How do I get people to stop giving me 'stuff' - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 07-10-2005, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Everyone who knows me knows I have 'too much' stuff.
They fear being me so they give me their extra stuff.
Today a friend showed up with PINK floor tiles the play mat stuff.
Great...what are my boys going to do with these?

Its never ending.
How do you politely say thanks a polite way or please no more crap!
My inlaws are forever trying to unload stuff, my dh can't say no but I can't keep it around if I dont' need it like it.

How do you grow a set and return double gifts, say no thanks, take it back with you, donate it?


8 might be enough
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#2 of 10 Old 07-10-2005, 11:08 PM
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Start saying to people/in front of people how you're on a mission to simplify, have too much stuff, etc. Explain your wishes well in advance of birthdays and holidays, and let potential gift givers know what you'd like (or not like) to receive. (They're likely to ignore you but at least you've tried!) Then if they bring you things you can know that you've given fair warning, and feel free to donate as needed!

I sometimes feel bad that my father keeps spending money on things that we give to Good Will, but I've asked him repeatedly to stick to things like craft supplies rather than noisy, obnoxious, beeping play things, and he doesn't seem to get it. I figure I can purge guilt-free if I've given fair warning and the warning is ignored.

Magical Mama, joyfully home educating my three wonders: FR (12/02), EG (05/05), DK (06/09)
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#3 of 10 Old 07-10-2005, 11:34 PM
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'Thank you so much for thinking of us, that is very generous, but unfortunately we have no space for more toys/no need for more clothes/toom anyy kitchen gadgets already/etc.. What about xyz charity/shelter/fund/etc... I hear they can always use that kind of thing?'

'Oh what a generous offer but we really don't need it, and we are trying to simplify and reduce clutter already. Have you heard of freecycle?'

'No thanks.'
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#4 of 10 Old 07-11-2005, 12:57 AM
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In a word: Freecycle!!!

If you can't convince the ILs to give stuff away via freecycle rather than your house, then offer it up on freecycle yourself!!

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#5 of 10 Old 07-11-2005, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Freecyle is a great idea, but the problem is I do tell everyone I am trying to simplify, get rid of stuff - then they get inspired and do the same then want to bring it over. Or they think that what they are giving me is so useful.

I do drop hints - make lists - for the inlaws my parents, my parents usually listen, my inlaws sigh. Or cause they aren't here enought hey really don't know what I have and buy me another. Or dh feels bad and won't return the stuff we get as he knows its nothing we need.

LOL on the annyoing toys.
I've started telling people buy me your favorite book, and please no stuffed animals - 3 kids you can imagine - I've started taking pictures of them and putting the pictures in a book then donating them.

I have suggested 'we only buy for the kids' or try to really think of things we need. I'd rather get nothing sometimes. And they don't get the hint my mom and I were talking about the fact I want my sister to get my mom's china - I am really clumsy and can't enjoy eating off expensive china cause I know I will break MIL says oh I forgot to bring you her mother's. I will just pack it away to give to my kids but really......

True I got to stand up for myself and say 'NO' what I don't get is if 'you' don't want it 'why' should I? But sigh intentions are good.

But I do have to tread lightly on my MIL, not to hurt her feelings...sigh.
Same woman who I got home from polyp removal in my sinuses due to pollen allergies to a 3-4 foot high flowering plant in full bloom.

Its just so weird for me as 'everyone' is always telling me I have too much crap....then end up dropping off more crap....Oh well I am slowly changing hopefully I'll get the people around me to get the hint!

8 might be enough
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#6 of 10 Old 07-11-2005, 11:59 PM
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The whole gift thing is one of my great frustrations. If they're giving you stuff because they're getting rid of it, I wouldn't hesitate to say, "We don't need it either." I don't think you're obligated to pretend to adore someone else's trash that they're trying to unload on you.

However, if it's a real gift (i.e. someone went out and bought it special for you, no matter how porrly thought out it was,) I would be much more careful. Unless it is something extremely inappropriate, I would never turn it down at the time it's given. Smile, say thank you, and send it right out the back door to Goodwill or Freecycle. If they ask about it later, be honest and say you didn't need it but you knew someone who did. If they don't already understand your wishes, try to make it clear to them that you don't want stuff. That way they're forewarned that any junk they give you will go right back out with the next donation run.
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#7 of 10 Old 07-12-2005, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
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The problem is you often get trapped like
:alison you don't have a deep freezer? No I don't. well Okay we're going to bring our old one over...

LOL I have yet to return many gifts unless they were wrong size or too sexual for my daughter.
Tempted but even if I do give away gifts I will take a picture of my kids using/wearing it first. So if they ever ask did you like it use it..

I can give them the picture

8 might be enough
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#8 of 10 Old 07-17-2005, 03:33 PM
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I just tell friends/family to give me 'consumables'. Food/drink is great, gift certificates to coffee shops and grocery stores are great. Tea, chocolate, even candles. Anything that will get used up and go away, rather than sitting around in my house forever.

I just helped my mother move, and even though I've been firmly stating this policy for years, she still tries to give me everything from drinking straws to my great-grandmother's china. I've just been very politely saying "That's very generous, but no, thank you" for years... I think eventually it's starting to settle in.
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#9 of 10 Old 07-18-2005, 02:20 AM
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I sent out an email that asked people to not give us any more toys. There are 4 of us, maybe 5 next year, living in a 2 bedroom house and I seem to constantly clean and organize and take trips to the freebox getting rid of stuff.

My mother brought me many many boxes the stuff she didn't need after the divorce and it took me about 2 years to weed out all the stuff and I'm not kidding. I had no storage and she had some sentimental attachment to it all and expected me to too. I didn't and got rid of it all. I think I kept a strainer.

I still find myself accepting things that the neighbor brings my dd and I just have to ask myself later if I really want it around.
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#10 of 10 Old 07-18-2005, 04:08 PM
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Most of the stuff my mil brings into the house goes into donations, the trash, and/or rummage sales donations. Usually withing 24 hours to 6 weeks. She buys some of the dumbest stuff. But on the other hand, my mom is always finding stuff for dd and her cousins. Its 90% of the time stuff they already are wanting and my mom knew. So I will get a call- "i;m at ____ and they have the ____ that you want or dd wants. Should I get one and what size/color/ etc

My mil is a knick knack/ silly t-shirt / postcard kind of person. I am not. When I was 38 weeks pregnant she bought me a stupid t shirt that had the letters
M O M made out of animals or something. I would never ever wear anything like that normally much less when I am very pregnant. That went into the garbage about 30 seconds after she left. I think she knew judging from the reception it got when she gave it to me.

But- as far as getting other stuff. We have officially stopped exchanging holiday gifts with people. We have enough stuff and I don't need to buy more stuff for other people. If there is a birthday, I buy consumables as a pp stated. Coffee, a bottle of favorite wine or liquor, movie passes etc.

But, I do have a few birthdays coming up for about 4 three year old girls. They all love Dora. An upscale store near me had these Dora bags marked down last week. They had 4 left and I bought them all. I have already used one for a present and it went over big.

I have no qualms about tossing/donating whatever after someone leaves since I have been so upfront about our wishes. I have had at least one person ask- "where is the pottery I gave you?" I said I gave it away to someone who really liked it." Totally true considering I donated to the white elephant sale and I saw someone buy it!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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