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The American Obsession With Stuff  Thumbnail

The American Obsession With Stuff

We are filling our lives with so much junk — clothes we'll never wear ... spare furniture ... stuff we "might use" — that the U.S. now has more self-storage facilities than McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger Kings, Starbucks, and Walmarts combined (Axios March 9, 2022).

The United States is a nation of stuff. We have more stuff than any other country worldwide and we are constantly buying more. The average American household owns over 300,000 items (look it up). 

Our obsession with stuff has led to many problems. For one, it's not good for the environment. The production, transportation, and disposal of all this stuff is a big contributor to pollution. All this stuff also takes up a lot of space. The average American home is now 2,600 square feet (about the area of a tennis court), which is more than twice the size of a home in the 1950s. 

But the biggest problem with our obsession with stuff is that it's not making us happy. Studies have shown that people who own more things are not as happy as people who own less. This is because the more stuff we have, the more we worry about it. We must worry about where to store it, how to clean it, and how to protect it from damage. 

The good news is that a growing movement of people are working on decluttering their lives. They realize that the less stuff they have, the happier they are. They're also realizing that the less stuff they have, the more time is available for them to do the things they want to do 

If you're interested in decluttering your life, here are a few tips: 

  • Start by getting rid of anything that you haven't used in the past year. 
  • Donate anything that you no longer need to charity. 
  • You may decide to sell what you can. 
  • Throw away anything that is broken or damaged. 
  • Give yourself permission to let go of things. It's okay to get rid of things that you love. We just purged all kinds of old photos. 

Decluttering your life is not easy, but it is worth it. When you get rid of the clutter, you'll free up space in your home, in your mind, and in your life. 

Alternatives to Stuff 

There are several alternatives to collecting stuff. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Spend time with loved ones. 
  • Spend time in nature. 
  • Learn a new skill. 
  • Create art. 
  • Volunteer your time to a cause you care about. 
  • Travel. 
  • Read books. 
  • Listen to music. 
  • Meditate. 
  • Exercise. 
  • Take a nap. 

These are just a few ideas. The important thing is to find activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. When you focus on experiences instead of things, you'll find that you're happier and more content. 

I could have used humor in this blog, but having our lives driven by accumulating stuff is not funny. Please act on shedding some of what you have accumulated over the years. Work at not falling back into the trap of trying to make yourself happy by purchasing something you don’t need. Being at peace with yourself and creating memories is what will help make you happy. 

Here is to living the Good Life,