Why householders have had enough of too much stuff

Written by Justine Jackson

19 February 2019

As urbanisation increases and sustainability hits the mainstream, we see householders making tough decisions on what to keep and what to throw away. Struggling to find space for sentiment, they seek creative solutions and savvy ideas on how they make somewhere feel like home. In our ‘Cramped Living’ trend forecast published over two years ago, we explored how the conscious consumer faces conflicts between sentiment and practicality in the home.

Left to Right: Little Earthling Blog, One Kings Lane

The Rise of Cramped Living

Population density is set to continue to increase in cities globally over the coming decade, as we see a trade-off between space and location. The average house in the UK has lost 20% of its space with new properties now more than a fifth smaller than they were in the 70s. An increasing amount of people are prepared to scrimp on space to live in more convenient, accessible places.

Excessive Consumerism

Despite the shift towards compact living, the convenience and retail therapy of online shopping anywhere, any time and at one click of a button means that householders are accumulating more and more stuff. Everyday essentials are fighting for space against treasured heirlooms that simply can’t be thrown away. Consumers are looking for brands to fix this problem for them.

A Healthy Mind for a Happier Home


In response to these big lifestyle and behavioural shifts, the increasing popularity of Japanese organisation expert Marie Kondo encourages anxious householders to adopt the “KonMari” method by removing the non-essentials which no longer “spark joy” for a healthier mind and a better home. As we continue to track the evolution of this trend, we are seeing that charity shops in the UK and thrift stores in the US have already experienced an influx of donations compared to the norm for January 2019, where donors are referencing Kondo and her newly released Netflix series as their inspiration.

Rethinking Space

Despite advice that de-cluttering and minimalism are healthy and restorative for both the mind and soul, the reality is that most people still want to hold on to the essence of home. Consumers need to find new ways to appreciate meaningful objects that they simply don’t have space for. So what are the compromises they can make?


Published two years ago, our Cramped Living 2019 report, focuses on the detail of small living. Outlining the challenges householders face when living in smaller homes, to identify opportunities for brands to tap into emerging needs and ultimately help homeowners live well within small, shared spaces.

Visit the shop to buy the full digital report or download a free demo by clicking to the right of this post.

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Sherwin Williams

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