Cautious Question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Hummingbird, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2002
    Hi everybody -

    I have a question that has been in my mind for a long time but I've hesitated to ask it because I truly don't want to sound judgemental or ugly in anyway, trust me I have no "stance" in this - I am just truly curious about something. Ok?

    As we travel throughout the countryside, I've noticed a lot of homes that have so much stuff piled all around their property. Sometimes these are really nice homes, sometimes not so finances don't seem to be a factor. Now I understand that somethings are kept to be useful, not what I'm curious about. I see bags and piles of trash, countless broken things, etc. I know some of them and they are hardworking, wonderful people. Is it just a need to keep things or am I missing something? I do know that some people are not physically able to do much yard work and I understand that but I would think that they would then not put the stuff in the yard where they can't pick it back up.

    Like I said, I'm honestly not being judgemental, I don't care if someone prefers to not keep up their yard on their property although I think it might draw rodents or mosquitos or be a hazard to their kids. I'm just curious.

  2. akmyilee

    akmyilee Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2005
    South Carolina
    I don't know WHY of this question but I will say that even a not-so-great home or trailier can look really great when the yard is kept up and nice.... just a thought...

    After reading the other posts I thought of something -- My FIL! he is a junk o' holic but i believe it part of his recovery from being an Alcoholic for many years. He went though AA and is totally sober now and for MANY years but it looks like his yard front and back and a good bit of the house too is preparing for a flea market.....I think he needs the "stuff" to stay busy. He moves it and organizes it and REorganizes it and then gets more and gets rid of is kinda funny to watch accually....

  3. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    So Cal Mtns
    I think its a type of emotional illness ? Some people are comfortable around junk.I really dont get it at all,they just are.
  4. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

    Jun 3, 2005
    My brother-in-law bought 30 acres from his cousin. He started to clean out and ended up having to haul away something like 19 cars and part of an old school bus. Apparently, his cousin would allow dumping on his land for a fee. Not so good for the environment but it was his reason for all the junk. :(

    I think with smaller "yard trash", it starts out with something broken or a small pile and just slowly grows. The residents either become used to looking at it or feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start to clean it up. They may also be elderly, and not have the physical or financial means to get it cleaned up.

    Akmyilee is exactly right - keeping a coat of paint on it and the yard picked up will do wonders.

  5. hesmith

    hesmith Active Member

    Mar 31, 2005
    This is a good question. I seem to notice it around our area a lot.
    I can tell you that there is a emotional problem with some people that makes them keep everything.
    One member of our family who did not live in this area passed away last year. When we went up to settle everything we were really shocked to see how he lived. Every room in his home was piled from floor to ceiling with stuff. There was just room to walk between piles. It included books, newspapers, and all types of things he had collected. It was a challenge to despose of it so his house could be sold.
  6. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Nov 15, 2004
    Upstate NY
    We have a friend, that when we first met him, we didn't know where he lived. One day we were driving by a place on a country road, and he was standing out by the road and waved us down. It turned out he lived there. So he wanted to show us around, and he was so proud of it. He had about 3 acres of junk! And it was just like a junk yard.

    Most of his neighbors were the same way. He doesn't live there now. And we just drove by there last week, and they are all cleaning up the junk piles. Getting rid of the vehicles and all. I think our county is making people clean up.

    We are trying to make our place look like the Amish. Their places are so clean. Even the farms. I like the way they don't even have hedges up close to their house. Right now we have a old van that we put our hay in, but as we are in the process of putting the roof on our barn, that'll be going too...soon.
  7. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 8, 2002
    I know what you are talking about because we have one two doors down. He'd take a trip out in his big truck every few days, bring in more "stuff" and pile it in the yard. He has two sheds---totally full, a construction trailer---full, and his old trailer house that he lived in before he bought a new one, and it's full. Just all kinds of "stuff". The yard has old bicycles, broken this and that, dog houses--no dogs, they died, so much stuff you can see it all. A few weeks ago we went by there and they had drug out a bunch of clothes!! and laid them out all over the yard. ??? Most are still there after rain and sun. they dump the trash bags out the back door, even though they go somewhere every day in the three vehicles they have.
  8. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Oct 18, 2004
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    Oh, this is one of those good subjects that really get people up in a huff.

    On one side we see crazies like the dude who let's them dump whatever on his land...

    and on the other

    People who are appalled because someone has piles of wood, some junk cars or whatever in a neighbors yard.

    We don't just live at our house to grow flower gardens personally. Our place is a working property. Garage that we do auto work in. A pile of wood that we recycle pieces we need out of. A burn pit for our burnable garbage. Chickens free ranging (along with my turkeys now) and we occasionally scrap out a junk car. And until recently a Semi truck parked occasionally here when it wasn't on the road.

