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A Look at Clutter and Its Surprising Impact on Home and Life

The pandemic has created more clutter, less space, and a need for solutions.


Photo: Shutterstock

The average person attempts to declutter their home four times a year. A recent survey of 5,000 respondents showed that half (49 percent) feel there has been less available space in their home since the pandemic began.

While 42 percent attribute the scarcity of free space to stockpiled essentials, 38 percent revealed that they or their partner took up a new hobby that requires more room.

The study, organized by OnePoll on behalf of Opendoor, also showed that, despite limited space, only 24 percent say they would consider moving somewhere with more room. With an average of 11 storage boxes in their home, people are turning to storage alternatives. In fact, 32 percent have transformed their bedroom into a storage room, signaling an increased need for space-saving solutions in one of the home’s primary rooms.

That may be why most (23 percent) wish they could increase the size of their bedroom, more so than any other room in the home.

Switching to remote work further complicated matters for nearly two-thirds of respondents, who’ve had to rearrange or add new things to their home.

On average, 28 percent of people’s space is taken up by things they want to donate or discard. Tech-related hobbies (51 percent), musical instruments and accessories (45 percent), and collectibles like art and action figures (45 percent) were found to take up the most room.

Resizing to accommodate more space can be tricky, though, especially for those who aren’t alone—half of coupled Americans differ with their partner on what they’d want in a new home if they moved.

The most common arguments when discussing a potential move are the new home’s exterior or interior design (42 percent), what neighborhood to move to (40 percent), and how much to spend on their new residence (39 percent).

“While people sometimes have differing opinions on the moving process, most of those polled agreed that budget is often their biggest barrier to moving or buying a home,” says Beatrice de Jong, consumer trends expert for Opendoor. “However, people can also face additional expenses they may not have planned for, including home repairs, double mortgages, and double moves. Combining buying, selling, and closing all in one transaction can help alleviate some of the moving stress.”

Given the opportunity, 55 percent said they’d move this year, suggesting 2022 may be another year of resizing and relocating for Americans. The top non-negotiables for a new home? It must be in a great neighborhood (41 percent), be easy to maintain (41 percent), and need an outdoor space (39 percent).

“If buying or selling a home quickly is a priority, there are digital options to do it entirely online,” says de Jong. “Online self-tours can help buyers explore potential homes and compare prices, while relieving sellers of the hassle involved with hosting an open house.”


  • Cat and dog-related items
  • Old electronics
  • Monster can collection
  • Motorcycles, whitewater raft, camping equipment
  • Cultivating fungi
  • Woodworking
  • Bowling bags
  • Costumes
  • Gardening
  • Candle making


  • Began stockpiling essentials during the pandemic: 42 percent
  • My partner or I began a new hobby that requires additional space: 38 percent
  • My partner or I started working from home: 35 percent
  • My partner or I began a new job that requires additional space: 33 percent
  • Redecorated with new furniture that doesn’t fit: 31 percent
  • Acquired a pet : 27 percent
  • Became a parent: 23 percent
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About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.