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To feel quite shocked/disgusted at all the stuff we have?

(111 Posts)
Olbasoiltime Sun 01-Jan-17 17:27:36

We are redecorating soon, and have been using the last bit of the holidays for a clear out. Obviously quite a lot has come into the house over Christmas, but as I've been clearing out today, it's really hit me how much we HAVE

We aren't particularly well off, most of our things are good quality second hand or have been given to us, our house is small but tidy and we only buy toys Christmas /birthdays. We don't have a lot of "tat", or so I thought.

Yet somehow DD has SEVEN coats. Three pairs of winter boots. Their bookcases are groaning at the seams. One of my big closet shelves is just filled with blankets, from fleecy kid's character blankets to big quilts. We have about five towels each.

We've spent all day choosing what to keep and bagging up the rest. We then sat down to a Sunday roast and I just sat there thinking WTF. We're the "poor relations" amongst our friends and family, but my kids have coats for every day of the week? And I know from past jobs (not social work but similar line) that there are children in this country who walk the streets in January in little more than a tshirt and who have no books and toys at home

I feel a bit sick and guilty. I never thought my kids had "too much" or that we got them more than we needed, but clearly we have and it's crept up on us. Then when I really started thinking about all the stuff people all over the UK have bought for Christmas and how much of it goes to waste...

I'm actually not even sure what my aibu is about, self digust I suppose. I feel that this year we obviously need to work on stepping away from commercialisation/buying stuff. Get back to basics somehow? Ugh I don't know

Xmasbaby11 Sun 01-Jan-17 17:43:08

I know what you mean. We have two dc and they have loads of clothes, toys and books. The vast majority are hand me downs or from charity shops. I regularly have a turn out and take bags of stuff to the charity shop. In our case we have a big house so I don't always notice how much stuff we have. I think I am trying to be mindful rather than guilty and just try not to buy things we don't need.

SleepFreeZone Sun 01-Jan-17 17:45:22

My kids have loads of coats and they just get passed on to other kids when they have finished with them. I'm not disgusted at all, I love second hand clothes and books grin

acquiescence Sun 01-Jan-17 17:48:24

Sounds like you are ready for some Kon Marie in your life. It is life changing, I would highly recommend you read the book. ('The life changing art of tidying' by Marie Kondo)

Olbasoiltime Sun 01-Jan-17 17:48:55

sleepfree I'm the same, I think that's why I've sort of justified it. But still, it's so much and we don't need it! I've been talking with the rest of them and DD rightly pointed out that the winter coats sitting in her wardrobe from Summer could have had good use already with someone else.

I need to stop picking up bargains except books I can't let go of books

tectonicplates Sun 01-Jan-17 17:52:13

Are there any bring and buy/tabletop sales in your area, as it's a big cold for a car boot sale? I did one recently and made over £100 from selling stuff I didn't need. Far less faff than Ebay.

SleepFreeZone Sun 01-Jan-17 17:54:25

Ah it's different if you are buying them I suppose. They come to me second hand from my sister mainly, although I will pick up books and toys from charity shops myself. My mum buys good quality kids clothes from the charity shops near her and passes them on to me if she sees something she knows I need.

Then it passes to DS2 and once he is done it all passes back to my sis who sells it at those Mum2mummarket sales that run regularly.

If I were going out and unnecessarily spending my own money on seven coats I would assume I had a bit of a hoarding issue and address that.

cocopopsrock Sun 01-Jan-17 17:58:34

I know what you mean, we cleared out recently and it was disgusting when you think of what others don't have. We aren't well off, I would classify us as the 'working poor', but my daughter is like bloody Imelda Marcos with the amount of shoes she has!
To be fair our parents buy a lot for the kids.. the odd outfit from Tesco here and there it all adds up.
But the fucking toys!!! Wtf??? We donated to some local charities but some didn't want certain toys incase they were infected!!
I love passing stuff on to others, and also getting stuff handed to me. We live in such a throw away society these days. It makes me feel better to know stuff is being put to good use!

krustykittens Sun 01-Jan-17 17:59:09

This is why I love buying and selling on ebay, we have a 'nothing new' rule in this house. It's a form or recyling. But I don't agree with having too many books! It does do good to have a clear out once or twice a year, even when you think you are being frugal, it is scary how much the tide of stuff creep up on you. Looking through your stuff before you make a new purchase helps as well - sometimes I find myself coveting something I already have (how many black tuxedo jackets does a woman need?!) and when I remind myself I already have something similar, the longing for that purchase goes away.

krustykittens Sun 01-Jan-17 18:00:33

Sorry, just re-read my message and what I meant to say was, you can NEVER have too many books!

Wickedstepmum67 Sun 01-Jan-17 18:08:41

I'm a champion hoarder who tries to tell myself it's ok because I don't buy new stuff as a rule, most things being from Ebay or charity shops. Whilst that's almost certainly better for the environment, ticks the recycling box nicely and gives rise to virtuous (all right, smug) feelings about helping a good cause (in the case of chazzie shops) I still have way too much of everything. Not sure what point I'm going for here only to agree with the OP that in spite of hardly being what you'd call rich, I am really well off in so many ways. And oooh, I can never go past a bargain!

ExcellentWorkThereMary Sun 01-Jan-17 18:09:40

I recently had a huge clear out (pre Xmas) and donated loads of stuff to a local charity collecting for refugee camps. I gave an entire bin bag of coats and tracksuit bottoms (kids sizes) - plus four more bags of misc stuff these were surplus to our requirements, I wasn't making any sacrifices at all. I was shocked too.

