Backyard minimalism from neighbors who could be hoarders

Moving has a lot of benefits. If you’re trying to practice minimalism, it’s a nice chance to declutter and steer away from hoarding too much stuff.

It has its downside, too. When you move into a new neighborhood, particularly a house, you have to meet a lot of neighbors.

If there was one benefit to COVID it’s that people weren’t so friendly to meet their new neighbors for the last few years. This wasn’t the case with everyone in our town. The families on both sides of us have been forced into small-talking at times. Certain days include an awkward wave from the distance. The house across the street has suffered from a few short conversations with me as well and one incident involving a misplaced Amazon package.

It’s one of the houses on our side where I learned a valuable lesson about minimalism and hoarding. We already know minimalism looks different for everyone. What about hoarding?

Shortly after moving in, the neighbor commented about how much junk the previous homeowners had in their yard. The funny thing is, Jenny and I were thinking the same thing about them.

Not quite the situation next door. Their cars don’t have rusty barrels on top of them.

Minimalism is an extreme people will admit, hoarding is the extreme people are in denial about

We never did fully see how the family in our home lived before we took over. The only time we went through the house was during a scheduled open house. Their junk was on its best behavior. For all we could tell, they were practicing minimalism. Apparently they had cleaned up well in preparation for selling.

The neighbor next door who certainly doesn’t practice minimalism might not be a hoarder at all. They seem to keep things clean enough. The comment still stuck with us because of the comparison between their backyard and ours.

Theirs has a lot of personality. It’s not one of those backyards where you need a map to navigate or anything. They have multiple sheds, though. Each has plenty of personality with signs featured on them.

Meanwhile, our backyard is pretty plain. There’s a leftover swing set. We have a shed that is filled with two tarps, two ladders, a lawnmower, and a rake. There might also be a little bit of hay in there. During certain parts of the year, you’ll find some jumping bags. I’m paranoid I’ll pull it open and find something much bigger like a bear or a group of teenagers looking for a place to smoke.

9 times out of 10 I would prefer to deal with a bear in the backyard than a teenager who thinks he’s the bees knees. This increases to 10 out of 10 if there is a girl around he wants to impress.

Compared between our backyard and the neighbor, they would look like hoarders. We’d look more like minimalists when in actuality I don’t think either of our families have a whole lot of stuff buried in our homes. 

Most of us are taught growing up that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, it’s judging a family by what’s in its backyard. You never really can tell.

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The book that convinced us to start investing and being more proactive with our money and lives: The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias

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