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American households have approximately $2,200 worth of unused items
       AC Nielsen Survey of Unused Household Items, October 2004

What’s Laying Around the House?

When asked to empty out their attics, basements and closets, American households recently reported to having approximately 16 items that are not being currently used (based on a list of 31 items.) On average, the following unused items are underfoot:
>Chart 1: Unused Items by Category  Table 1: Unused Items by Specific Item

What’s it Worth?

Households claimed that the total price paid for these items was around $2,222, but estimated their current value to be less than a third of the original price, or approximately $562. According to third-party valuation software, ItsDeductible*, the actual value is closer to $1,000.

Chart 2: Value of Common Unused ItemsAccording to the survey, the most unused items in American households (Chart 2) included:
  • handbags (48%),
  • film cameras (36%) and
  • cell phones (33%).
ItsDeductible found that unused handbags could net approximately $42.25 per bag, cameras averaged at $76.03 and even used cell phones could be sold for around $40.58. This means that the average household with four handbags is sitting on close to $170, money that could be reinvested in piano lessons, an MP3 player or another, new purse!

Is it Really Junk?

The survey indicated that on average, households throw away three items a year. The average price originally paid for these items was reported to be $718, but people estimated their current value at a meager $161.

Chart 3: Value of Discarded Items The most commonly discarded items include handbags (16%), cell phones (15%) and televisions (13%). The fair market values are $42.25, $40.58 and $276.73 respectively, representing more than double the perceived value!

The most commonly donated items include cell phones (43%), handbags (37%), computer peripherals (30%) and desktop computers (28%).
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