I was flipping through a home and garden magazine and glanced at an article about organizing the garage. It had some helpful ideas about establishing zones for the boat stuff, the tools, and the hobby stuff. But the striking thing was a very insightful worldview comment about our culture.
Here’s the interesting quote I found amongst the tips about how to store the camping gear:
“The American home is changing dramatically. Houses are growing larger, as families grow smaller. Storage space has kept pace with the growing size of the American home, so extra room isn’t the problem, nor is it the solution. In other words, today’s homeowners are replacing people with stuff.”
Now that’s an insightful comment about America. We are having smaller families, buying bigger homes, and filling them with more and more stuff. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to storage solutions for all our stuff. And if you think about it, a typical modern magazine for women will have an article or two on organization, but rarely an article on mothering, though it may have something about how to care for your pet. The modern American is fond of stuff and lots of it.
Stuff may be hard to store, but it’s a whole lot easier to fill a house with stuff than with children. When the stuff gets in the way, you can have a yard sale. In a sense, Americans are mothering their stuff more than they are mothering the kids. They pay for big closets, buy bins of all sizes and shapes, call in consultants to organize the storage room, and add on more rooms to keep all the stuff. One of the common reasons given for not having children is because they are so expensive. But just think how much it costs to provide for all your stuff. You need to buy more stuff for your stuff. It may even cost more than bringing up a child!
Stuff is much easier to deal with than people are. Stuff doesn’t talk back, doesn’t need to be brought up and trained and fed or taught to mind its manners. But it’s a cold comfort in old age. As much as I love storage bins and tidy closets, they all eventually end up in the land fill (so to speak), while all those messy little fat faces will inhabit eternity.