Adult SKs - How long do we have to store their stuff? WWYD

mom23step23December 2, 2009

A little background. My husband lost his house with his divorce, it was twice the size of my house. He had to scale down 27 years of accumulations to move in to my house. Space is not abundant. My husband & I each have 3 kids from our first marriage. They are all adults now. My kids were all living at home when we married, his kids were all in college/graduate school when we married. His kids :SS29, SD25, SD24. My kids:DS23, DD21, DS18 (just left for USMC Boot Camp).

Question. How long do we have to store stuff for adult kids? SS29 and SD25 still have several boxes in our basement and garage. I felt it was OK to store stuff for them while they were in college/grad school, but now they're both done, and getting good jobs, moving on. My kids have very little stored here by comparison, with the exception of my DS18 who is at Boot Camp (and cannot take anything with him except the clothes on his back).

I sent emails to both of them asking them to "start" taking their things, like maybe take one box back with them each time they visit. SS29 was very agreeable to this. SD25 was angry. I specifically asked her to take a box of china that was given to her parents as wedding gifts, and a rocking chair. She has ABSOLUTELY no furniture in her apartment, no bed, no chair, nothing! She says that she wants the china, and the rocker, but want us to continue to store them. The china has bad vibes for me since it was a wedding gift to my husband & his ex. I wanted it out of the house and I explained this to her, it meant nothing. To be honest, I do not think that she really wants either of them, I think she just wanted to win at some sort of mind game. Anyway, they left with her. But she was angry, and wouldn't even say goodbye. My husband feels that I am being unfair to his kids.

Your thoughts please.

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"The china has bad vibes for me since it was a wedding gift to my husband & his ex."

I don't quite get this... why would it have any vibes??? Are you expected to look at it or use it? or is it stored in a box in the basement or garage?

"My kids have very little stored here by comparison"

If it's an issue of space, that's one thing. But you seem to be comparing his kids to yours and in that regard, I do have to agree with your husband that you are being unfair to his kids. You are accusing SD of wanting to win at some sort of mind game? I really think you need to look at YOUR motivation for forcing his kids to take things because they give you a bad vibe.

My son is 23 and has been married over a year (currently deployed in Afghanistan) & I still have boxes in my store room from when he was in high school. (I also let him store a few boxes while he's deployed, even though his wife has an apartment where he could have left them, I think he wants to make sure some things don't get damaged, lost or destroyed) Sometimes kids don't want to take everything with them right way (especially if they don't have an immediate use for it) and it's fine to ask them if they ever intend to take it or ask them to dispose of items they don't want, but I don't get the big deal if it's just sitting in a basement or garage.

How would you feel if your husband claimed to get bad vibes from things your kids have that belonged to you and their father and didn't want them to ever bring anything like that into his house? I would think he was being immature & unfair.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 1:38PM
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I obviously have DD's 21 stuff, in fact she still has her room in my place because she is in college. She might keep some stuff wiht me even after college because she lives in a tiny tiny room wiht her SO. She cannot take her books there. But i never stored anything in my parents house. I married at 20, moved out and had my own stuff in my own place. It is OK to store stuff if there is enough space or you are in temporary living arrangement but it is not OK to clutter parents' house if there is no space. As about china, unless you actually are forced to look at it it should not bother you.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:05PM
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If it's strictly a matter of space, I totally get it, but don't think you have to go into the whole "bad vibe" thing with SD, that may be what really upset her.

One thing I have learned in my long rocky marriage is that when anything negative is said/perceived about a childs parent that child will take offense. think about it, the child is a product of those two parents. You say it gives you bad vibes, she comes from that relationship.

My youngest SS once gave my a piece of antique depression glass that his mother gave to him when she was moving. Although I did get a lttle twinge I realized he just simply thought it would be something I might like.

You can't get into the mine vs. his thing, all kids are different. My feelings: if you want the kids stuff out of your house then ALL the stuff from ALL the kids should go. Fair is fair. We had lots of these issues too.

It's never easy.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:08PM
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I was expected to use the china for family dinners. I didn't ask her to move all of her things, just that one box. If I have bad feelings about the china being here, I am not being immature. I cannot help how my feelings are.

