how to get family to stop buying more STUFF?? (for kids especially!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-02-2006, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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My mom is a LOVELY woman... seriously one of the most amazing women i know. But the woman is insistant on filling my home (most noticably my daughters room) with STUUFFFFFFF. I mean on Christmas the child gets like 50 new toys from her. Its not that we dont appreciate it- she is so so amazing to be so thoughtful and caring and excited to give to her granddaughter... but there's so much STUFF!!! We had just cleaned out her room. Now its like there's no where to walk again. Mom, knowing how much it stresses me, got an organizer for her room as well. Not even half the Christmas presents she got her fits in the organizer unit! Every inch of wall space is covered with organizers, totes, drawers, shelves... everything. Its just too much. But I dont know how to get rid of things without being rude and taking away the toys my daughter really enjoys.

Ideally, I'd love to get 30 drawers (or 6 drawer sets of 5 drawers each). Inside each drawer I'd like to put a few small toys that she can pull out for that day. At the end of the day it goes back in the drawer not to be pulled out for another month. Simple, contained, uncluttered, and keeps her toys looking and feeling new and exciting for her.

I'd love to be even less cluttered than that, but that's the best I can do for now.

ANy tips on how to get the message across to family that we're trying to simplify? I've tried just telling her. Its not working!
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#2 of 10 Old 01-02-2006, 01:34 PM
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I don't know how to get family to stop buying stuff. But my tip for keeping the toys feeling new to your dd is to rotate them.

Get two HUGE rubbermaid containers and put 1/4 - 1/2 of your dd's toys in one of them and store it. In about a month, fill the other container with toys that are remaining in your dd's room and swap out the containers. This way, the toys that were stored seem new to your dd. She hasn't played with them in so long that she practically forgot about them! Rotate the containers once a month or so.
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#3 of 10 Old 01-02-2006, 11:52 PM
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Instead of focusing on where to put all the stuff, it sounds like you need a trip to the Goodwill donation box! If she's really getting that many presents, it's too overwhelming for a child. If your mother ever asks where certain toys went (she probably wouldn't, how would she remember each toy?), you can honestly tell her that your child had too many that she couldn't even play with all of them, and it was overwhelming for you.

You can't tell her to stop buying so much. But you can suggest focusing money. Like, about a month before her next birthday, you can say, "Hi! I'm not sure if you're thinking about DD's b-day yet, but since she has so many toys, we were wondering if you might want to get her a membership to our (children's museum, zoo, etc.) or dance lessons (or whatever you think she'd like). I KNOW she'd love that, and it would be such a special gift that we can use all year!" Or something to that effect.

My MIL is the same way. We've just had to not be afraid to donate those toys. 5 years has gone by and she's gotten better (and started including cooler things like magazine subscriptions for the boys! )

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#4 of 10 Old 01-05-2006, 10:24 PM
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To piggy-back root*children's response, another thing she may be able to do is to make a contribution to your dd's 529 plan (or help start one up).
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#5 of 10 Old 01-06-2006, 01:11 AM
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Moving from a 2,400 square foot house (with a full finished basement and an outbuilding) to a 1,200 square foot condo had the unintended consequence of curing my mother and almost curing my mil of giving us tons of stuff. I didn't want to organize the moving sale, so I called a local charity that will run the sale and split the proceeds. We had so much that they marketed it as an 'Estate Sale'. Dh and I were 26 years old at the time! The only furniture that we had purchased (antiqued) and had to sell were a dining set and a vanity.

Our parents had 'saved' so much from our own childhoods (toys, furniture, etc.), that the moment we bought a house, they dumped it all on us (rented a Uhaul!). It all went in that sale, along with a LOT of the toys dd1 had been given that we would no longer have space for.

Once the family realized we meant it... that we would not keep things that wouldn't fit in our space, they started seriously asking what we wanted the children to have for gifts. They didn't want to waste their money on things my kids couldn't keep.

