am I the only decluttering/simplifying person who struggles with this? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I just have the worst attitude about gifts - or the random stuff my mom and MIL bring over to our house. I am always nice and say thank you, but a voice inside my head often says "oh, something else to get rid of!"
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#2 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 06:36 PM
 
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well, at least you are getting rid of them, and not storing them for many guilt ridden years, like I usually do LOL
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#3 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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I feel the same way. I love my friends and family, but seriously, don't waste your money on crap that I will eventually be getting rid of!!! I would prefer to receive nothing more than a card or acknowledgment. Oh well. I guess it could be worse. I could be someone no one thinks about and get nothing!
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#4 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 06:48 PM
 
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I felt this today, when DD was opening up birthday gifts!

"Ugh, more crap to try and find room for."
"Another article of clothing she'll never wear- can I return it or should I just donate it someplace? I can't find a gift receipt!"
"Yeah!! Gift cards! She can pick out something she'll actually use!!"

Of course I kept all these thoughts to myself.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#5 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Bonny View Post
well, at least you are getting rid of them, and not storing them for many guilt ridden years, like I usually do LOL
I do store away some things, but it's a shrinking pile.
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#6 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 09:01 PM
 
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I've come to hate Christmas because of this! It's really sad.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#7 of 36 Old 05-06-2007, 09:05 PM
 
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Yup, I feel terrible because that is pretty much how I feel about anything my grandmother gives me. She's a sweetheart, but she shops at the dollar store and generally anything she finds is so thoughtful, but crappy. I decorated my kitchen in warm red and sunset yellow with a sunflower picture I took hanging on the wall. My mom told my grandma this so now she gets me sunflower stuff for my kitchen whenever hse sees it. However, it all is green and yellow and doens't match, not to mention I like having one sunflower not 20. Oh well.

They don't have a lot of money,so I hate thinking she spent it for waste, but I remind myself that finding little things for us makes us happy and she has no idea that they go to waste anyway, so she's happy and I love the gesture, I just wish we could do it without the dollar store being in the middle. Sigh.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#8 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 03:43 AM
 
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A huge yes from me! It just kills me that I put so much thought, research, time, and effort into bringing one item into my home, and then suddenly someone gives us ten items that we don't need or want. I feel bad about the clutter and stress it's going to cause me, I feel bad about the wasteful overconsumption, and I feel bad about the money that the other person wasted. I recently did the math and my DD probably gets 75 presents each year between Christmas, birthday, and minor holidays! Honestly, I'm at the point where I would just rather people not get us anything. I've tried getting our families to cut back, but it just makes them angry, which makes me feel unheard and resentful. Sigh...
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#9 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 04:19 AM
 
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I've tried getting our families to cut back, but it just makes them angry, which makes me feel unheard and resentful. Sigh...
My grandkids have so much stuff too! Last year for Christmas we bought each family a pass to the Museum of Nature and Science and one small gift for each grandchild. It sure was nice for everyone involved. I've also thought of doing play tickets, Children's Museum passes, zoo passes, etc.

And yes, I too have a dear friend that brings me tons of stuff. It's so much stuff that she usually hauls it over in a black plastic trash bag. I've told her that I love the thought, but that I don't even have room for some of my beloved belongings that are currently stored in my basement. It has helped some...but not much. Her heart is pure gold, but I don't dare let it slip that I have a yard sale coming up, because there are an awful lot of things in the sale that came from her. At least I told her how I felt I guess!
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#10 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 06:37 AM
 
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I've learned not to feel bad about it.

If someone comes over and likes it, take it home!

I have thrown away so much crap in the last few days!

