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Media Resources


Release Date: 02/05/2013

ShopSmart Poll: Nearly 40 Percent of Couples Fight About Messes More Than Money

National poll reveals how couples feel about household clutter

YONKERS, NY — Finances tend to be a common cause of marital squabbles, but an untidy home can also trigger a tiff.  According to a new poll from ShopSmart, almost 40 percent of couples confessed to fighting about messes more than money.  The March 2013 issue of ShopSmart, from Consumer Reports, features a full report on organizing and more survey results from its national poll of almost 500 couples about their attitudes toward household clutter.

“Our poll found that men and women have different opinions about being organized and dealing with clutter,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “We’ve put together some simple, inexpensive strategies to help tackle organizing challenges before they lead to bigger issues for your home and your relationship.”

When it comes to common tasks including driving, watching TV, or remembering birthdays and appointments, returning items to their proper place is the top point of contention between men and women.  ShopSmart’s poll found that when it comes to putting things away properly, women were a lot more likely to report being different from their partner (69%) than men (51%). 

Overall, who’s guilty of being the messiest in their relationship?  When asked, 26 percent of women admitted that they were the messier partner compared to 39 percent of men who claimed to be. 

ShopSmart’s poll also uncovered what people do when their partner leaves stuff out of place:

  • 67 percent said they put the items away or cleaned them up themselves.

  • 21 percent ask their spouse or partner to straighten up.

  • 19 percent leave things as is until their partner puts them away.

  • Women are twice as likely as men to dump messy or out-of-place items into their spouse or partner’s personal space.

Despite overall discord about untidiness, ShopSmart did find something most men and women agree on: the two things that drive them crazy when out of place are keys and bills.

ShopSmart’s national poll on mess and marriage is part of an eight-page feature story on organizing, available in the March 2013 issue of the magazine, which highlights affordable solutions for common, household organizing problems, cheap organizing tips and the best places to shop for organizers.  For more information, visit  

About Consumer Reports:
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at

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