Author Topic: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site  (Read 6965 times)

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GratefulMaria

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2013, 09:41:14 AM »
Both my mother and MIL are on either side of 80.  MIL is an extraordinary hoarder, though I thank all that is holy for her well-organized tidiness.  Not only has she kept almost countless items from even her parents, but she -- like people other posters have described encountering -- expects us to be just as sentimental about every single thing in her possession.  We are, apparently, curators of each bent fork and seventy-year-old t-shirt.  She, quite understandably, uses the objects as a touchstone for talking about her family and herself, which would be great if she were capable of kindness in doing so.

Done right, though . . .  My mother has passed through her place like a plague and gotten rid of everything but the bare bones and a couple of very sentimental items.  This past Christmas she gave me a box of decorations that included the first ones she bought when she came to the States in the early 1960's; she was so excited because they had a "Made in [Old Country]" label.  They're beautiful glass, and DH put up a garland in the main part of our living space so we could hang the ornaments up on display there.  It was so nice for our sons to see when they came home to visit, and my mother was very touched to see the way we showcased them.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2013, 10:53:21 AM »
I am very lucky in that while my mom has, over the years, tried to foist stuff off on me, she does it in such a way that if I say no, she's ok with that. I get right of first refusal, and sometimes its something I may want or need, in which case I take it, and others, I can simply say no, she doens't get upset or offended, and will then donate to her charity/cause/event of choice. I used to laugh at her as the big joke was what will I bring home next?, but only if I wanted to.

When she lived in my state, there was a local organization that had a huge sale every year, and she used to donate up a storm. Now that she's moved, her church has a similar, annual sale, so stuff goes there.

It started for her when my great aunt passed away, and she inherited everything. Some things my grandmother took, but when she downsized, and then went into a nursing home, mom ended up with it all.  As did I. Mom calls my apt "early, middle, and late attic" as aside from my bed, all my other furniture came from her, grandma, etc. 

She also downsized several years ago after my dad passed away, and I think even she was amazed at how much stuff she had. she was good though, about selling, donating etc. most of it.  The big joke was my inheritance was several pieces of furniture, but even now, I'm on the fence about them, as I simply don't have space and don't think i want to put them in storage. 

otterwoman

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2013, 11:25:53 AM »
Some friends of ours stored their belongings in our old mobile home while they were between homes. Once they moved into a new place, they only took what they wanted out of the trailer. One thing they left was a broken HUGE TV. The husband told my DH that he could have the TV. I was miffed because they were giving us their dump fee. (Our county charges to bring a TV to the dump.)

It worked out well though, DH fixed the TV at no cost. It's now in his man cave. He loves it.



bopper

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2013, 11:35:14 AM »
One could say that you are helping them out.  They have stuff they cannot bear to throw out. You have this ability.  So i would keep what you like, and throw out or donate as is convenient.

Shoo

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2013, 11:50:14 AM »
But it costs money to dispose of things.  Why should the OP have to pay to get rid of someone else's garbage?

Lynn2000

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2013, 12:10:07 PM »
bopper and Shoo both make good points. I can see either one applying depending on someone's circumstances. For example, if this is a parent and you know that you are going to be the one cleaning out this stuff someday, maybe you feel it's better to do it in small batches now, especially if it's stuff you can easily get rid of.

But, if they're bringing you stuff that's difficult/costly to get rid of, or it's someone whose stuff you never would have gotten anyway (like a neighbor), maybe you feel it's better to just cut them off at the pass, and not let it cross your threshold in the first place.
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Amara

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2013, 01:29:12 PM »
Quote
Why should the OP have to pay to get rid of someone else's garbage?

Of course we all know she shouldn't. But ... the giver is then free from thinking about what happened to the stuff. The giver is free to think that it didn't get thrown out, that it is lovingly placed in the recipient's home and is being treasured. Never mind the fact that the recipient tossed it as soon as the giver's back was turned. To the giver, all is well.

The only solution is to outright refuse any more stuff. And if I had been given that pony I would have put it out on the curb with a big FREE sign on it or in the trash bin in full sight of the giver. Let her see where her garage sale finds she insists I get actually end up. That might just be enough to shock her into stopping her unwanted behavior of giving it to me.

stitchygreyanonymouse

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2013, 02:58:54 PM »
My other half’s parents are like that. In fact, one of our Christmas presents this year from them was a pair of wall sconces that they took down from their own walls a few years ago for reasons unknown to me (I’m serious). They suggested we put them in our hallway (which has lights already—ones we actually like and picked out). There have been other things they’ve given us over the past year, too.

He gets to deal with that, though, and his typical solution is to put them out at the curb soon after. He has started leaving things at their house when they try to send them home with us, which works about 50% of the time. The rest of the time, they either guilt trip him (like with the extremely religious calendar that "nephew picked out"—while nephew was in the room and acting surly anyhow [mind you they’d given us another one just a month prior]), or bring it to our house another time.

So, I guess, no solution, but I think some of the advice from other posters is handy!

gen xer

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2013, 05:09:56 PM »
Amara has a good point - the givers not only get to dump their unwanted stuff but they also get to feel all noble, generous and self-righteous about it!!!

Now since saying that has a "miserable ingrate" tone to it I will say that proper giving can be a true blessing and I have been both the grateful recipient and the giver of stuff....but I am REALLY conscious now of making sure what I may offer is something that really could be used and that nobody feels obliged to take it.  That means no burnt orange and avocado green tupperware with missing lids, broken crayons, grubby stuffed animals by the metric tonne, MOM JEANS!!!!, pilled, stretched out Christmas sweaters etc. 

