How to Deal With Relatives Who Like to Contribute Clutter - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 43 Old 09-20-2005, 03:20 PM
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I'm dealing with this too. My mom is *really* good about this -- she doesn't always get it right, but whenever she brings over bags of stuff she tells me to go through it and pick out the appropriate stuff and she'll take the rest to goodwill. (She doesn't buy it new at least, this is all garage sale stuff.)

But we do get it from other people. With Christmas coming up I'm thinking of putting up a webpage of our "wish list" prefaced by a friendly letter about how we feel about having lots of plastic commercial stuff (crap) in our house, and won't people be kind and help us not be overwhelmed by it? :LOL I don't know how people will feel about it, but I don't know why they should be offended if I'm upfront about it in a non-personal way.
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#32 of 43 Old 09-22-2005, 12:24 AM
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The woman is at the mall so much, we joke she has her own parking spot there.
lol I think I saw her kind at the Gap today - this woman couldn't leave the sale rack - oh just have to find a shirt to match this pants, oh one more outfit so cute so cheap...driving her daughter and screaming bucket baby nuts...

I agree to go shopping or give a store or two for them to shop from. You know we really like these stores (I always include sears and toysrus as they will take anything back And I give detailed but long lists of things, sizes of clothing - one size up or more, types of toys etc. With enough to choose from and even some that could be found at the dreaded this toy is going to kill my child dollar store (they often have crayons, workbooks, etc instead of the plastic death toys...or guns - gee thanks)

I also preemptive strike and say oh ds broke that toy...and I couldn't fix it maybe you should get some more sturdy toys like wood as boys do break things and it was so sad..

But I got to get that waldrof toy thing down..
sigh yes some happy meal toys over here.
not for long gives me a new filter for the junk in there!

8 might be enough?
Or maybe 9 will be?
EDD September 18, 2015
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#33 of 43 Old 09-22-2005, 10:21 AM
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We are waldorfers, so I DO know your pain! We have just learned to let some things slide, and I think with as much "mommy competition" esp. in the dogmatic Waldorf world, you will find that all those families have a skeletons in their closets (skeletons in this case being a plastic/battery/character toy or two).

Take it with a grain of salt. Who cares about 1 Elmo toy if your child doesn't even know *who* elmo is? It's just a funny red monster! When the crap toys (yes, I teach my children to call them that!) start getting overwhelming, we take around the donation bag and start collecting in DS's room. Not a big deal, since it's been drilled into them since they were born that we don't like crappy toys. This means plastic/battery (which we actually never have b/c it drives me & DH nuts!)/ character/ or basically any toy that is ugly.

I don't tell inlaws that I don't want them to buy certain things, because that IS rude. They know what we buy, and we have gone shopping together MANY times, where MIL will say "Oh, this is so cute, you should buy it for DS", and I will say back "No thanks, I don't like plastic/etc. toys in our house". And i walk away. DS is 5 now, and she still buys the occasional crap toy (she buys him at least 2 dozen presents a year, so it's hard to avoid I suppose). The last one was a Buzz Lightyear that lit up and talked and everything. She tells me afterwards "I know you didn't want him to have it, but he wanted one so much, I just wanted to get him one!" : Thankfully, the dang thing broke within minutes of DS opening it. I think only a wing broke, but it is a firm rule in our house we do not play with broken toys. DS was upset, not because I tossed it, but because his Gram would buy a cheap plastic toy!! And the slightly embarrassing part was when DS told his Gram "thanks for the Buzz, but it broke right after I opened it, because it was a crappy plastic toy probably". And he wasn't saying it rudely, but innocently. I think that probably gets the point across the strongest.

Okay, this is becoming long-winded, but here's one more thing we do:
Have catalogs sent to in-laws (my mom only buys yardsale toys, so their's no point! and I don't feel bad about re-donating hers, b/c she only spent a dollar or two ). I have sent to them Magic Cabin/Hearthsong and Nova and Rosie Hippo. Then we get them, too. If a b-day/x-mas is coming up, I'll say, "Did you see that so-and-so in Nova catalog? DS would LOVE that! He would also love this widget... we were going to get him one, we were wondering if you wanted to get him one, and then we would get the other? Is there one you'd want to give him?" And they always are things the boys LOVE for a long time, and inlaws see that, so I think slowly they are getting the message!

Sorry so long-winded... I'm done now

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#34 of 43 Old 09-28-2005, 04:06 PM
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Inspried by a Waldorf book I was reading yesterday I decided I am going to symplify my toddler's and baby's toy collection.
Sounds interesting! Would you mind sharing the book title?
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#35 of 43 Old 09-28-2005, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Sure! I've read a few of them now but that first one was "You Are Your Child's First Teacher" by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. I really like it.

