30/03/2011 07:34 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers Or Why Do They File Everything On The Floor?

My 19-year-old has just come home. He's back for a few weeks before he disappears off to university. I went upstairs to his room to ask him something - maybe how many 12" pizzas he wanted for lunch - and stopped, horrifed.

I couldn't see the carpet.

Two days ago, there was nothing - just the tramlines left by the hoover. Now there were clothes, newspapers, books, DVDs, coffee cups, empty beer bottles, a laptop, a plate with toast crumbs and a straw hat.

'Floorganisation,' says Joe.

What is this teenage obsession with filing everything on the floor? His younger brother has a sea of paper for a carpet, even though he finished exams weeks ago.

'How about putting some of this stuff away?' I say hopefully

'Don't touch it!' he says, as if it's about to explode.

His 15-year-old sister has a muddle of tiny possessions matted together into a kind of Accessorize rug - socks, earrings, hairbands, scarves. The cat went missing recently. I swear he was tied up in a knot of tights.

'How can you ever find anything?' I say. The floor of her room looks like some kind of jumble sale.

'I know where everything is,' she says firmly.

I stomp round to my friend Angela to moan. What's wrong with shelves, cupboards and drawers? Hasn't IKEA taught us anything? 'It's worse than having toddlers,' I say, miserably.

Angela understands. She has two teenagers of her own. 'I've given up,' she says. 'It's just fighting a losing battle.'

Back home, my 15-year-old is getting ready to go out.

'Mum,' she says, 'have you seen my purple cardigan?'

Sweet victory! But I'm way too slow.

'Oh, I forgot,' she says. 'I left it at Alex's.'

And off she goes, leaving me mouthing like a goldfish.

Angela's right. This is a battle I'm not going to win.

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