Yes I have had all that....but as I mentioned my biggest obstacle is DH who thinks we must cherish everything given as though it were the Hope diamond.  I could let it accumulate in his space but he would never get rid of it and soon we would be a Hoarders episode.

Carpathia

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2013, 05:25:06 PM »
gen xer, I'e found that the only thing that works in the DH situation is to leap in first with a polite 'no thank you' where possible. He'll probably cast you into ehell a few times but will either learn that it's perfectly all right or die mad. He might even be grateful after a while!

PeterM

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2013, 08:53:12 PM »
Some friends of ours stored their belongings in our old mobile home while they were between homes. Once they moved into a new place, they only took what they wanted out of the trailer. One thing they left was a broken HUGE TV. The husband told my DH that he could have the TV. I was miffed because they were giving us their dump fee. (Our county charges to bring a TV to the dump.)

It worked out well though, DH fixed the TV at no cost. It's now in his man cave. He loves it.

They didn't demand it back once it was working again? I'm honestly shocked.

Ceallach

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2013, 09:00:15 PM »
Amara has a good point - the givers not only get to dump their unwanted stuff but they also get to feel all noble, generous and self-righteous about it!!!

Exactly!    I remember my mother talking about this when I was a kid.   We had friends who prided themselves on how "Christian" they were.   They were the types who lived every second of their life that way, which was fine.  We also shared their religion at the time although apparently we weren't as good at it as they were judging by the amount of "instruction" they attempted to give us.  Don't get me wrong, these people did do a lot of good, but they also did a lot of misguided things too as they were very over-zealous.

One of the many principles they liked to live by was charity, and they delighted in passing on items or "finds" to people to help them out.    The problem was, they often gave us things that were junk.    My mother said to me one day "I try to always be gracious when people give me something, but I'm starting to think that they're not giving us things for *us*, they're giving us things to make them feel good.  What use is this broken mop?  It's not usable, not repairable, and if I did need one I could buy a better one for $5 at the shop! I don't mean to seem ungrateful but I really think their charity has nothing to do with helping us whatsoever! If you want to do something nice for somebody, do something for them, not just to make yourself feel good."    I don't recall if she ever stood up to them and refused a "gift", but fortunately we ultimately moved away for a few years and escaped their clutches.   I do believe one of the benefits of charity is to make oneself feel good, but that shouldn't be the sole effect of it - charity should actually help the beneficiary also!
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


Lynn2000

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2013, 11:42:17 AM »
Yes I have had all that....but as I mentioned my biggest obstacle is DH who thinks we must cherish everything given as though it were the Hope diamond.  I could let it accumulate in his space but he would never get rid of it and soon we would be a Hoarders episode.

Looks like you have pinpointed the real source of the problem! "Stuff" can be a very contentious issue between couples. My dad and his brothers are hoarders, and so was his mother; fortunately the men married women who are more comfortable throwing things away or at least keeping them organized. "Stuff" is a constantly sore point between my parents, though, even after forty years. I would say, better to be proactive about it now, than to seethe about it for decades, you know?

What I recall working when I was a kid was that our house had three bedrooms: me, my parents, and my dad's junk room, where you were literally walking on inches of accumulated junk mail if you dared venture into it. The rule was supposed to be that he could put whatever he wanted in there as long as the door could be shut. I think my mom didn't enforce that rule well, though; and then when we remodeled the house we combined the two smallest bedrooms, so there were only two total and my dad's junk kind of exploded all over the house.

Of course, being a hoarder is not the same psychologically as feeling like you must take stuff other people give you. But, perhaps you could try applying the same rules to it: all gifted junk goes into his space and his only, and he must be able to shut the door so you don't see the junk. Maybe you could even get one of those "storage pods" like they sell at Wal-Mart--perhaps seeing how quickly that fills up, and the idea of paying for another one, will help him to see just what his acceptance of this junk is really costing.

Another idea is to regift the junk and keep passing it around his family. Not in a retaliatory way, but with the assumption that if X and Y both frequently give you stuff, they won't mind if you give X stuff you got from Y, and vice versa. They like to give, they must also like to receive, right?
~Lynn2000

otterwoman

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2013, 11:43:58 AM »
Some friends of ours stored their belongings in our old mobile home while they were between homes. Once they moved into a new place, they only took what they wanted out of the trailer. One thing they left was a broken HUGE TV. The husband told my DH that he could have the TV. I was miffed because they were giving us their dump fee. (Our county charges to bring a TV to the dump.)

It worked out well though, DH fixed the TV at no cost. It's now in his man cave. He loves it.

They didn't demand it back once it was working again? I'm honestly shocked.
They visit us so seldom, that they might not have noticed it set up and working.

miranova

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Re: Generosity vs treating someone like your personal landfill site
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2013, 12:10:38 PM »
I had a friend who did this to me all the time. I'd get garbage bags full of old clothing that my children could never use as they were well beyond that size (which she knew perfectly well).  It was clear that she simply didn't want to drive to Goodwill herself.  The best was when she "gave" me her old lawnmower.  It was actually the only item I could use.  I used it for a year and then she decided that she needed it back to give to her mother.  That was pretty much the clincher that finally convinced my ex that she was using us for storage space and not being generous at all!

In a way I am glad that I went through all of that though, because now I am careful about what I give away and to who.  I don't believe in just being wasteful if it can be avoided, so if I have a bag of near perfect condition children's clothing I'm not going to put it in the trash.  But I will put a shout out on Facebook or something seeing who might like it before bringing it to Goodwill.  I've found that I have no trouble finding one of my friends who genuinely needs the clothing for their children and is very appreciative.  And that way I'm not just throwing it in a landfill.  Win win.