    Around here, farmers for years have kept things around that may be useful to them.

    Just like most things, different strokes for different folks. If it ain't affecting the health or safety of my family, I don't really care what the neighbors do.
  9. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    As we speak. A new ship load of high quality stuff is leaving China. It will arrive shortly. Wal-Mart will have lots of new stuff (pre junk) for sale. You can even get a credit card to buy as much as you can haul. Now we need to set the old junk somewhere. Perhaps on a porch, or in the yard. Whatever, it is may have good parts on it, or just might sell at the yard sale. ;)

    It is difficult to keep up with the extra stuff, what with the trash hauling guy wanting $20 per month. That money is needed to pay on the Wal-Mart credit card. Who has time to clean up. or mow in the daylight hours? Some drive 40 miles to work, some a lot further. With the price of gas it takes all there is to get to work and back. Gas is way too high to just pour into some mowing machine, only to get something caught up in the blades.

    As dry as it has been it is probably a good idea to let the weeds grow high, as a shade. This will stop some of the evaporation from the soil. Weeds are good for chickens who keep down the supply of bugs, provide eggs, and are good eating. Free range chickens are a good thing. :D

    My neighbors have gotten to where they like to burn everything, all the time. What a nusiance, what with smoke and all. They like to burn electrical wire, and now and then one of the several hundred tires that they are saving. Yuk. Sure wish someone would stop by and straighten them out. :rock:
  10. My dad was like that and I'm sort of like that. At least every few years or so I get tired of looking at mine and decide to haul it off. Then I start rebuilding it again. My dad had a little shop with welders, cutters,etc. and always said "You never know when your gonna need a certain peice of metal and I might just already have it". After he passed away I hauled off tons of metal to the recycling shop including two great big tool boxes of nothing but screws, bolts, and nuts. Anytime he was walking somewhere and happen to see a screw, bolt, or nut laying on the ground, he would pick it up, put it in his pocket and take it home with him. And I would have to admit, if you needed it, he probably had one!!!
  11. Swampthing

    Swampthing Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    I was on a mission trip to eastern Kentucky. A ladies A/C was out and she had a leaky roof. While a crew was fixing her roof another fellow and me checked her a/c. We figured out what was wrong and started rummaging through a junk pile out front. We found something that we could jerry-rig and got her a/c working again...for free.
  12. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    South East Iowa
    Once you have to drive 5 miles to town for a 29 cent bolt you start keeping extras around. Beside, what you may call junk is someone else's treasure.
  13. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 13, 2004
    I have lots of stuff around our place, but do try to keep the outside neat--cars and trucks saved for parts or possible future restoration aren't junk, though, are they<G>?

    I know at least two people who purposely keep some old rusting cars in their yard and don't do landscaping etc., because they believe that it keeps their property taxes down.

  14. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Texas and S. Missouri
    Perhaps the two ends of the spectrum on this issue are both manifestations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? :rolleyes:
  15. starjj

    starjj Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 2, 2005
    KY South Central
    I think it is all in what you consider messy. Some people would be bothered if a junk car was in their yard (me) and others it would not even begin to bother them. I tend to be one of those that likes everything in it's place so if the garbage can would be left out after the trash is picked up yes it would bother me not enough to loose sleep over mind you but I would go out and haul it to the back of the yard rather than leaving it all day. This is not to say that the rake and shovel don't get left out of the shed because that doesn't bother me too much since I think I will use them the next day and why put them away (this by the way bothers Phil). When I moved here he had a junk car and a junk boat in the yard they were gone within 6 months and that wasn't soom enough for me lol. Same with indoors some things bother me others don't. I wouldn't want to live next door to someone that kept junk cars or equipment in their yard. I do live next door to a couple that keeps all sorts of construction material in their yard and yes sometimes I think wouldn't it be nice to not see that but they are an senior couple and would give us the shirt off their back and that is just the way HE is and yes it bothers his wife.
  16. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    The stuff left on the back40 is easy.
    Its either, Ill use it someday and that day never comes or Why pay to remove something when I have a place to store it.

