses of minimalism
- Minimalism principles, again
The First Impressions of Minimalism on Social Media: It’s a Rich Man’s Game
Imagine you walk into a room with one chair that costs more than your car.
The walls are bare, and there’s this suspicious-looking plant in the corner that you’re 90% sure is plotting world domination.
Oh, and it only blossoms once every leap year at the first full moon when a virgin is present.
So you think, “That must be the minimalist life.”
But wait… since when did having less look so posh and pricey?
And it’s because of social media again, well, Instagram (just typing this got my pulse up)…
Thanks to our dear friend Instagram and its cousin Pinterest, we’re swamped with homes that are less ‘less is more’ and more ‘less but luxurious.’
And, of course, those $43000 designer chairs get more likes than Granny’s hand-me-down recliner.
Have you ever noticed that some minimalist gurus live in homes straight out of a luxury magazine?
So, they’re preaching “declutter” with a backdrop that whispers “$$$.”
Then there’s chatter in the minimalist tribe about buying fewer but top-quality stuff.
Sounds cool until you realize that top quality often translates to top dollar.
Have you ever flipped through a home design mag and felt poor?
That’s because designers love making minimalism look expensive.
Their mantra: Why go simple when you can go simply extravagant?
If you think about all the above, it smells like an inside job from a spy movie.
And it kind of is.
Minimalism in some areas has been hijacked by, well, consumerism.
Now, we have an explosion of minimalist products – all with a not-so-minimalist price tag.
To wrap this up (in a minimalist bow), minimalism isn’t about a designer label.
It’s about living with intention, joy, and maybe a slightly suspicious plant.
But remember, you don’t need to break the bank to embrace it.
How Much Does It Cost to Declutter?
You may have watched the documentaries and read the blogs, and you’re sold on the dream.
“I’m going minimalist,” you declare to your overfilled closet.
But here’s the twist you might not expect: Does decluttering come with a price tag?
Let’s say you’ve got piles of stuff you want gone, and you think of hiring a hauling service, thinking, “Surely, they’ll take it for free since they can resell it or recycle it.”
Nope! Some of these services charge, and let me tell you, it ain’t peanuts.
According to this source, it’s $230 per load on average and can go up to $800.
You may also have to rent a dumpster, which can come on top of the hauling service.
Dumpster rentals, according to the same source, cost an average of $400 per week.
Not quite ready to part with grandma’s collection of porcelain cats?
You might rent a storage unit – a temporary fix that quietly drains your bank account each month.
The average cost is $185 monthly (source).
And chances are, those cats will just collect dust.
An ironic thing that may happen is when you replace items.
So, you sell your blender because you used it once in the last blue moon.
Then, suddenly, you fancy a smoothie, realize you’re blender-less, and buy another.
Then, if you’re going green, some eco-friendly disposal options might cost a tad more than just chucking stuff into the dumpster.
In addition, there can also be an emotional price.
Old letters, toys, things from exes who shall not be named… Letting go can feel like losing a part of history.
That’s an emotional cost, and sometimes, therapy isn’t free.
So, decluttering is not always the free-spirited, costless journey it’s made out to be.
With some smarts and savvy, you can minimize the hit on your wallet while you maximize the space in your life.
Other Hidden Expenses to Minimalism
As counterintuitive as it sounds, going minimalist might have hidden costs, as you could learn in the previous section.
Let’s now dive into the not-so-obvious price tags of living the “simple” life and see what other hidden expenses you may encounter.
Transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle might mean a home revamp.
Replacing bulky furniture with space-saving alternatives, repainting, or even remodeling can have costs creep up on you faster than a cat on a laser pointer.
Maybe you decide to DIY to save on costs—whether it’s sewing, cooking, or repairing things.
While empowering, there’s a cost to learning these skills, be it courses, books, or tools.
As you declutter, you might be tempted by aesthetically pleasing storage solutions.
Those sleek organizers and bins? Yes, they also have price tags.
In addition, many minimalists advocate spending on experiences rather than possessions.
While this is fulfilling, experiences, be it travel or a pottery class, aren’t always cheap.
Next, if you’re downsizing your wardrobe, fewer clothes might mean more frequent washes, leading to wear and tear and sooner replacements.
Buying ethically or sustainably often aligns with minimalist values.
But as much as you may love supporting ethical brands, they can sometimes be pricier than their mass-market counterparts.
Want to move towards digital minimalism?
Online storage, premium organization apps, or e-readers might call for some upfront costs.
So, is minimalism a secret gold-digger?
But like any lifestyle choice, being aware of the potential costs is essential.
Let’s Recap Minimalism Principles, Again
So, from all the above, you can get the impression that minimalism is only viable for people who have at least some money or are somewhat “rich.”
However, we have missed something the whole time.
Most of the above arguments for needing money to go minimalist refer to one aspect of minimalism.
It’s the aspect that is mostly written and talked about. It’s physical space.
The latter is the most consumerism-like aspect of minimalism.
Applying the philosophy of minimalism to your life doesn’t need much money, if at all.
It’s a mindset shift.
To illustrate this, let’s recap the minimalism core principles again.
It will all become clearer later.
I discussed these core principles in articles like this one.
And stripped down to their essence, they are as follows:
- Simplicity (focusing on the essential)
- Freedom from materialism (appreciating what you already have)
- Quality over quantity
- Living in the present
- Clarity and peace
- Self-sufficiency (depending less on external things for happiness)
All the above principles you can apply to many more areas than just physical spaces, such as…
- The digital world
In Conclusion: Is Minimalism Only a Rich Man’s Game?
When you look at the abovementioned principles and all the other areas where minimalism can be applied.
Do you think that it’s only a rich man’s game?
Probably yes, if you want to mirror the Instagram world and fall for the minimalism marketing campaigns that foster consumerism masked as minimalism.
Also, if you have a limited view of minimalism and only think of minimalism applied to physical spaces.
But this would be ignoring the key principles of minimalism and the fact they are not limited to only physical spaces.
In the latter case, minimalism is not a rich man’s game.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.