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Newest Member: Newgem (61508)

User Topic: Neighbor clutter issue Ė How do I confront?
♀ 39694
Member # 39694
Default  Posted: 10:46 AM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I live alone in a modest 3 bedroom home on a quiet residential street filled with middle class, hard working families. We do not have a home owners association but practically all of us take pride in our yards. No trash lingering, lawns cut, hedges trimmed, flowers planted, etc.

The woman who lives across the street from me has 4 children ranging in ages of 7 years to 16 years old. She is separated from her husband but he is there practically every afternoon hanging out with the kids. Her and I will occasionally talk on my porch while drinking a beer or glass of wine. She is very sweet but has low self esteem and takes practically everything personally.

She has a cape cod style house with a full front porch. Her porch is always cluttered with kid stuff, which is fine, but it has also housed a broken kitchen stove for the past year. I havenít said anything about the stove because it barely comes above the porch railing so itís hard to see unless you are looking for it. But the fact that I know it is there, I see it all the time! But the other day I came home from work and backed into my driveway. When I looked across the street I noticed more shit has been dumped on the porch. A stained mattress, some miscellaneous pieces of wood, an interior door and cardboard boxes. All of this is literally up against the windows and looks freaking terrible! Oh, and letís not even discuss the ONE shutter that is painted a completely different color from the others.

But just like the stove, I am afraid this new crap wonít be leaving the front porch anytime soon. If ever!

I know she has financial problems but Iím SOOOO pissed off this crap is piling up. Iím even embarrassed to have family and friends over because it makes it look as if I am living in some ďwrong side of the tracksĒ community. I know that sounds terrible but thatís how I feel.

I, and all my other neighbors, work hard to keep our homes looking nice but that one person Ė who lives directly across the street Ė has to ruin it. I like to sit on my front porch sometimes but I donít anymore because I just get pissed off.

I need to say something but not sure how to put it eloquently enough without hurting her fragile feelings. Also, I do want to keep things friendly between us.

As a last resort, I am willing to rent a van or trailer if she is willing to get help discarding this crap but Iíd rather not. My mom is coming to visit in September and I just donít want her to see this stuff.

Anyone else have to deal with something like this?

Me, the "B": 42yo
Him, the "W": 38yo
DDay: June 2013
Status: Over

Posts: 1445 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: Virginia
♀ 22870
Member # 22870
Default  Posted: 10:59 AM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm sure she's overwhelmed. Maybe she doesn't know how to get rid of the stuff.

In my area, if you call a "junk man", they'll come and haul stoves away at no charge. I would casually mention that you're having some stuff hauled away, and ask if she would like to have the stove removed.

If that works, you can approach the other stuff.

You can stuff your sorries in a sack, mister. -George Costanza
There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. - Madeleine Albright

Posts: 9168 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: Western PA
♂ 3031
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 11:18 AM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I would ask her if she needs the name of a company that will "take unwanted stuff away" (you just happen to have this handy, maybe even a business card) and if she doesn't take a hint it's time to call the local health dept. or other town administrator to see if some light enforcement (or inference thereof) would help.

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 2:39 PM, July 28th (Monday)]

"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 22740 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
♀ 39694
Member # 39694
Default  Posted: 12:18 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you for your suggestions!

I wish I had large stuff in my house that needed to be hauled away because that would be the perfect cover by asking if she wants to piggy back on my dump run.

I just went to my county ordinance website and there is a form I can fill out that will allow me to input her address and what ordinance she is violating. Even though these things are "stored" on her porch, I have to believe this can be considered trash. Right?

My only fear is that the county will not consider it a violation which will leave me having to talk to her. Then she will know I am the one who filed the complaint. Grrrrr!

I know she is very overwhelmed with life and that is why I don't want to make this contentious. And I really do like her. She's good people. However, her estranged husband seems to have a lot of time on his hands and has family/friends that can help. Honestly, all this stuff can fit into one pick up and the county dump is not that far away.

I'm going to give it another day or two to think about. But something needs to be done. Every day that passes I get more and more resentful.


Me, the "B": 42yo
Him, the "W": 38yo
DDay: June 2013
Status: Over

Posts: 1445 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: Virginia
♀ 36915
Member # 36915
Default  Posted: 1:07 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Really, IrishGirl? You can barely see the stove, but it bugs you so much that you want to report her? How long has the other stuff been there -- a week? five months? A woman separated from a lazy-ass husband with four kids...Really?

Why don't you say this to her: Neighbor, I see you have some old stuff on the porch. Can I help you move it? I have a pickup / have a friend with a pickup / other neighbor has a pickup.

Instead of getting all shivery about the one shutter painted a different color.

I know this sounds snarky, but I feel angry for *her*, being in such a wretched position, which is only being made worse by neighbors looking down their nose at her. Give her a hand instead of a slap.

DDay Feb 2011.
In R.

