Jamie, What's The Long Story

shirleyinadirondacksApril 4, 2006

with DH's mom's stuff? You can't leave us hanging in suspense.

yes, some people are CONCERNED not nosy.

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Ahh...that's sweet, Shirley, but no real need to be concerned. It's more of an annoyance than anything else. My MIL has some...uh..."issues", specifically, she's very emotional, an only child who doesn't deal well with death, and last year DH and I had to clean out her parent's house when her dad passed on (her mom's been gone for awhile now). She didn't have anywhere to put the stuff, but couldn't let any of it go before she sorted through it, so we put it in our garage, with the understanding that she would go through it and we'd help her move what she wanted to keep to her house, and get rid of the rest. She's overweight, and has bad knees, so moving things herself is not an option. I think we both knew that she would never "be up" to going through it (and she never comes over, even when invited), so my husband has been trying to clean out her basement little by little (he and his brother used to live down there) so we can move some of that stuff out of our garage and put it down there. Unfortunately, she's a "keeper", and my hubby struggles with emotional ties to certain "things" as well, so he has to clean down there when she's not home - which isn't much, considering he works full time, and she's retiring. He doesn't want my help, I think because I'm a "tosser" (I helped him one day - he's politely refused my offers ever since)...so he has to do it himself.I have offered to help him find space at our house for the things he's very attached to, so we'll see if he takes me up on that this summer or not.

Hence, the shed. We have a storage unit we pay for each month. Most of the stuff in there is things from MIL's parent's house, but some of it is mine from my last house. I need to go through it and clean it out, but it's been too cold to do that this winter, and a pain in the butt to get there. It's one of my goals for the summer, though I have been making trips down there occasionally to get things and bring them back to use or discard. DH would like a shed for lawn tools and possibly woodworking, so we're thinking we'll put up a shed, move my things from the storage unit to the shed (so I can get to them easier to either keep or toss this summer), and then move MIL's stuff to the storage unit. That way she could take over payments of the storage unit, we could get rid of that payment *and* her stuff, and she could deal with it or not as she pleased, on her own time, without it affecting *us*.

So that's the story - the garage is my DH's "area" to deal with, so when/if/how he chooses to deal with his mom/the stuff on that is up to him. I would like to see it cleaned out just so he could put his classic Chrysler in there, and have the other have for a workshop if he would like (though he can have the shed for that and we could park a car in there too). I've personally never actually been able to park in any garage, so no big deal for me - we have a very large driveway, which suits my needs just fine. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 1:13PM
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Thanks for the info, Jamie.

It's really hard for some people to let go of stuff. I have an idea that your m-i-l is an insecure personality and looks at 'things' as security.

good luck to your hubby in his task


    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 7:55AM
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I am a definitely a "keeper" of sentimental things, but they have to have true sentimental value.

For example, the candy dish that DH remembers always sitting on his grandmother's console TV is now in our dining room. That has sentimental value and a happy memory for my husband.

On the other hand, we still have those 2 big ugly school desks in the garage that belonged to his parents. He is keeping them ONLY because they belonged to his parents. Key points that I have complained about before: (1) his parents only owned them because they got them for free, (2) his parents never used them and kept them stored in their basement for decades. These have ZERO sentimental value, and are in bad shape and need to be refinished and repaired (which DH has no intention of doing) before they could be usable. Well... that's not entirely true, because DH uses them to stack our garbage on. LOL

Jamie, my point is two-fold. First, you have to help your husband understand that just because it's a "family" item doesn't mean it's sacred (good luck with that... I didn't have much luck). Second, don't EVER let the junk in your house or you'll be stuck with it forever!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 5:37AM
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Oh - I have some of the "sentimental" items inside...like two of the plants that always remind DH of his grandmother that he wanted to keep, and a throw pillow of hers. I have special places for them, and make a point of treating them well so they will live and grow, because he likes them so much (he helps care for them too). We also kept a few pieces of furniture as well, that he really loved and wanted. There are a few things we have that I didn't think necessary to keep, but I'm willing to make concessions for things that mean something to him (and he does the same for me).

None of the stuff in the garage is stuff that *he* is sentimental about at all - if it were up to him, he would have sold or trashed it *all* by now (his sentimental stuff is in her basement, and it's things I don't mind making a place for, like records, trophies, ribbons, and scrapbooks and such). It's his mom's stuff in the garage (her parent's things), and we took it to our garage simply to get that other house sold (it never would have happened if she were dealing with it herself). *She* is the one who holds it sacred because it's family "stuff", not my DH. He's tried talking to her about that, but she won't listen - as I said, she's a very emotional, un-confident individual. And really, it's not up to him to decide what *she* holds sacred - it's her deal, as long as it gets moved out of our garage, I don't care if she keeps it forever.

