People Outside the US Think All Americans Own These Home Items

Shannon Quinn - November 22, 2022
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The set of the TV series Roseanne included a couch facing the live studio audience. Credit: As the Bunny Hops

A Couch That Faces a Live Studio Audience

Obviously, this is a joke. But it’s absolutely common in American TV Sitcoms for a couch to be front and center of a live studio audience. On most TV shows, the couch is usually placed in the middle of the living room. In reality, a lot of Americans will put a couch up against a wall, because it leaves a lot more space in the rest of the room. In the modern world, it’s common for people around the world to have a couch and a TV. So this isn’t unique to the USA at all. But it’s still funny to think about. (via Quora)

In the movie Signs, one of the characters protects his home from invading aliens with a baseball bat. Credit: YouTube

A Random Baseball Bat

There is a common trope in TV and movies where there is a bump in the night, and the main character grabs a nearby baseball bat to protect themselves from the intruder. When this was mentioned on the Reddit, a user by the name of rooktherhymer commented, “It’s not that random. We’re don’t all own guns but we do all think we need an emergency weapon to battle midnight ninjas for some reason.” There are even articles out there titled “Best Bats for Home Defense”. No joke. Another user called RandallofLegends responded, “My trash bat. Sits near the garage door while I’m preparing trash for pickup the next morning. It’s a dark abyss outside when I’m doing that.” (via Bat Digest)

Most American households have a junk drawer for all of their random things. Credit: Shutterstock

A Junk Drawer

One Reddit user called Firm_Ideal_5256 said, “Every American household have a drawer full with random shit (dead batteries, screws, shoelace etc)”. Yes, this is true, and we call it a “junk drawer”. You can even bid on other people’s junk drawers on eBay, if you feel so inclined. Most Americans replied to this in shock, asking, “Doesn’t every country have that?!” After all, where else do you put those random things that don’t really belong anywhere else? Based on some responses, they say that you just need to be more organized and have places to put everything back where they belong. But the mystery remains. (via Yahoo)

It’s considered a luxury in the US if you have an ice maker in your fridge. Credit: Shutterstock

Ice Dispensers in Refrigerators 

It’s true that Americans love iced drinks. But if you start to travel the world, you’ll notice that many restaurants won’t give you ice in your drinks. We love iced drinks so much, in fact, that many homes here in the US have a refrigerator with a built-in ice making machine. However, these types of refrigerators are much more expensive. So if you live in an apartment, it’s not likely that your landlord splurged on one. And even as a homeowner on a tight budget, you might not have one, either. Personally, I grew up with filling ice cube trays with water and putting it in the freezer. However, we do use so much ice that re-filling the trays becomes a daily task. (via Reader’s Digest)

Americans love their central air conditioning. Credit: Shutterstock

Air Conditioning

This may come as a shock to some Americans out there, but it’s actually rare for people to have air conditioning in their homes when you go abroad. Sure, some of the major stores and buildings will have air conditioning. But when you go to someone’s home, you may be disappointed to learn that they only have a fan, or open windows. Here in America, a lot of homes are newer construction, and were built with an HVAC system so that we can have central heat and air conditioning. Older homes, like the ones we see around Europe, don’t have the ability to add HVAC. Sure, you might see some box air conditioners in windows, but don’t expect to have a home that stays at the perfect temperature at all times. (via Washington Post)

Most countries don’t have huge walk-in-closets in their homes. Credit: Shutterstock

Walk-In Closets

One Reddit user pointed out that many homes in Europe don’t come with closets. QFugp6IIyR6ZmoOh said, “While browsing homes in England and Scotland for fun, I found out that Brits don’t have closets. Instead they have huge wardrobes. On one hand it’s convenient for when you move, because you can just move the whole wardrobe with clothes inside. But on the other hand, it clutters the room.” There are some homes in Europe with closets, but it’s definitely not guaranteed. Another very American thing is the idea of our massive walk-in-closets. When you’re done with this list, check out our list about Outrageously Luxurious Celebrity Closet Tours(via Closet by Design)

Most Americans own multiple pairs of jeans. Credit: Shutterstock

Jeans

Jeans are an iconic American clothing staple. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering that they were invented here by Levi’s in 1873. In most of Europe, a lot of people wear clothing that Americans would consider as “dressy” or “professional” on a daily basis, like skirts and trousers. For them, jeans are seen as being too casual. On the flip side, one Australian person commented that in their country, people mostly wear shorts all year long. For Aussies, a pair of jeans is considered “dressing up” when you go to the pub to see your friends. According to Glamour magazine, the average American owns 7 pairs of jeans. (via Glamour)

