Are Americans Drowning in Stuff?

Are Americans Drowning in Stuff?

When consumers have a hard time disposing of their clothing and other items, they often end up hoarding more than they need. Not only does this create clutter, it can also become expensive to maintain.

In fact, the median size for new homes today is nearly 1,000 square feet larger than the average house in 1950, despite the fact that family size has actually decreased since then. What’s more, a study of middle-class American families shows that three out of four garages are so full of items that there is not enough room to actually park a car.

Clutter: An Expensive Problem
A recent survey shows that more than half of Americans are overwhelmed by clutter, yet nearly 80 percent find it too complicated to manage. And one of the major spending categories for the average American is on clothes, with individuals spending over $130 a month, or nearly $1,600 a year, on apparel.

As individuals spend money on acquiring things, they also need to spend more money to store it, or to ultimately dispose of it. Filling homes to the brim with the results of shopping sprees is no longer enough, however, and many Americans are turning to storage units to make up the difference. The $24-billion-a-year storage industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the commercial real estate industry in the last four decades. Organizing is another emerging industry, which has grown into a $1 billion sector in response to Americans’ accumulation of items.

Environmental Pressure
Another consequence of the rise in Americans’ clutter is the toll taken on landfills, with 15.1 million tons of textile waste produced by Americans alone in 2013, 85 percent of which ended up in landfills.

Resale: Solving the Clutter Crisis
One alternative that benefits all parties, however, is the resale industry. Selling unwanted items to a resale shop is a great way to not only free up space in one’s home, but to also earn money from discarding unneeded items while avoiding the landfill.

Resale stores like Once Upon a Child®, Style Encore®, Plato’s Closet®, Play it Again Sports® and Music Go Round® are each tailored to purchase customers specific items, such as musical instruments, sports equipment and clothing for children, teens and adults.

Not only do these stores pay cash for gently used items, they are a great place to find any necessary items at a fraction of the cost without contributing to the growing problem of excess in society. When a family member outgrows an item and needs to upgrade to the next size up, for example, trading in the old equipment or clothing for a replacement is a great way to:

  • Earn some extra money
  • Get a great deal
  • Avoid the buildup of clutter
  • Reduce the amount of textile waste in the environment

Once consumers identify the items they’d like to bring in, resale stores make it simple to exchange them with cash on the spot for those that meet the brand’s quality standards. It’s this type of business model that makes resale stores such a durable investment.

Are you interested in learning more about becoming a franchisee and helping Americans reduce clutter and their environmental impact? Click to learn more!

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