When the gift-givers find out you decluttered things they gave you? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, DH told my MIL that a whole pile of stuff was Goodwill/yard sale stuff. It is. But apparently MIL went through all the boxes (why?!?) when she was visiting, and found a glass candle holder thingy that SIL (her daughter) gave us only last year. (big, Christmas-specific, breakable, etc.) So she packs it up in bubble wrap to take BACK to SIL. She shows me the bubbled wrapped package and tells me she found the candle holder in my Goodwill pile (with a "look") and that there was "also a large ceramic Easter egg in one box" (which is also a gift from SIL...*cough*) and gives me an accusing stare.

So basically, I pretended that DH made a mistake and told her not all that stuff is Goodwill, and that something must have happened when we pulled out our holiday decorations. She seemed very relieved and unwrapped the thing to give back to me. And now I'm stuck with the darn thing.

Has anyone else ever had an experiences with gift-givers knowing you decluttered something they gave you?

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#2 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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Ha ha! I am laughing out loud at this. She's very nervy going through your stuff and wanting to take the thing back to your sil!!!!

I don't keep a lot of stuff. We declutter often. I try to be reasonable about keeping things we're given but at some point....it needs to be gone.

OTOH, my brother and sil don't keep hardly anything they're given so it makes it very frustrating buying gifts for them when you know they "don't give things a chance"....

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#3 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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ha! i would have just been like, "yeah, it's all on its way out! feel free to grab anything else you find interesting . . ."
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#4 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

OTOH, my brother and sil don't keep hardly anything they're given so it makes it very frustrating buying gifts for them when you know they "don't give things a chance"....
Give experiences rather than things?

I know that's what I'd prefer That said, I have a hard time decluttering stuff that family gave us for this very reason - I'm terrified that my MIL will find out. Dh usually has to talk me into it (and this is while i'm looking at it going "why did they get me this" - dh looks at me and says "just get rid of it!" ) But that said, MIL made t-shirts with the kids last year that were little reindeer with their footprint for the face, and hand prints for the antlers, with eyes stuck on using the fabric paint and pom-pom noses (also stuck on with the fabric paint). I stuck it in the wash - b/c the kids had worn it for a whole day and gotten it a mess... and uh, the eyes and nose fell off. I figured this was somewhat expected and i *think* I ditched them, considering them more of a fun project in the moment and a one-picture that day kind of deal. Weeeeeell... this year, MIL asks us to bring them with us so she can get pictures of the kids in them again! I was shocked and annoyed and... then embarrassed. Apparently I'm the worst daughter-in-law EVER

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#5 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 05:54 PM
 
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oh my goodness! How annoying (and kinda funny ). I would just try to keep the goodwill stashes hidden in the future.

We can't keep everything forever. Plus, sometimes it's hard to remember who/where you got something, anyway. It wouldn't even occur to me to worry about the gifter finding out.

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#6 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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See, that's when I'd get the urge to say what my dad used to say. Nunya. As in, nunya bizness!

In the future though, I'd do one of 2 things. Put everything gifted in one box, and label it "storage". Label the rest "Goodwill". Just make sure DH knows the "storage" box really does go to Goodwill too. Or, tape the boxes shut with strong packing tape. If she's nosy enough to open taped boxes, in that case I'd tell her ... NUNYA BIZNESS.

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#7 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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This made me laugh out loud! I have never gotten "caught" like that but I am always terrified that I will. My mom especially is very sensitive that people love and treasure and appreciate the gifts that she gives. I'm so afraid that someday she'll catch me decluttering or worse, regifting something.

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#8 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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Oh that is funny. I would have handled it the same way.

Why did you DH even mention the Goodwill boxes to her?

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#9 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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sometimes i break stuff i got as gifts just so i have an excuse to get rid of them.
horrible? yes.
but you havent met my MIL, or the "wonderful gifts" she blesses us with.
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#10 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 08:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jackies Ladybug View Post
sometimes i break stuff i got as gifts just so i have an excuse to get rid of them.
horrible? yes.
but you havent met my MIL, or the "wonderful gifts" she blesses us with.
I thought I was the only one who would let the kids leave a noisy, battery operated plastic lawn mower right behind DH's HD Chevy. That thing played music AND popped AND clicked!

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#11 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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sometimes i break stuff i got as gifts just so i have an excuse to get rid of them.
horrible? yes.
but you havent met my MIL, or the "wonderful gifts" she blesses us with.


This is what I do too. Buh-bye. No problem if it broke, right? Or I say it broke and move it along.

OP, LOL at your MIL. Next time you'll have to keep the box out of her reach! I find that pretty nervy myself, tho I guess I'd figure the stuff was up for grabs. If I found a gift I'd given in a family member or friend's goodwill box, I ask if I could have it back if I liked it and also ask why it didn't work so I could better tailor my gifts in the future. But I'm mostly on the practical, not emotional, side with gifts.
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#12 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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...that we took it to DH's workplace and set it up there on his desk for everyone to admire!"