Also, my son23 is leaving soon for Afghanistan, and probably his little brother too after Boot Camp. I have 2 in the Marine Corps. I have no problem storing things during a deployment or something like that. You might think there is plenty of room in the garage or basement. The garage is jammed, we have to turn sideways to get out of our car to walk into the house. And for the basement, we'd like to get an exercise bike or treadmill or something like that. Am I wrong for wanting to be able to comforably walk through my house? Right now, you cannot walk through the basement!

As far as the comparison between the kids, yes there is a comparison that is quite fair. I was comparing their ages. I think each one should get at least 7 years to get settled, and then start to move their stuff. I don't think that an 18 year old who just moved out should be held to the same level as a 29 year old who has been moved out for 11 years. I think 11 years is quite awhile to store stuff for you son. My husband's kids just happen to be older than mine. If mine were the older kids, then I would be telling my 29 year old son, that it was time to gather up his things. If my husband still had his old house, then there would be plenty of room for 6 kids to store several boxes. But our house is about half of the size of his old house.

Not sure if you remember any of my posting but SD25 is a real witch. I have had several family member (some on my side, and some on her side) tell me that they didn't want to come to an event because she was going to be there. It's not just me, many people do not want to be around her, because she is so unpleasant. It is difficult to portray all of the background for you to make a proper opinion. This SD had played mind games for 4 years with me. She has been rude and unkind to me from before she was even introduced to me. She hated me before she laid eyes on me. So anything I say, or ask of her, she automatically wants the opposite. I feel that since there is no way to please her, I am done trying.

Six months ago, I was told by posters here that I was trying too hard with my SKs. I should just be myself. Well, the myself that I want to be, does not want to use china that was given to my husband and his ex as a wedding gift.

My husband has mentioned things around the house that may bother him, and everytime he does, I get rid of it! My relationship to him is more important that "things". If my kids have things that mean something to them from their father, that is their business, and they don't leave them under my nose. My boys hunt with their Dad. I encourage them to have a good relationship with their Dad. But I don't want to get involved, or have to see, or store part of their memories of their Dad. But that's not the case with SD25, she hates her Mother, and hasn't seen her for 6 years!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:15PM
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"I was expected to use the china for family dinners"

Hmm, sorry don't recall that in your 1st post I thought it was simply stored in a box. That is strange to say the least. I'm surprised BM doesn't want her china?

If it bothers you then of course you should be rid of it, you should be comfortable in your own home.

Feelings are feelings, neither right or wrong, they just are.

as far as storing things, I can't say too much about it because our garage was packed up to the ceiling with SS's stuff for our entire marriage but when we moved and left Ss to live in our home he wanted our things out immediately. I just refuse to deal with them at all anymore on any level. And I can certainly understand storing your childrens things while they are on deployment, that's kind of an exceptional situation. Just be aware your SKids may not feel that way.

It might be easier if you just tell your DH what you want to happen in regards to Skids stuff and have him "make it happen". Unless you've got one of those that can't say no to his kids, in which case I have no advise to offer.. I'm sorry.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:24PM
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I thing that each child whether birth or step should have several years to get settled in life, then begin to move things out.

I think age 30 is a reasonable age to have things out of your parents house. SS29 is approaching 30. My 18 year old son has 11 years to go, if he would be given the same accomadations that his older Sbrother had.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 3:04PM
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I'm guilty of having kids stuff at my house. I'm nicer about some of it more than other parts of it.

SS42 was a Marine during the 90's and he lost so much stuff. Always moving, always being away when his storage was due. I had no say in any of that as he never lived with us and was determined to do his own thing, but he lost everything more than once. To moms/stepmoms with military sons/daughters, please give them a break, they face so much as it is, no need to make them worry over their personal 'treasures' too. Stash it wherever you can find room (attic, basement, under beds, pay for storage, whatever it takes)

On the other hand, my own kids have a bit of a problem with wanting to not let go of something, but not wanting to find their own space for it. And that's a different story. DD28 has boxes tucked all over my home, her dad mumbles over it everytime he finds a use for the taken spot. He has been known to load it into the truck and drive it over to her own house and leave it on her porch.

