Do You Get Rid of Stuff Behind Your Family's Back? - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Do You Declutter Behind Your Family's Back?
Yes. And I have no qualms about it. 62 48.44%
Yes. But I feel somewhat guilty about it. 28 21.88%
No. It feels ethically uncomfortable to me. 32 25.00%
Other 6 4.69%
Voters: 128. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know it's an item or items that somebody's sick of, and they wouldn't notice if it was gone. But . . . they're packrats and would vehemently object if they caught you trying to declutter it. They want it around "just in case" or because "I still might use it." So, do they get to keep it? Or do you wait until one fine spring day when the family's out of the house and pounce on it like a ninja??

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#2 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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Not usually. Well, several years ago I got rid of stacks and stacks of old PC & gaming magazines that DH had because I didn't want to move with them. And I guess any decluttering I did when DS was at sea may have counted as getting rid of stuff without his knowledge, but usually I'm just getting rid of my stuff.

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#3 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Yes, and I DO NOT FEEL BAD!! My MIL is a hoarder and compulsive shopper. Every week something new comes into my house. My mom lives with us and she still has all her stuff. There just is not room for things to keep coming in and nothing else goes.
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#4 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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For an adult's things, I wouldn't do it. If something bothered me that much, I would ask DP about it. If it takes up space in our living areas, I might insist on moving it to the garage if he's not ready to get rid of the object. But, fortunately, he is very reasonable and he doesn't put me in a position where I feel crowded by unnecessary items.

As for my son... I will occasionally throw out things he has forgotten about, especially if they are broken. He doesn't forget about any of his toys though. I have no idea how we're going to whittle down the number of trucks in this house.

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#5 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 08:32 PM
 
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I don't think dh really cares about all the stuff of his that I throw out, but I don't bother running it by him, because he would get really annoyed by me constantly asking, and instead of taking the time to think it through, he'd just start saying, "just keep it all"

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#6 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 09:46 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 45 Old 03-17-2009, 11:50 PM
 
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DS is three and I used to get rid of things behind his back. Toys he didn't play with, books I wasn't wild about, that type of thing. Well I can't do that anymore. The kid remembers everything he owns, even crappy happy meal toys he got while visiting grandma. So I don't know what I'm going to do about his stuff now.

I would never get rid of DH's things without asking first. I'd be livid if he did it to me.

I will happily and without guilt get rid of gifts that we do not need or like without informing the giver.
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#8 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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Quote:
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.
This. It is the height of disrespect. I wouldn't do it to my husband nor my child.
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#9 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 12:58 AM
 
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Absolutely, for my young children. I don't do this with dd anymore (she is now 8, and can declutter and organize very effectively on her own). But, when she was younger, she would choose to keep every scrap of garbage she managed to drag in off the street.

When I would declutter for her, she would express appreciation with the result (a clean and organized space), but didn't seem to consider the process (getting rid of some things). I always kept the bag for a couple months just in case she asked for something, and then it went out. If I tried to include her in the process, she would want to keep everything--and we would never get to the desired result of a clean and organized room.

But, no, I wouldn't get rid of anything of my husband's that he wishes to keep. I might push the issue and try to convince him to let go, but I wouldn't do it behind his back.
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#10 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 07:16 AM
 
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I wouldn't, it doesn't sit well with me.

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#11 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 08:49 AM
 
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Being someone who once went to school, and came home to find my entire bedroom had been cleaned and all of my toys thrown out (literally)
I just couldn't do that to any one in my house. We do have a toy rotation and when we look through the toys at the end of 6 months I help my kids go through everything and decide. They are 6 and 9 though so its a bit easier now.
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#12 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 09:28 AM
 
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When DH and I were first together I got rid of some of his stuff. He was a slob and didn't even know what he had. He never missed any of it. He's not the type to be attached to stuff though since he loses stuff all the time.

If he were someone who cares I probably wouldn't do it
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#13 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 09:45 AM
 
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If it is on the floor, it goes in the trash....

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#14 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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I chose other. I will NOT touch DH's stuff, unless I want to cause major marital strive. But I do declutter DS's things regularly. That might change, though, when he's older and can voice his opinion and choose his own things to declutter. Mostly, I stick to decluttering my own stuff and general "household" clutter like mail, books, and kitchen accessories.
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#15 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 10:14 AM
 
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I also chose "other". I do declutter the boy's toys without their help (3 & 1) but I try not to get rid of anything that is obviously a favorite. And I'll declutter DH's stuff it it's things I'm pretty sure he doesn't want/isn't using. If I have a question about something, I wait and ask him. But my DH is more of a clean freak then I am, so he really apprecieates a decluttered space. Other than his guitars, I can't think of anything that he owns that he'd be truley upset that I had decluttered.

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#16 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I would never get rid of something that was of any importance to anyone in my house - my kids or my husband.

But if something is clearly not being cared for, ie...left on the floor, broken in pieces, etc. - that signifies to me no one is willing to be responsible for it and I spent too many years feeling resentful for being left to keep it safe/cared for.

We are moving this weekend, and have had a couple issues over what to keep and what to get rid of. My husband is getting better, but his tendency is to keep everything (he grew up with super pack rat parents, like things in boxes stacked like a maze thru out the house!). His elderly uncle lives with us and all his stuff from his apartment (mostly kitchen stuff) is down our basement. I definitely don't want to bring it with us, he will never use it again! My husband says we need to keep it. WHY?!?!

And that, I will get rid of without any issues. I'm not taking up space in my new house for something we ALL know will never get used while in our posession.
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#17 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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I would, but part of me would feel guilty about doing so. I would never 'happily' do it - that just doesn't set well with me.
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#18 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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My dh is pretty good at decluttering for himself, so I don't have to.

I declutter for my ds without guilt. He has shown that he's happier in an organized space, and doesn't mind parting with stuff, as long as he doesn't have to see it go.
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#19 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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For my preschooler, still yes. Ninja! Ninja! Otherwise we would have mountains of leaves, twigs, flowers, and other " kiddie treasure." We save some, but there has to be a limit!

For my spouse, I give him a heads up that I plan to clean an area so he has time to rescue whatever he wants to save. Whatever remains, I decide.

In general for both of them... if they leave it on the floor for more than 1-2 days it is telling me it is trash or abandoned. So out it goes. I can understand a project left out because it needs to dry or whatever... but if it is abandoned? That's another story! If I am the main person doing the cleaning and home maintaining, I don't see why I need to respect every object even if the owner isn't.

In general for all... a new thing comes in, an old thing leaves. So a new book? An old one gets donated.

I'm not doing all this work decluttering just to regain more!

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#20 of 45 Old 03-18-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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I do if it is something not important, like old papers, broken toys, ect ect. Nothing I might not be sure about. If that is the case I ALWAYS ask.
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#21 of 45 Old 03-19-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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Yep.

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.
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#22 of 45 Old 03-19-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 45 Old 03-19-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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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.

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#24 of 45 Old 03-19-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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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
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#25 of 45 Old 03-19-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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Quote:
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.

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#26 of 45 Old 03-20-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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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.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#27 of 45 Old 03-20-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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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!


 

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#28 of 45 Old 03-20-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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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.

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#29 of 45 Old 03-21-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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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.
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#30 of 45 Old 03-21-2009, 10:24 AM
 
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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!
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