Los Angeles Millennials the Most Cluttered in the Country

Jodi Bart Holzband
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SpareFoot Study Explores Angelenos’ Attachment to Their Things

This summer, 40 million Americans are expected to move or relocate according to the U.S. Census Bureau, undertaking the daunting task of packing boxes, sorting through odds and ends, packing boxes, and deciding what to toss and what to put in storage. According to a new study by Wakefield Research for SpareFoot, more than half of Angelenos describe their home as cluttered – including 61 percent of Millennials, the highest percentage in the country – and 71 percent believe moving is the best opportunity to declutter their home.

Oddly enough, there is a day devoted to all those people buried in bubble wrap and boxes – National Moving Day. Occurring annually on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, National Moving Day marks the official start of moving season, and one of the busiest days of the year for moving and storage.

According to the study – called the Los Angeles Storage & Moving Study – 94 percent of Los Angeles residents keep items in their home that they don’t need or use. And a nearly equal amount have kept items out of guilt (93%). Guilt can be a powerful emotion, and has driven residents to keep the following items:

  • Gift received (55%)
  • Family heirloom (48%)
  • Clothing rarely worn (47%)
  • Greeting card (40%)

While excuses are just excuses, Angelenos attempted to explain why they kept items in their home that they don’t use or need, citing future use (64%), sentimental reasons (53%) or to sell (25%).

“Clutter is proven to have a direct effect on our health, emotions, time, and even relationships,” said Dorothy Breininger, professional organizer, speaker, and author of “Stuff Your Face or Face Your Stuff.” “It’s so important to declutter and simplify, and avoid unhealthy attachments to inanimate objects. However, if you are experiencing a major life event such as a move, a parent passing, job loss, or divorce and if your budget allows, consider putting items in storage until they are needed. There are great full-service storage options available in Los Angeles that include front door pick-up, itemization of your things, and items returned on-demand.”

Los Angelenos don’t take kindly with anyone messing with their stuff­––even if it’s a significant other. Forty-six percent of Millennial respondents said they would likely break-up with someone if they got rid of something of sentimental value. Further, 47 percent of Millennials stated they have kept items from an ex that they don’t want their significant other to know about. Angeleno men may also have more attachment issues than they let on; 60 percent stated they have frequently stopped their significant other from throwing an item out.

When it comes to our things, there are certainly some deep dark secrets locked up in Los Angeles. When asked to describe “the most embarrassing item” they have ever stored away, the responses proved there is a struggle by Angelenos to fully let go:

  • “A ‘slam book’ from elementary school”
  • “A 10-year-old rejection letter from a school I applied to”
  • “A Mickey Mouse lollipop from when I was five years old”
  • “My gym shorts from junior high”
  • “The cast from my broken leg”

Beyond storage secrets, many Angelenos cite economic reasons for moving. The cost of living (40%), weather (12%), and traffic concerns (14%) were the top reasons cited by respondents to have moved. And when asked about the current political candidates, 74 percent in Los Angeles said they would seriously consider moving to another country if one of the candidates become President. Leading the list by a wide margin is Donald Trump (50%), followed by Hillary Clinton (18%).

To access additional study results, read tips on moving, decluttering, and organization, access insider information on moving to or around Los Angeles, and more, visit https://www.sparefoot.com/moving.

About SpareFoot

SpareFoot is the largest marketplace for storage, making it simpler to move and store your stuff. Our website lets you compare the most storage options nationwide and pick the best solution for your needs. With the most up-to-date information on storage available, SpareFoot makes finding and reserving storage the easiest thing to cross off your to-do list.

Methodological Notes:

The SpareFoot Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,003 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+ and a minimum of 500 adults ages 18+ each in the New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Seattle-Tacoma DMAs, between April 6th and April 19th, 2016, using an email invitation and an online survey – for a total of 3,519 respondents. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population ages 18+.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points in the nationally representative audience, 4.3 percentage points in the New York City DMA audience and 4.4 percentage points in the remainder of the DMA audiences, from the results that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the samples.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 27, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Jodi Bart Holzband

Jodi is a writer and editor at SpareFoot with a particular interest in topics around organization and moving. When not creating content for the world's largest self- and full-service storage marketplace, she enjoys spending time with her husband and young daughter.
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