I disagree that it's my job to "help" my husband understand what's sacred and what's not, family "stuff" or not. It's not my place to decide what is sacred or not to someone else - we each have to decide that for ourselves. I can say I don't want it upstairs, because that's my area to decorate and take care of, but if he wants to fill the basement with "stuff", that's his choice, and I will respect that (like he respects all the things I have upstairs that he would never have chosen himself). That's why we got a nice big house - so we'd each have our own "space" to use as we care to. If he wants to store sentimental things there, that's completely up to him. :-)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:00PM
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Just curious - why can't he swap his stuff in her basement for her stuff in your garage? (I assume there is probably more stuff in the garage than the basement, but again - just curous)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:15PM
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That's kind of the plan - but he'd like to use part of the garage for a car (novel idea, eh?) and part for a workshop for himself. But getting the basement cleaned out is no small task for him, and may take him longer than us just moving her stuff to storage, and making her take over the payments. Efficiency of getting our garage back is the key thing there - otherwise, an all around swap would work just fine (and I wouldn't care either way, really).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 1:32PM
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I'd assumed that was the plan, too--but of course anytime you start moving stuff around, you have to move OTHER stuff around, even if only to get it out of the way for 20 minutes.

And of course the other thing w/ big masses of sutff like that--it really isn't one mass--it's many of them, and they all get handled individually. It takes a lot longer to do it than to think about it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 11:37AM
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So true, TS, so true. :-)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 3:28PM
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I had a stretch like that in my house--there was a pile in the bedroom. It needed to go into the bottom of my closet.

But the out of season clothes were there; they needed to go into boxes high up in the extra-big closet.

But the fabric stash was there. It needed to move to the OTHER shelf in the extra-big closet.

But some books were there. They needed to go to the shelves in our bedroom.

But some games were there. They needed to go onto shelves in the kids' toy room.

But some toys were there. They needed to go onto the not-quite-so-high shelves in the extra-big closet.

But the hand-me-downs were there; they needed to be weeded through, and donated.

So, in order to tackle the mess in the corner of my bedroom, I had to go to the not-quite-so-high-up shelves int he extra-big closet, and declutter.

Only then could I start moving things around.

It reminds me of that "15 tiles" puzzle--there are 16 slots, and one tile is missing; you have to slide them around to make a picture. I got REALLY good at that--I had one I could do in 11 seconds. I discovered that the secret was to line them up OUT of order, and back them into place, last one first.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 11:25AM
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Good points, talley. Which is one of the reasons why sometimes people really can't start organizing what is bugging them the most. The ripple effect of finding homes for all of the stuff.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 7:22PM
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You're lucky, then, because there is a difference between our husbands. Mine would keep EVERYTHING forever, yours sounds like he is able to dispose of junk.

Talley Sue, I heard an interesting idea on that ripple-clutter yesterday, that suggested scooping everything not in its place into a "clutter box" and dealing with it later in your free time. Our house is small, and I could just see me living amongst multiple clutter boxes for years waiting for me to have free time to tackle the boxes! LOL

Good news from my house: Yesterday DH voluntarily gave up a jacket someone gave him 15+ years ago that he had never worn and he never intended to wear!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 5:43AM
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I think that ripple-clutter thing only works for hot spots. I don't think it would help w/ my particular past problem.

But that's partly bcs, as I mentioned on another thread recently (and like you), I don't have "dead corners"--no garage, no back porch. I do have a storage bin in the apt. bldg basement, but it's full, plus it's so out of the way that anything put there "just for now" would stay there forever.

I'm a big fan of leaving the clutter on the shelf until I can get to it--and then trying to MAKE time to get to it.

I'm taking tomorrow off; that's mybig plan, to tackle all sorts of stupid little things.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 9:40AM
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Ah yes -- we call that -- the domino effect ----- and it starts with just moving stuff around -- and around.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 11:18AM
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Good luck tomorrow, Tally Sue - I took last Friday off to clean, and I worked really hard and got a ton of stuff done. I hope you get a lot of those "little things" done and out of the way too! :-)

Congrats on your hubby parting ways with the jacket, Julie - baby steps! ;-)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 11:41AM
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"Yesterday DH voluntarily gave up a jacket someone gave him 15+ years ago that he had never worn and he never intended to wear!"

LOL Julie - your DH is making progress!

Hey, maybe he wants some of my DH's many computer parts that are lying around our house?????


    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 1:51AM
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"Anytime you start moving stuff around, you have to move OTHER stuff around, even if only to get it out of the way for 20 minutes."

How about PODS? I've started seeing them everywhere lately. They plop it in your driveway (or whatever), you fill it w/ junk, then they cart it off and stack it. That way you can make room for reorganiziing the stuff you want to keep, and the rest is off-premise and you can have it delivered to MIL or hand her the storage contract, or whatever.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 1:29PM
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