minimalism and america pt.2

you can see my first post on the failure of minimalism to catch on in america right here.

i just read some more interesting statistics reinforcing the notion of america’s unquenchable desire for everything material. 

  • it took 25 years for the storage industry to build its first billion square feet of storage space. the second billion square feet was added in just seven years, from 1998 to 2005, according to the self storage association.
  • in 1995, one in 17 american households rented storage space. by 2007, that ratio had increased to one in 10, according to the self storage association.
  • the average american home has grown from 1,400 square feet in 1970 to 2,300 square feet today, but the average size of the household has shrunk from 3.1 to 2.5.
  • five years ago, the total amount of revolving debt — mainly credit card debt — that americans owed was $800 billion. today, according to the June credit report released by the federal reserve, it’s nearly $1 trillion, even as millions of us regularly plundered home equity to pay off plastic.

i can’t help but wonder what kind of a difference america could be making around the world if they had spent that $300 billion on feeding hungry children or delivering medical supplies to needy families around the world instead of spending it on stuff and empty spaces to store their stuff.  i’m not judging, i’m just wondering…


You can read the whole article here: The High Price of Too Much Stuff.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Colleen says

    Ponder away, it is a very real situation. I lived in the US with my family for 7.5 years and it was a very easy place to shop. My husband recently took a business trip back there and he said he stepped into Fry’s the big electronic store and thought to himself “now I remember how easy it was to spend money here” he felt like a kid in a candy store.
    By the way there is no need for Americans to spend their money on overseas charity becasue there are enough people living below the poverty line right there, help your own people first.

  2. Mina says

    I disagree with what your previous poster said. She forgets that America is made up of immigrants, whether born within or without. Without immigrants, there would be no America. So you are helping your own people by not only helping those in America, but also by helping the rest of the world.

    I am an American living in Canada. I hope to move back to the States. When I do, I will continue to live minimally. I enjoy eating rice on a daily basis and drinking tea, water, and the occasional juice. Canada has worse poverty than the USA has, and it is hard to get help up here. The general attitude is anti-poor and anti-homeless. Even anti-disability. I am blind and reliant upon my husband, who is a born Canadian.

    In the name of love, and compassion, I do not wish to hear my screenreader say that someone thinks charity is only worth it in their home country. If you love all, you will be happier. When you love your self, charity does not happen at all. America will need to wake up before they will help their own, much less the poor in other countries. I do miss my country (USA) but I do not miss the decadence.

    • di says

      I’ve always been shunned in society, because I was divorced and poor. Even though I pursued an education and have a good job, others never let me forget where I came from.

  3. Frank says

    I think either is just as bad though. We should be helping as many as we can, and by focusing on people in other countries, we forget about the people right here in our own neighborhoods who need help.

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