“We spend the first part of our lives acquiring possessions and the second part trying to get rid of them”
— Mark Lowe (@MarkKLowe) December 17, 2016
We own too much stuff. When I say “we”, I am talking about the collective “we” in North America and Western Europe.
Having so much in the way of material possession weighs us down mentally and I would argue that it does not bring us any more in the way of happiness or contentment.
Here are some statistics about the stuff we own.
1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (L.A. 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. (NY Times Magazine).
4. 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).
See also– How To Change Your Life in 30 Days
8. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).(and yet most people only wear 20% of the clothing they own)
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).
14. 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).
15. Americans donate 1.9% of their income to charitable causes. 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: The All-Consuming Epidemic).
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 day—or 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 goods—in 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’s—growing at a staggering rate of 10% each year (Uppercase)
These crazy statistics about the stuff we own certainly point out that consumerism and over-consumption is a bit out of control.
I believe that there is a better way to live, and that of course is living a more minimalist lifestyle. It is a life of freedom, intentionality, and passion. It does require that you change your way of thinking. You have to Change The Code. You will find yourself in a much more contented and happy place.
How much stuff do you have? Do you feel like you need to declutter your house?
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“Change The Code. Change Your Life”