Averse to purging

Hanging onto unused items is costing Americans

Americans have a hard time letting go. Cleaning and restoration service company ServiceMaster of Lake Shore—a Chicago-based independent franchise—conducted a survey of 7,000 households and found that almost $50 billion worth of goods are going to waste in our homes. In California, each household hangs on to about $380 worth of clutter.

Nationwide, respondents said the hardest items to throw out are clothing (28 percent), outdated tech (24 percent), furniture (18 percent), books (16 percent) and movies (12 percent).

The tendency to hoard affects relationships: 22 percent of couples acknowledged household clutter has caused arguments. Safety also is a concern. Nearly half of Californians (49 percent) said their unused goods are creating a fire hazard. And, when Golden State residents do dispose of things, a quarter of them admitted to illegally dumping. Nationally, only 39 percent recycle electronic waste, an environmental hazard that contaminates landfills.