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To not want my colleagues to dump all their child-related junk on me because my child is younger than theirs?

(52 Posts)
cosmicstardust Fri 13-Jun-14 17:08:07

Before I start, I just want to say that I have absolutely no problem with hand-me-downs, we have had some fantastic ones so far that have no doubt saved us a fortune. However...

DD is 7 and is adopted, we've had her for a few months now. She is our only child. My colleagues with DCs are all either are in the ttc/baby stage or have teenagers/grown up children, so I am the only parent with a child-age DC IYSWIM. I wouldn't say we're friends as such, but in general we all get on.

When we first got DD, lots of our friends told us they had clothes/toys/books etc left over from when their DCs were younger, and very kindly asked if we would like them. We said that would be fantastic. Inevitably we ended up with some stuff we were never, ever going to use, but we just disposed of that and kept the stuff that was useful. Not a problem at all, and we were incredibly grateful.

One of these colleagues is currently having her house renovated. When the contractors started about a month ago she had an initial clear out and told me she had some more of her kids' old things for me. Handed over in boxes at the end of work, so I didn't have a chance to look through before I accepted it. There were some clothes in good condition, but all teenage sizes, so although potentially useful in the long run we're going to have to hold onto them for the time being. But fine, it was nice of her to think of us, plus she'd probably already given us all of her daughter's clothes the size DD is in judging by the amount of stuff she gave us last time. The rest of it was a bit hit and miss- some children's movies that DD would probably be interested in but unfortunately are on VDR, half completed coloring books, some lego (which is great, and we will be keeping), a box of dried up felt tip pens, some half-used craft stuff etc. Some of it we will be keeping, but the vast majority we will be disposing of. Either the colleague hasn't quite got the hang of what's reusable and what's not as far as her DC's old things go, or, I suspect, she just didn't sort through the boxes before she offloaded them. But fine, OK so we ended up having to dispose of most of it, but I didn't make a fuss.

The colleague has now reached the stage of her renovation project where they're having work done on their basement, which means she's had to have a massive sort through all the child-related junk she's stashed in there over the years. She told me this morning that she has loads more stuff for my DD, and she'll bring it in for me on Monday. Another colleague looked up at this point and said she's having a clear out this weekend too, she has loads of her DD's old things she wants to get rid of before she goes to college and she'll bring it on Tuesday, because otherwise I probably won't have enough room in the car shock Apart from anything, lord knows where they think we're going to put it all, DP and I already have a loft full of our own rubbish.

Now I know that we're incredibly fortunate to have people willing to help us out, and I'm absolutely not saying that we're too good for hand-me-downs. However, I am starting to feel as though my colleagues are thinking of me as a means of getting rid of their DC's old things easily, rather than having to sort through it all and work out what to bin, what to donate etc. AIBU to be starting to get a bit fed up of it?

widdle Fri 13-Jun-14 17:10:48

Just think of the cash you could get from a car boot sale though!!

SallyMcgally Fri 13-Jun-14 17:12:57

No, I don't think you are. I remember coming home from the hospital with DS1 to find that a colleague had visited with a car load of stuff for him which included cracked feeding bottles and old dummies etc. I'd got the (minuscule) house tidy and ready for his return and when we got home it was full of absolute crap that I had to sort through while trying to recover from infected C/S.
Could you say to them that it's really kind of them, but that your house is now full of stuff for your DD so you'll have to decline, though you really appreciate the offer?

ocelot41 Fri 13-Jun-14 17:13:33

Er ... They aren't mind readers! Try saying thanks but no thanks?

BerniceBroadside Fri 13-Jun-14 17:13:56

It is annoying when people palm off crap onto you. I would just say it's really kind of them, but you've run out of room to store things as people have been so generous already.

CruCru Fri 13-Jun-14 17:19:35

Haha, my neighbours had this. They were given a load of crusty, limescaly bath toys and it was made clear that they would be wanted back. So they had to store them somewhere.

I actually found this when I bought my flat. Loads of people were trying to give me a load of stuff that they didn't want any more. Some were very thoughtful but mostly it wasn't that helpful.

ZenNudist Fri 13-Jun-14 17:20:04

Open your mouth and say something! Just say no more thanks. You appreciate the thought but you've got no more space to put stuff.

People like to feel as if they're old stuff isn't going to waste. I always accept old clothes and cherry pick useful stuff. I find it easy to bin other people's junk. I never accept old toys etc although I would for something specific.

dietcokeandcadburys Fri 13-Jun-14 17:20:28

How are they supposed to know that you don't want it if you don't tell them...hmm
People will buy anything at car boot sales, or just advertise on gumtree selling assorted boxes of child/baby crap

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Fri 13-Jun-14 17:23:04

YANBU but you need to tell them! I always ask before giving stuff for that reason.

If I was given bath toys but told they would need to be returned, I'd've handed them back there and then!

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Fri 13-Jun-14 17:23:11

I'm trying to be charitable here but the issue could be that all this stuff has been in storage for yonks and they just haven't had a sort-through of it before handing it over, so they don't know most of it is useless tat.

Before discouraging them out of hand I'd advise just sounding grateful or they might actually have a few things of use and you risk never getting them.

