Apparently there is a formal index, derived from Washington’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, with an informal but nonetheless precise name:
The Tchotchke Index, it turns out, is an excellent gauge of the economic wellbeing of American households. Spending on tchotchkes — a.k.a. trinkets, junk, yard sale detritus, and the raison d’être of the self-storage industry — rises when Americans are feeling flush and falls when they are feeling pinched. Spending on tchotchkes tracks the economy’s ups and downs with the precision of other, better-known measures such as the the Consumer Confidence Index, the unemployment rate, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
According to this index, the economy continues to spiral down the bowl:
Sadly, the Tchotchke Index has plummeted to the lowest level on record. In 2013, the average household spent just $103 on decorative items for the home — less than half of the $240 it spent on this category in 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The 2013 Index is even lower than the $108 spent in 2010, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. An ominous sign, for sure.
Come to think of it, I don’t think I spent anything in this category last year.
(Via Roger Green.)