I'm the one with the rellies who are filling my house up with crap.(731 Posts)
Hi, I've posted about this a couple of times and a few kind people suggested I come here. I have namechanged for this thread, and I have always been a frequent namechanger.
In a nutshell, my mother, and various other relatives of the same generation, are hell bent on filling my house up with utter fucking junk that we don't need and haven't room for. I've had a long time to think about it as it has been going on for a while but since I have moved to be near family the problem has got 100x worse. I am just starting the thread as a bit of a brain dump tbh, as there is so much more to this than clutter.
The effect the clutter has on me is
* to turn my house into a shelter and not a home
*to make me look very disorganised because I keep losing things because the house is so cluttered
*to make me vulnerable to accusations of laziness because the house is messy
*to make me look incapable of looking after my children
*to make me very uncomfortable in my own house
*to prevent me from bringing anybody other than very trusted friends to the house
I have outsourced the DC on sleepovers, so I have had today to attack the clutter. I have filled several bags from one DC's room. I have also filled a few small bags with clothes for the clothing bank. I filled several bags of outgrown and unworn clothes last week and have already taken them to the clothing bank.
I am Low Contact with my mother (supposed to be No Contact but it just hasn't worked out like that). My mother phoned me today to ask if I was busy, and I said, yes, I'm very busy. She then immediately said, good, good, and assumed I was busy doing housework. I was in fact busy drinking coffee at the time, but I have noticed that she always assumes busy to mean housework.
I believe she is using the clutter as a means to control me. In an ideal world I could have gone out while the DCs are not here, but I can't go out because I have all this shite to deal with. I have also noticed that since I have been a single parent there have been mutterings about me meeting men. I honestly think that she thinks I am just waiting for the chance to bring dozens of men back here and cause the neighbours to twitch their nets.
I'm not really looking for advice on this thread, but more to offload. For example, I feel great about what I have achieved today, even though there is lots more to do. But if I were to say to my mother that I felt great having filled up all these bags of rubbish she would berate me for having the rubbish in the first place, rather than encourage me.
I've had the Kondo book on my kindle since the very first Kondo thread on here, but it doesn't seem appropriate for this level of crap. I think it would be great for somebody who has too much stuff, but this has gone beyond that, as it is just piles and piles of utter junk, none of which was brought into this house by me.
These are my aims
*to be able to find important stuff
*for the DCs to have fewer clothes, but in suitable sizes and appropriate to their activities and ages
*to be able to have friends over without them having to give fair warning first
*to have less constant housework to do
*to be able to relax in my own home
*to be able to entertain a gentleman friend in my bedroom (just the one, mind, not dozens, and I haven't even found one yet)
I'm in a rush, will be back later but just to get you started...
That sounds tricky and fab that you've made a start. I think your aims are great too.
Can you start refusing anything they bring to your house? Otherwise it'll get recluttered as sounds you're finished? Or if that won't work then charity shop/leave on pavement for someone to take as sounds the relative has left?
I sympathise, my mum I'd lovely and says she worries how much stuff I have, but also buys stuff for the kids/me which we don't have room for. She doesn't mind if I 'lose' it again quickly, but it's hard if the kids get attached and seems ungrateful. ..
Good luck anyway.
(Soon, not sounds twice thanks phone and is not i'd)
Congratulations on what you have done so far .
Your aims are positive and worthwhile and I believe you can achieve them.
Can you start saying a very firm "No" when people try to farm stuff onto you?
Is there a firm who you could contact to come and get some of the stuff, a house clearance type thing?
My only advice to you is to be absolutely ruthless and only keep what you really need or use and a few sentimental bits, refuse anything offered (suggest they donate to charity). If Birthdays or Christmases are prime times for junk dumping on you in the guise of 'presents' can you ask for money or vouchers for you and the children as you are saving up for 'x' ?
I think you are right about your mother using clutter, junk and mess as a means of controlling you, please don't let her have your house your way, the way that makes you and your children happy and don't give an inch.
Good luck on finding a suitable gentleman caller
Poor you how awful.
What sort of stuff? How is it coming in? I have a few people who used to give me binbags of their outgrown kids clothes and my mum had a tendency to turn up with huge plastic toys she'd "found" at the secondhand baby shop...and another friend who's more-money-than-sense PILs flooded them with bulky unwanted presents every christmas and birthday. Is it that x 100?
I have a couple of suggestions but both might be easier said than done. I have helped a friend do a huge declutter over course of a year or so, and she needed a lot of personal support and probably still has 25% of the problem but at least she has a sofa to sit on.
No. 1 is to turn off the tap - anything that tries to come in the door is a firm "no thank you we don't have room. Please take it back with you" . (repeat)
No. 2 is to get ruthless and guilt free with decluttering and do it the way that is least effort for you - no selling every babygro on ebay - straight to recycling/charity shop/tip.
