“Son, your barn is a mess,” I said.

Jaynes lynn
Managing Editor / Ag Proud – Idaho

“Don’t touch a thing in there,” he answered.

“Not even the old baling twine, used oil jugs and empty concrete bags? Come on – you’re never gonna need them.”

“Not the point,” he said.

“Is this going to be another one of our lengthy arguments?”


“No. It’s my stuff, end of story.” He underestimates me.

Later, I try another angle – “I could organize that shop for you, stack like-things together, put nuts and bolts in bins – I even have some bins.”

“No, it’s mine. I already know where everything is.”

“Yes, but it’s a mess, and I can organize it.”

“No, just because it’s not where you would put it, doesn’t mean it isn’t in the right place. And here’s the thing,” he emphasizes, “it’s still mine.”

So apparently there are two kinds of people in this world: People who organize, and those who want to shoot them.

However, not everyone agrees with a category of two. Author Daniel Pink says truly there are two types of people: “Those who divide the people in the world into two types, and those who don’t.” The problem with a binary designation is that it excludes the middle. And most of us live in the middle, where it’s a little messy. As regards barns, shops and farmyards, who doesn’t have an old planter or swather sitting somewhere – in case we need a part from it? Who doesn’t have a few broken calf hutches that could be pressed into use in an emergency (or used as firewood if nothing else)?

I realize life isn’t neatly tucked into two categories, but it doesn’t keep me from wanting two categories – one of which is organized: oil rags in the box or thrown away, bent T-posts taken to the dump. There are those who advocate for embracing the mess, as “that’s where the good stuff lives” (my son’s camp). I would opt instead for, “The good stuff may live there, but you’ll never find it.” (I should stitch that on a pillow for him.)

Men say they’re not “into” relationships, but when trying to sort through the overloaded workbench piles, I’ve heard things like, “I can’t throw that out; there’s some good stuff in there. That’s a brand-new part – wrong size but brand-new; I should keep this. That’s a great hat – I’m never gonna wear it, but I can’t throw out a great hat.” To them, it’s not stuff – it’s a relationship. 

Just wait’ll I start that argument ...  

And, by the way, have you listened to our new Ag Proud podcasts? My son is hosting live interviews (you know, in case he has extra time from not cleaning the shop). Find them at Ag Proud - Podcasts or your favorite podcast streaming service