The DS32 is yet a different case. When he was booted from his home suddenly by the ex-wife I let his things come here and some of it to storage which I paid for while he got himself back together, he's since bought a new home and reclaimed the large majority of it. There are a few boxes of too fresh memories in it that he's not wanted to deal with yet and those are in my attic.

You might suggest to all the kids that if they really don't want it that they think about selling it or renting a storage unit if they are not ready for it but do want it. $50 to $75 a month split between them all to share the unit might solve your problem, if needed chip in just to get it out of your way. Just be sure to check well into the safety of the storage units, not all are created equally.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 4:49PM
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I believe we moved almost all of our stuff out when each of bought our own home. There is usually no storage area in an apartments.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 5:25PM
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"SS42 was a Marine during the 90's and he lost so much stuff. Always moving, always being away when his storage was due. I had no say in any of that as he never lived with us and was determined to do his own thing, but he lost everything more than once. To moms/stepmoms with military sons/daughters, please give them a break, they face so much as it is, no need to make them worry over their personal 'treasures' too. Stash it wherever you can find room (attic, basement, under beds, pay for storage, whatever it takes)"

I completely and totally agree. I had this same issue while in service. But not only did I lose things during deployments etc I lost things that I had stored at my fathers home too. Some of the younger siblings thought it would be cool to rummage through my stuff and my stepmom told me delighted....we were apparently bonding while the kids went through my things. Also they were very curious about my mother so they took it upon themselves to search through her stuff that I had of hers after her death. The last thing I wanted to worry about while I was in Saudia Arabia.

Looking back, I'm sure SM was a bit peeved and/or hurt that a two boxes of things were stored at her house that contained a few items of my dead mothers. It wasn't like I took over an entire area and my father offered it to me, I didn't ask. But her way was to be p/a about it and let her young children rummage through it.

There are always stuff to suck up in a stepfamily for everyone, this is an issue that I feel my SM could've smoothed a lot of waters by handling it graciously.

Anyway, its one thing if there just isnt enough room. Totally another if you're going to pull the blended family card. If you're going to do that, I think you need to do it for all the children.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 5:33PM
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The guy moved into your much smaller house & brought a bunch of his children's stuff with him even though his children were all already in college/grad school.

Now they're all finished with school, & his daughter is furious that you want her to pick up 2 rather bulky items, & her father thinks you're being unfair.

Well, it's your marriage, & it's your house, but if it were mine, I'd give hubs & stepdaughter a date past which I'd be having a garage sale or calling the Goodwill truck.

(Does their mother still have the old house?
If so, voila, problem solved.)

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 6:37PM
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Mom23, I know exactly what you mean by Bad Vibes...My DH also left the marital home , bought his own, but was given housewares, dishes, some small furniture, and it always creeped me out when i was over, I wished he would have had a fresh start instead old memories, thats not an immature posture at all. I went as far as one day when he was at work, I had the day off, to go to his house and give his bathroom a surprise " Makeover"..Hated the fact that the shower curtain and towels were shared by "HER"" EEEWWW...Very masculine shower curtain, towels, etc, when he came home I told him why I did it, LOLOLOL He told me the woman he bought the house from had left it there, he just continued to use it...When we married the ex told him to save the household stuff to give to the kids, the married SS doesnt want the crap, the younger one is still at home, so down in my basement it sits.I opened a red and green tub a few days ago to look for Christmas decorations, and I STILL had the BAD VIBE when I saw it, was pots and pans from his ex house... Normal to feel the way you do, I do too..... But absolutely agree if ss or BC are in the service, hang on to it as long as need be, its only right and fair..Nivea, also I think it was awful for your SM to invade your belongings like that, reprehensible...If my BC violated your privacy like that, they d have He!! to pay....

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 6:56PM
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To me it seems like DH is upset because his dd got upset leaving with her things. I think if the kids have a place to live they can all take their things with them! With exceptions made to the youngest one who is in the service and the one who is overseas. All the others should take their stuff!!

