The Statistics of Clutter

If you 1) desire to live a happier, healthier life or 2) just like random stats, this post is for you.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy reports that one-quarter of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park a car.
  • According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home.
  • The National Association of Professional Organizers reports we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items.
  • Harris Interactive reports 23 percent of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them.
  • If you rent a storage facility to store your excess belongings, you’re contributing to a $154 billion industry – bigger than the hollywood film business!
  • 1 in 11 American households rent a self-storage space and spend over $1000 a year in rent.
  • It costs an average of $10/square foot to store items in your home.
  • In a 2008 NAPO survey of 400 consumers nationwide, 27 percent said they feel disorganized at work, and of those, 91 percent said they would be more effective and efficient if their workspace was better organized. 28 percent said they would save over an hour per day and 27 percent said they would save 31 to 60 minutes each day.
  • Stephanie Winston, author of The Organized Executive, estimates a manager loses 1 hour/day to disorder, costing the business up to $4,000/yr if earning $35,000/yr – or $8,125/yr at $65,000).

And, yes, there is indeed a National Soap and Detergent Association!

Need some help? Try one of these: 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

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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    • di says

      We could provide for better nutrition and health care, etc.

      It’s difficult to control and prioritize human behavior.

  1. says

    Thank you for mentioning us! Find more information about NAPO and “Get Organized” MonthSM, including tips on home and office organizing, how to hire a professional organizer, a calendar of chapter events and organizing statistics by visiting You can also follow us on Twitter at @NAPOnatl!

  2. says

    I think it’s funny that I basically spend a year of my life being lost. At least I did think it’s funny…now I’m kinda mad.

    So, I’m not good with math but I’m wondering if I can say something like, “every time I find myself searching for something in my home, it takes five minutes off my life?”

    – Charley

  3. says

    “the national association of professional organizers says we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items. ”

    That really hit home for me. My apartment clutter is made up of mostly paper and books. The paper is from tons of purchase receipts and random documents. My room is full of books that I have already read and will most likely never read again.

    So because of all that clutter, I have a hard time finding things when I need them.

    I was thinking about purchasing receipts. Why do stores still give paper receipts??? With electronic commerce (credit or debit), smart phones, and the internet; you would think that banks and credit card companies could invent something that just stores my purchase information into my bank statement electronically. So when I make a purchase at a store, instead of getting a paper receipt, I just get an electronic record of the receipt in my bank account.

    Then I can log online see all the receipts of my puchases. That information would actually be very handy in electronic format. Software programs can then analyize where are money is going. We know how much we spent on food, clothing, electronics, magazine, etc. That is a lot better than just seeing the total amount of the purchase .

    So we could not only cut back on the amount wasted paper, we could also manage our budgets better. We could cut back on buying more pointless junk when we see exactly where our money is going.

    Just a thought….

    • di says

      That’s called keeping track of your own spending in a budget book. Many of us already do that.

      It’s a great way to review your habits and develop a better tactic to save money in the future.

  4. says

    That part about people with two-car garages is true. They have too much junk they cannot even find room to park their car. And what’s funnier, instead of getting rid of all the junk, some manage to rent storage facilities and fill it with even more junk. Is there such a thing as a human organizer? Someone to help these people do some organizing and decluttering.

  5. di says

    A lot of time and resources are wasted traveling to and working in another building. You’d think the government would offer tax incentives for companies that offered work at home.

  6. di says

    We waste a lot of time going to meetings that are run by a very few. So many meetings could be easily replaced with an email. Many emails are a waste of time as well.

  7. di says

    I work part-time as a Registered Nurse. Upon arriving and just before leaving work, I spend a half hour deleting oblivious email. This makes it very difficult to accomplish what actually needs to be done in a timely manner.

    With the added stress of less time, work may not be properly prioritized and errors are more frequent.

    Even though we were told not to put in over-time, unless approved by the supervisor, I eventually began to just pace myself throughout the entire day. I never waste a moment, but I always leave work knowing that my job was completed thoroughly and completely without having second thoughts.

    Some of us do have certain work ethics, regardless of whether a company has to pay for the over-time.

  8. says

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such information much.
    I was looking for this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

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