Spurred me on to continue having a proper clear out and taking control of the stuff that has taken control of us...

sobeyondthehills Sun 01-Jan-17 18:10:01

We are in the middle of redecorating our house, as we have been going, we have cleared the room of all the junk. The amount I have gotten rid of, is amazing. The last room I have to do is the lounge and to be honest I have been putting it off, because I just take one look at it and the amount of toys and know it is going to be a massive job.

We rarely buy new toys, but we do have an in and out policy, one toy in one toy out.

Its not working

SemiNormal Sun 01-Jan-17 18:12:13

I started clearing out tons of stuff last year, it just all kind of accumulated somehow. I had clothes I haven't worn since my teens and I'm in my 30s!!

I've got rid of so much 'stuff' but still have a way to go. I do still buy myself things (mostly clothes from charity shops) but I have a rule where if I bring one clothing item in then I need to get rid of another item of clothing (sometimes I'll get rid of even more). It just helps me keep on top of it a bit. Also got rid of tons of kitchen crap, serious amounts of shite I had in there, a waffle maker used one, a toasted sandwich maker used about 5 times in as many years I had about 6 measuring jugs FFS!!

DonutParade Sun 01-Jan-17 18:13:03

You're not alone OP, watch this really interesting documentary ( USA but may as well be here )

I get rid of stuff all the time, even if I could ebay it I charity shop it, saves time and does some good. I absolutely loathe clutter and ' stuff '.

Olbasoiltime Sun 01-Jan-17 18:14:32

Well no, I've not been buying it all myself and I certainly don't have a hoarding issue confused

It's more that I've picked up one, Mil has picked up one, a few have been passed's just sort of accumulated

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 01-Jan-17 18:14:37

Same here - am de-cluttering and actually feel sick at the ridiculous amount of stuff we have accumulated.

TypicallyEnglishMustard Sun 01-Jan-17 18:17:06

I loathe clutter as well. I mostly keep it down by playing the "minimalist game" most months (you chuck or charity the corresponding number of items for each consecutive day of the month for as long as you can), and that can help with forcing yourself to really consider what you actually need or want in your life.

I also love KonMari though, which I know isn't everyone's bag!

Olbasoiltime Sun 01-Jan-17 18:18:50

I'm starting to have fantasies of those minimalist log cabins you see on hipster blogs

Artandco Sun 01-Jan-17 18:18:54

I think too much of anything even secondhand is ott. My mother will always say ooh he's some clothes for the kids from aunt xyz. Fine. But 5 coats in same size? 3 pairs same size Wellingtons? We haven't space or need. I usually pick one of each size then ask her to pass on to someone else which she grumps about

But why should we take all 3 pairs of as new Wellingtons? Mine can only wear one size at a time. So but just taking one, it means two more children can use the others. And il pass the one pair down to next child here when outgrown, and then to someone else.

JaniceBattersby Sun 01-Jan-17 18:18:56

I've just chucked out five bin bags of toys to make way for the Christmas stuff. I have three boys and they have so much stuff I actually find it sickening.

I'm not too worried about the clothes as they get loads of wear out of them and they're passed on to the next to brother but the toys that never get played with make me feel physically sick. It doesn't help that we have a huge playroom that was used by the previous occupants as a storeroom for their shop so there's oodles of cupboards and shelves absolutely bursting with stuff. I'd say they play with about 30 per cent of it.

When I was a child I had five brothers and sisters and we had two shelves of toys. That was it. Problem is that I have a MIL who shows affection through 'stuff' so they come back from her house with new toys every time they see her. It's not even good stuff. It's tat from Poundworld..

Oldraver Sun 01-Jan-17 18:21:01

I ma the same with the added benefit of still having years of DS's coats...I still have baby stuff of DS1 (30)

InvisibleKittenAttack Sun 01-Jan-17 18:21:24

I know what you mean. I'm starting to think that 2017 is the year I reduce - I've accepted I'll never be the sort of person who can be organised with lots of stuff neatly away, so I need to reduce what we have to fit the size of home we have!

We have lots of hand-me-downs for the DCs, so end up with multiple coats (I tend to only buy them one winter and one lightweight/spring/rainmac type each age size but then they end up with extras from family/friends). The worse was DC2's jeans. I kept buying 2nd hand clothes from various local selling sites for the 3-4 age range when she was in 2-3, plus got bundles from friends, I put it all together when she moved up a size and realised she now has 24 pairs of jeans/jeggings. It's insane. (yet she doesn't have enough long sleeve t-shirts, noone had those in a fit state to hand-down!).

I'm going to try to buy less stuff. Be realistic about what we actually need and keep a note of the things I've bought to put to one side for later. (I found 4 packs of Christmas ribbons I bought in the sale last year, after I've finished wrapping this year's gifts!).

AgentCooper Sun 01-Jan-17 18:21:30

Same here. We live in a flat and I was looking at all the stuff we'd been given for Christmas and thinking where in the name of God will we put all of this? Then I felt really guilty because obviously it's people being kind and thoughtful. I never buy myself anything new these days, nor does DH (thought he could try it once in a while, he has actual 15 year old boxer shorts). But when it's Christmas, there is just so much stuff. He's from a big family, right enough.

Does anyone know - would Women's Aid accept unopened bath/body sets? A lot of things I can't use anyway because they upset my skin. I know they're maybe not the most useful things for women and girls in need but they might be enjoyed by someone else.

Artandco Sun 01-Jan-17 18:21:40

Also don't see the point in too many kids books. They outgrow each style quite quickly whilst learning to read and progress ages 3-10 ish. So having shelves of gruffilo style level when they have moved ont o Enid blyton seems a waste. We buy 10% of books, and borrow the other 90% from school or main library. That way they get piles of different books as much as they like, and can get different styles as they grow

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