Erika SO to *S*: and Aunt to *A*(10), *Z*(9), and *D*(8)
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#11 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 07:40 AM
 
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I definitely have those thoughts. I also have told all my friends and family over the years when it came up that I don't want any decorating gifts. They all stick to it. I'm glad gift certificates are huge in my family! I've also made stuff "disappear". But I agree that when you get a gift that's another item that adds to the clutter, these thoughts take away the moment in which you should be thankful that someone was so kind and generous to think of you (or DC) and get you a gift. I say thank you but I'm sure it doesn't reflect in my eyes that I'm happy with it, I think, and that feels bad because I do appreciate the thought behind the gift.
I get so tired of all those gifts anyway, I'm just happy to see people and they don't need to bring anything! And I definitely don't want DD to learn that every time someone comes to see her, she gets something.

Christine, SAHM to DD ('05), DS1 ('07) and : DS2 ('09)
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#12 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 09:23 AM
 
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This year was the first one in years that I didn't get some ugly, ill-fitting, polyester sweater from MIL. Instead I got a gc to a local nursery, which I spent happily on shrubs.

I think conditioning them to get you gc or museum passes or the like is key. You might have to be creative, but it's much better than the guilt and wasted money, yk?

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#13 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 09:48 AM
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A few thoughts.

I wish some one of my relatives would give me a bunch of stuff! Even used stuff! (Send those bags to me!) On the few occassions this happened to us, we jsut went through, took what we loved and took the rest to our 'free-store'. (A place at the dump for unwanted, usable items.) I love getting stuff.


My mother used to buy a bunch of cheap (dollar store) gifts, but then started giving me money to do the shopping for her. I bought museum passes, etc.

Now, no one gives us stuff. :

As far as B'day gifts, I feel that it's a roll of the dice. You might like it or hate it. If I hate it, I get rid of it. No guilt. It just dissappears. But I love the build up tyo opening it....the pretty wrapping, teh thought that went into it, the idea that someone shopped FOR ME!



As for the kids b'days, often something I thopught they'd hate wound up ceing their favorite thing! And they learned how to appear grateful, even when they weren't!


Just pack all that stuff up and mail it to me!
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#14 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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I dread gifts from my mother-in-law. Everyone else who would give us gifts knows what books we like, or has similar tastes... so we get a few cool things we actually use. MIL shows her love with stuff, in quantity. For dd, it is generally plastic. She comes over a lot and expects to see all the stuff out and being used... I fear the onslaught of videos we will undoubtedly recieve, to make up for the fact that we don't get/watch tv.

I feel bad about this, because I know she is trying to be helpful and caring... but I know it is going to get worse... my kiddos will be her last grandchildren, so she intends to spoil them.

/mil rant... sorry ladies...

I don't come here anymore. MDC has become overgrown with ads & useless extra forums.
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#15 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 10:56 AM
 
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I have been trying unseccessfuly for years now to stop exchanging at the holidays w SIL and brother. He dosent care, but SIL loves to spend money. When we give something to her family, we never see it again. Dont know if its returned, given away etc.
At my house, we dont need more stuff, it might not be something I necessarily want for my kids, or its just too over the top. She does the same for me and dh. A lot of times w dh he will want to return whatever is given to him or I should say 90% of the time he wants to return what is given to him. So if its a holiday, if we return it- its a store credit, nothing fits him, then the credit sits beyond expirotation, or the item sits in our room until someone returns it....usually me and then the credit it about $8!

So I have said, please dont buy us things, we dont want to exchange- we are trying to simplify our life you name it. So now its- well I am giving you something even though its not an exchange. It goes on and on..

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#16 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 12:25 PM
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Amys1st, since you don't want to exchange and you never see the items you've bought at SIL's house, why not just donate whatever she buys to someone else. Goodwill? If you take it in and get a receipt, you could get a tax write off for it!
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#17 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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I can't tell you how much stuff I've taken to Walmart and 9 times out of 10 they take it! I did this with diapers and other gifts after my baby showers, since I was using cloth. I know it will get harder to return/trash gifts for the kids as they grow older, but for now I have no shame! I'd rather take the credit at the store and be able to buy things we actually need... (and hope the relative never asks about the gift!!)
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#18 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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Add me to that list too!! Actually my 1st thought is usually how long before this pick of just falls apart. Saddly I'm usually relieved when it does fall apart, then I can get rid of it guilt free :

