Friday, July 13, 2012

Time to clean out!

I've been working on cleaning out around here (well, until sidelined by this little bug, but I won't stay lazy for too long). It's a good thing, too, according to this Daily Mail piece:

American households are drowning in clutter, with three quarters of families unable to park their car in the garage because it is so packed with unnecessary stuff.

Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles sifted through the homes of 32 local middle-class, dual-income families for a new book 'Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century' and found a direct correlation between the amount of clutter jammed into a home and how stressed out mom is.

Other findings were equally troubling, with households barely using costly 'master suites', children rarely going outside, entire walls devoted to displays of Barbie dolls or other toys and garages so packed with household overflow that cars have to be parked on the street. [...]

The activities of family members were doggedly captured in almost 1,600 hours of video and 20,000 photographs were taken to document the insides of their homes, refrigerators, garages and yards.

'This is the very first study to step inside 21st-century family homes to discover the material surroundings and vast number of possessions that organize and give meaning to the everyday lives of middle-class parents and children,' said co-author Elinor Ochs, a UCLA anthropologist.

You have to go look at the pictures, though, to get the scope of this problem (warning to readers with small children--the Daily Mail's sidebar sometimes contains some rather dicey pictures unrelated to the main article, so you might want to wait till the kids are out of the room before clicking).

Unbelievable, right? Or...all too familiar?

I know what I want to do this weekend, after seeing this article...

UPDATE: Since the Daily Mail's not always the most reputable source, here's another look at the UCLA study, which, alas, is perfectly legitimate and even more damaging than the Daily Mail article suggests.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I take everything that British tabloid spouts with a more than a grain of salt. As well, the entire sidebar was filled with titillating stories about glamour girls of the two-ohhs and before. I don't think I take anything that People reports seriously, either.

Yes, we accumulate a ton-o-junk, but, but, but, I live in the mid-east part of the country near a college campus.

Stuff goes in and comes out of the neighborhood and makes its way to Goodwill, and other recycling outfits, shows up on campus, if it left the store as durable goods then is 'donated' back to the community. The operative adjective here is 'durable'.

Our community sees fit to support fine quality PUBLIC education as well as recycling. A lot of foreign students come here who are not used to the 'disposables' and use and reuse items. And, we have a lot of furniture, shoe and leather shops, seamstresses, and tailors for a town our size.

The issue? Items are not made to last in America anymore. Cheap, disposable goods fill up landfills if there is no active means to slow the clutteration of a town. As for shelves of Barbie dolls? I don't and wouldn't know. Perhaps, that says something about a psychological hoarding syndrome or the elusive I wanna get one more to make me happy?

Zircon

Red Cardigan said...

Zircon, while I agree with you generally about Brit. tabloids, the UCLA story the article is based on is all too real. Here's another piece on it:

http://www.boston.com/community/moms/articles/2012/07/10/new_study_says_american_families_are_overwhelmed_by_clutter_rarely_eat_together_and_are_generally_stressed_out_about_it_all/

I'll add that link in the main post, too.