No, the average American home probably doesn’t contain 300,000 items

That number gets thrown around a lot as fact, particularly in “minimalism is the answer!!!11” contexts. Example:

One-quarter of Americans cop to having a “clutter problem.” Hardly surprising then, that the average home contains 300,000 items.

Source: NBC


Consider these statistics cited by professional organizer Regina Lark: The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.

Source: LA Times

But it seems to be bunk. A few points:

  • Here’s a thorough takedown of that claim which tries and fails to find any credible source. “Regina Lark” (credited by the LA Times) only wrote a post on it which has nothing useful.
  • What even is an “item”? Is a box of 100 matches one item or 100 items? Is a ream of paper one item or 500 items?
  • Britain’s biggest hoarder” had his entire home packed full, along with “two garages, part of a neighbour’s garden and 24 council wheelie bins to stash all the stuff” and he still only had 60,000 items.

I don’t know why this false claim is so annoying to me, but it is. Many Americans have too many things, but probably not 300,000.

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