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#19 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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We have the same problem. I so appreciate when someone says, "What shall I get your DS for his birthday/Christmas/holiday?" Then I can say, "He needs shorts, size 2T" or whatever. I hate when people just assume I'll want an ICEE MAKER that says, "Ages 7 and up" for my 2 year old. Oh, and yes, I can tell that you already opened it up! Agh. So frustrating. I can always tell when people re-gift to us, too. It's so obvious.
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#20 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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Mostly I have no problem just donating most of the gifts we get, and I don't feel the slightest twinge about it. My only problem is that my sister lives nearby, and she tends to hang on to gifts that she gives. She wants to come to my house and see [gift x] prominently displayed or in use. If she doesn't see it, she'll ask, e.g., "Where's that cute stuffed moose I gave Sprogly?" If I explain that Sprogly's not that into stuffed animals, except for his favorite stuffed dog, she's miffed. She goes on lots of teacher conference trips, and always brings back junk--useless plastic gadgets for the kitchen, cheap plastic toys--and says as she's giving them, "Oh, this is a silly stupid gift. I don't know why I got it. Ha ha ha." Then the next time she comes to the house, she asks about it. It drives me crazy, and I've told her so.

I mean, we're pretty close. We've had whole conversations about how I'm trying to simplify, and get rid of all the plastic stuff in my kitchen, etc. Whole conversations about how much stuff I'm purging. She came over before my recent move, and looked into a box of stuff for Goodwill. She saw a plastic pasta server thing with a handle like Mickey Mouse in there, that she'd brought back from Disney Land (or World, whatever), and she said something snippy about it. I've told her, if you give me a gift, once it comes in my house, it's mine to do what I like with it. If I want it gone, it's gone.

At Christmas, before coming home from my parents', I packed all the gifts separately: keep, return, donate. The ones in the 'donate' bag didn't even come into the house. Mind you, I've been very up front about not wanting battery-operated plastic toys for Sprogly, so everyone's had fair warning. It's a shameful waste, but I don't want the stuff.

I just moved into a place that's about 100 square feet smaller, with no garage. I'm going to have to be even more ruthless in getting rid of the stuff I already have, never mind the stuff we're given.
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#21 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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Yes, and my mother is the worst. Someone gave her a room full of baby stuff that is at least 10 years old and she is having a hissy fit because I don't want the stuff. She can't understand why I don't want carseats that old. : She keeps trying to tell me that she will just use it in her car - not gonna happen!

Every time my ds goes over there he comes home with bags of plastic made in China junk. So I told her for every one item he brings home, I'm bringing two to her house.
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#22 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 11:04 PM
 
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I struggle with this too. I am already planning a list of stuff to recomend to people, as most of my immediate family does ask. The only ones I have to worry about is my DH's family. They ALL feel that they HAVE to give us ALL a gift, so they ALL shop at the dollar store. They dont really think of the person they are buying for at all, it's just like they all go in there at once and pick out something for each "catagory" (I'm getting kids under 3 this, and adults this) My uncles on my moms side give me a gift card to Walmart, and my uncles on my dad's side buy plastic stuff. They both have 3 boys,and their wives go a little crazy buying for girls. I'm giving my grandma lots of ideas so she can pass some on, and since shes the one i can talk to the most, we have been talking alot about the clutter. If I could just get something about the dangers of plastics or the play quality of toys on the news somehow, I'd be set

jeneca mommy to kamille, 6 lexi, 4
#3 due 2/28/12

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#23 of 36 Old 05-07-2007, 11:55 PM
 
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Two words: SMELLY LOTION
I get so much of it from MIL and SIL for birthdays or christmas, either that or else SMELLY CANDLES -the fake really unatural smells I mean. Ick. Sometimes I can return it for store credit, but Bath and Body works hardly carries anything natural.

