Do Americans Have a Problem with Clutter?

According to professional organizer Regina Lark, the average U.S. household has 300,000 things in it.
According to professional organizer Regina Lark, the average U.S. household has 300,000 things in it.

It’s no mystery that many Americans like to collect things, whether books, old photos, knickknacks, or everything else in between. As the old saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. According to professional organizer Regina Lark, the average U.S. household has 300,000 things in it, so the question is, how and why do people end up with so much stuff?

Some items can be difficult to let go of due to sentimental value. Cherished photographs and possessions can accumulate very quickly, as can trinkets and souvenirs picked up while traveling. Collecting too many items, however, can lead to clutter, especially in homes with children, which in turn can cause emotional distress. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that middle-class families with children had homes cluttered to such a degree that mothers were experiencing elevated levels of stress hormones.

Clutter can also cause organization and cleanliness problems. A house only has so much space in it, and when that space is used up, the garage is the next logical place to store items. In the same UCLA study, it was found that only a quarter of U.S. home garages had room for an actual car in them.

Clearing the clutter:

  • Although U.S. children are less than 4% of children on the planet, they own nearly half the world's toys and children's books.

  • A person’s clutter could potentially be a way to make some money. Amazon, Apple, GameStop, and BestBuy all have trade in/trade up programs. Bonanza, LetGo, OfferUp, Close5, Decluttr, Usell, Gazelle, Swappa, and Facebook Marketplace are also available for people to sell items.

  • When collecting becomes an obsession, a person may develop a hoarding disorder, which can become very detrimental to health. Professional help may be required to treat this disorder.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • According to professional organizer Regina Lark, the average U.S. household has 300,000 things in it.
      By: Joseph Helfenberger
      According to professional organizer Regina Lark, the average U.S. household has 300,000 things in it.