Living in a Furniture Store
"Oh, they live in a furniture showroom."
In the Standardized Sitcom Housing
that Dom Com
families live in, things are always well organized, clean and tidy: no open books are ever left on the coffee table, and no shoes are ever sitting randomly by the front door, no clothes are strewn on the floor (unless Chekhov
left them there). You'd almost think that they were living in
... yeah, you know the rest.
Oh sure, there'll be arguments about doing dishes or housework, and they may demonstrate this with excessive waste, or just allude to
how messy it is. But beyond that, nothing clutters the place up, and the junk is at least in one place, out of the way — possibly in an Exploding Closet
. Sometimes, the place may be doused in grime and stains, but will still probably be free from mess.
This is especially noticeable when the inhabitants are stated and shown to be lazy, slobbish or disorganized. It's also more common in cartoons, as it takes a lot of effort to draw convincing clutter. In Live-Action TV
, the actors still need to move about the set safely, and too much stuff can cause shooting errors quite easily.
See also: Friends Rent Control
, The Beautiful Elite
, Hollywood Homely
, Product Placement
. Contrast with Men Can't Keep House
. Compare Pottery Barn Poor
and First World Problems
This does not include cases of people actually living in furniture stores.
open/close all folders
Anime And Manga
- Rare animated aversion in Whisper of the Heart: Mr. Tsukishima is a librarian, Mrs. Tsukishima is a graduate student, and the family's tiny apartment is literally stuffed with books and papers. Even the elder sister moving out halfway through the film hardly makes a dent in the omnipresent clutter.
- Similarly, the various paper masters' houses in Read or Die are shown to be virtual disaster areas due to all the books in them. In the OVA, Yomiko has trouble finding the phone from under the pile of books, which she's also sleeping under. Yeah, she's weird like that.
- Played horribly straight in Transformers Armada: Rad's dad complains about his messy room, despite it being 100% clean and completely orderly.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has an unusual case of this. Mami's house in the TV airing was sparse and clean, like a student's apartment bought one piece at a time. Considering her situation, it's justified. She even apologises for how unready it is for guests. This might have only been due to the cost of drawing animated clutter, because the Blu-Ray release packs her house full of stuff. It still looks like a furniture store, just a higher-end one.
- Averted in Harry Potter: Harry spends his first ten years at the Dursleys living in the cupboard under the stairs. When the masquerade starts to crack, they're nervous enough to move him into the upstairs bedroom (formally a storage space used exclusively for Dudley's broken birthday presents). Since he doesn't have much incentive to tidy and would rather be anywhere else, it generally stays a mess.
- Played straight with the rest of 4 Privet Drive, but justified since Aunt Petunia is a Neat Freak. It's even Lampshaded in the fifth book when Tonks comments that the extreme cleanliness of the house is a "bit unnatural."
- This is averted in the first few books of The Dresden Files as Harry Dresden is, well, a man living alone. Later on he gets fairies to clean up his apartment for pizza.
- Also, in book 4, it's mentioned that he has been too preoccupied to clean since the end of book 3, because he's been more or less living in his lab, looking for a cure for Red Court Vampirism to save his ex-girlfriend.
- Hilariously enough, Harry can't tell anyone about the fairies or they'll stop cleaning, so in a short story from Thomas' point of view he mentions Harry apparently turned into a major neat freak a few years ago who buys cupboardfuls of strange foodstuffs.
Live Action Television
- The Simpsons: Considering how lazy Homer is, and Bart's reputation, you'd think the house would be a disaster area. However, it's in a poor state only when they make a plot point of it. Several episodes show an obsessive Marge as being obsessed with cleaning obsessively to the point of an obsession.
- In one episode after an entire day of Marge cleaning until the place sparkled, the family comes in and goes into the kitchen. The door swings in as they go into the kitchen and when it swings open (two seconds later) the room is a disaster with debris and food everywhere.
- Averted by Futurama, Fry and Bender's apartment is always disgusting.
- Taz-Mania: Being a parody of typcal Sitcom family, the Tasmanian Devils' home is like this. The exception is Taz's room, which is literally a cave whose only furnishing is a rock that he sleeps on.
- One of the first clues viewers had that YouTube's lonelygirl15 wasn't a real person was the observation that all of the visible furnishings in her room came from Target.
- Averted: while IKEA does offer everything to furnish your home, they happily admit that no one does this.
- With one possible exception. Someone buying up a dilapidated Big Fancy House to convert into apartments may choose to offer them for rent ready-furnished to attract college students and other young adults who are only just moving out of the family home. Ikea's products are a bit on the bland side and not exactly built to last, but if you do need to furnish an entire apartment in one trip they're hard to beat for price or convenience.
- Ikea TV commercials in 2012 feature families who actually live in the store. The employees try to remind them that they can buy the furniture and take it home with them, but to no avail.
- The company Rooms To Go advertises this, buy an entire room setup out of their catalog.
- New housing developments will often contain a "showhome" furnished in this manner as a kind of real-life artist's impression of what living in one of the properties might be like. Once every other home is sold, the showhome is frequently put on the market with all the furniture included in the price; convenient if you're a first-time buyer, perhaps, but probably a bit disconcerting to live in before one can personalise the place a bit.
- Often subverted by real estate agents, who will rearrange a home for sale (called "staging") to best present it to potential buyers. Along with moving furniture around, staging often includes leaving the house as bare as possible. Examples can be seen on the various house selling shows on HGTV. In particular, any extra rooms are left empty: the seller might think that spare room would be wonderful for a nursery, but if the buyers don't have young children and aren't planning on it, the nursery decor could be distracting.
- People (especially housewives) will tidy their house to look like this for when guests come round, even if the guests wouldn't care. They will often ask their children to tidy their rooms even if the guests aren't even going to go into their room. This paints an unrealistic picture of family life but some people think it implies class and/or shows the respect towards the guests.