New Yorkers Make Tiny Living Work, But More Than Half Struggle With Clutter

New SpareFoot Study Explores Why City Dwellers Hold Onto 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, 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 New Yorkers describe their home as cluttered – including 60 percent of Millennials – and 68 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 New York City Storage & Moving Study – 95 percent of New York City residents keep items in their home that they don’t need or use. The top reasons for keeping said items are:

  • In case I need them in the future (67%)
  • Sentimental reasons (56%)
  • To sell them (25%)

Guilt can be a powerful emotion, and has caused 93 percent of New Yorkers to keep an item they don’t need or use. Shopping is clearly a guilty pleasure, as the city that never sleeps cited gifts (58%) and clothing they rarely wore (55%) as the top items they felt most guilty getting rid of.

“With frequent sample sales, changing weather and the lure of window shopping, it can be easy for clutter to pile up in NYC apartments and offices, preventing many from living their lives without distraction,” said Andrew Mellen, organizational expert, speaker, and author of Unstuff Your Life! “It’s so important to declutter and simplify, and avoid unhealthy attachments to inanimate objects. If your budget allows, consider putting items in storage until next season. With a smart plan in place, temporary storage can be a quick jumpstart to finally getting organized. There are great full-service options available in the city that include front door pick-up, itemization of your things, and items returned on-demand.”

When it comes to our things, there are certainly some deep dark secrets locked up in New York City apartments, storage lockers and closets. In fact, the study found New Yorkers to be the most likely (37%) in the country to have kept items from an ex that they don’t want their significant other to know about. Further, 94 percent said they would throw out some of their significant other’s possessions if they knew there wouldn’t be any consequences. When asked to describe “the most embarrassing item” they have ever stored away, the responses ranged from the racy to tame:

  • “A giant green dragon-shaped sex toy”
  • “The underwear worn when I lost my virginity”
  • “Love letters another man sent to my wife”
  • “My child’s baby teeth”
  • “My old ‘Partridge Family’ card collection”

And while storage secrets are on the minds of some, 71 percent in New York City are considering a move across the border in 2017 if one of the candidates become President. Leading the list by a wide margin is Donald Trump (51%), followed by Hillary Clinton (17%).

To read tips on moving, decluttering, and organization, access insider information for moving to or around New York City.

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