Are you stuck for cash or could you get a decluttering helper in or a trusted friend?
Good for you!
Have founds clothes easily get out of hand with dc. Have become quite ruthless and have limited the storage space for those clothes to quite a small area to stop it getting out of control. (Dd's stuff in one large drawer / basket. Eldest now just spilling over into two large drawers / baskets (but older so clothes bigger). Other ds in 5 smallish cubby holes.
Limited books / toys in 2dc's small box-rooms and 1.5 wardrobes in other ds's large bedroom. It does all fit when I clear through the house.
Have launchpad, homework centre, admin centre etc..... too to help with organisation.
Can you set up an inbox / outbox near the front door where anything new coming into the house goes (so you can deal with it straight away / "find a home for it")?
My thought is that our house will never be perfect with dc about, but it can be quite good when they're all in school and I can catch up with myself.
Tell your mum and anyone else who might buy things that anything bought for the children must be kept at their house, not yours as you have no room. Plus you can't accept anything for the house as you have no room. End of story. Be firm.
Try and de-clutter/tidy/clean one room each week, buy storage boxes and a label maker for keeping the things you have to keep organised. Only keep things that are useful or beautiful. If you haven't worn something for 3 years let it go.
It has taken me years to put all this into practice but it feels great to have the clutter under control.
Your mum sounds like a nightmare.
How is all the stuff arriving in your house? I agree you need to 'turn off the tap' otherwise you will just end up like King Cnut.
Do you drive? It is so much easier getting rid of stuff if you can load into car and then take it to the tip.
Or maybe you could invite a stream of house clearance men round and pick the man with the biggest van ;)
I have had a friend coming in one day a week for ages. I am actually quite good at decluttering and even helped another friend declutter her place. It is just hard when all this stuff keeps coming in.
The clutter is basically jewellery boxes, purses, handbags, secondary storage items such as cd racks, file boxes (for the children!), clothes which are too fecking small to start with. One of the DCs is particularly tall and everybody remarks on this but still buys their actual age in clothes. Inappropriate clothes. One of the DCs is still not always dry at night and I have specifically requested no onesies as it is hard to get the onesie off in an emergency and even the DC has complained that if they wet the bed the wee wicks all the way up to their neck because of the onesie. I like the DCs to wear cotton pyjamas, so we are bombarded with fleece and shiny polyester ones. Shoes that don't fit. About a zillion dresses. The clothes are quite easy to get rid of as I can just bag them and take them to the clothing bank but then the problem is that I am asked where these items are, and the DCs are expected to parade about in them. Also, I am extremely pissed off about the amount of money that is being spent on unwearable clothes while there are things they could really use, like sensible clothes that actually fit. Dresses. Coats, but not coats which are waterproof or warm, just coats that could only be described as decoration. Duvet covers that don't go with anything. I would really like to decorate but I don't want to decorate to match a duvet cover I would never have chosen in a million years. Tartan blankets. Curtains from jumble sales that wouldn't fit any of our windows even if we liked 1983 curtains. Wheely suitcases that stink of mildew.
Then there's the crap from charity shops and sales. They are buying heaps of shite when they don't even know what it is. Like Macdonalds toys. Broken stuff. Tea trays. We have about a million tea trays. Ornaments of cats. Towels. Tea towels. Soft toys. Videos
Just say no. My DM is always trying to palm stuff onto me but I have a an answer at the ready every time. You just need to decide what your standard responses are going to be. Here are some of mine,
I haven't got the space.
It is lovely but not to my taste.
I have got so many of those I could probably give you some.
If I get any more of those I will have to set up a market stall.
Just rotate them around as required.
wow, this is nuts!
time for some frank talking, or write/email if you prefer, giving all the bleeding obvious statements you've made about why the stuff is useless. And a massive waste of money.
tell them simply to STOP BUYING.
You can't do anything about the money they're choosing to spend. Make your views clear and get rid as it arrives / refuse to accept it. (Think I would bin it without bothering to sort as that would take too much time if it's as much as you describe.)
Stand firm. It's your home and NO one else's. If you don't want it in your house then either don't accept it in the first place or just throw it out or charity shop it. I often just use a charity shop further afield if I think it will cause big problems if it is found in a local shop by the person who bought it.
No one should be made to feel uncomfortable in their own house by other people's stuff. You have full and exclusive rights over your own house and no one else gets a say.
I have just made the most of the floor space I have cleared to access the bookcase. I have now got a massive pile of books on the floor ready to go. I am very pleased as I can't blame anybody else for the number of books we have. I have always spent a great deal of time and effort choosing books for the DCs. I've just picked out everything that is too young, which will make it so much easier for the DCs to be able to choose books. Going to make a trip tonight to get rid of them, as our clothing bank also takes books
I feel a bit better now that I have more stuff to donate. Earlier I was just chucking things in bags for landfill. Quite frustrating when you know that if you could find all of the parts of a toy or game it could be donated, but things are useless with bits missing. I am usually quite environmentally friendly but these are desperate times.
