All Our Stuff Is Stressing Us Out

The typical American home has quite a lot of things in it
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2012 2:05 PM CDT
All Our Stuff Is Stressing Us Out
Look familiar?   (Flickr)

A team of anthropologists went into 32 typical American homes to research a new book, and here's what they discovered: We really, really like stuff. The homes were full of things purchased by families, Time reports. Example: In one home, a staggering 2,260 possessions were on display in the first three rooms entered. Keep in mind, that's just the possessions the researchers could actually see—it doesn't count items in drawers, cabinets, boxes, or behind other items. In a girl's bedroom, they catalogued things 165 Beanie Babies, 45 dolls, 37 other figurines, and a miniature castle—all on one shelf.

The idea behind the book, Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors, is that it's become normal for Americans to accumulate an overwhelming amount of things—and those things actually make us less happy and more stressed, not to mention sink us into debt. Mothers tended to use phrases like "not fun" and "very chaotic" when describing their homes. Notes an author, "Our excess becomes a visible sign of unaccomplished work that constantly challenges our deeply engrained notions of tidy homes and elicits substantial stress." (More clutter stories.)

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