The extended family doesn't understand, though. They've never seen our home, and don't know how we live. We fly back for holidays and are given a truckload of cheap plastic crap by aunts and great-grandparents. When we were packing to leave, I had a huge box of stuff that wouldn't fit in our luggage. I asked Mom to keep in her house if she wanted, or take it to Toys for Tots or Goodwill (most was still in package). Leaving that box spoke volumes.

So that's a long way of saying that I second the pp. Bless someone else with it. Load it in your car and take it to your local Salvation Army or battered women's shelter. And if your mother asks where it went, tell her the truth. Do NOT take this stuff to the consignment shop... you want to be very clear as to your reasons, and making a buck for yourself would not help your case... even if you could use the buck!

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#6 of 10 Old 01-06-2006, 09:46 AM
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seriously, if you've told her and she is not listening, i'd just give the stuff away and then TELL HER that you gave some toys away because you AND dh want to live simply and that's that. tell her that from now on you plan on giving the 11th toy and up away to charity after each birthday or christmas, and mention that dd would really appreciate a non-toy gift or having a day out with her grandma. that, that would give her much happier memories and moments than any toy grandma could buy.
but sometimes when you talk and talk and there is no action involved, they just won't take you seriously, so id just act if i were you. and please don't think i'm being harsh - i had the same problem with my mom (thankgoodness it's now resolved!) and currently have the same problem with my uncle (he is a hoarder and always has some clutter he wants to pass on). he is a little harder to keep hold of but i'm getting there. i have just learnt to say "no" and not feel guilty or unappreciative. i always make a point of telling them that i appreciate their company 1000 times more than their presents. now my mom spoils dd by taking her out and treating her, instead of filling the house with stuff.

sort through the toys you think your dd will really enjoy, or ask her to pick out the ones she likes best and give the rest away. some unfortunate kid out there is going to feel really blessed when he/she recieves a toy that would of otherwise been packed up in your dd's drawer for 29 out of the 30 days each month.
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#7 of 10 Old 01-10-2006, 07:08 PM
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We solved this problem two ways. My father went way overboard with my nephews and took them to the store every time he saw them. When he started hinting that he wanted to start taking dd (there's 9 years between nephew#2 and dd), we said "Great, but whatever you buy stays in your house." This has two benefits: he's only done it a couple of times and dd & ds have a stash of toys at Papa's, something my nephews never had. For Christmas and birthday, each dc is allowed to keep out one toy gift (reading books are always kept from the start) from each gift opening session (there are 3 - my family, dh's family, and ours) everything else goes in the closet and once a month they can pick a new toy, activity book or cd/dvd. We haven't had any problems finding toys to take out of rotation each month. There's always something that's no longer age-appropriate or the appeal wore off long ago.
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#8 of 10 Old 01-10-2006, 07:16 PM
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I honestly have a friend who got so sick of all the stuff her family kept buying her kids that she finally started announcing how much she would get on ebay for whatever it was the kids got. And then the next time the family was over she would show them what she got for the kids (like wooden toys to replace the plastic crap the family bought) with the money she got on ebay for what she sold...
Don't know if I would do the same but it really worked for her
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#9 of 10 Old 01-11-2006, 08:26 PM
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What about requesting something else? A magazine subscription, membership to someplace, etc. It would cut down on the clutter that you have to haul off while still allowing the person to "buy" something for your child. One of dh's brothers asked for an idea for the kids and we said a subscription to Zoobooks - this will be fun for them to get in the mail and also be something we can use for homeschooling. When the ILs asked, we mentioned that a membership to a certain educational place would be nice.


Mom to Eoin (11/02), Eilis (09/04), Eamon (07/07), and Ellery (04/10)
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#10 of 10 Old 01-11-2006, 10:51 PM
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Great thread. I've already donated several items that my kids got for Christmas. It's just too much stuff! Two years ago I requested to my SIL that we stop exchanging gifts b/c neither of our kids need anything. Plus all of their birthdays are about a month after Christmas. Well, needless to say she still buys for our kids, but we don't for hers. Dh feels guilty but I just figure she should honor our request, yk?

Liz~A wife and homeschooling mother to two gifts from God!
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