Q2: You make quite a point in Chapter 5 about the impact of children on clutter and the fact that children are not taken into account in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I understand what you say about children being “complicating factors,” but is there more you could share about the nature of the complications?
A: Yes, the key is that children grow up in stages and there are many stages, each having its own interests, activities, and clutter. American children are on the journey of a lifetime through an incredibly fast-changing culture, and they tend to take their parents with them… through each and every stage. And most of the stages have associated with them the necessity to purchase certain “gear:” Gadgets, toys, books, games, clothing, furnishings, parental aids, etc.
Parenting itself, from pregnancy on, is so consequential that the habits, interests, and activities of parents hugely add to the flow of clutter.
The first stage hits before the first child is even born. And both child and parents shed many skins in the course of the child’s development into adulthood and beyond.
Just think of the possessions modern American parents regard as essential… whether pragmatic in nature or purchased for social effect… and think how often those possessions change through the various stages of a child’s life and how quickly some of those possessions flow through the busy lives of families.
The affect on clutter is, of course, all the more complicated when additional children are brought into being.
And consider the ways in which technology changes and habits and interests follow during the course of a single generation’s rearing. And all along the way new things need to be purchased and old ones abandoned. The abandoned ones we now call, clutter.
Copyright © 2015 Ryan Lee Petty