I know, really, you don't want to do that because it only encourages them to give you something else just like it! Well, sometimes you just have to take your lumps and be seen as the hoity-toity person whose house is too good for their sad gifts. I know, I've been there many times. They do get over it. Although my mother still gives me things while saying, "Well, I don't want to give this to you if you're just going to donate it in a few months!" OK, then don't buy it for me or give it to me. I don't really want it. But some folks really do see a rejection of the gift as a rejection of their love. We just have too damn many material things nowadays. It's ridiculous to expect everyone to hang on to every gift ever received.

If I know a person is sensitive about that kind of thing, I offer the gift back to them first--usually it's something THEY liked--or ask them if they know anyone who could use it. "We're done with this now." "I need to make space in my garage." "I'm afraid the kids will break this." "It's cute but it doesn't really match my decor." etc.

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#13 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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Seriously overstepping boundaries.

Maybe you should do a prank bag of "goodwill" and buy a vibrator to put in the bag. It will cure the nosey.
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#14 of 44 Old 12-14-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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And that is why I am extremely careful about what I send to the local thrift store and what I send out of town (at least an hour away!). Stuff from local people gets sent to the city, and stuff from family gets sent to the local store!

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#15 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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Seriously overstepping boundaries.

Maybe you should do a prank bag of "goodwill" and buy a vibrator to put in the bag. It will cure the nosey.
OMG! I am picturing my mom finding something like that in a Goodwill box...and then I'm picturing the person buying it at the Goodwill store!

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#16 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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A couple of years ago DH told his mom to stop sending us things we don't need for Christmas. All that stuff just ends up in our yard sale, and it's a waste of money. We move a lot (military) and hate clutter. She was offended, but now only sends us consumables for gifts

I felt bad about offending her, but it was either be honest or have her send us useless items for the next 30 years or whatever. Ungrateful? Maybe. But we haven't had to have a yard sale in a couple of years!

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#17 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 03:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't have lied. I'd have told MIL "Yes, we're giving that away. We don't need it and we don't want it taking up our precious storage space. You're welcome to it if you'd like." Then you wouldn't be "stuck with it" and MIL might have a better idea of what kinds of gifts you're likely to keep.

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#18 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jackies Ladybug View Post
sometimes i break stuff i got as gifts just so i have an excuse to get rid of them.
horrible? yes.
but you havent met my MIL, or the "wonderful gifts" she blesses us with.

I've done this too. One time DH's grandma made a hideous Christmas decoration. It's a tree made out empty baby food jars and involves putting a Christmas light inside each one or something. DH's family are all hoarders and I was almost sick when she told me she had kept all those jars from when DH was a baby...35 years ago!!!

Coincidenatlly, I went to put it in the garage, dropped it and broke some of the jars. It was irrepairable, right? . So I HAD to toss out the whole thing.

Is moving an option for you? My SIL lives in the same town as all of them and gets stuck with all their stuff and they take inventory of what they gave you!

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#19 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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another thing i do when people come over to see their "gifts" (be nosey and rude) and they cant find them i usually just play coy "oh, i think i saw that just last week. i was looking for it and i'm sure its around her somewhere!"
works especially well for toys as they do get scattered and misplaced pretty often.
if your MIL is digging through your boxes, you need to buy better tape.
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#20 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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On the reindeer tshirt thing that would have been easy for me... kids loved it and wore it to death, eyes all falling off and everything.

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#21 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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I wouldn't have lied. I'd have told MIL "Yes, we're giving that away. We don't need it and we don't want it taking up our precious storage space. You're welcome to it if you'd like." Then you wouldn't be "stuck with it" and MIL might have a better idea of what kinds of gifts you're likely to keep.
Exactly. I'm at a point in my life where I just tell things the way they are. I donate most of the gifts that MIL gives me. I love her, but the gifts aren't her--they are clutter to me and so I pass them on. If she continues to value buying and giving me things that she never sees in my house again, that's her choice and I respect it. If she asks where something is, I tell her. Obscuring the truth just makes it more likely you'll get more clutter in the future.
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#22 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I got caught at this last year, and probably will EVERY year! DS's birthday is right before Christmas, and he gets a TON of crap from family, friends, friends of my parents I don't even know... So most of it goes to Toys for Tots!

Last year, I told my family I didn't want any noisy plastic toys. DS was turning 1 and just didn't need that kind of stuff yet. ("Need"... YKWIM!) Well, he got a wood puzzle (still have it), a plastic piano that doesn't even work logically (kept it, never played with it, donated it after several months), a plastic radio that didn't do much except make noise (donated immediately), and plastic stacking rings that light up and play music (regifted). They come over and poke around, asking for the radio or the "other" stacking rings (he already has a set that play music - ugh!). I just say it's around here somewhere, he just had it yesterday. But I think they know... We'll see how they do this year!

