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AIBU to not want furniture I dislike in our house

(18 Posts)
sandfish Mon 10-Nov-14 09:46:36

15 years ago my DH's Grandma passed away. PILs offered us some furniture from her house when they were clearing it. We were young, in our first home, and money was tight, we had no furniture and we were grateful. We ended up with quite a lot of large items - wardrobe, dressing table, tub chairs, dining room table and chairs.

I have never really liked these items of furniture as they were old, unfashionable and somewhat battered and scratched when we got them. it is worth saying they are not valuable. I had assumed that we would gradually over time replace them with our own items when we had more money. Instead we have tended to buy some new things but not get rid of the old, and are running out of space.

I wish to get rid of some of this furniture now. As a SAHM I seem to spend a lot of my time in the house, looking at stuff I don't like. My husband is reluctant to part with any of it. I think he has some degree of attachment to it as it reminds him of his grandparents, but this is not the whole story. He is much more of a hoarder than me and always finds it hard to let things go regardless of their provenance. I do understand wanting to keep mementos, but the things I have kept to remind me of my relatives that have passed on are considerably smaller (ornaments etc.)

I would love to be able to choose our own furnishings now we have the finances to do so. Would I be unreasonable to push him to compromise for example in keeping the tub chairs (still not fond tbh) but not the rest? I will have to push him - he keeps avoiding the issue.

I admit I get stressed by his tendency to keep stuff that is no longer useful or beautiful as i have a different approach. He is not an actual hoarder, but PILs are borderline that way, and have several garages and an attic full of stuff from relatives that have passed away that they cannot bear to get rid of. I just feel despairing that they will not, I believe, want this furniture back if we offer it, but will object to us giving it away. But I don't think my husbands grandparents would have minded, and would probably have been pleased it helped us when we needed it. Surely though no-one could reasonably expect us to keep their furniture in perpetuity. I fear I will have to put up with having my home cluttered up with other people's furniture for the rest of my life.

outofcontrol2014 Mon 10-Nov-14 09:55:40

YANBU!!

I think in the consumer-orientated society we have, we have been conned into treating objects as a kind of stand-in for people, or at least for emotional investment in people.

Objects are not people. They are things. Getting rid of them does not mean that you are ridding yourselves of the memories, or of the emotional attachment you had to their former owners. It is not going no contact with your past!!

It is simply not healthy to be emotionally invested in literally every single thing in your life. One of two precious objects you can treasure, perhaps, but not absolutely everything. That path leads to horrible hoarding, and to a reduction in your quality of life as a result of having too much stuff. It's not just about space and aesthetics - it's about values and being able to sort what's truly important from what isn't.

You should put your foot down with your partner now because I think this is habitual behaviour and you can unlearn it - and in the process, learn to focus on what really matters in life (people, not objects).

ColdHandsWarmHeart Mon 10-Nov-14 09:56:45

YANBU OP. My ILs are exactly like this out of a mixture of sentimentality and tightness. Drives me mad. Fortunately when DH has shown similar tendencies I've been able to use the space argument: it's far better to have a piece of furniture that's fit for purpose and makes maximum use of the available space than something that takes up too much space/looks hideous/has outlived its usefulness. As for what your in laws think, well if they like it so much they can take it to their house.

Tykeisagirl Mon 10-Nov-14 10:09:35

You need to get rid of anything you dislike and don't need.

I feel very strongly about this at the moment, for over a month now DH and I have been doing a house clearance on my grandparents' old house. They kept everything, and I mean everything. We just got to the loft and found it was full of broken heaters, old rugs and curtains. If you don't clear out every so often one day someone else will be left to do the job, and it's hard, physically and emotionally.

People don't need loads of stuff to be happy, as another poster said, things are not people. This year I actually feel sick at the over consumerism some people indulge in at Christmas. In my grandparents house I found drawers full of unused things they'd been given, some with the gift tags still on them. It's not that they were ungrateful, they just didn't need all that stuff.

FickleByNurture Mon 10-Nov-14 10:11:28

YANBU. I have this problem too, with a house stuffed full of DH's grandparents' really old, ugly and uncomfortable furniture. Some of it is fine but the rest I absolutely hate.

I'm still working on him.

MonstrousRatbag Mon 10-Nov-14 10:12:35

Emphasise to your DH that 'getting rid' is not the same as wasting. There may be charities who'd take the furniture and put it to good use.

And in future, make sure you don't take anything from PIL that you don't genuinely need or want. If there is going to be a battle, make sure it happens before anything is brought into the house.

As long as they aren't taking the furniture back, they can't dictate what happens to it.

sandfish Mon 10-Nov-14 10:15:55

Outofcontrol2014 that is an interesting point. I tend to agree with you, but I have never had a particularly strong attachment to things in the way that my husbands family do. I have tried to be understanding, I think the hoarding originates from fear of poverty. My PIL would have a very puritan view of interior design and think me extravagant to get rid of or replace furniture which is basically sturdy and sound, yet ugly, scratched and doesn't really fit the space. They would see it as a waste of money and place no value on aesthetics or ideas of beauty or style. If it might possibly be useful in some way or at some point, they keep it. Having grown up with this, I am afraid of my husband getting more and more that way as he gets older, so yes, Coldhands, I think I am going to have to put my foot down and brace for the fall out, because I've left this issue long enough and it is only going to get worse.