I had a relative living here for a year. She moved out a few months ago into her own place and I still have a bookshelf, glider chair, and some misc. toys for her child here. I keep asking her to take them because we don't want to store them. I am going to load them up in our truck this weekend and just drop them off at her place. I will warn her that I am doing this and also let her know that if she is not there I will be putting the items by her front door!

I think it is wrong for people to just expect relatives to store a bunch of stuff! If they don't want it they need to get rid of it....not leave it taking up space in someone else's home!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 10:03AM
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"I will be putting the items by her front door!"

a little off-topic, but this reminds me of a move I once made.

I had paid a young guy to bring my fridge to the new place & told him I'd meet him there.

When I got there (on a cold, windy, rainy night), the fridge was in the carport!

The guy had left a note saying that he'd gotten off early & brought the fridge, couldn't wait, sorry, bye.

I didn't know anyone in the new neighborhood, & I was too far away for any friends or family to come over that night to help, & I was afraid to leave it in the open carport.

I somehow managed to haul that thing up 2 or 3 steps into the kitchen, but the only way I could handle it was to turn it on its side.

had to wait 2 days for a friend to come help me stand it up!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 11:53AM
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I have to stand by my opinion that I think it's immature. My husband brought furniture, picture collage frames, and other items into our house & marriage from previous relationships... including towels. Who cares??? HE was a part of their relationship.. their child was a product of their relationship and unless we can erase everything from our past... after all, it might give HIM or his child "bad vibes" to be around the stuff I had when they moved in. C'mon! Are you guys serious??? I guess if it's THAT important to start fresh... then have one big yard sale and get rid of everything YOU had before you met, he can get rid of everything he had and you can take the proceeds and buy stuff that is just your own together. To me, that is plain ridiculous... the older you are or when there have been prior relationships, that is all a part of the baggage that comes with the territory of marrying someone with a past.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 1:44PM
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but OP didn't make him get rid of any of his or "their' stuff;
OP has stored it at her house for several years, & this isn't even "his" stuff, it's stuff that belongs to grown-up people who want her to keep it in her house instead of keeping it in their own homes.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 1:49PM
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No way you are obligated to use china that is your DH's wedding gift. His kids should take it or maybe Ex wants it.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 4:27PM
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Not using an exs personal belongings, such as a towel,or china, may be an emotional response, but still in MHO, not an immature one..My DH had no clue if my possesions were mine, shared with my Ex, but he didnt care..I Did care, and I never gave a thought to what his children would think about visiting a house they never lived or grew up in, as to its inventory...It is our house with no history to them whatsoever. I d love to take a poll of how many second wives are using the DHs and Exs mattress, or did they get new ones? I Dont want Exs leftovers, way too personal for me...However if you want to save a buck and be mature and share in,perhaps the same bed they conceived their child in, have at it..You certainly have my blessing....

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 6:38PM
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"However if you want to save a buck and be mature and share in,perhaps the same bed they conceived their child in, have at it..You certainly have my blessing...."

This actually gave me a chuckle. Sorry, not trying to offend anyone but I think it's funny.

"I Dont want Exs leftovers, way too personal for me"

The bed they shared is too personal, but the man she had isn't? That's just too funny. To her, maybe HE is the leftovers, not their bed.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:39PM
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Well we still use some things my dh acquired with his ex. We have some basic kitchen stuff (food processor, holiday bowls, etc). We have different holiday decorations. We have some tree ornaments. I think that is about it...

We do have the bed they shared in our guest room....but we used it for a while before buying a new bed. My bed was not as comfy....theirs was a pillowtop mattress and had a complete bedroom set. Mine was a cheap mattress and on a frame with no headboard. My bedroom dresser was a thrift store special. So we kept his stuff and used it till we ran across a good deal on a bedroom set we loved.

We don't have much of anything I had with my ex. But when I left my ex I moved in with family for a while so I left most things behind. Well except for a large television....which we still have and use! When me and DH met I had recently bought a house and most stuff in it I acquired on my own.

