Americans own a crippling amount of items that clutter our lives. How much stuff do we own, how has this number changed over time, and how does this impact us? This story from BecomingMinimalist.com is eye opening.
Joshua Becker wrote “21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own.” Here are just a few of those surprising statistics:
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 storage—the 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 don’t 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 stand—all at the same time—under 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 world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
8. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one 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 day—eight 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).
And here’s another sobering statistic: Approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every single day. They comprise a full 26% of the American population. They own a lot of stuff and control a lot of money.
Eventually, 100% of them will die, leaving their possessions, their financials, and their funeral plans in the hands of their spouse or kids – if they have them. Yet less than 30% of U.S. adults have done any end-of-life planning, and that’s a problem.
How can this Silver Tsunami generation avoid leaving a disorganized mess? Get a copy of KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die. It is designed to help adults clear their clutter, firm up their financials and leave the world a better place.
The 128-page book, in paperback and eBook formats (to come), is a quick, easy read, with colorful photographs and bonus online information. Each of the 100 Bucket List items include links to helpful internet articles that expand on each point.
There’s also a handy 50-item Executor’s Checklist, guidance for the person who will take care of your after-death details, available as a free downloadable PDF here.
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