It’s a Costco Life (or how possessions can crush you)

Cory Doctorow’s article, “Stuff makes us sad, especially in America,” summarizes a study on the everyday lives of families in the U.S.A.:

The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.

Managing the volume of possessions is such a crushing problem in many homes that it elevates levels of stress hormones for mothers.

Even families who invested in outdoor décor and improvements were too busy to go outside and enjoy their new decks.

Most families rely heavily on convenience foods even though all those frozen stir-frys and pot stickers saved them only about 11 minutes per meal.

A refrigerator door cluttered with magnets, calendars, family photos, phone numbers, and sports schedules generally indicates the rest of the home will be in a similarly chaotic state.

(Ooh–that last item hurt; time to clean off my fridge?) The study was compiled into a book, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, by Arnold, Graesch, Ragazzini, and Ochs. The Boston Globe has a more in-depth article, “Boxed in, wanting out” about the study.