    Now the junk near the houses. Some people dont see it as junk, but as work to cleanup. Some people dont care what other people think about there house. Some people see it as art.
  17. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Apr 25, 2005
    I almost posted this exact question. I notice it most in areas that are very noticably low income. Is it maybe a compulsion to aquire "stuff" to prove that they are NOT poor? "See, I've got 8 vehicles, and 4 fridges, and 2 extra ovens and even have a sofa on my front porch. "
    I feel that part of homesteading is being a steward of the land and the wildlife. I want to sit outside and listen to the birds and watch the deer. I just don't understand the need to collect old worn out things in case I might need them. But then again, I've never been in dire financial straits were if something broke I couldn't go buy a new part or replace the item. (And get rid of the broken item)
    I went out with the kids the first week we owned the place and went on a litter walk. We picked up several bags of trash. We go out every few weeks and clean up things that may have blown over into the yard. We make an effort to keep our place neat and safe for the animals.
  18. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Carthage, Texas
    I have friends and relatives on both sides of the spectrum, from slobs to neat freaks. I think slobbishness is the natural state of man, and the neatfreaks are the ones with mental illnesses...obsessive compulsive disorders I believe Rose mentioned... And if you have OCD, you figure someone who doesn't share your OCD clutterphobia, must be sick.

    From my own personal experience...I've been made to feel the most comfortable in a place where the owners weren't compulsively cleaning...they invite you in and tell you to make yourself comfortable........................ The neatfreaks stop :hand: you at the door, tell you to remove your shoes...inspect you to make sure your wearing clothes straight out of the drycleaners, and if you aren't, ask you to come back some other time (Right! :grit: Not!)...and if you do pass the sterility check, they watch your every move, like a guard in a museum...and they expect you to treat their house (I shan't say home, because it's not a has no's a house, a temporary accomodations that they daren't not smudge, might knock a nickel off the resale value.....)

    I have the same problem as ibcnya, running to town for a piece of this or that, and with diesel so high, it's becoming difficult to justify a trip to town for a ten cent I keep everything with any future value....

    Hummingbird, I do live way back in the boonies, and no one has to/can :sing: see my house...You gotta be lookin for me hard to find my spread... And I keep a trash can full of paper and plastic right outside the door...If the an*l retentive relatives show up, I can dump stuff out everywhere, as a first line of defense...then maybe they won't even make it to my door...I dislike someone coming in and trying to straighten up my chaotic systems...

    I thought I was going to be sick back in the 90' parent's had hired a maid service to come down and straighten up my home, before I returned from Alaska..........took me months to find everything again...and some things must have been carried to the dump, cause I've yet to find them......

    Guess I fall into the one mans junk is another mans treasure camp...
  19. Ozark-Dew

    Ozark-Dew AMDG

    Aug 3, 2005
    That is my husband. He has a compulsion to pick up every little thing. Like your father the idea is you may need it someday. However, he is not a very organized mind and when he does need it - he either will buy it anyhow or won't do the project because he just knows he has what he needs to fix it *somewhere* meanwhile the item needing to be fixed breaks down more and most likely will end up in the ever growing heap of a yard. I did clean up 4 large piles this past spring, but no sooner had I done so he found more junk to replace it. I do honor frugality, but if it can not come with order I have a nervous fit everytime I see it. Another problem (for me) is the piles and stacks of lumber. Yes, it is good usable lumber....but, we mustn't use it because another project may come along that requires it it sits, and moisture gets to it and it too becomes more warped eye insulting junk. The lawn (lawn?) is not mowed for the most part, gas price is the excuse, but I think it is more because there is too much Stuff to work around.
    This problem seems to have gotten worse with age. I love my husband dearly and am trying to accept this little eccentricity he has for garbage collecting and the subsequent humility (for me) that accompanies it. I grew up in a family that moved every 2-4 years wherever Dad's job took us - this had us getting to the bare necessitites often, I find I just do not have the proper mentality for hanging on to *stuff* my thought is "Great, it may be a use down the road, let someone who WILL use it take it" Our neighbor just loves coming over here, it is an adventure to go rummaging through the stashes. He has a love for junk too, and my husband accomodates it so he does not have to store any of it himself, when he needs something he just mosies on down the road to our place. Huge double garage you could not park a motorbike in let alone a car, 10x16 enclosed leanto that you can not see a bit of floor and very little wall space. A great big manly truck with its bed piled higher than imaginable and the cab packed tight seat to ceiling and floor as well....a junk car with the same diagnosis, and his traveling car that should seat 5, sits only it is a security measure - no one will be hiding in his car to attack! hehe.

    One 'fortunate' thing is it seems to be a prevelant 'problem' in this area.

    keep reminding myself: "in sickness and in health"
  20. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2002
    Are you talking "junk=trash" or "junk=salvagable stuff" there is a big difference. A lot of people around here have "junk" piles of stuff that they believe will be useful in the next year or so. I've noticed a lot more clean ups in this area of "useless" trash/junk than in say the last 15 years or so.

    As to WHY it has to be a emotional feeling that it has a use or will have a use. Otherwise they to would see it as junk.