The internet has been abuzz with an illustration of dots that shows everyone crowded into the kitchen. As I pointed out recently, the drawing is used regularly to demonstrate that a) everyone wants to live in the kitchen and b) that our houses are too big and full of wasted space. Almost no one apparently reads the book the illustration is from — “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” — which, in fact, delivers a different message.
The most shocking message is that the average American family is overwhelmed with stuff. The authors actually went into the homes of real families and documented this, describing their subjects as people who “work hard and shop hard.” The researchers spent several thousand hours photographing and cataloguing everything in the 32 houses they studied, as well as interviewing the owners of all this stuff.