Family Clutter, How To Say No

A friend of mine was stressing out because she didn’t have room for her mom’s china. She already had her grandmothers china. My question to her was- Do you like/want it?

Do we feel an obligation to take our families stuff? The good, the bad, and the ugly. Is it part of the mourning process or the guilt? A little of both.

How do you tell a family member you don’t want their stuff without hurting feelings? I see this happen all the time. Those items that were precious to you, may not have the same meaning to your family. This especially holds true when it comes to antiques. I see very few people my age with collections.

If you are the giver:

1. Organize your items into categories.

2. Advise your family what you are ready to give away.

3. Don’t guilt them into taking things they don’t want

4. If there are items that are unwanted, consider selling or donating them.

If you are on the receiving end of this process, be honest and realistic with your family about what you want. You don’t want to end up in an overcrowded space just to please your family. I have seen this happen time and again.

1. Make space for your chosen items.

2. Take items that have special memories are that are useful to you.

3. If you inherit boxes of pictures, put them in scrapbooks. Ask your family member to identify your relatives.

4. If the items are useful, use them vs keeping them in boxes.

5. Help your relative sort through their items.

If you are a sentimental person, make sure you help with the home clear out process. I didn’t help with my grandmothers house. The silver that was slated for me, never showed up. I did get her recipes and costume jewelry though. That is what happens when you have a wrecking ball of an Aunt fueled by vodka. I have a horrible feeling many things ended up trashed. Live and learn.

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