American Clutter


Anthropologists say that U.S. households have more possessions per home than any society in all of global history. Chew on this for a minute: The U.S. has 3.1% of the world’s children but consumes 40% of the world’s toys.

Researchers for University of California Television studied 32 middle-class families for their web series to document what they call “the material culture of dual-income, child-centered households in America.”

Here are some takeaways:

  • Women who were bothered by “household clutter showed an increased level of the stress hormone cortisol.” Men did not seem to care much.
  • Also, “while refrigerators and pantries of U.S. households are stuffed with convenience foods, studies show they save only about 12 minutes of preparation time per meal.”
  • Many of the families used shower stalls to hold excess clutter. Yes, shower stalls.

These and other tough pills to swallow are a part of the new series “A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance.”

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