Thank goodness its not just me!! Or should I say pil!! They are always sending dh or dc utter crap. They sent ds2 who weighed a 9lb 13 at birth and was born in winter newborn summer clothes even though I'd said he was straight into 0-3 month clothes. They also sent him a couple of tiny baby clothes too. They buy cheap crap that breaks as soon as its used. They buy dh who is a chef loads of kitchen gadgets
which he would never use
The other day an envelope arrived full of menus for restaurants near them (they live at the other end of the country to us) when dh rang them to ask why, they said they thought we might be interested in trying the food
I've started selling/donating/binning most of the junk so it doesn't build up.
Good luck on your massive clear out!!
Oh dear I think you are really going to have to make a stand even if people take umbrage.
It's your house and they are your children you are the one who decides what comes into your house and what clothes your children wear.
You may have to bluntly say something about the money these people are wasting as the items are of no use to you, not to your taste and you neither want nor need them, and neither you nor your children like their choice of clothing and will not wear them.
It's tough but your house is your domain and you need to stamp your authority over those who think otherwise.
Get it how you want it and stand firm - do not accept this stuff just because your too nice to say no and don't want to hurt their feelings, they are not taking your or your children's feelings into account.
Oh, and I found some craft books which we haven't made anything from yet. Before we moved here I used to do loads of arty crafty stuff with the DCs but our living circumstances currently make any of that impossible. I really hope to be able to start that again before the DCs are too old to want to do it. Just taking a break now while I listen to the archers.
I haven't read the whole thread by I have much the same problem - my mum is decluttering her house but can't bear to give anything away to charity shops or, God forbid, bin anything (including old magazines, papers etc etc) and on top of that every time she sees a "bargain" she can't resist buying is for me/the dcs. I had a declutter/quasi-Kondo a while back and since then have done two things (a) politely refused all "stuff" and when my mum has insisted (most times) I have explained it's lovely of her but as I'm busy and need to be clutter-free I will be bringing the stuff to the charity shop/binning it as appropriate (she gets offended but I figure if she won't accept my polite decline then I have to be firm but polite and (b) I follow through - all rubbish/stuff left at my house immediately goes in the bin/box I keep for the charity shop (and which goes to the charity shop whenever full). It hasn't stopped my mum continuing to bring stuff (but less is coming) but it does mean I can continue to work on the declutter without constantly being set back.
I'm afraid very firm but polite is the only way to deal.
How about with the unsuitable clothes saying that they were having a collection of clothes for Calais or refugees locally or something and you thought it would be good to pass on things you didn't need or weren't really suitable/appropriate/the right size.
If they are offended by that perhaps they will stop loading it on you. Or at least expect it to disappear the next time.
Also perhaps manage expectations by saying things like - do you want it back if it is not suitable/ shall I pass it on once I am done with it etc?
We get lots of bags of baby clothes and I now only keep the ones I like and pass on. I don't accept ones people want back. Life is too short.
I think you also need to make it known you are having a "big declutter" so that when a piece of junk arrives you can just reject it on the basis of the declutter. Or say - I'm doing one in one out so thanks, now I need to decide which rug to get rid of. Etc
Or if you are low contact just don't often invite them over and do what you like!
I've seen one of your other threads and I'm pleased you've made headway today.
Keep it up!
As an aside it is fascinating how people control people with stuff and their expectations around stuff.
I have got some childhood thing going on where my mother gave my DC some inappropriate clothing which I returned ans I am still feeling hugely guilty about it a month later. What is that about????
Start taking random crap round to their houses. Then when they start on "i don't need it" etc you can say AHA now you see my point. I need to be the person who chooses my things. OTOH if they accept it gladly you're onto a winner.
Apparently BIL got rid of a persistent conservatory salesmen by trying to back sell him a motor home.
This is me too.
Presents for DC are always huge and home made adding an extra layer of guilt.
Marie Kondo's bit about mums rang so true. There is no way I would let DM see anything I was decluttering. Thanks to MK I feel like I have the permission to get rid that my mother never gave me.
Disposing of shelves and storage 'solutions' has made the biggest difference.
I do live in fear of being asked for something that someone has kindly given me!!
Thank you OP for starting this thread, more valuable therapy!!
Books and clothes from today are now in the car and ready to go. My bin is now full so I will need to try to find somebody to take me to the tip with the rest of the bags.
The room I was doing today doesn't actually look any better than when I started but I can see from the bags that I have removed a lot. It is frustrating having spent so much time on it for it not to look any different but that is only to be expected really, with the sheer volume of stuff. I found school shoes which I thought we had lost, and which I replaced ages ago, so that was frustrating.
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