The power of much-loved possessions

It’s what we have in our homes, rather than who, that most determines how much of ourselves we see around us. But possessions can also be a source of tension in the home.

Whether it’s furniture or fridge magnets, our possessions become memory-filled scrap books, celebrating our unique sense of self and serving a higher purpose than that for which they were designed.

Ishida, Japan

“It‘s only been a few months, but it’s a room that I love and I‘ve collected a lot of things and built it up. It’s like a castle.”

When we put our most treasured objects on show, they connect us with the cultures, communities and traditions we’re proud to identify with.

“My favourite object in the corner is this temple… it is a special space and a special part of my day.” Mehek, India

We don’t always see our home possessions through rose-tinted glasses, though. Sometimes, they become a source of household tension.

Too much ‘stuff’ is one of our biggest bugbears. Clutter makes cleaning hard work and acts like a forcefield, preventing our true identity from breaking through into our home.


Shrine like space featuring a mini temple

4 out of 5 people are regularly frustrated by aspects of their home.

Worldwide, the top five frustrations about our homes are:

25% An unclean or untidy home

23% Household chores

21% Too many things without a designated place

19% No space to put things

17% Different perspectives of what "mess" is compared to other householders

And when it comes to scrubbing sinks and mopping floors, there’s still a clear gender gap at home. Women are more likely than men to feel like their home reflects their personality – but they are also more likely to get saddled with maintaining the places we live in.

Globally, women are 56% more likely than men to list household chores as a top frustration at home.


Tyler Moore, best known for sharing inspirational home-organisation tips as Tidy Dad, suggests how to get everyone involved in the household chores.

By clearing up the clutter and giving pride of place to our most story-filled possessions, we can go a long way towards making our home feel part of us. And that’s a boon for our sense of identity and wellbeing.

Finding practical ways to navigate frustrations in the home has helped Abi, Tomohiro and Mehek take control of their space:

“We have a lot of boxes, a lot of shelves, everything sort of has its place. We've utilised all of our surfaces, every surface is covered by something and has its place.”

Abi, UK

“The most common thing that’s around the house is children’s toys. Storage boxes are prepared from the start and we ensure that children can tidy things away if they make a mess. [We] sing a song about tidying up because the kids don't always listen to what they are told.”

Tomohiro, Japan

“Where you live in a joint family home, you always feel somewhere the space is small… I choose things which will need less organising. I prefer to buy things that are easier to use for every member.”

Mehek, India

But for maximum impact, there’s one more thing for us to consider.

Giving spaces

Having space for our needs and interests goes a long way towards creating a home stamped with our true selves.