Conventional wisdom says that clutter is bad; you have a lot of junk laying around, and you don't need all of it. However, as the Art of Manliness points out, reducing your stuff to the bare essentials may not be a luxury that poorer households can afford.
Picture: Jeff Turner/Flickr
The idea seems a bit counterintuitive (particularly if you account for storage space), but it actually makes sense. "Clutter" is typically seen as junk. Crap you don't need. However, the less money you have, the less you can afford to replace that old stuff you might-but-probably-don't need.
Basically, minimalism is largely something only well-off people can afford to pursue, because their wealth provides a cushion of safety. If they get rid of something, and then need it later, they will just buy it again. They don't need to carry much else besides a wallet when they're out and about; if they need something, they will just buy it on the fly. No sweat. If you're not so well-off, however, having duplicates of your possessions can be necessary, even if such back-ups ruin the aesthetics of owning just 100 possessions.
This idea can manifest itself in a number of ways, including hanging on to old furniture, clothes that don't fit anymore, or a pile of chargers and cables. You could probably get rid of that stuff, but if you think you might need it and can't afford to buy it again, it serves a purpose.
Of course, there's always a balance to strike. The ultimate goal should be to keep only what you need and get rid of the rest. If you're clearing out your junk, ask yourself whether you'll benefit more from getting rid of something or keeping it. If you can sell your junk, do it. If you can't afford to replace something you throw out or donate, hang on to it.
The Problem With Minimalism [The Art of Manliness]