From the boxes in the attic to the car in the garage, our homes are filled with memories. But not all belongings carry the same weight. Which possessions are treasured and which are discarded? Allstate recently conducted a survey to discover what Americans value most.
More than 1,000 adults from across the country shared what possessions matter most to them and why. These are some of the top discoveries from Allstate’s “It’s Not Just Stuff” survey.
Americans value their homes above all else, with nearly two-thirds of respondents labeling their home “very important,” and 44 percent of homeowners said they are currently living in their dream home.
Not surprisingly, renters don’t share quite the same attachment to their living space. Less than half report their home as being “very important” to them, and 84 percent said they are not living in their dream home.
A majority of Americans said personal keepsakes and family history items are “very important” to them, and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of adults hope to pass down their family photos, videos and other items to their children.
How are Americans sharing these photos? Nearly 70 percent of people share images through social media or by flipping through them on a computer or phone. However, almost 30 percent of adults still print out hard copies of individual photos.
After their homes and family mementos, the most important possessions to Americans are personal technology. Within that category, more than half of respondents chose their computers as their most important piece of technology, and just under one-third put their mobile phones at the top of the list. Each week, 187 million American adults use a smartphone to access the internet, and 83 million use a tablet, according to a 2016 Nielsen report.
Handheld devices still can’t fully replace good old-fashioned television, however. Each week, 214 million American adults watch TV, whether viewed live or delayed with a DVR, Nielsen reports. In fact, two-thirds of adults say their TV is the “most important” home entertainment technology they own, according to the “It’s Not Just Stuff” survey.
America’s love affair with the automobile is still going strong: The average American household has 2.1 vehicles, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Almost half of adults in the U.S. believe their car is “very important,” according to the “It’s Not Just Stuff” survey — so much so that one-third of respondents have even given their vehicle a name.
The average American spends over $1,000 on clothing annually, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association. That includes purchasing 64 garments and more than seven pairs of shoes a year. But they’re not too attached to most of those purchases: Only 61 percent of respondents to the “It’s Not Just Stuff” survey ranked their clothing as “important” possessions, and only 54 percent called their jewelry “important.”
There are still some pieces of clothing American men and women can’t seem to toss out, though. For instance, more than one-third of women can’t let go of an outfit they hope to fit into again. Nearly a third of men won’t part with their old leather jacket. And about a quarter of respondents still hang on to their wedding dress or tuxedo.
Whether it’s homes and cars, treasured family photos or heirloom jewelry, our belongings can remind us of our past and inspire us about our future. The survey name says it all: To Americans, their possessions aren’t just “stuff.”
Want more? Find out some of Allstate’s “It’s Not Just Stuff” survey’s most surprising findings.