By Shannon Bradley, UCTV Producer
As the UCTV Prime producer behind “A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance,” I was drawn to this project because I am that demographic – I’m a middle-class, married mom who juggles work and family and who often feels overwhelmed by the stuff that fills our Southern California home. I was curious about what the anthropologists (or ethnoarchaeologists, as they call themselves) would say about our lives.
I opened the book (on which this series is based), with a sense of fascination and dread.
I felt like a voyeur at first, seeing these vivid, intimate photographs of the insides of people’s homes. I couldn’t help but compare their bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and garages to my own. And,like a New Year’s resolution, I was inspired to de-clutter the parts of my house that I control.
I started with my sons’ bedrooms. After nearly drowning in toys, trucks, and yes, Beanie Babies, they now each have rooms that reflect who they are today –
a baseball shrine for one and a soccer/Lego/surf museum for the other. Their old stuff is long gone to AmVets.
But then, I stopped. I did light cleans in the kitchen and living areas, but there was no way I could make a dent in my husband’s office or the garage, which are the messiest spaces.
Instead, I took what I learned from the book about the causes of clutter and chose to apply those lessons forward for the rest of the house. I’m more careful now about adding to our possessions, by limiting bulk purchases and taking inventory before I shop, but I also understand that as long as I share my household with others, I will be surrounded by their stuff. And, like Lyn Repath-Martos (Family 27), I’ve made peace with that.