Now I don't have pics of his ex around the house...they are all in a box in the basement. He was willing to toss them, but I said those are the kids memories. And I let him know that I was not tossing any old pictures either.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 9:02PM
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I don't have any personal experience with this in terms of my skids but I do have it with my own parents and my stuff. They kept a lot of my stuff both boxed and in the closet of my old bedroom for many years, well in to my adulthood. I think a lot of parents do this.

Eventually, they decided to finally convert my old bedroom to an office. Over the years my mother would drop stuff off at my house or tell me to come get it. Finally she gave me a deadline and I came to get the rest.

If you want the kids stuff out whether they are yours or the skids, that's your right. I agree with the other posters though, this doesn't need to be a your kids vs. his kids thing.

On the china thing, why anyone would expect you to use it for family dinners is beyond me. Good thing she came to get it, I'm with Sylvia, it sounds like Goodwill to me.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 10:35PM
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Thanks for all of your input!

It's funny that my son on deployment doesn't want me to store stuff, he and his wife are figuring it out on their own. I think that is very grown up of them.

The one who has the most stuff here is 29 years old. He moved out of Dad's house 11 years ago. I think it's time to go through the boxes, and either throw stuff away, or move it to his own house. When I reminded him of the stuff. He had forgotten that he even had anything stored at our house. That shows you how much he was interested in the things.

I totally agree with the poster who said that you should go the extra mile to store stuff for military on deployment. But that is not the case here. My sons in the military aren't the ones asking. It's the older SS29 who has his own house, and the SD who just doesn't want to bother with it.

The china was written in my husband's divorce that he would get it. He really liked it, and wanted it. When he saw that I did not like the pattern, or did not want to use it, the daughter said that she wanted it. Out of respect for my feelings, he passed it on to his daughter. My husband has told me about things around the house of mine that he is not comfortable with, and I too get rid of those things. I am more interested in creating a solid relationship with him, than accumulating things.

I had said in an earlier post that the three step kids have no contact with their Mother. They all have alot of hatred for their Mother. Their Mother did not get the house, the house had to be sold to settle the divorce.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 4:31AM
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Reading the OP's last post, and I would not want to use china I did not like or want/need either. I could likely live with it though stored in a box and ignore it being there considering it belonged to my DH and he wanted it so much that he put in in the divorce papers.

That may be what caused the upset with SD. OP did want want something that was for whatever reason important to the DH. Keeping peace dad gives it to daughter. Daughter does not want it but claims it to be hers. Then OP emails SD and spefic request is 'take that box with china'.

Yeah, I kinda see why SD took it but is now mad and it likely has little to do with the actual china. She accepted it because dad wanted it and liked it and it was not welcomed in his new house. She may feel you are being unfair to her father in what is now his home.

Too late now. It's out of the OP's house, can't bother OP any longer so except for mending damage over hurt/upset feelings over the issue, problem china is gone. It may have been better to have dad ask his daughter to take the box instead of you doing it, but again, it's done now.

So the storage is no longer a problem. Storage issue solved. The remaining issue is the anger/hurt feelings with both DH and SD and that is what OP needs to focus on next.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 8:46AM
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SD25 is not upset because of what DH put in his divorce papers, she has no knowledge of what is in the divorce papers. That was not a topic of open conversation with DH and his kids, he is a pretty private person.

SD25 is very difficult to be around. If you say something is black, then she argues that it is grey. She is asked to leave apartments about every 6 months. She moves about every 6 months, I am guessing because she cannot get along with her roommates. She tells us that there were "problems and she had to move". We keep hearing the same story. If she wants to move every 6 months, that is her business. But I don't feel that I have to be her storage unit.

I sent a brief email asking her to begin to move her things into her own place. Instead of taking responsibility for her things, she found somewhere else to store the box of china and the rocking chair. Mind you, that she did not give thanks for the 4 years that I did store it, but rather anger, that I would no longer store it.

I got my own place when I was 21, after I graduated from college. My parents insisted that I gradually start moving boxes of my things out after I had my own place, at age 21. They were my things, it was my responsibility to either go through them, and get rid of things, or move them out of my parent's way. She will be 26 soon, has a master's degree and a good job. When does she take responsibility for her own things?

