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Do You Get Rid of Stuff Behind Your Family's Back? - Page 2

Poll Results: Do You Declutter Behind Your Family's Back?

  • 48% (62)
    Yes. And I have no qualms about it.
  • 21% (28)
    Yes. But I feel somewhat guilty about it.
  • 25% (32)
    No. It feels ethically uncomfortable to me.
  • 4% (6)
128 Total Votes  
post #21 of 45

I'm the only one that cleans.

If you throw stuff on the floor, let it get broken/mutilated and treat it like trash chances are I'm going to just get rid of it.

My husband isn't a packrat and I don't just throw things out, but with my kids- they are really not tidy with their rooms and I give warnings, for weeks. Finally I just go clean the room. I tell them "If there is something you want in this mess you need to put it up properly."

If they don't, well....there's really no excuse.
post #22 of 45
I do it, and no one has ever complained. I'd never throw out something that someone really wanted - just obvious junk that no one cares about.
post #23 of 45
The only time I've decluttered somebody else's stuff without their consent is with babies and toddlers. By preschool age, I wouldn't give stuff away without permission, as by then the child is old enough to care and to get upset if they notice I've thrown or given things away.

I have, however, thrown out random papers on the floor in public rooms, after making it clear that they need to put things away properly if they want things saved. I've also worked with a child or children cleaning a bedroom, then the child gets bored, and I give him or her the option of continuing to help me or to let me continue, but I get to make decisions. Often times, if it's a HUGE decluttering job, the child has let me continue alone. I don't feel guilty about that because it's not "behind her back"- the child gave me permission to throw things out.

I have gone through a family member's items without the person present, and selected items to donate. However, in that situation I won't actually give anything away until the person has a chance to go through the "donate bag" and rescue anything they want to keep.

Oh, and I have given away outgrown clothes without the child's consent because they have enough other clothes that DO fit. I wouldn't do that with an adult or teenager who's not outgrowing clothes anymore.
post #24 of 45
I go through clothes and toys every 3-4 months, and get rid of anything that has been outgrown or is no longer suitable (broken, missing pieces, etc). I go through dh's clothes, too.

I've never had any one protest one of my decisions, but I think that if someone wanted to keep something that wasn't a hazard, I wouldn't care. But, we have a relatively small house w/ lots of people in it, so I can't sit and let the kids keep every stupid McD's toy, or old stained up t-shirt. LOL
post #25 of 45
Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
The sense of betrayal I would feel if someone got rid of something of mine without asking feels so overwhelming I just can't even think about doing it to someone else. I can't even imagine what that would be like... to live a life where someone is getting rid of your stuff behind your back, it feels very frightening to me.
I agree with this. I would feel so disrespected if someone did that to me. I won't do that to someone else.
post #26 of 45
When I answered I didn't think about my daughter. I do declutter her toys and clothes for her. I make sure Im not getting rid of anything she really likes though.
post #27 of 45
I live with 3 people (dh and my boys - 8 and 5) who have a hard time with the process of getting rid of things they don't want or need. It isn't that the items are wanted, it is just hard to make the decision to let them go. I happily get rid of stuff that I KNOW will never be used again. No one complains, in fact I think they just expect me to do it because they can't.

Now, if it was a different kind of situation dealing with different kind of people I would not do it. I have no intentions of disrespecting my loved ones (though the very act of leaving useless junk around for ME to clean up day in and day out without a thought is mighty disrespectful in and of itself!).

I do declutter for my girls (3 and 1) though dd1 does get the final decision unless the item is broken beyond repair. And frankly, someone needs to make the hard decisions because there are 6 of us living in 1000sqft. There isn't room for things that are not going to be useful anytime in the near future!
post #28 of 45
I live with a whole family of packrats.

DH? No, that's rude. I'd just point out the clutter to him, and ask him to get rid of it or put it away. I'd beg and plead and then eventually put my foot down and insist.

The kids? Mine are still young, and yeah, I do get rid of stuff without asking them. Not cherished toys, not anything they still love and play with, but we'd be overrun if I didn't throw away stuff sometimes. They could have forgotten about it for a month, but if I show it to them and ask can I throw it away, all of a sudden it's their most treasured possession. I'm talking about sticks and pinecones and random scraps of paper and cheapie plastic crap doohickeys from goody bags and stuff like that. Not to mention long-outgrown baby toys. I think in those cases it's kinder to just throw the stuff away on the sly, rather than putting the child through the emotional wrench of knowing it's being thrown out.

(For example, DD1 had these glittery pipe cleaners she arranged into a bird's nest, and played with for about a week. Then it fell behind her dresser, and she forgot about it. At least two months later, I found it there, all covered in dust bunnies and smashed. If I showed it to her, she would have cried about it being smashed, insisted she HAD to keep it, and then promptly dropped it somewhere else and forgotten about it again. We'd repeat this scenario at least twice daily, every single day, for SOME random item. Multiply that by three kids, and you have a house flooded in junk.)

I would never throw away anything if the child still remembered s/he owned it, and was still playing with it. Even the pinecones and scraps of paper. I wait until they've clearly moved on.

I do weed out outgrown clothes without asking, too, unless the clothing item is clearly cherished, like DD1's velour pants that she still wears around the house even though they're 3Ts and she's a 6X. I'm thinking those will make nice cutoff shorts; good thing DD is skinny.
post #29 of 45
No, I don't think I ever have. I'm quite against the idea. We do have a garage sale once or twice a year and we help the children by going through their things (with or without them, depending on age) and we fill a box or a few with toys that we think they probably don't want anymore. Then we ask them to confirm what they would like to sell and/or give away, and what they want to keep. We let them have the proceeds of their sales, so that they are motivated to declutter. They look forward to our garage sales and going through their things, actually.

