The following list of data* highlights the fact that people in modern economies, like America, have too much stuff. Not only is it more stuff than is needed for a life of well-being, it is weighing us down, it is a burden in the true sense of the word.
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 yet one out of every ten Americans rent offsite storage. (New York Times Magazine).
4. While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park any cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
5. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
6. 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
7. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).
9. Some reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).
10. 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).
11. Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
12. Over the course of their lifetime, the average Americans will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list (The Daily Mail).
13. Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods i.e. items they don’t need (The Wall Street Journal).
* data collected by Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com