Maybe I should clarify about the china. There seems to be alot of undue focus on the china. It is difficult to get across an accurate picture of what is going on. She wasn't angry that she had to take the china anymore than she was angry that she was asked to start moving her other boxes. There was no particular special anger over the china. SD25 has always said that she wanted it. She has boxes of old Christmas ornaments, board games that she wants to keep, old blankets, etc. She has the same anger over being asked to start moving those things too. She feels that we should be her storage unit. Her reasoning is that since she moves every 6 months or so, she will have less to move. I don't understand why we have to codependently enable this behavior of hers. She needs to learn to get along with her roommates, and stop moving so much. It is her issue, not ours. Storing her stuff just makes this pattern of her easy to repeat. But that's not the real issue. The real issue is that she is almost 26 years old, and if she wants her things, she needs to make arrangements to get them. It has nothing to do with whether or not she is a step daughter, or a birth daughter. I'd be saying the same to my birth daughter if she had so much stuff still at home 8 years after she had moved out. My 21 year old daughter has 1 box here. I think 8 years after you leave home, is time to start taking things. It's as simple as that. Has NOTHING to do with whether they are step kid or birth kid!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 10:43PM
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"The real issue is that she is almost 26 years old, and if she wants her things, she needs to make arrangements to get them. It has nothing to do with whether or not she is a step daughter, or a birth daughter. I'd be saying the same to my birth daughter if she had so much stuff still at home 8 years after she had moved out. My 21 year old daughter has 1 box here. I think 8 years after you leave home, is time to start taking things. It's as simple as that. Has NOTHING to do with whether they are step kid or birth kid!"

Agreed! Having been through this myself, all the "stuff" accumulates and before you know it your house is overcome with it all. We have had similar issues here the bummer is when I explain it to DH like that he still thinks I'm the big meanie and picking on his kids, when in reality I have much higher expectations and have always been much stricter on my son. It's really not about his vs. yours but somehow they always take it like that.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 1:56AM
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You are so right about one thing...its not about compairing each others things , its not about step or bio kids. Its about adults who have stored 'their' belongings and its your house. If you want those items, out, then its out , no questions asked, no hard feelings. I think waiting for that many years is more than enough leeway on these adults.
HEck i had a friend of my husbands who stored over 25 boxes in my basement cause he was getting a divorce tec.etc..i told him i need the stuff out by september of this year and he got into such a hissy fit! needless to say we are no longer friends..but hey, thats acting like a child ,not an adult!!! Its called beign lazy but most was a power trip. Its a power trip to have a stake into an area to be present. My dh and i booted his stuff out after several months...And you did the right thing to do this for sd. Ss had no issue but sd did...mmmmm..can it be because she wanted to remain present in that it very small...yes...cause that is exactly what happen to me with this friend. We bought his house ...we do not need to store his goes on ...we move on....
This is very classic power trip on another human being. And the only reason why she would get angry was because
1. You told her to get her stuff out...doesn't matter what it was...
2. Her presence will be out of hte house.
3. She'll have no excuse to make to coem in unless its for visiting..which will be on your terms..not hers..hence nothignover your heads.
About the china wear...i understand..Its a personal thing. China wear is very person. I just got my mothers set after so many years. She died well over 25 years ago and my father and stepmother didnt' give it to me until i bought my own house etc..etc..but still i got married over 5 years ago..why didn't sheand my dad give it to me then?? To top it off...she said someting that boiled my blood!!!! She takes a piece while packing and says' you know, it not my style,.... your mothers china set is not my taste' and me...i'm wtf did you not give it to me so many years back!!!! i just said nothing to her but i will never forget waht my sm said that day. I have my mother china wear...i'm very proud of them and in fact my aunt came over and she was drooling over them. I was taken aback but she actually went and took a saucer out and was parading it about the house telling her husband ( my moms brother) i remember these..i always have loooooved this set' I was happy and yet a bit defensive on her taking it out..didn't want it to break. ...but stillhappy i finally have them.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 12:05PM
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