300,000 The average number of items in an American home.
80% Portion of items in our house we rarely or never use, according to surveys conducted by the National Organization of Professional Organizers.
100% Increase in consumption of material goods over the past 50 years.
1% The total material flow-through of consumption which is still in use after 6 months. That is, experts estimate 99% of the materials used for producing consumer goods are used up, thrown out, or obsolete within 6 months of purchase.
100% Increase in the number of self-storage facilities in the US from 1994 to 2004.
2.3 Billion Square feet of stuff in self-storage units across America. That’s more than three times the size of Manhattan.
21 Square feet of self-storage space per household in America despite the…
172% Increase in the average US Home size since 1950.
25% Of people whose two car garages cannot fit any vehicles inside them, because they’re filled with too much stuff.
3.7% The percentage of the world’s children who live in America.
47% The percentage of children’s toys consumed by American children.
12 The number of toys played with daily by the average 10 year old child, despite owning an average of 238 toys.
Step aside baseball – buying stuff and filling every available space with it has quickly become America’s favorite past time.
I’ve always been fascinated by our obsession with stuff. What is it that makes those cool little giftshop trinkets so irresistible? Why do our minds always race wild with the positives of new stuff, without ever considering the negatives?
And those negatives are real. Clutter, stress, and a surprisingly large hit to the bank account, thanks to the cumulative effect of so many small purchases, plus their ongoing maintenance and housing costs.
Tough love time: You can’t own the world. Just because you think something is neat, doesn’t mean you have to own it.
We’re not barbarians anymore. It’s okay to admire something without conquering it.
Do you view the Stonehenge wondering whether you should buy it? Or do you appreciate it for a few moments before moving on with your life?
So then why can’t we appreciate that funny t-shirt for a second, without needing to bring it home to an already overstuffed closet and carrying it around for the next 30 years?
(Or worse, using it for a short while before tossing it into the landfill with 99% of the other items we buy.)
You’d think running out of room in our homes would be the first warning sign, but never deterred, we build bigger houses. When that’s not enough, we park our cars on the street so our stuff can fill the garages. Still never enough, we rent more storage space for our stuff. After running havoc on our budget, only that uncomfortable feeling of running out of money can contain our stuff.
This is classic addiction behavior, folks.
Free yourself from this madness. Take a step back, and pare down. Breathe. Don’t you feel lighter already?
Becoming just a little bit more minimalist allows us to buy less, spend less, and stress less. Rather than our stuff getting lost and overshadowed, it allows us to highlight and appreciate those special things important enough to own.
You’ll free yourself from the burden of stuff, and you’ll find yourself free to live the life you want. With or without your stuff.
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