How to simplify your life — and get rid of your stuff
We're filling our lives with so much junk that the U.S. now has more self-storage facilities than McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger Kings, Starbucks and Walmarts combined. That's around 50,000 storage complexes.
Why it matters: We're overstuffed. And all that stuff often brings a lot more stress than joy.
The big picture: Never in history have so many things been affordable for so many. Never in history has it been easier to swipe a card or click a button and wait for the Amazon truck to arrive. And never in history have Americans had bigger houses — or storage sheds — to keep it all.
Here's a stunning stat: The U.S. has 3.1% of the world's kids but buys 40% of the world's toys, per Time magazine.
- Anthony Graesch, an anthropologist at Connecticut College who studies why we have so much stuff, tells us: "I see the proliferation of self-storage in the United States as the materialization of excessive, unchecked and unsustainable levels of consumption."
- He said it's "also the difficulty we experience in easily severing relationships with many of our possessions."
The bottom line: Don't just throw it all out. There are dozens of ways to sell or donate your stuff.
- Try The Freecycle Network or the Buy Nothing Project, two massive online networks with millions of people looking to trade goods or buy cheap.
- Or just give it to Goodwill or Salvation Army. [Updated]
Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant and author who popularized her minimalist KonMari method of tidying up on Netflix, puts it like this:
"It's a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially 'detox' our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well."
🏁 Editor's note: This article was first written for the launch edition of Axios Finish Line, which is part of the Axios Daily Essentials newsletter package. It originally published on March 9.