Great for nature studies!
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#36 of 43 Old 09-29-2005, 10:33 AM
you could sign them up to get catalogs of places you do like (ie hearthsong) don't even have to say a thing, just let the catalog arrive. given how mailing lists are bought and sold all the time, it happens a lot ; )

and junky toys you hate are PERFECT to take places where they're at risk - like a trip to a park, long car ride, etc.
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#37 of 43 Old 10-03-2005, 03:37 PM
my dd has a college fund - used to be called an education ira, but i think now its called a coverdell

some of them contribute to that in lieu of a gift; or give a small token thing for dd to have in hand while the bulk went to teh ed fund
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#38 of 43 Old 10-04-2005, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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(I love the education fund idea! That's awesome.)

The most bizarre thing happened the other day... I talked with my MIL and FIL about our ideas for minimizing and how we've gotten rid of 90% of the boys toys and are only going to buy things that really stimulate his imagination, yadda, yadda and she was like totally into it!!!!!!!!!!!! To say I'm shocked is an understatement.

She actually seemed kind of excited about it and said that she thinks it's a great idea and that she's so glad I told her because they will be going up to the outlet stores in NH in a few weeks and in her words, "I'm so glad you told me because I would have bought a bunch of that plastic junk, now I'll look at some of the nice stores up there for some wooden stuff instead."

Great for nature studies!
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#39 of 43 Old 10-11-2005, 07:43 PM
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I'm very mainstream....but I still prefer simple classic toys....I don't want to spend $$$ on batteries for 20 toys that all teach dd her ABC's. And she has lots of gift giving family...I request lots of craft stuff, blocks etc. But to the de-clutter part... since MIL loves toys with lots of parts about 2 X a year I "clean out" her toy box.... To "make room and see what gifts she needs" and I put all the useable junk? into a plastic tub and offer it to MIL if she wants.... and I tell her if she does not want/need it I will offer it to my mom or donate it. MIL is thrilled b/c I thought of her first...and she gets the toys I hate picking up over and over....and all the happy meal toys!
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#40 of 43 Old 10-14-2005, 01:46 PM
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Another option is to let them know ahead of time that you only have enough space for a certain amount of toys. So when they buy one toy, another toy they have already purchased will have to be given to charity. This is what we do and we've been getting gift cards to clothing stores instead of junk toys lately :LOL
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#41 of 43 Old 10-16-2005, 08:38 AM
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I'm with you on the clutter issue (I'm a bit of a toy buyer myself) but I don't use the "we're leaving this at your house" ploy because to me that still seems rude -- like this toy isn't good enough for us, you keep it and deal with it. (Plus the kids love to bring them home . . . ) Also when we do donate our surplus we try not to act like we're donating "commercial crap" because that sets us up as somehow better than the people who would buy our donations -- like they're falling for commercialism but we're so above it . . . Just what works in our family. And I've been amazed at the imaginative play generated by some of the plasticky-est, noisiest, never-woulda-picked-it toys, just because the kids' imaginations insist on making an appearance!
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#42 of 43 Old 10-16-2005, 10:20 PM
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We have the same issue in our house - with my inlaws only though because my mother is Waldorf teacher. Lucky us! But here is what I recently did to help the inlaws bring gifts we all want -

First, we started a Coverdell education fund. This accepts like $2,000 a year, tax free, for college. Since there is a fund going, the inlaws like to contribute to our son's future. And ever little bit helps.

I also started collections for our son.
I started a postcard collection so the "souvenirs" from travelling can be postcards from abroad. They responded by sending 11 postcards from Tahiti last month and I was SO grateful.

We also started a Brio Train set collection. I bought the most basic figure eight train set and a simple 2-car train, then I gave the inlaws a brochure, a website and a local store so they can add to this each holiday.

Finally, I started a "barnyard" of wooden animals from a local toystore that carries Waldorf-inspired toys. (We all live in the same area so this was easy, but if they lived far away, I'd give them a website to find them.) Now, our son's wooden barnyard is growing beautifully.

I also got to know the owner of our local children's clothing store and I go "window" shopping to give her our wish list. Then, when the uncles and grands go looking for clothes, she knows what to "suggest."

The grandparents seem to be very happy scoring just the right gift and I feel like I've made it easy for them. We all win!
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#43 of 43 Old 10-16-2005, 10:25 PM
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Could you suggest something like giving savings bonds as the bulk of the gift, and perhaps a limit on the amount they "should" spend on a gift? If you ask them to give you something specific like a bond, and then tell them that dc likes something that is difficult to get in plastic, like a puzzle, maybe the specifi suggestion of a thing would spur them in the right direction. I've found with our relatives, the more specific the better. HTH
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