Take a look at pinterest or instagram and you will see a trend of excess: Boutique walk in closets. These are closets which include such features as velvet-lined jewelry drawers, boutique-style shoe racks customized for the height of room residents, designer wallpaper, and mirrored walls. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about this growing trend, and the families who renovate their children’s closets in a similar style, at an average expense of $5,000 — $15,000. Closets, I’m told, have become the latest way to boast ones wealth and life of extravagance. Homeowners are redecorating these tiny rooms in luxurious fashion, post them online and hope for copious likes (online likes was actually mentioned as a reason for some redecoration projects). These closets are being used as the new way to pamper children and to perpetuate the perfect life a curated instagram exhibits.
The first thought I had about this as my partner read the article aloud was “doesn’t that become obsolete when your child’s style changes?” I changed my style when I was in primary school quite often, as is the case with many children. In my mind, this alone precludes the choice to spend such money, especially when these projects focus so heavily on the passing fancies of your offspring. Yet even without this included, it still seems such an exorbitant price for, at best, a minor improvement to one’s life. The feelings of happiness derived from having a lushly furnished closet must be available elsewhere in your life at much lower costs. If this is the only space left in your life to add happiness, you truly must live a blessed life indeed.
The overall feeling I was given by the entirety of this article was one of sadness. Sadness of members of our society spending resources in such drastically wanton ways while others are unable to obtain the resources to live at a base level of stability. I have always strived to live in line with the mentality of “live simply so others may simply live”. There is a very real level of diminishing returns on financial spending to provide happiness. Put simply, your money can only buy you so much happiness. After a certain point, including all base needs and a few comforts, the amount you must spend to reach another level of personal happiness increases rapidly. “So why do so at all?” I say. I will lead a life of simple pleasures, of small means. In doing so, I only hope others will be provided with the opportunity to live a life of happiness as well.
Though these children are no doubt thrilled about their new closets, these closets are not what memories are built on. Families can gain more benefit out of such quantities of funds by spending it instead on shared experiences. A trend which has been growing for generations in our culture is one of absent parents due to excessive work commitments. A wonderful way to combat this in any given family is to actively plan outings, either an afternoon, a weekend, or longer, as a family. Instead of providing something such as a lush boutique closet for your children, provide them with a great memory of time with their fellow family members; something they can cherish for years to come regardless of their style preferences.
Sometimes, it may seem as if money is the foundation of a happy family. The need to follow instagram trends, buy children the latest toys, and visit the most exotic of places; yet money is not what family is based on. Instead of focusing on a child’s current obsession with extravagant closets, murals, or play house, focus on your children as growing and changing people. Spend time with them and grow with them. This is something a closet could never do, but a family always can.