10 Signs Your Outdoor Clutter is Out of Control

Signs It's Time To Tame Your Outdoor Clutter1Think clutter is only limited to what’s inside your home? Think again. In an attempt to savor the last bits of autumnal colors and daylight, I have been taking longer jogs than usual most evenings. While much of my jog is comprised of me picking out my favorite tree listening to my most recent podcast downloads negotiating with myself to muscle through one more block in exchange for dessert, I also happened to notice that a few of my fellow neighbors might want to speed up their spring cleaning by a few months. 

Here are ten sure signs that your outdoor clutter is out of control:

  1. You don’t park in your garage. Because you can’t.
  2. Your driveway and street look like a used car lot. You joke about this often to your neighbors.
  3. Your front walkway has become a permanent parking spot for your children’s Little Tykes Cozy Coupe cars.
  4. You lost your pet turtle but didn’t realize it for a week because you thought it was somewhere in the basement.*
  5. You own an RV and a pop-up camper. And park them both in your driveway.
  6. You have more bikes in your front yard than on the bike rack at the park.
  7. You have a batting cage in your backyard, but your last child went away to college two years ago.
  8. You can’t tell what is growing in your landscape tiers or garden beds.
  9. Your neighbors think you are setting up for a garage sale when your kids are playing with their toys.
  10. You keep one boat parked in your driveway and another one in your backyard. Neither has moved all summer.

While I can’t say that we have the definitive answer for reducing outdoor clutter, I will say that applying the “1 in, 1 out” rule to garages and sheds is just as effective as it is in closets. We also make it a point to regularly inventory tools, garden supplies, and other home repair equipment on a monthly basis. That way, we know when to start watching the sale papers for something, and we also know if we’re hanging onto things but not using them. Gardening, landscaping, and renovating all become markedly easier and efficient when you know what you tools you have and where they are stored.

* I know this because you put a “lost turtle” flyer in my mailbox. I still keep my eyes peeled on every jog, partly because I think it’s really sad to have lost a pet, and partly because if anyone tripped and fell over a turtle, it’d be me.

So Tell Me…How do you corral your outdoor clutter? Do you think it’s easier to overlook clutter in the garage and the shed?


10 Signs Your Outdoor Clutter is Out of Control

9 thoughts on “10 Signs Your Outdoor Clutter is Out of Control

  1. We can’t fit our van in our garage even when it is clean! But it is a dumping ground for everything…. so we clean it up once a month. The bane of my existance outdoors is the boys toys in the backyard. They cannot grasp the concept of picking up their toys and putting them in the big bin SPECIFICALLY for toys…. They know how to pick up inside…. but outside they lose their damn minds!

    1. The same thing happens to my husband! Apparently, boys never grow out of it. I do think sometimes it’s a bit of an “out of sight, out of mind” issue.

  2. Ohh, man. If there’s an issue in our house that leads to marital tension, it’s the suggestion that my husband get rid of any of his cars. Note the plural. Right now he has the SUV he drives, the 1986 SUV that he used to drive but now hurts his neck to drive, the 1985 pick up he uses occasionally, a convertible BMW that clutters up our carport but hasn’t been driven in 10 year, an old rusty Pacer, and a way cool but impractical Model T Speedster. Not to mention an 18 foot sailboat, a STEAM ENGINE, and some other random antique machinery.

    I understand that he inherited a lot of this stuff, and feels the need to keep it because his family members valued it. It drives me nuts, though, and since it’s definitely his stuff, I can’t make the decision to get rid of it.

  3. Ha ha ha… You got me at #1!

    My garage became the repository of all my folks stuff when they sold their house and had to move in with us while their new place was finished. Trouble is, they had a trip back to the UK scheduled (as it turned out) the week after they moved into their new place. Then, sadly, when they returned my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. So, half their stuff was never moved out of the garage. Most of it is still there! And it’s now, six years later…

    I’m pleased to report though, as part of my decluttering, I’m sorting (and mostly tossing) all his plastic plant pots. Not sure why he needed so many but there you go!

    It’s a work in progress…

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. My grandmother’s passing was the impetus behind a lot of my decluttering. She was so selective with the things she kept, it made the things she left behind all the more meaningful. It really forced me to look at a lot of my stuff as just stuff. Where I’m currently struggling is with the sentimental things. It’s hard when memories are so tied to objects.

  4. We can’t park in our garage right now because a lot of stuff was put in the garage while we were moving. By Nov 1st it all has to be out! I’m not cleaning snow off my car every morning because the garage is full of stuff.

  5. You are so frickin’ hilarious Penny! Tee heeeee, that turtle! 😀 You reminded me of how often our pet turtles used to get loose in our basement. Why were they always escaping? They had such a sweet little gig going with that plastic lagoon enclosure! Where did they think they were going, anyway? Um, where was I? Oh yeah! I’m always surprised by outdoor clutter. I always have the most nondescript house in any neighborhood we live in. I don’t like any visual chaos inside or out. Why can’t I get other people to think like me? I just want to go and make people clean up their crap!

  6. This is so true. I think that “one house, one spouse” is great financial advice, but maybe it should be expanded to include “one vehicle per person” though this is harder for some than others.

    We decided to keep our cars in the garage both because it’s nicer to get in a cool-ish car than one that has been baking in 110 degrees, and also because it decreases the temptation to fill the space with other expensive toys.

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