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Old 12-02-2014, 09:42 AM
90 posts, read 103,203 times
Reputation: 55


Hello all!

Sorry if this is in the wrong area...didn't know where else would be semi-relevant. I have read the other posts about clutter, needing to clean out your house, what to do with it all..and I can totally relate! My house is also "clean-ish" most of the time...but, after marriage and 3 kids you guessed it. Clutter.

Storage is FULL. Attic is FULL. Of. Stuff. I don't even know what anymore. I want to rent a dumpster honestly, and I've only had my own place for about 5 yrs.

Anyways, I have this major problem. Grandma-aka my wife's mother- is a semi-hoarder/never throws anything away. Her house has a lot of "stuff"/piles lying around. She has a bad habit of shopping for the future and storing said "stuff" in closets for future use, gift giving, etc. She also has a bad habit of buying multiples of the same type of stuff (blankets, comforters, coats, etc). And worse of all...she doesn't have a "cheap" filter. Can't tell what's cheap and prone to breaking vs OK quality.

She also loves to make "goody bags" for the kids for every major holiday...little bags with lots of little trinkets/erasers/stickers/fake plastic rings, etc...I know it's all good intentions but...

Let me be frank: A goody bag with a bunch of crap that the kids never use and just gets chucked. If the kids DO use it...it ends up all over the floor and stickers on the wall and getting thrown away.

So, she ROUTINELY sends this stuff to US! I really feel like 70% of my house clutter is due to her mother. Whether it's stuff she thinks we need/want, stuff for the future, or even many of the times it's Christmas gifts....95% of the time it's "stuff" we don't want/need/never going to use.

What can I do about this!? It's all with good intentions...but we don't need it all. I'm really not trying to be rude and I'm sorry if that is how anybody interprets this. I'm not a mean or rude person.

I recently cleaned out one of my kid's closets. All of this from Grandma: 2 comforters, 3 throw blankets, 2 sleeping bags, 3 zip up hoody's, Easter umbrella w/ matching coat and boots, 4 coloring books, 2 story time books, 4 small packages of bubbles w/ wand, huge container of "bubble solution", and a random assortment of shoes.

This is all x2 because all of the kids got this stuff...and it doesn't include what my wife and I got over the years. Every holiday, occasion, etc and anything she thinks we may need in between.

What do i do!?!
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:45 AM
Location: Southwestern, USA
15,379 posts, read 12,133,948 times
Reputation: 16624
Secretly go into the closets and give the stuff to the needy or Goodwill?

If you get caught, explain to the kids how others are in need?
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:51 AM
Location: Philaburbia
32,378 posts, read 59,846,787 times
Reputation: 54025
Here's what you do:

1) Get on your knees and thank whatever higher power you believe in that your children are so incredibly lucky to have a generous and loving grandmother, and that your wife still has her mother.

2) Let your kids decide for themselves which of Grandma's gifts they wish to play with, wear, use, etc.

3) Encourage your kids to give whatever they don't want to charity - a family shelter for homeless families, or families displaced by domestic violence, for instance; something they can relate to.

4) Get a tighter grip on your horses. I'm sorry, but if you think that four coloring books and two books per child is a problem, the issue is with you and not your mother-in-law.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:00 AM
Location: Wonderland
44,797 posts, read 36,172,094 times
Reputation: 63457
My grandmother was a child of the depression. So when she would see things marked way down she would buy them in bulk. We were always getting stuff like this from her. Looking back, it probably drove my mom crazy.

I am pretty sure she just donated most of it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I know we didn't keep it around. We'd keep a few of the most useful things and be sure we paraded them around when my Grandmother was over but the rest of it went to that great donation box in the sky.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:09 AM
Location: Chicago
3,275 posts, read 4,768,875 times
Reputation: 4042
I agree with the others, it's time to donate, donate, donate!

If grandma sends your kids each 3 coloring books tell them they can choose one and donate the rest. I think it's a great way to teach your children about giving and that there are people out there who are less fortunate.

I would make it a either quarterly, semi-annual or annual thing to go through the entire house and prepare things for donating. There are so many causes and many will come to your door to pick up the donations (AmVets does that, I know).
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:12 AM
2,035 posts, read 2,429,938 times
Reputation: 2080
Honestly, it doesn't sound that bad at all to me. There isn't that much and you can donate the items the kids don't want if you really need to.

It's nice she thinks of the kids. All of us get gifts we don't really want or need at times. I'd donate anything that I really can't use. But extra throws or sleeping bags could come in handy. Think sleepovers.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:52 AM
5,444 posts, read 4,851,362 times
Reputation: 15033
I agree with the 'use what you can/want and donate the rest'. If you live where it gets cold, shelters can always use blankets and coats. This is something that Grandma loves to do so let her have her fun. Unfortunately, it does require work on your part, but I think it is a small price to pay for Grandma's happiness.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:56 AM
Location: Pennsylvania
16,355 posts, read 10,340,678 times
Reputation: 28516
I agree with the others: if her gifts aren't straining her budget, thank her and have your kids thank her. In couple of weeks (maybe start a new years tradition?) get rid of the stuff you don't want.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:23 AM
Location: Oceania
8,623 posts, read 6,251,386 times
Reputation: 8318
How often does a trash truck come along? Utilize it and don't worry.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:41 AM
90 posts, read 103,203 times
Reputation: 55
Thanks for all the replies! I think donating it is a good idea, I never really thought of that! Most of the extra stuff will be donated, and some will be thrown away (unfortunately). It's just a never ending cycle of getting stuff, going thru, donating/throwing away and the cycle goes on and on.

By the way, my kids are ages 6, 5, and 3 so they really can't decide what they like/what they want nor do they really care all that much for that matter. And sleepovers aren't really an occurrence yet.

Also, I pretty much knew I'd get a response like Ohiogirls. Let me reiterate: I am not a mean person or ungrateful...I graciously accept any and all things my wife's mother gives us, I nod and smile, say thank you, and move on. I try to be as nice as possible to all people in life...unless your mean to me; in which case 90% of the time I still will treat you fairly.

I also happen to be fully aware that my children do indeed have a loving Grandmother; seeing as my mother and father want nothing to do with me or there grandchildren which makes me even more grateful she is there for the kids.

Also, I'm not really sure what you mean Ohiogirl when you say "or families displaced by domestic violence, for instance; something they can relate to."

It kind of sounds like some sort of jeer or insinuation...which I believe is pretty unfounded on your part if that is what you meant, I didn't really think wanting to get rid of some extra belongings we never use was a big deal.

All things considered...making that kind of assertion on a public, online forum is basically absurd.

Anyways, I feel kind of bad for her mother. She gets us the same stuff year after year, and most of it either sits in the closets and never gets used, thrown away, or returned for the most part.

I believe she feels obligated to get gifts, especially at Christmas, (which is obvious) but she doesn't need to shower us with gifts to show her affection; she's already proving it by being in the kids lives, babysitting, and having little get-togethers. Also, I've never really heard of "goody bags" for every holiday...I never grew up with that type of thing and didn't know anybody who did.

Again, thanks for all the replies.
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