Skip to comments.21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own
Posted on 01/11/2019 7:07:48 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Most of us know we own too much stuff. We feel the weight and burden of our clutter. We tire of cleaning and managing and organizing. Our toy rooms are messy, our drawers don’t close, and our closets are filled from top to bottom. The evidence of clutter is all around us.
Today, increasing data is being collected about our homes, our shopping habits, and our spending. The research is confirming our observation: we own too much stuff. And it is robbing us of life.
Here are 21 surprising statistics about our clutter that help us understand how big of a problem our accumulation has actually become.
1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
3. And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storagethe fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
4. While 25% of people with two-car garages dont have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could standall at the same timeunder the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).
6. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
7. 3.1% of the worlds children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
8. The average American woman owns 30 outfitsone for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).
9. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
10. While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
11. Nearly half of American households don’t save any money (Business Insider).
12. But our homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the dayeight hours, 14 minutes (USA Today).
13. Some reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).
14. Currently, the 12 percent of the worlds population that lives in North America and Western Europe account for 60 percent of private consumption spending, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent (Worldwatch Institute).
15. Americans donate 1.9% of their income to charitable causes (NCCS/IRS). While 6 billion people worldwide live on less than $13,000/year (National Geographic).
16. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education (Psychology Today).
17. Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
18. Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
19. Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items.The research found we lose up to nine items every dayor 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list (The Daily Mail).
20. Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goodsin other words, items they do not need (The Wall Street Journal).
21. The $8 billion home organization industry has more than doubled in size since the early 2000’sgrowing at a staggering rate of 10% each year (Uppercase).
The numbers paint a jarring picture of excessive consumption and unnecessary accumulation. Fortunately, the solution is not difficult. The invitation to own less is an invitation to freedom, intentionality, and passion. And it can be discovered at your nearest drop-off center.
Somewhere, two people have twice these stats, to make up for my husband and myself.
Whenever I help somebody move, I go home close my eyes, grab something, and throw it out.
I have no idea how this figure could even be remotely calculated. Take for instance an automobile. If one has to commute to work, it is a need. If there is public transportation available is it still technically a need or does it become a want? If it is a need to get to work and a $15K Ford Fiesta would be adequate for the purpose but one opts for a $150K Porsche instead, is the $135K overage calculated as a "want", and the $15K considered the "need"?
IMHO, most of these stats are meaningless and only serve the purposes of guilting successful people and promoting class envy.
Yeah, “non-essential goods,” why should my consumption be limited solely to non-essential goods? I render services that someone in society has deemed valuable to earn money to allow to acquire things that I want.
And as you note, how is something deemed essential or not?
From birth through college, there is a gross materialism around all the stuff we wrap our kids with, especially.
I get why folks might use a garage bay for storage. Surprised it is only 1 in 10 for the rented storage.
Millennials were supposed to be less materialistic, but when those I know get married, have babies, etc., they are more into the trappings than our previous generations, for sure.
It’s an interesting article. I posted it to FB “friends”, maybe get an intelligent conversation going. I just “decluttered” my house. Now, everything has a purpose (not all necessities) and a place. It’s made what I have so much more useful and interesting.
If government can take it away from you for unpaid taxes, do you really OWN it?
Regarding those shopping malls: here in the lower Michigan/Toledo area the recession took its toll. Of the eight in the area only one is doing well; two are open with only two of three stores; and the rest of the malls were bulldozed.
It was not until this last year that business picked up.
George Carlin - A Place For My Stuff
If a firearm is used for recreational shooting for years, but in one night it is used to defend the family during a home invasion, when did it stop being a, "want," and start being a, "need"?
If a hobby, independent of one's livelihood, promotes one's psychological well-being, is money spent on that hobby a need or want?
Utterly absurd and meaningless statistic. As I noted, it is not a useless statistic; it's very useful to those wishing to inflame class animosity.
Stuff is good. Stuff is great. I want more stuff!
If a function cannot be performed without it, it is essential. But is the function essential?
"...how much stuff we actually own..."
Like when a parent or aunt/uncle pass and you are the one to sort through the "stuff" they leave behind.
I don't want my daughter to have to go through that.
$1.2 trillion on non-essential goodsthats nothing. Look at what we spend on non-essential government!
Donate it, the donation center sells it and the money goes to a worthy cause.
I need to get cracking on a truckload.
While there are many references in the article that I dont practice. I still have clutter.
RE: $1.2 trillion on non-essential goods
But we can’t have $5 Billion for a Border Wall.
O.K. just get western consumption down to pre-WWII levels and watch the economies of many poor countries collapse, as export to western countries is 100% of all they have.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.