It’s common to find top-loading washing machines in American homes. Credit: Shutterstock

Top-Loading Washing Machines

One of the most-commented features of American homes was the top-loading washing machine. This mystery was solved by a Redditor called eldofever who had this to say, “Washer Collector Here. Automatic washers became popular in the US during the early 1950’s, and you had your choice between front load & top load. Top loaders had larger capacity (important with the baby boom). Had higher spin speeds so drying time was faster. Went out of balance less often. Had very fast cycle times (clothes washed in 20 minutes). Plus you don’t have to stoop to get the clothes out. In Europe, the constraints were different. Typically there was no dedicated laundry room or basement for the larger machine. Laundry tended to be done more frequently so capacity wasn’t as much of a concern.” (via Reddit)

It’s very common for American homes to have an entire room of drywall. Credit: Shutterstock

Drywall

Apparently, it’s a very American thing to see a lot of drywall in a home. According to The Atlantic, “Drywall was invented in 1916. The United States Gypsum Corporation, a company that vertically integrated 30 different gypsum and plaster manufacturing companies 14 years prior, created it to protect homes from urban fires, and marketed it as the poor man’s answer to plaster walls”. While drywall can be seen in homes all over the world, it’s nowhere near as common as what we see in the United States. Many homes in Europe use brick and concrete for their walls, instead. Other countries might call it “plasterboard, sheetrock, gyp board, or wall board,” but it’s all the same thing. (via The Atlantic)

Americans put their eggs in the fridge to keep them fresh. Credit: Shutterstock

Eggs in the Fridge

This might come as a shock to most Americans, but the majority of the world does not refrigerate their eggs. There is a real reason behind this, though. Here in the US, eggs are washed and dried before being sent to the customer. This removes a protective cuticle from the outside of the egg, which makes it more susceptible to be infected with salmonella. There are far more cases of salmonella infections here in the US. We experience 1.35 million American cases of infection while there are just 91,000 cases in Europe each year. By keeping our eggs in the fridge, it slows down the likelihood of infection. However, many people who raise chickens in their backyard know that refrigerating their eggs won’t be necessary. (via Insider)

Most American homes come with a dishwasher. Credit: Shutterstock

Dishwashers

It’s true that the majority of American homes have dishwashers, and most apartments are expected to come with one nowadays. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, dishwashers are among some of the least-used appliances in the home. They reported that 80 million households have dishwashers, but 20% of those Americans don’t actually use them. From my personal experience, this has a lot to do with people’s cultural background. Every first or second generation immigrant friend I have doesn’t use their dishwasher. They jokingly call it a glorified drying rack. Personally, I grew up with a dishwasher, and ours broke recently. Hand-washing is something truly difficult to get used to, and it takes a lot more time than simply loading and unloading a machine. For us Americans, it’s all about time-saving and convenience. (via U.S. Energy Information Administration)

It’s common for Americans to keep cans of soda in the fridge. Credit: Shutterstock

Individual Cans or Bottles of Soft Drinks

One of the biggest stereotypes we see on TV shows like MTV’s Cribs and The Home Edit is the fact that we Americans keep individual cans and bottles of soft drinks in our homes. It’s absolutely true. Many of us make weekly trips to places like Costco to restock our fridges with our favorite drinks. It’s more convenient to travel with one serving of a drink, especially if you’re taking it for lunch at work or school. However, it does create a lot more plastic that’s bad for the planet. According to a Gallup poll, 48% of Americans drink soda on a daily basis. (via Gallup)

Pantries across American have boxes of mac and cheese. ManCredit: Shutterstock

Mac and Cheese 

In both the US and Canada, Macaroni and Cheese is a common staple that you’ll find in most North American households. This dish was first popularized by the U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. He brought back the idea from one of his trips to France. While cheesy pasta might be totally normal in the west, it’s not at all common in Asian countries. According to Thrillist, Asian culture considered cheese-eating to be associated with an unsavory lifestyle. The stigma remained for years to come. There is even an article called “Asian Husband Is Furious That His American Wife Served His Family Mac N Cheese For Dinner” on Bored Panda. An American woman was exhausted from just giving birth to her baby, and her in-laws dropped by unexpectedly. She made them Mac N Cheese for dinner. But this was so offensive to them, it turned into a huge argument. (via Smithsonian)

