A Day in My Life: Junk Begets Junk

A few weeks ago, down a main road in my town, someone illegally dumped a mattress. No one has bothered to do anything about it. Week after week, there it sits. And then last week, someone else dumped two more mattresses on top of the first one!

There’s a scientific theory that goes something like this: junk begets junk.

It’s actually been proven. Litter attracts the eye and attracts more litter. Conversely, people are less likely to litter if an area is clean and cared for.


Junk begets junk–in our homes, on our roads, along the freeways. It’s like bunnies.


I’m not sure what’s going to happen to those mattresses. We’ve called the county (we live in an unincorporated area) and spoken to a mattress hauling company, who want quite a bit of $$$ to cart it away. So for now, there they sit. But stay tuned . . . I’m still working on this problem.

I read that litter and dumping occur because people don’t take ownership and assume someone will clean up after them.

Now, on a positive note, my friend’s neighbor walks every day and carries a plastic garbage bag to pick up rubbish. I’ve seen her! So impressive. She’s willing to inconvenience herself and take ownership of a little piece of her town. She’s inspired me to clean up litter when I take the dogs for a walk. I’m not quite as noble as this lovely woman–I don’t take a bag, but I do try to pick up one thing on each walk and toss it in a garbage can. Imagine if we all did that–just one piece of litter a day.

Do you have a similar frustration of dumping/littering in your town or neighborhood? Better still, a solution? I’d love to hear it! 

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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Joannah Cotta says:

    Wow Suzanne my husband and I just this morning was out on errands. We stopped at the local grocery store (a family owned grocery market) as we were leaving I noticed someone had dumped off an old couch by the stores trash bins. I told my husband gee looks like someone didn’t want their couch and they excpect the store to dispose of it. It is so sad that people do this because our city trash service will pick up these items at no charge twice a year if you call them. I hope your efforts at removing the old matteresses will go forth.

  2. In our state parks, what you carry in you carry out. No trash barrels. People need to learn to be mindful of their duty to keep things cleaned up.

  3. Linda Baio says:

    I think it’s great that you are doing something about it! It’s amazing how many people will walk or drive by sites like this and not even give it a thought. It’s sad that garbage or big items like that are just left for everyone else to deal with!

    • Suzanne says:

      I agree, Linda. I think litter is a metaphor for the kinds of people in the world…the ones who don’t care what they leave behind and the ones who do.

  4. Renee says:

    We had neighbors who were moving and their trash cans were filled and put out at the curbs. The trash collectors just ignored the trash for a couple of weeks. Maybe because the items were too bulky. The landlord ended up having to call someone to come and pick it up. That seems to be our main issue around here – trash not appropriate for collection and so it sits at the curb for awhile.

  5. Ronda Garnett says:

    We are avid hikers and also do a lot of fishing…I take garbage bags with me and pick up other peoples litter and trash on the lake shore line and river banks…and along the hiking trails…always make me sad/mad that people can’t clean up after themselves.

  6. Sl Gray says:

    That is a potential firebug attraction also. We had put a mattress in front of our front porch (we live on in a major urban area) to put out with the garbage the next day and someone came by and set it on fire and it melted some of our front porch ceiling.

  7. Nathania says:

    Wow. At first I thought funny! Now it sets in….indeed junk begets junk. It is a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in.

  8. Sl Gray says:

    I think we also have to try to recycle as much as possible, donate as much as possible and maybe even try to produce as little junk as possible. I like the old saying ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.’