Chicagoans: Trash the Guilt and Declutter

Jodi Bart Holzband
May 30, 2016
Find Self-Storage
Updated on

SpareFoot Study Finds 93% Keep Items Out of Guilt

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, 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 Chicagoans describe their home as cluttered – including 59 percent of Millennials – and 62 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 Chicago Storage & Moving Study – 94 percent of Chicago 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 (59%)
  • Family heirloom (49%)
  • Clothing rarely worn (46%)
  • Greeting card (46%)

“Having clutter in the home can cause a lot of stress and anxiety on the family, and has a direct effect on our health, emotions, time, and even relationships,” said Leslie Gail, professional organizer and owner of Chicago-based Declare Order. “One of the best things you can do for yourself is to declutter and organize. Start small and find solutions that will work for your unique needs. If it fits in your lifestyle, minimize daily clutter without parting with things by putting items in storage until they are needed.”

To explain why some items are kept in their home that they don’t use or need, Chicagoans say in case the items are needed in the future (66%), or the items are too sentimental to let go (54%).

When it comes to the kids, some parents think their children are less tied to things. According to the study, 95 percent of Chicago parents said they could get rid of any of their child’s toys without them noticing, and nearly 40 percent believe they could get away with losing more than half of the toys.

Many Chicagoans take others messing around with their stuff seriously, and some are at the sake of their relationship! One-third of Chicagoans said they would break-up with someone if they got rid of something of sentimental value. Further, 52 percent of Millennials – the highest in the country – stated they have kept items from an ex that they don’t want their significant other to know about.

When it comes to our things, there are certainly some deep dark secrets locked up in Chicago basements, closets, and storage units. When asked to describe “the most embarrassing item” they have ever stored away, Chicago responses proved they are a sentimental bunch:

  • “All the hair from my child’s first haircut”
  • “My cat’s Christmas stocking”
  • “A picture of my first girlfriend and I kissing”
  • “My grade school lunchbox”
  • “The Japanese manga series ‘Sailor Moon’ on VHS”

Beyond storage secrets, many Chicagoans said they may be looking to move across the border soon. When asked about the current political candidates, 72 percent in Chicago said they would seriously consider moving to another country if one of them become President. Leading the list by a wide margin is Donald Trump (51%), followed by Hillary Clinton (20%).

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.

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.
Search for Storage Near You

About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
Contact the editor: [email protected]

We are a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites.

Recent Posts