Shocking Clutter Statistics That Should Outrage You

blue and pic of clipboardand papaer with graphs and a large black rimmed magnifier glass examining the shocking clutter statistics

Of all the shocking clutter statistics of the average American homeowner I have researched, the ones that outrage me the most are about the environment and the throwaway society we live in.


One of the most deeply disturbing statistics I read is from Roadrunner. The average American throws away about 81 pounds of clothing every year. 

This is estimated to be 11.3 million tons of textile waste in America alone. Heartbreaking.

If you are wondering what happens to the clothes you may donate read on. 

GQ reports only between 10 and 30 percent of second-hand donations to charity shops are resold in-store. The rest disappears into a machine you don’t see: a vast sorting apparatus in which donated goods are graded and then resold on to commercial partners, often for export to the Global South.

Sadly there is estimated to be 11.3 million tons of textile waste in America alone.

According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home.

11% of people living in an average U.S. household rent storage unit(s).

18% of the rented storage units are leased by owners of 4-bedroom or larger homes and 46% of these people pay rent on these units for an average of one year! 

In 2022 the storage unit rental business was 38 billion – with a ‘b’ – dollar industry in the USA.

What to do with clutter

More than half of Americans surveyed in a nationwide poll claim to be overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have, but 78% have no idea what to do with it.

Donating unwanted new and gently used goods is a great way to reduce clutter! We need to consider other strategies about donating clothing in light of that last statistic.

I put together a free detailed Resource Guide about how to donate goods at no or little cost to you. Some charities come right to your home and place of business to collect goods ranging from small to large sizes.

Storage facilities

For scale last year, 2023, there were about 9,160 CVS pharmacy locations in the United States and about 53,000 storage units in the USA. 

Can you imagine more storage units than CVS and Starbucks combined?

Do you think we have an unwanted clutter problem?

We are spending approximately 100 dollars a month to store these goods.

Garage Living has the skinny on why you should avoid renting storage units.

a picture of a storage facility which has some striking clutter statistics

Garage clutter

I would love to have a garage to park my car in and yet 25% of the average homeowner’s garage is so filled with stuff they don’t have room to park their vehicles.

Half of the people claim their garages are the most cluttered and disorganized space in the home. When asked what these folks could do to clean up their garages their answers were ‘remove junk’.

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 in it. 

Clothes clutter

To begin the clothing industry is worth an amazing $2.4 trillion globally. This is a lot of apparel.

The average family spends $1,800 per year on clothing. The 35 – 44-year-olds spend about 50 dollars more a month on clothing than younger adults

The average American women own an average of $1,000 to $2,500 of clothing. For almost 10% of women, the figure is closer to $10,000. 

32% of women own more than 25 pairs of shoes.

piles of colorful women's shoes add to clutter statistics

More than 70% of women update 25% of their closet every 3 months. And many of the average American women don’t own any clothes older than 5 years. 

Speaking of clothes, here is an article that may help you. Top Tips To Declutter Your Clothes Closet 

Americans collectively spend 2.7 billion dollars every year replacing the items they can’t find, about 2/3 of us. That is a lot of lost pairs of scissors and pens!

In addition to this, we spend about 4.5 hours a week looking for digital documents which I can identify with.

80% of our items are never or seldom used. We use the same 20% of our stuff repeatedly.

Organizational Solutions

Despite all our clutter we still want organized homes. In other words, we want to organize our piles of stuff, 80% of which we do not use.

Worse than that is the amount of time we Americans are spending looking for our lost stuff! An average total of 2.5 days a year looking for stuff even after we have spent 14.2 billion for organizational solutions!

The Freedonia industry study analyzes the $14.2 billion we US people spend on the home organization product industry. 

100 dollar bills soaring among the blue sky and puffy clouds add lots of debt to the shocking clutter statistics


No list of statistics would be complete without an updated figure for credit card debt which the Federal Reserve Bank of NY reports is $1.13 trillion.

Late fees rack up another 9 billion dollars and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Americans pay more than $15 billion annually on bank account overdraft fees.

The saddest statistic that makes me the angriest is that in the year 2023, more than 60% of hard working US citizens are living paycheck to paycheck.

About 65% of Americans spend 2.7 billion dollars every year replacing the items they can’t find.

Vox reports that in 2019 the average American spent $18,000 per year on non-essential items.

The true cost of clutter

The not-so-good news is that time and money are what people say they never have enough of. This is shown in the clutter statistics.

We spend too much time frustrated not finding the things we need. As a result our mental and physical health take a hit.

frustrated dark haired woman in hot pink top frustrated to learn the shocking clutter statistics

Wasting too much money on late fees, credit card interest, and buying stuff we don’t need is making the financial institutions rich and the people sick. If you doubt me read about the cortisol link to our health.

The good news is you can change this any time you want.

Changing shopping habits can be a good place to start. You will likely create more free time to do the things you like to do

Many of us have way too much clutter. Gather your family members and declutter the physical items in your home together. Don’t forget the closets! An organized closet will also free up time.

Change your clutter statistics

If you want to change these shocking clutter statistics in your own life you need to first answer the question ‘What do you want’? Many of us do not have a clue even though we think we do.

Others will answer the question with words to the effect of ‘I just want to be happy and less stressed’. That is not an answer that will aid you in your decluttering process.

Answering by listing the things you do not want can be a starting point if you start decluttering and eliminating these things.

Keep in mind though knowing what you don’t want is different than knowing what you do want.

lady at desk writing in journal trying to work out how she can change the clutter statistics in her life.

Writing always gets me to any answers I am looking for. I firmly believe we all have the answers hidden inside and we just need to take some quiet time to excavate our true thoughts.

Here are 21 wicked easy decluttering tips you can use today!


Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

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