Whilst more than half of all homeowners in Singapore describe their living space as cramped (I describe mine as impossible to move in but that wasn’t one of the options), almost 70% admit to storing items in their home that are of limited or no use. That’s right, more than two thirds of all Singaporean homeowners are hoarders, according to a new survey commissioned by leading Asian self-storage company Extra Space.
Whilst all of us are pretty well versed with the idea of having a virtual folder specifically designated for junk emails, an astounding 74% surveyed admit to having a room specifically designated for junk, well, everything. This is even more staggering given the constantly shrinking size of Singapore residences, a fact that I can definitely attest to as I struggle to fit both a cup of coffee and the laptop I’m writing this on together on my only counter top.
The survey goes on to say that the top three locations to store unused items and clutter aside from the aforementioned “junk room” are the Bedroom (39%), the Kitchen (22%) and the Balcony (14%). Where the other 25% of respondents store their mess I’m not entirely sure, but I really hope the toilet still manages to keep its sanctity.
In terms of the actual items that tend to be kept well past their sell-by date, collecting dust and the judging stares of that one neat-freak relative that everyone seems to have, the top culprits are unwanted clothes (49%) and old school notes and paperwork (47%). Of course I’m assuming this would depend upon the merit of the school notes and the relative pride one took in compiling them; my doodles interspersed with various scribblings were relegated to the bin a long time ago.
Nostalgia seems to be the main scapegoat with 64% of respondents holding it responsible for their crimes of cluttering, and yet this is despite the fact that 85% of those surveyed were well aware of the detrimental impact their hoarding had on family members. In fact an overwhelming 88% admit that they themselves are bothered by the clutter in the home, and yet there the clutter remains. Surely with so many homeowners cognizant of the anguish their guilty gathering was causing both themselves and others, would this not encourage them to change their ways and discover the joys of bin-bags?
To find out more, I took to the streets (well, my street) to talk to local residents. Given that this was in the middle of the day, my interview prospects were pretty slim and the first two aunties I approached were unwilling to stop and chat – I can only assume because they were all too overwhelmed by the stress of their domestic clutter. The first man who actually stopped for me admitted that many unwanted goods had taken up long-term residence in his apartment, but he and his wife just didn’t have enough time to sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff. Indeed that seemed to be the general theme from the few members of the public that didn’t run away from me the minute I approached them – that a lack of motivation to resolve the problem simply overpowered the desire for change.
Well hopefully my intrepid interviewees are reading this article because Extra Space has conveniently put together their Top 5 tips for freeing yourselves from the burden of bothersome boxes and all-consuming clutter:
And with that, I’m off to perform the Dust Test.
Once I remember where I left the dustpan…