Tag Archives: consumption

32 Cluttered Families… Mine, too!

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.

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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 –

Boy's room

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.

garage

OfficeInstead, 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.


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Is Your Kitchen a “Command Center?”

Think about your home for a second. What room gets the most traffic? Where do your kids do their homework? What does all of that stuff on the refrigerator door say about your family?

For middle-class American families, real estate inside the home can be as precious as the land underneath.  In “Space,” the final installment of UCTV Prime’s series “A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance,” UCLA anthropologists track how 32 families organize and prioritize their living space, with kitchens as command centers, bathrooms as bottlenecks, and master suites, in some cases, remodeled into hotel-like sanctuaries.

Don’t miss “Space — A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance (Ep. 3)” and, if you haven’t already, catch up with “Stuff (Ep. 1)” and “Food (Ep. 2”). You just might view your home — and maybe your family — a whole lot differently.

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Fridge Full of Food – Episode 2 of “A Cluttered Life”

Ah, Costco. It’s hard to resist stocking up as you stroll down those abundant aisles, stacked with 20-packs of everything you’ll ever need during your busy day-to-day life. But how do all those frozen dinners, snack foods and household supplies impact the homes and lives of typical dual-income American families?

In the second installment of UCTV Prime’s original series “A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance,” we follow three UCLA social scientists inside the homes of these families as they open pantries and peer inside refrigerators to reveal consumption patterns that make American households different from any other in the world. Discover how parents feed their children, where they shop, how much they buy and how they compare to families in Europe. It’s an eye-opening look at the way so many Americans live.

Watch “Food — A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance (Ep. 2),” online now. Make sure to check out the first installment in the series, all about “Stuff,” and stay tuned January 25 for the third and final episode, “Space.”

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