It’s true that Americans love their pillows. Credit: Shutterstock

Lots and Lots of Pillows

A Reddit user by the name of NoImnotadumbass said, “I’m convinced almost every American has a mountain of pillows on their bed.” Some of the top responses said, “Not a mountain, but perhaps a small hill.” plus “…and our couches. I like to build a nest.” As an American, I can confirm that the stereotype you see on TV about beds filled with pillows is absolutely true. For whatever reason, women love their throw pillows. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average American sleeps with 2.2 pillows. This was definitely something I noticed when I was dating an Indian guy. He only had two pillows in his entire apartment, and both of them were very small, flat, and hard. I eventually got used to it. But as an American, I do love my fluffy pillows. (via Twin Cities)

Americans buy milk by the gallon. Credit: Shutterstock

A Gallon of Milk in the Fridge

Growing up in the United States, one of the most common phrases you hear spoken in an American family is, “Can you grab some milk on the way home?” And every time there is a snow storm, people immediately run out to grab an additional gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. It’s truly seen as a staple here. But according to the USDA, there is a downward trend on milk consumption here in the US. We are far from the only country that consumes milk. But it’s true that we buy it by the gallon- and sometimes several gallons at a time. Other countries will sell milk in liters or pints. In some places, like Canada, they even sell milk in bags. (via USDA)

Americans keep a variety of cold cereals in their homes. Credit: Shutterstock

Cereal

Speaking of milk, one of the most common reasons why Americans keep gallons of milk in their household is so that they can eat cereal for breakfast. While cereal is not a uniquely American thing, it’s something that is truly a staple in most households in the United States. Cereal was first invented in 1863 by an American named James Caleb Jackson. So it makes sense why it’s so popular here. According to a poll by OnePoll and Sabra, 56% of Americans claim to eat cold cereal for breakfast on a regular basis. Other polls have found that 96% of people buy at least one box of cereal every time they go grocery shopping. Yes, we are aware that it’s full of sugar, and not the healthiest thing to eat in the morning. But it’s definitely the easiest thing to eat, especially if you have kids. (via The Travel)

Some countries find it weird to keep blocks of cheese in your house. Credit: Shutterstock

Blocks of Cheese

A Reddit user called AntArctMaid commented, “Just a literal block of cheese just chilling in the fridge. I’m certain they woke up randomly at 3am and go ‘Omg cheese sounds good right now.’” They later clarified that they are Korean, and that while cheese is gaining popularity in Asian countries, it’s nowhere near the amount of cheese we consume in the United States. Buying large amounts of cheese is also popular in European countries (especially France). According to the USDA, cheese accounts for the largest share of per capita U.S. dairy product consumption. (via USDA)

American grocery stores always carry a variety of barbecue sauce options. Credit: Shutterstock

Barbecue Sauce

While it’s not a uniquely American thing, it really is a huge part of our tradition to barbecue on summer holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. It’s such a staple that we keep jars of barbecue sauce in our fridges all year long. Even if we’re not making an actual barbecue, it still tastes delicious with chicken or even on burgers. A Redditor called ruckbeat commented, I have at least 5 varieties of BBQ sauce in my fridge at the moment, including 2 that are homemade”. Many Americans also commented that they had multiple varieties of barbecue sauce in their fridge, because it’s one of their favorite condiments. (via Smithsonian Magazine)

The majority of American homes own a microwave. Credit: Shutterstock

Microwaves

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a whopping 90% of American households own a microwave. But it’s not a uniquely American thing. According to Statistica, 94% of homes in Greece have them, too. However, there is something uniquely American about the fact that people here use microwaves to heat up water instead of boiling it on the stove with a kettle. This is appalling to Europeans. Even though so many households own a microwave, a lot of people have moved on to toaster ovens or air fryers, because it makes food taste so much better. (via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Americans love to own dogs and cats as household pets. Credit: Shutterstock

A Pet Dog or Cat

Yes, it’s incredibly common for Americans to own at least one dog. We have a phrase that says “a dog is a man’s best friend.” According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 76,811,305 pet dogs and 58,385,725 pet cats in the United States. Of course, it’s still common for people around the world to own dogs and cats as well. But there are some countries where owning a dog is actually illegal. Many Islamic countries ban dogs. But there are also many Asian countries where poor people eat dogs and cats for meat. (via American Veterinary Medical Association)

