One Man’s Trash Is Another’s Booming Industry

BY CINDY TRILLO

Up to 6 percent of Americans are affected by compulsive hoarding tendencies. Millions more are disorganized and overwhelmed by their belongings, accumulated in a culture of mass consumerism. In light of these figures, home organization is taking the nation by storm. From reality shows on streaming television networks and Instagram accounts dedicated to organization, to businesses dedicated to assisting with reducing belongings and community events to help people rid their homes of unwanted clutter, home organization has become pervasive in our culture.

A Lucrative Enterprise 

Home organization is an $8 billion industry, growing at a shocking rate of 10 percent per year. Consumers, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of their own things, turn to professionals to help with sorting, purging, and organizing these items. This industry runs the gamut from professional organizers who will get hands-on with your clutter, to niche businesses selling specialty labels for kitchen storage containers. Anything you can dream up to make organizing more efficient or more attractive has been turned into a profitable business. 

In addition to professionals to assist with clearing clutter in your home, hundreds of organizing specialists are writing books and blogs to help people help themselves to break free from their abundance of effects. Specialty closet organization companies sell installed products as well as DIY kits to create additional space for clothing, and there are nationwide store chains based entirely on the premise of selling storage solutions to consumers. Figuring out how to systemize our belongings is omnipresent in American culture. 

Supplemental Space

We live in what UCLA Magazine calls a clutter culture. With so much of our stuff taking over our living space, it makes sense that many Americans are investing in additional space to store their belongings. Since the hype of Man Caves has died down, ‘She Sheds’ have become fashionable, giving women additional space to call their own and decorate in overtly feminine detail and store hobby materials and equipment.

Many municipalities in Rockland County allow the placement of sheds on a property without a permit, if they are under a specified square footage. Additionally, sheds may serve their originally intended purpose of simply providing ancillary storage. Whatever function is needed, there is a shed design to support those needs, as the supplemental storage industry is prospering alongside organizational businesses.

With more young people living at home with their parents for longer, combined with elderly parents moving in with children, living spaces are holding more occupants and therefore more belongings. Organizational services, organizational products, additional storage space, self-help books, customized labels, and blogs merely scratch the surface of this field. The home organization business has grown out of necessity and blossomed into a highly specialized, far-reaching cultural phenomenon.