Teenagers are wonderfully skilled at throwing clothes on the floor. If they decide to introduce “the ability to generate piles of clothing” as an Olympic event, all the participants would be between the ages of 13 and 19. Like gymnastics. Even though modern society has invented wonderful ways to keep clothes need and tidy. Useless inventions like coat hangers, shelves, cupboards, organizing compartments and the shirt folders made famous by Sheldon. Not to mention the whole practice of ironing.
What makes the situation worse is the fact that teens find it difficult to make a decision on what to wear just by looking at it. It has to be taken out of a neatly folded, shelved position, tried on and in the event of it not passing the damn-I-look-fine-test, it simply gets added to the pile. And they move on to the next shirt/skirt/jacket/trousers which run the risk of falling victim to the indecisiveness of teenagers. (I’m thankful for our South African school uniforms because I think the situation could have been a lot worse!)
These piles grow at an alarming rate. I once saw a pile so big, I invited a friend who plans on scaling Everest, to come and test his climbing skills. Unfortunately he never reached the summit because he didn’t bring enough oxygen to cope with the altitude he had to face on the top of the pile.
There are no specific place for a piling system. It can be found on the floor, on a desk, on a bed. I’ve even seen piles forming in cupboards because “folding clothes neatly” is highly overrated and something only old people do.
This piling system is also not gender specific. It’s a general trait of all teenagers of both sexes, like their ability to have an answer for everything and their criticism towards 80’s music.
In defense of my kids and their obvious inability of putting clothes away, I should take some responsibility. I tend to employ a piling system during weekends. Sometimes my piles can also be used to hide an elephant. At some point I do see the risk (Or Wife makes me see the risk) of being crushed to death by a heap of clothes forming on a chair. Then I will mine the mountain and put the clothes where they belong. In the laundry basket.
Whereas teens do not to no such thing out of their own free will. They will only react and do something about their own textile mountains when threatened with death, or even worse, no Wi-Fi for a week. That makes the piles disappear like do-nuts at a cop’s convention.
A parent needs to be vigilant when issuing the dreaded instruction of “Go clean your room.” You have to be extremely specific about what you as a parent consider that action to include. Teenagers have their own definitions of “cleaning my room” which include but are not limited to, (1) Moving the pile from one area of the room to another, or (2) Redistributing the big pile into several smaller piles, (3) Stuffing everything under the bed and (4) Overloading the laundry basket. It’s advisable to have a before photo as a reference check.
We do come across golden moments when an instruction is not necessary. When a simple confrontation results in teens painting themselves into a corner. Precious moments when the wiser-than-life teen understands instinctively that it would be better for their own self-preservation to shut up and go clean their room. I almost walked into such a conversation over the weekend.
Dude: Mom, did you find my watch?
Mom: No, I couldn’t.
Dude: I told you it was in my room, under my clothes.
Mom: *wearing an expression that makes her look like she’s folding her arms without her actually having to fold her arms* Which pile would that be, exactly?
I backed away quietly. And Dude left rather quickly.