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.)