Don't feel bad. It's your house and now your property (once the gift is given) to do with what you want, and it's no one's business what happens to it. But yeah, I'd still feel bad. I wouldn't want to find out that I've been giving awful gifts FOR YEARS only to have them tossed immediately. No one wants to feel that way. But geez, your MIL is sure trying hard to get there, isn't she?
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#23 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 08:04 PM
 
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I would have simply told her that we didn't need it anymore, and if she wanted them, she could find them in a few days at the Goodwill while placing them back in the box. But, I'm snarky and don't care if my IL's get along with me. If you want me to keep something, don't give me junk.

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#24 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 08:39 PM
 
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I've been on the opposite end of that situation. I went to my sil's garage sale and saw something that I had given her. At first it gave me pangs but then I realized that I don't want her to hold on to something she doesn't want just because I wanted her to have it at one time.
We can't keep everything we've ever been given, we just can't.c

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#25 of 44 Old 12-15-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jackies Ladybug View Post
sometimes i break stuff i got as gifts just so i have an excuse to get rid of them.
horrible? yes.
but you havent met my MIL, or the "wonderful gifts" she blesses us with.
tee-hee...that MAY have happened here too. actually, i have taken things to the thrift store. they were in new condition and probably useful to someone. she did ask me directly, what did you do with that such-in-such...and i lied. i NEVER lie...but i didnt' want to hurt her feelings...and so i told her it broke.

it so hard...both my ILs and my parents live in HUGE houses and love to shop for us. but they forget we live in a TINY house. sigh. so the decluttering continues.

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#26 of 44 Old 12-16-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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Well, it's a shame to be wasteful, but that behavior would make me take a hammer to future knickknacks I didn't want.
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#27 of 44 Old 12-16-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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I like the the "adult toy" prank. Slightly OT but years ago my MIL came over to help us pack up the house and move. Well, she kept trying to get in our bedroom to help DH pack there. I kept telling her that him and I would do it (I'm very private about my bedroom, only DH, myself and the kids are allowed in). She edged her way into the room and I stood in the doorway watching.. and DH was moving a box and accidentally hit the cabinet that held our TV. The cabinet door came open and she saw his uh, collection of... videos.. I have NEVER seen anyone swivel on their foot and run out of a room that fast! (I should say that this was when our twins were just born, so it's not like we needed to hide anything quite yet..)

That said, back to the OP.. I am afraid of this happening. We get gifts all of the time that I do not want. But I am afraid to rid of them for fear of getting hounded with questions by.. MIL! UGH.
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#28 of 44 Old 12-16-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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I've been caught numerous times.

I simply re-explain that I cannot live with clutter it makes me nuts, DH will vehemently agree point out that it is no fun to live with the highly irritable woman who cannot keep her house clean due to others gifting.

Liz

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#29 of 44 Old 12-16-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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I can really relate to this, however over the years I'v gotten quite clear with people about what kinds of things we DO want... for our coming baby I made a very clear list with links to companies. Most people were relieved to be able to get us something we would like and use rather than guessing. Luckily my nosiest relatives live across the country, but even so they ahve begun giving money or consumables (homemade jam? yum, take that any day over spoons you've collected from scotlad and hershey's chocoloate factory) It's like...when I give a gift I let it go and usually make it clear it is their to do with as they like, if people are attached to STUFF they give you it isn't a true gift, it's an obligation, a business deal etc. I don't save them from their feelings. And then, if they find out I got rid of something, usually I explain eithe rI DID love it an wante someone else to be able to use it now that I'm not or it wasn't right for me and it opens doors to a much mroe honest relationship. It has actually helped my relationships in many ways, even if it;s a bit uncomfortable at first.

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#30 of 44 Old 12-16-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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DH's g'ma buys us stuff that she thinks we need- like a new cheese grater bc the kind we have is "wrong". WTH could possible be wrong with a cheese grater? I actually really love it- it is a nice one from a kitchen store?

Anyway, when she leaves we ask FIL (FIL brings her to our hosue) if he wants the stuff she bought or if we should donate it. He thinks it is hilarious.

Last time she bought:
-Cheese grater
-Soup pot (apparently all of ours were the wrong size???)
-New kitchen towels (No idea what was wrong with mine and the ones she bought didn't match)
-A light up gigantic santa decoration
-new soap (again, no idea what was wrong with our soap!)

All of it got donated the minute she left. I am going to be screwed when she visits us next, but I don't really care- I am not storing 2nd sets of crap just bc she prefers different things. It is my house for goodness sake!

Its a good thing SIL never visits us either since every toy she has ever bought for DS immeadiately gets returned. She has a knack for picking out the most annoying and craptastic toys in existance.

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