Heidi , wife to my DH , mama to Hope Isobel (4/3/06), Molly Grace (7/31/09): , furbaby Callie :
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#24 of 36 Old 05-08-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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I've begged & explained that we are up to our necks in STUFF, & if gifts are desired to be given please make them a) consumable or b) passes, lessons etc, but as of yesterday, yet more STUFF.

Tomorrow a bunch of STUFF is going to Goodwill. I can't bear it, it feels like drowning. Entire industries of making, importing,and selling useless, plastic, breakable STUFF. What a sickness in this society. One handmade gift or day spent with the kids is worth 2 Hefty bags full of STUFF.
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#25 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 04:11 AM
 
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We get heirloom stuff from the ILs that have been handed down to them and they want to downsize and guess who gets it? Everything from red leather drink coasters to a large hand embroidered (badly), framed woodland scene.

I try to get rid of the stuff, but Dh insists on keeping it, saying that its "rude" to get rid of stuff his folks so generously give us! So instead it sits in our basement...

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#26 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 08:30 AM
 
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I'm trying to be more specific and ask for what we want (if we are asked and thankfully people are starting!). I hate to sound ungrateful, but we are bombarded with stuff on an almost daily basis. Mom and MIL love second hand stores and give the kids gifts all the time. Then birthdays and holidays are a nightmare! I'm still recovering from DS's birthday 2 weeks ago, lol!! I would rather one gift we like/want/need more than a car load of things the kids will never play with or break within hours of opening or are just plain inappropriate. Not to mention all the wrapping garbage. ALl this is doing is making the kids spoiled, expecting presents and toys all the time. I was hoping to avoid this but the roots have already taken hold.
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#27 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 09:26 AM
 
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I throw the crap out. :

Usually for Xmas and birthdays though, our families ask us what we want or give us a check, so we don't get a lot of crap anymore.
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#28 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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I think my mom is on the top of the list for supplying junk. When she comes to visit she brings random weird dollar store stuff , random school supplies she collects (handed my 2 yr old markers and my couch still has big stains in it), and the topper is she will clean out her freezer and bring us everything she will not eat and has been sitting for months and months. And she wonders why I throw it all out. Gross! Then of course she is big into stuffed toys. One son is allergic to dust mites and neither is interested in stuffed toys. I think she got the hint last trip. She actually took the toy home with her after the boys flung it over their shoulder and our stuffed toy addict dog grabbed it.
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#29 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 01:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zeldabee View Post
She goes on lots of teacher conference trips, and always brings back junk--useless plastic gadgets for the kitchen, cheap plastic toys--
This is dh. He just got back from JavaOne conference. As he is on the phone with me, he's telling me all the crap he was going to get for the kiddos - "this booth has x, this booth has y," etc. I said, "NO. ONE THING A PIECE - THAT'S ALL!!!" Yes, I practically screamed it!

Since we're on the subject - here's an idea I had. Please tell me if this is incredibly tacky. My kids love to have birthday parties, and I love to throw them. Here's the problem - especially with my oldest - the super social one. She'll have a party with lots of kids and then gets lots of presents! She has a lot of stuff anyhow. I was really wondering if I could do something like this with the invitations this year. "Parents - please do not feel obligated to bring a present. If you want to give something to B, please consider giving her $5 and a handmade card, picture, or note. We will take her shopping on her birthday, so she can spend her birthday money on something she's been wanting. Again, please don't feel obligated to give anything. Your presence is the best present of all!" Please tell me if this is absolutely tacky!
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#30 of 36 Old 05-15-2007, 01:17 PM
 
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I can totally relate. I am usually formulating my excuse for why it's no longer in my house as my mother is dropping the crap off. I've gotten pretty creative.

Mooooom! to  guitar.gifDS (1/05) and whistling.gifDSS (11/05).  TTC fingersx.gifour "ours" after VR on 10/12.  

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