What Possessions can’t you bear to part with?
In 2015 anthropologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) carried out a study into possessions in the average home. It found that even in the smallest home in their study, a house of 980 sq ft, there were, in the two bedrooms and living room alone, 2,260 items. This was not including anything that was stored in drawers or cupboards.
On average, each family had 39 pairs of shoes, 90 DVDs or videos, 139 toys, 212 CDs and 438 books and magazines. Nine out of 10 had so many things that they kept household stuff in the garage. It’s no wonder that one in every 10 Americans rent offsite storage.
There is no reason to believe that things are any different in the UK.
But what are the things we find hardest to get rid of?
The average British woman, according to various surveys, buys 59 items of clothing each year and has twice as many clothing items as she did in 1980, including 22 things she has never worn. As far back as 2006 The Daily Mail reported that women spend more than eight years of their lives shopping!
Still one of the most famous collectors of shoes is Imelda Marcos, widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th president of the Philippines. The collection amounted to an estimated 3,000 pairs before many of them were destroyed by termites and in a flood more than 26 years after she went into exile. What a sad end to her one prized possessions!
British research has found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.
Many of us hang onto them well into adulthood, as every long-suffering parent storing them knows. How many parents have heard the excuse “they’ll become collectors’ items” or “I can sell them online and make lots of money”?
There are plenty of people who prefer books to an electronic reader and equally cannot bear to get rid of any books they have ever bought. However, it is worth having a cull every so often before they take up every wall, and possibly inch of spare floor space, in your home.
How do you decide what to keep? Ask yourself some questions: does it have strong sentimental value such as an inscription on the title page, is it signed by the author or are otherwise valuable to you and do you reread it regularly.
Why hang onto that exercise bike that hasn’t been used for several years, or the tent you bought even though you fell out of love with camping years ago? Similarly, if you can’t remember the last time you went skiing, why keep the skis and associated gear? Perhaps it was the original cost of the items that deters people from getting rid of them, or perhaps it’s the idea that one day they will exercise properly, and those items will be useful again.
How many do you actually use, and wouldn’t it be great to have a kitchen where you can actually see and use the worktops?
… and if you’re firmly of the view that any of the above “will come in handy sometime” then you can always store them with us.