The Problem

Why are so many of us turning to the path of minimalism?

We value our clutter like we would our prized possessions. And yet while we have a hard time “letting go” of the things, we also struggle with the effects of being surrounded by the excess.

Our Homes:

  • The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years, going from around 1000 sq. ft. to 3000sq. ft. on average. source: NPR

  • 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).
    The average American home has 300,000 items. Does yours have more or less?source: LA Times

  • A typical home contains $1600 worth of unused clutter. 
  • 1 out of 4 people that have two car garages have so much stuff, that they can’t park a car. 32% only have room for one vehicle. source: U.S. Department of Energy
  • It costs an average of $10/square foot to store items in your home. Taking the square footage of your storage space compared with total space and mortgage payments.

Money Wasted:

  • Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods—in other words, items they do not need (The Wall Street Journal).
  • We consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).
  • 23% of adults report they pay bills late and get charged late fees because they lose them. source: Harris Interactive 
  • The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
  • While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
  • The $8 billion home organization industry has more than doubled in size since the early 2000’s—growing at a staggering rate of 10% each year (Uppercase)
  • Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education (Psychology Today).
  • Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
  • Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
  • Currently, the 12 percent of the world’s 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).

Hours Lost:

  • Getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in the average home. source: National Soap and Detergent Association
  • 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 day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list (The Daily Mail).
  • We spend a whole year of our lives looking for lost or misplaced items. source: National Association of Professional Organizers 
  •  

Overwhelm:

  • Research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
  • 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
  • The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).

The  Profit:

  • 1 in 11 American households rent a self-storage space and spend over $1000 a year in rent.

  • 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).
  • The storage facility industry is $154 billion industry because we are running out of space in our homes. That’s bigger than the film industry, FYI.