Posts: 1020 | Registered: Sep 2012
♀ 33886
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 2:09 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Huh. Guess I know what my neighbors think about the stuff I need to have removed but I am not strong enough to do, nor has my husband had half a day to do it himself. QS and I have a healthy dynamic going. Yet the items remain due to other reasons. It's on our property. And it's not hurting anyone. We will get to it when we can. We're doing the best we can. The neighbors can suck it. *shrug*

If my neighbors have that much of a problem with it that they want to report me (Seriously? They have much bigger issues to deal with than front porch clutter and mismatched shutters) then they are more than welcome to take it upon themselves and dispose of it.

It probably bugs your neighbor too. But the reasons why it stays are most likely not so black and white. She probably doesn't feel comfortable asking her stbx to move it. Maybe she has and he's a douche. Maybe she's asked others to help and they stiff her. Who knows. Maybe when she reaches for the phone to call someone to help her, one of the kids has a crisis, thus side lining the issue.

If you're that bent out of shape about it, why don't you move it yourself? But be aware. She is already stressed and overwhelmed. You could embarrass or insult her.

This is the hall of mirrors. Where you will face yourself. Buckle up.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

Posts: 7909 | Registered: Nov 2011
♂ 3031
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 2:25 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

That's pretty judgmental, StrongerOne. I grew up in VA and can tell you there are many places where appliances might be OK on a porch for awhile (a year???) and many places where that's NOT OK, if not actually against local ordinances and codes. Community standards vary and all that.

I agree on showing helpfulness, kindness and empathy to a neighbor, but no one forced her to get married to a lazy man who "hangs out" but doesn't take responsibility for their house and no one forced her to have 4 children. Those were personal choices.

By the way, it may come as a surprise to some, but children aged 7-16 can actually do these things around a house called "chores" but the prerequisite is something called "good parenting," which along with personal responsibility appears to be some kind of lost archaic art today.

She can choose any lifestyle she wants for the interior of her house, subject to health department rules, which by the way WILL step in and condemn the house if they go below a certain standard and involve rodents.

The community has a reasonable interest in her keeping a certain minimum standard with regard to exterior appearance. In your case it's not "looking down your nose" but rather what you have to look at across the street.

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 3:32 PM, July 28th (Monday)]

"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 22740 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
♀ 42372
Member # 42372
Default  Posted: 5:12 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If you are close enough to sit on your porch and drink wine, you should be able to address the problem. Just ask her what she plans on doing with the stuff. If she indicates she wants to trash it but needs help, offer you help. If she is hoarding it, you may want to say in a respectful way, that she might want to move it to a storage shed or something like that. I bet she is just overwhelmed with life and this is just not a priority to her. Or maybe she is trying to make a statement to her ex or the older kids to get off their asses and help! You won't know until you TALK to her........

And miles to go......

Posts: 1906 | Registered: Feb 2014 | From: Southeastern USA
♀ 6370
Member # 6370
Default  Posted: 5:16 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ask her if she needs help getting rid of the stuff and express concern she will get ticketed for it ... and then offer to help. Maybe even organize other neighbors to help her spiff up the place.

"Because I deserve better"

Posts: 1485 | Registered: Feb 2005
♀ 14917
Member # 14917
Default  Posted: 7:32 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I agree that offering help is the way to go. You wouldn't be worried about what to do if you didn't care about her situation. You're not judging her by wanting it cleaned up.

It could be depression that is playing a part in this too.

I chose a husband that didn't care, my choice and that choice I made along with others on this journey, has placed my children and I in some very tough situations, but I'd like to think if I was having a hard time someone would offer help or have compassion for me. When people have done this rather than judging - even if I haven't accepted the help - the compassion has helped me to carry on.

Now, faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see. Heb 11:1
I done been through the pain and the sorrow the struggle is nothing but love. Maino
Me: Divorced BS 50
DS24, DD21, DS19

Posts: 1300 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Massachusetts
♀ 23998
Member # 23998
Default  Posted: 9:26 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sounds like she needs a good friend like you! Don't report her to the authorities, find your voice and speak gently to her. Maybe another porch chat with wine or iced tea and just gently throw it out there that you don't know how she manages it all(!) but you have a truck or know someone who does and you can help her carry away the stuff on the porch. Then maybe segue into how fun it would be to gussy up her porch!! Throw a few ideas out and suggest you go yard saleing with coffee for bargains, maybe help her plant some window boxes or offer to do it for her. She has waaay too much on her plate to even notice what is on her porch. Reach out and be a good neighbor. I know, easier said than done but give it a shot!

Posts: 1303 | Registered: May 2009
♀ 16671
Member # 16671
Default  Posted: 10:07 PM, July 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

^^^^^^^^^this!!!! What a great positive approach! She probably needs the friendship and would appreciate the help. Sometimes we walk past the weed or the clutter so long that we don't see it anymore. Rather than beat her down further, offer some help!

Me(BS)45(at the time of D-day)

Divorced 2009, Closing on house Nov 2011 -
No longer waiting for the other "she" to drop.

Posts: 4918 | Registered: Oct 2007
Topic Posts: 12

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