Many Americans have a backup fridge or freezer in their garage. Credit: Seattle Times

An Extra Freezer or Fridge in the Garage or Basement

Here is yet another trend that is popular among middle-class Americans, but it’s definitely not something you see in every single household. A lot of Americans like to have a spare fridge or freezer in their garage so that they can store extra food. It also comes in handy if you have a party, or are hosting a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. According to the New York Times, 35 million American homes have two or more fridges. This is not at all common in the rest of the world. In Europe, their fridges are already smaller than the average American sizes, and they only keep one in their homes. It just means that they go grocery shopping more often than we do. (via New York Times)

American fridge doors typically have a variety of sauces. Credit: Shutterstock

Lots of Sauces

Condiments obviously exist around the world, but most households don’t hold onto huge collections like Americans do. One Redditor by the name of C_Byum commented, “Multiple different types of weird sauces”. This is true. Americans love to have a variety of sauces in their fridge. In fact, someone quickly commented, “So many sauces. An entire refrigerator door with sauces.” Yes. I can confirm that the door of my fridge is, in fact, filled mostly with a variety of sauces and salad dressings. We also tend to hold onto sauce packets from restaurants, which usually live in one of the crisper drawers. There are people out there who love hot sauce so much, they might own multiple different brands varying in different ranges of hotness. And when there is a new trend going around like Pink Sauce on TikTok, tons of people decide to jump on that bandwagon. (via Men’s Health)

American grocery stores sell a variety of pickles. Credit: Shutterstock

Pickles 

Pickles can be found all over the world, especially a variety of pickled vegetables. However, here in the US, when we say “pickles”, we’re talking about pickled cucumbers. It’s true that they are very commonly eaten by Americans. We have them on our sandwiches, burgers, and on the side of a meal. A lot of people like to eat pickles by themselves as a snack- especially spears of dill pickles. And when you go to the grocery store, you’ll see that there is a huge section devoted to pickles and relishes of varying sweetness and heat levels. When I was dating an Indian guy, I was shocked to find out that he had never tasted a pickle before in his life. (via Zippia)

Red solo cups are an iconic American party staple. Credit: Shutterstock

Solo Cups

Years ago, solo cups got brought up in conversation with a British coworker of mine. He literally thought they were a myth of American television and movies, and he was shocked to know that they actually exist. Yes, Americans use red solo cups at parties. In fact, they come in all different colors. As odd as it sounds, the idea behind these cups is to conceal what you’re drinking- especially at college parties with kids who are under 21. For all anyone knows, maybe you have Coca Cola in that cup. This is such a uniquely American stereotype though. (via Smithsonian

Credit: Mad Scientist YouTube channel

Popcorn Setting on the Microwave

Earlier on this list, we already established that countries around the world use microwaves. But apparently, it’s a uniquely American thing to have a “popcorn” button. And the funny thing is- almost no one uses it, because it tends to burn your popcorn. Of course, there are still some people out there who like to make stovetop popcorn. Or, they might even have a fun novelty popcorn making machine. After all, it’s a very American thing to own a lot of useless kitchen gadgets that we might use once, and then never again. (via All Recipes)

A lot of Americans reuse plastic grocery bags as garbage can liners. Credit: Shutterstock

Plastic Bags

There are countries around the world that have banned plastic bags due to the fact that they’re terrible for the environment. But for some reason, the United States is slow to adopt this rule. Here, it goes state-by-state. When I visited England, people were very accustomed to bringing their own bags to the grocery store. And they usually have beautiful, high-quality bags that they bring with them. I live in New Jersey, and we recently had our plastic bag ban begin in May of 2022. It has been months since the ban, and people are still struggling with the change. A lot of people (myself included) will just juggle items in their hands while walking out to their cars. I’ve noticed a few stores that still give out plastic bags, because the law is not strictly enforced. (via Statistica

Individually wrapped potatoes. Credit: Bored Panda

Unnecessarily Individually Wrapped Items

Following our paragraph on plastic bags, another huge issue we have in the United States is items that are individually wrapped when they don’t need to be. Of course, this is not a uniquely American thing. Someone else commented, “I think Japan wins the prize for that one”. But here in the US, there are so many examples of unnecessary packaging. One of the biggest that comes to mind is Amazon packages. It’s incredibly wasteful, but hopefully people recycle their cardboard boxes when they can. (via Bored Panda)

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