Putting useless junk in the dustbin isn't that much of a hardship if people are trying to be kind, is it?

cosmicstardust Fri 13-Jun-14 17:26:09

That's just it really, I think these two are just trying to get rid of stuff they don't want cluttering up their houses any more rather than actually thinking about what might be useful for us. No, they're not mind readers, but do you really need to be a mind reader to realise my seven year old isn't going to want an aged 2-3 disney dressing gown, some half-assembled craft kits with pieces missing and someone else's daughter's high school cheer uniform? confused A car boot sale is a good idea, the trouble is there's so little of it that's going to be of any use to anyone that I'm not sure it's really worth it- although I may change my mind by Tuesday unless I decline graciously! It's the fact that most of it is unusable for anyone really that's making me think they're just viewing me as a way of getting rid of their junk with minimum effort.

Sneepy Fri 13-Jun-14 17:28:08

FFS just say no!! "Oh thanks but we've got too much already!" Or similar. It's not that difficult.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 13-Jun-14 17:34:22

How about 'Aw thanks, but DD is a bit overwhelmed at the moment with all the lovely stuff. So we are just giving her some toy space to use all the stuff she already had first. You are both too lovely for words'.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 13-Jun-14 17:35:23

And then 'why don't you freecycle it all?'

CloverHeart Fri 13-Jun-14 17:41:12

A family member did this with us. They had loads of boy stuff in boxes cluttering up their loft and wanted the space. I said "no thanks" only for them to keep leaving boxes of stuff when I was out or just turning up and saying "oh we will leave it anyway and you can have a look through, just in case".

THEN they wanted it all back in pristine condition, pressed and folded without even telling us. Needless to say I try my best to avoid them at family occasions now - This was only the first of MANY issues I have faced with them hmm

YANBU. People need to deal with their own shit if they have no space, take no for an answer and, if someone accepts, clear the crap out of the boxes first!

MoonRover Fri 13-Jun-14 17:42:09

I think if there's some stuff in there that will be useful, then look at it this way: they get rid of their junk, you get free stuff. Everyone wins! (especially DD)

Hurr1cane Fri 13-Jun-14 17:51:29

I've just sorted through DSs old things and thought about DPs niece when I was doing it. All she ended up with was a child laptop toy thing and a leap pad 1, both of which I had to scrub carefully first. I wouldn't want to give away a load of crap just in case anyone thinks I just have a house full of crayoned on junk.

I give away DSs old clothes to younger children from his support group thing, but I sort through them all first and chuck any ones with holes in them in the recycling, because otherwise it's not really helpful, it's just giving them an extra job to do.

My lovely grandmother, however, goes to loads of charity shops and buys everything in DSs size, nice or not, then posts them all the way over to me, probably making it cost her as much as buying new, just for me to go through them all, pick out 3 t shirts and send them all back to a different charity shop haha. I don't have the heart to tell her to stop it though hmm I just thank her and pretend I love them all.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 13-Jun-14 17:59:38

It's not hard to sort through really, just have a quick look through and chuck/charity shop the rest. Does DD not enjoy looking through for the good stuff? I loved that as a child and still do now

Do you have to pay to have your rubbish taken away or something? I could see the problem with that.

I don't think it is very 'kind' to hand over boxes of stuff without even a cursory attempt to sort out the rubbish. I would just say, 'thanks but no thanks' when your colleagues turn up with more boxes next week.

Nocomet Fri 13-Jun-14 18:05:42

Teen clothes are very hit and miss, I have one adult size 12 DD and one size 6 DD, both get taller, but not much wider.

It would be very easy for a bag of stuff to fit neither of them.

restandpeace Fri 13-Jun-14 18:05:43

I am eternally grateful for the lovely hand me diwns ive had for ds1 after 3 dds. However, I have had to say no to anything else as my house was becoming iver run. recieved some right tat too

cosmicstardust Fri 13-Jun-14 18:21:22

We're abroad, no freagle here that I know of, which is a shame. I like that strategy ribena, I definitely need to man up! I feel bad about saying no blush My step sister has kids slightly older than DD and invited DP and I over, told us everything she was getting rid of was in the dining room and to help ourselves to the stuff we wanted and leave everything we didn't. And she'd already weeded out the crap that wasn't going to be any use to anyone.

DD does enjoy going through it at first, she found some tap shoes in amongst the last lot that fitted her. She takes ballet and jazz classes but not tap, hasn't shown any interest at all really in using them as actual tap shoes but enjoys practising pirouettes using just one of them- it makes it easier to do more apparently confused I mentioned to the colleague the next day that DD loved the tap shoes and she said she hadn't realised they were in there, she thought she'd thrown them out years ago! The trouble is that we had 6 boxes that time and the only useful things ended up being a small amount of lego and the tap shoes, which were both in the same box. So basically a couple of useful things and 5 boxes of used craft stuff, high school sports uniforms and cracked water bottles, dried up pens, sharpie graffitied pencil cases, barbies with the hair cut off etc. Surely it's not too much to expect people to have a quick look in the boxes before they offload this stuff?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Fri 13-Jun-14 18:53:53

"It's not hard to sort through really, just have a quick look through and chuck/charity shop the rest"

Well exactly - which is why the donors should do that!

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 13-Jun-14 18:59:00

But if they don't, it's no real problem is it?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Fri 13-Jun-14 19:14:51

Yes, it's actually quite an ask to sort through enough boxes of unrequested junk to fill a car, and then to do so again the next night when you are working, parenting, doing homework, settling in an adopted child etc.

The donor can't be arsed to do it but wants to feel better about themselves, otherwise they would have asked rather than assumed.

If anyone forced boxes of junk on me, I would say no or take them straight to the charity.

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