Let’s get real: the cost of our stuff

When our possessions become clutter, they suck our energy and productivity dry. The more we own, the more we have to take care of, clean, find a place for, organize, the list goes on. It’s my mission to help clients not only understand this but feel the difference in their energy and lives when they have a clean, organized space.

I’m a huge fan of statistics, I love reading them and citing them. I’m going to throw out a few stats here that I found online (each link to the original source) that really help drive my message home. Our stuff is killing us. It’s robbing us of energy, money and time. We’ve never had so much space to live in and store our stuff, but it’s not enough, we need more. Let these sink in for a few seconds:

  • Our houses are getting bigger and bigger. The median size of a new single-family home in 2016 is 61% larger than 40 years ago. source
  • Americans spend $1.2T (that’s TRILLION) annually on stuff we don’t need. source
  • US demand for home organization products will increase to $9.4 billion in 2017. source 
  • And since we have so much stuff that our even bigger houses can’t store for us, the self-storage industry has skyrocketed. In 2016 it’s estimated this industry will bring in $32.7 billion in revenue. source
  • In 2014 there were 48,500 self-storage facilities in America. This is an average of 21 feet of self-storage space for every American household. source
  • What in the world are we doing with all of this stuff? Do we need to rent storage because these new houses we’re building don’t have garages? Certainly not! 65% of Americans who rent storage have a garage! WHAT? source

Of course there are very legitimate reasons that people rent storage units. Most of these reasons are temporary. Changes in living situations, the death of a loved one and immediate need for storage are just a few. But these aren’t the only people paying to store their non-essential goods. This industry has taken off because of our consumption habits, fast paced lives and cultural shift into a “more is better” attitude. We may believe that holding on to our stuff is the right thing to do, the comfortable thing to do, or that our stuff will make our lives happy where they otherwise are not.

Consider this scenario:

  • We buy stuff that arrives at stores in boxes.
  • We either use the product the way it was intended or we never end up using it. Either way, the item likely ends up being placed in a storage box that we had to go out and buy.  I don’t know about you but I consider browsing at storage containers a hobby!
  • When there is no longer room in the house for this unused box of stuff, we relocate the box to the basement or garage.
  • When that space runs out, we may eventually pay to store it in a storage unit with our other things that we don’t use. I say we don’t use it because if something is stored off-site, it’s not a necessary part of our daily lives
  • Whew! Our stuff is expensive!

Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone. Nothing does. But it applies to many people, and some of you may be reading this blog now. Please know you are not alone. If your stuff is overwhelming you and you are tired of spending money to manage it, it’s time to get organized. You can do it! You have everything you need within you right now. And I’m here to help.

Noreen Thurston is a former corporate VP who took a leap of faith to chase her dreams. She left her successful and secure career to create the life she desires as a professional organizer and life coach. She is ready to share her skills and experiences with you to help you lead your best life! Contact her to schedule your consultation.

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