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I feel like I'm on a TV sitcom

so MIL is really into knick-knacks, her house is full of them, she loves them, but to me it's clutter (or boarderline hording?).  My ILs live 15 minutes from our house, she is constantly stopping by with things to give me (latest a 3 foot wide sign with our last name on it she thought would look nice over the garage, the only thing I've ever hung on our house is a Christmas wreath). Most things have some importance to her on a family level, I have some things that were hand painted by H's grandmother, some drawings by a different grandmother...but other stuff she finds a thrift stores and "thinks of me". 

Most of the stuff is not my taste, but she remembers everything she gave me and looks for it whenever she's at the house (we got what IMO is a hidious pencil drawing of some deer that was drawn by one of the grandmas, she told me she thought it would look nice in my kitchen). I'm running out of places to store these knick knacks (many are fragile...glass or ceramic bowls, candy dishes, etc)...and given that MIL lives so close she frequently surprises us by just stopping by and looks for these items while she's visiting. She'll ask "what happened to that hand painted bowl I gave you?" or "Oh, I thought you were going to hang that drawing I gave you for Christmas in the kitchen?"

it feels a little petty, but I don't like my shelves covered in knick knacks that don't go with the way we've designed a room, I mostly decorate with photos from our lives. MIL just gets so sentimental about everything I'm afraid she'll be offended if I turn these gifts down, and I know she gets offended when she comes into my house and doesn't see anything she's given us.  but I don't want to feel like some sitcom wife running around scattering some of her knick knacks about when I see her coming up the road. And My basement is almost entirely dedicated to holding larger things she thought we'd want (a wooden rocking horse, a doll house, a giant drink dispenser...). this maybe more of a vent, but if you have tactics to perhaps reduce the amount of stuff we're given that would be great!
Me: 28 H: 30
Married 07/14/2012
TTC #1 January 2015
BFP! 3/27/15 Baby Girl!! EDD:12/7/2015

Re: I feel like I'm on a TV sitcom

  • My MIL is really into knick knack stuff too and  I suspect has a shopping addiction.  Luckily she lives halfway across the country.  However, if she was close by and giving us this stuff I would thank her for her gifts and then keep what I want and donate what I don't want.  If she asks what happened to a particular item, I would say I don't remember or be honest and tell her I donated it because I thought someone else would have more use for it than me.  I would also have to be content with her being offended or upset with me for it too.  
    Sillygirl45
  • I have the same exact problem with my IL's. Every single time we go to their house, they are unloading shit on us. I too am getting to the point where it's too much and I'm about to start throwing it all out. I've already told my H this and he said go right ahead, so I don't feel guilty. If we say no to the stuff, they save it until the next visit to pawn off on us, or when they visit us, they bring it with them and leave it here. It's gotten somewhat better, but they still do it.

    Anyway, I would start telling your MIL no, that you don't want/need the stuff she brings over. Tell her it doesn't fit in with your decor, that you don't need it, and perhaps it would be better suited for someone else. Don't feel guilty either - it's your house! She's not respecting that by unloading all of her shit on you. And I would get your H to back you up too.
    Sillygirl45
  • I agree with pp's. My sister has this issue. She hates clutter and donates most things. She's donated things I've given her. I don't mind. Her MIL keeps buying her crap anyway though...

    I think you're going to have to start saying "no". Ask your H what he thinks.may e he can help you with a nice way to say "no thanks".
    R.Wilsonny
  • This is a tough one.

    A sign with your last name on it might be fun for a den or a rec room in a basement but that's about it.

    I don't know how you're going to break the news to her gently that it's Thanks but It's Really Not Our Style.:(
  • This is a tough one.

    A sign with your last name on it might be fun for a den or a rec room in a basement but that's about it.

    I don't know how you're going to break the news to her gently that it's Thanks but It's Really Not Our Style.:(

    That's the thing....there really isn't a gentle way to do it because either way, she might get offended. Which for me, she has no right really - it's your house. Just keep saying it and hope that eventually she'll get it. At the same time, make sure H backs you up, otherwise it won't work. Trust me, I go through the same thing and it was really bad when my H & I first bought our house because I kept getting all sorts of 'suggestions' on what to do decorating-wise and constantly was getting stuff pawned off on us. (half of which is either in the attic or in closets) I'm just happy they don't ask where the stuff is lol
  • My Hs gma does this too. Some stuff I LOVE! She has a cute antique shopping hobby and can find some really cool stuff. BUT some things are soo not my style either. I have accepted some things, everything at first, but then I started just telling her Thanks so much but we wouldn't be able to use it anywhere. She was totally fine with it and once she found out what style and such we had she kind of seemed like she looked for things for us. I don't mind most things, but just be honest in a kind way. She will be fine with it. Once she sees what you do and do not like perhaps she will do how his gma has done. GL

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  • Thanks for all the advice, I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to turn down what she considers "family heirlooms".  I have a box of haid painted dishes she gave me at my bridal shower that her grandmother painted, perhaps I'll see if one of H's sisters wants some of the things like that, although I suspect that they have their own stockpiles of stuff in their basements. 

    and as far as the stuff that definitely came from thrift stores maybe one weekend when she's out of town we'll have a yard sale :) we want to finish our basement, but can't until we find something to do with all MIL's things we've been storing.  I wonder whether she's run out of storage space at her house and is pawning things off on us because she's run out of places to put it. 
    Me: 28 H: 30
    Married 07/14/2012
    TTC #1 January 2015
    BFP! 3/27/15 Baby Girl!! EDD:12/7/2015
  • In all honesty, I htink this is something your DH needs to handle.  It shouldn't fall on you to be the bad guy here.  And I think he needs to tell his mom that while you all appreciate the thought, you really can't continue to take in so many items.  you don't have room for them and right now they are simply being stored.  You're happy to hold onto important family heirlooms, but everything else?  You just don't have the room. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

    Sillygirl45
  • In all honesty, I htink this is something your DH needs to handle.  It shouldn't fall on you to be the bad guy here.  And I think he needs to tell his mom that while you all appreciate the thought, you really can't continue to take in so many items.  you don't have room for them and right now they are simply being stored.  You're happy to hold onto important family heirlooms, but everything else?  You just don't have the room. 
    This is a great approach. And ECB is right, he should handle it.
  • This sounds just like my boyfriend's mother. She loves knick knacks, they are everywhere!!!! We have both had the "doesn't match our decor" and "we dont need all of this stuff" conversation with her several times....So when she brings something new, we donate it or tell her we dont need it. It's just a risk you have to take with her being offended....
  • I agree with your DH handling it, and differentiating between family heirlooms and crap from thrift stores. My grandma is a hoarder, so my mom ended up with tons of junk when my grandma moved out of her house. My mom went through all of it, kept the family heirloom stuff and gave the rest away. You do what you've got to do! BTW, I also have some family stuff that isn't my style, but I still see the merit in keeping it, for family's sake. But anything else, I would be donating. I hate clutter too. I also think she's using you as a dump so she doesn't have to throw things out. My ILs are like that with food. They can't stand to throw anything away, so they give it to us, even if we don't want it. (Which I usually don't, because it's old or it's something ridiculous like a whole goose - wtf am I going to do with a goose??)
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