Infinity8 Mon 10-Nov-14 10:19:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

outofcontrol2014 Mon 10-Nov-14 10:20:46

Monstrous - to be fair, the OP took the furniture when it was useful (starting up home, that moment when you're grateful to have a chair, even if it is the most godawful, hideous, stinky old lady chair ever), but is now lucky enough to be in a position to upgrade to stuff she actually does like!

On the subject of PILs objecting: be firm, but also be canny what you do with the furniture. Do not under any circumstances bin or freecycle it. Find a local charity who will either sell it in a charity shop, or offer it to people without furniture in need. We recently had a similar situation, and we played the charity card - that the furniture was old-fashioned and didn't match our newly-decorated room, but that it had gone to a very worthy charity to be given to someone else in need. (Waxing lyrical about how nice it was to learn that it had 'gone to a good home' to people who 'desperately needed it' etc. etc. etc). After pulling out some leaflets about the charity in question and explaining how awesome they are (and how lucky we were not to be in that position), PIL didn't really have a leg to stand on.

MonstrousRatbag Mon 10-Nov-14 12:02:10

outof, I completely get that, I wasn't criticising. OP, I apologise if it came across that I was.

championnibbler Mon 10-Nov-14 12:27:20

Oh god - your DH and his lot sound very unfair and unreasonable.
you do have the right to choose how you decorate your own home.
you sound very patient. DH would have got an earful from me and that earful would have been Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
sometime people need to be told what's what in as forthright a way as needed.
put your foot down.

ColdHandsWarmHeart Mon 10-Nov-14 12:30:37

Oh god yes "but it might be useful!". I agree with other posters that passing on to a charity or free cycling can be a good rebuttal to that argument. I think the final straw for me was when we were converting our guest bedroom into DS's first big boys room. MIL was quite disappointed that we were getting rid of a large sofa bed. My view was that "it might be useful" for one or two weekends a year doesn't override my DS's need to have space to play 365 days a year. I just don't understand the mentality, your house should be arranged to work for your family, not as a museum or because something might be used once in a blue moon. I think my PILS think I'm terribly frivolous and extravagant to just get rid of things (im not actually, bit of an anti consumerist Eco warrior grin) but as an earlier poster said, people are more important than things and I refuse to live my life weighed down by stuff, especially other people's stuff.

kiki0202 Mon 10-Nov-14 12:41:26

YANBU DP is a bit of a hoarder I refuse to let him be because I can't stand living in clutter especially useless ugly clutter. Donate the furniture to charity some do take big items or give them to someone in need if you look on the facebook buy and sell pages there are loads of people struggling and in need it might feel better for him to have them used than chucked out?

Or get him to watch extreme hoarders and tell him that will be him sharing a 6 foot space with dead mice if he doesn't get rid of useless things! yuck!

Mitzimaybe Mon 10-Nov-14 12:45:06

I am on the other side of this. I have hoarding tendencies and my furniture is mostly parents and DGP's cast-offs, including the wardrobe and chest of drawers from my childhood bedroom. Now buying a new home with my partner and he doesn't want any of my old furniture. Not that he has much himself; he wants to buy new stuff for the new house. I've more or less got my head round the idea but I do still have an emotional attachment to a lot of it. My DM is great about it, though - I thought she would pressure me to keep some e.g. the furniture they bought when they got married, but she hasn't at all, in fact she's encouraging me to get rid.

It's a struggle, though.

MellowAutumn Mon 10-Nov-14 12:46:23

Try a gentle aproacjh of redoing one room at a time you may also find he likes the change aftervone room and it becomes easier

shaska Mon 10-Nov-14 12:50:16

If he's genuinely attached to it, then maybe he could keep his one favourite bit?

I say this because we have a chair in our house that I fucking loathe, but DH loves it, and it's his house too, so it stays. But no, OP, I wouldn't be living with a bunch of ugly furniture if I could afford different stuff and it was being kept out of some sense of 'not wasting it', or obligation to the original owner.

There are a lot of people who would really appreciate having it, as well - def agree with the people who suggested charity shops etc.

PS post pics in case it's actually nice but not to your tastes, I need some new stuff

unclerory Mon 10-Nov-14 12:56:18

Now buying a new home with my partner and he doesn't want any of my old furniture. Not that he has much himself; he wants to buy new stuff for the new house.

To not want any of it is as unreasonable as wanting to keep all of it. Pick some things that are good quality or that you particularly like or that could be recovered or painted to suit your partner's taste a bit more and keep those and get rid of some of the others. He has to live with your taste as much as you have to live with his.

Mitzimaybe Mon 10-Nov-14 15:02:55

unclerory thanks for the helpful suggestions. Actually, it's not really to my taste either, but I have a sentimental attachment to it that he doesn't. We are compromising, in that I've said I am definitely keeping two pieces, and he has suggested we keep one that I might not have done, if pushed. Not quite sure about the dining table, though.

MellowAutumn One room at a time is a great idea. OP, try to pick a room with not so much in it, or something which he isn't massively emotionally attached to (if there is anything in that category!) Try to reduce rather than completely eliminate, at least for starters. E.g. I have let my GM's wardrobe go, but am keeping her bedside cupboard. So the big thing is out of the way but I've still kept the smaller thing which was hers.

As PPs say, the object is not the person, and the memory isn't destroyed by getting rid of the object. If you start with the easiest thing for him to live without, (rather than what you hate most) and successfully let it go, then take the next easiest thing... and the process gets easier as you go along. Although if he's like me, getting rid of the last thing will probably be very difficult, if not impossible, so as others have said, do let him keep one or two things.

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