In the 21st century, we generally have a lot of possessions. Compared to our ancestors, from just a few hundred years ago, we own at least 100 per cent more items than they did on the whole. So why have we ended up with so much stuff and, more to the point, where are we going to put it all? The last part of the question can be quickly answered. There are plenty of options, like those from a Self Storage Dudley unit, for example, where you place the extra unneeded items until they become used again. The other part of the question is a bit more complex and requires us to examine social and economic history.
One of the main reasons we have so much stuff is that our standard of living has risen hugely from where it was in the mid to late Victorian era. With the advent of the industrial revolution, the vast majority of the workforce moved into cities and towns, away from the everyday rural and farm work. So they pushed for better wages and what they hoped would be improved living conditions. The wages were better, but the city and town living wasn’t. This bringing together people into a closer community gave rise to group conscience. Improvements in the working and social conditions began to follow in the 20th century along with the creation of Unions.
As wages rose, so did our ability to buy things. Industrialisation brings about mechanisation, and items can be produced in more significant and cheaper numbers, increasing the number of goods we have access to. To start with, this was based on cheap labour in the UK. As these industries rescinded, we, in the West at least, have relied on the cheap labour available in China, Bangladesh and Taiwan. These countries produced most of the everyday consumer goods, including clothing, that we buy and at a fraction of the costs of what it would take to make it in the UK and Europe in general.
Also, the amount of space that we have in our homes and gardens has increased. This has given us the scope to fill up the rooms we have with items we may or may not need. Finally, the market and demand drive what is made and what is in the shops or online for us to buy in the first place.