I would never throw anything out of DH's and I would be mortified if he threw out my things. We respect each other enough to perhaps suggest, but never to sneak behind their back over stuff.
post #30 of 45
No. When I first got on the decluttering bandwagon, I realised I couldn't do this alone, especially since it's not natural for me. So I gave DH the book I'd been reading and he's been on board ever since. If there's something that I think needs to go, I suggest it. It takes him a while to think it over, but it will often go.. and until it does, it stays out of my way!
post #31 of 45
I usually leave dh's stuff alone, but the kids... 15, 13, &7. Last summer, I warned my oldest, "If your room isn't clean when you leave for church camp, it will be when you get home." She knew that meant stuff would go away. Years before, I did it without telling her, she was like in 4th grd, and I got rid of vanfuls. I did the same with dd last summer, warned him before he went to scout camp, he came home to clean room. DD-15 now keeps her room reasonably clean, dd 13 not so much, and dd 7, is getting better.
post #32 of 45
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KatieBonita View Post
So I gave DH the book I'd been reading and he's been on board ever since.
Which book is this? Perhaps I can win some "converts" with this Bible . . .
post #33 of 45
I of course have no qualms because its only dd and i... and i take away toys etc she never plays with and she doesn't miss it... now i have given her a warning if there is something she knows she wants to keep to let me know because i am about to go through her room again.. i also told her to put things she knows she doesn't want in a bag to make my life simple.. but she has yet to do that and i gave her 2 wks notice... she is 10 so she can deal with whatever maybe missing..
post #34 of 45
I suppose it depends on what you're talking about, but - stained t-shirts w/holes? Socks & underwear, ditto? (DH) Boxes & boxes of mildewed, mouse chewed magazines? Old jars full of bent, rusty nails & bolts? Anything partially decomposed, with holes, broken, rusted or covered with rodent crap? (parents) You bet I'll throw it out. Mostly, this has been while helping out my parents, so I was invited in to clean, but it's best they don't know exactly what's going - they're terrible packrats (dad had all his original college notes & papers from his engineering degree - fifty years ago (but I never touched those, he was always going to need them someday - which only went away because the barn loft they were in burned down...).

Other stuff - I'll sort it into what I think should be given away/sold, kept, or thrown out. The owner of this stuff is invited to inspect these boxes w/in a set time, & if there's not sufficient interest, my appraisal stands.
post #35 of 45
I have usually tried to involve my children and my husband, but I have also thrown out obvious clutter without consulting anyone beforehand.
A lot of times, I managed to lengthen the life cycle of things (outgrown clothes to charity, paperbacks to the library, ...). My children part a lot easier from "stuff" when they know someone else needs it more than they do.
post #36 of 45
Things DH wouldn't notice I get rid of, and in no way would he feel betrayed if he was like "hey, where'd that go?". He's just not that kind of person. Other things I want to get rid of but I know he might want I always ask first.

I tried to get rid of a worn toy and my 2 year old saw it in the salvation army pile and started wailing. So I gave it back to her and than got rid of it later. Will she notice again? Probably not. Do I care if she does? No. I'm in charge around here. I'll explain why I got rid of it and she'll get over it.
post #37 of 45
The only thing I get rid of is toys they don't play with. But if I let them know (especially my autistic 5 year old son) all hell breaks loose. So, I have to do it when he's not looking, or we would continue to have old toys or toys that are way below their age range cluttering up the house. But it starts on a rotation...the ones I'll get rid of are eventually moved closer to the top shelf of the playroom shelves--if he doesn't ask for it within a few month's time, it's out of there.

I don't however touch anything in his room. He has his collections of toys that he never plays with but that I let him keep as long as they are neat. He also has a box of random stuff he collects (that I secretly term "box o crap"--paperclips he finds in parking lots, old light sticks that don't work anymore, rocks, a deflated Darth Vader balloon from his birthday party, plastic bottle lid he found on his school's playground, etc.)--as long as he keeps it in his closet, I don't care. He specifically told us never touch it or throw it out because it's his "collection". Whatever floats your boat kid. :
post #38 of 45
Oh, I will say that the donating toys thing backfired on me recently too. Brandon's school was having a consignment sale so I donated all of their outgrown clothes and toys. The school said they'd keep the toys in the office until the sale so that the kids didn't see the toys laying out. Guess what...they didn't. He came home from school talking about how the sale has "twins" of his toys and he wanted to buy the "twins" too. Um, oops. I had to explain it to him. And give him a dollar to buy him off. LOL!
post #39 of 45
Until recently, I would have never thrown out/decluttered DH's things.

I have come to the realization that there are somethings DH simply doesn't want to think about.

He would like to read back issues of Magazine X but I know he won't so out they go. If I asked him, he would save "keep them, I take care of it later." Later being never and the stack grows.

I know he won't wear the socks with streched elastic but I could nag 'til the cows come home and he still wouldn't take the time to go thru the sock drawer.

Now, I get rid of a lot of stuff that could be considered DH's things.

If I have doubts, I will pack everything for the trash can or donation and ask him to approve. He has yet to take something out of trash/donation box.

It is almost like me packing stuff gives him the freedom to let go of it.
post #40 of 45
Not DH's stuff.

I usually put things I think he would be willing to part with in a pile, then I ask him about the pile.

Usually he keeps everything in it. He's a keeper.

My kids are little and they are keepers too.

So to avoid the conflict, I have a "halfway" box. I put everything of theirs that I want to get rid of in that halfway box and put it in the shed.

If they ask for the item, it will come back inside. If they don't, eventually that box goes away.
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