Author Topic: Do any of your parents hoard and try to give you crap and other dumb stuff?  (Read 35324 times)

jeromedawg

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So just now, my dad was showing up a pineapple de-eyer slicer thing that they supposedly use in Asia for making it easy to get the eyes out of pineapples. He was like "yea this is what they use in Asia. we're going to give you this one" as if we need more crap and clutter from them. I told him we eat pineapple like twice a year so why do we need this? Granted, it's a small device but our utensils drawer is packed with utensils they've given us and of which 10% we probably use. They tend to do this with other stuff too... my mom is one of those crazy coupon ladies who is really good and finding deals on stuff for insanely cheap and will stock up on tons of bottles of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. They'll also grab those soaps/shampoos/lotions/etc from hotels and do it every time the cleaning lady refills or sometimes they'll ask the front desk for more. Admittedly, it's pretty useful when we find ourselves short of things but all things considered, they're such hoarders and packrats.

My wife would tell you that I take after them, but I beg to differ...slightly.

Anyway, my mom likes to shop at Sears and Kohls and buy stuff only if she can get it (with coupons especially) for 90%+ off. And my dad will buy crap off Aliexpress (like stupid headlamps) that he then gives to each of us because we "need headlamps" - it's pretty ridiculous. Most of the stuff they give to us is just junk (they'll also bring back trinkets and keepsakes from trips [e.g. woven water bottle holders my mom got a bargain for in Peru - seriously? when would we ever use this? "Hey, you never know" is always their response] and other stuff).

My wife especially gets annoyed with this - my mom will give her cheapo purses and clutches that look tacky and they end up piling up in our closet because my wife feels bad not to take them or give them away but won't actually use them. *Some* of the stuff they'll get us we actually might be interested in, but a lot of it is just junk.

It especially gets ugly at Christmas time... "great, we have a bag full of crap to bring back home with us" - I've told my parents to stop giving us junk and they've gotten better at it but they still can't resist. Seriously though, with all the junk they buy and have hoarded, they could probably send thousands of shoeboxes out via Operation Christmas Child. Or it's like, instead of the $100s of dollars you spent buying crap for us in the past couple years, you could have just given us $100 dollars cash.

Anyone of you have parents or relatives like this? It's pretty hilarious actually... but we're dreading having to clean out their house when the day comes that they're no longer with us.

irishbear99

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Oh, boy, have I been there. Not only would I get the junk bought on sale (sometimes often it was even broken junk!), but my mother would use my childhood pajamas and underwear(!?!?!) that she had kept as packing material to protect the junk during shipping.

Anything that was broken got pitched, and anything that was usable got donated. I'm not sure why, but starting several years ago, the "care packages" stopped. Much to my relief. I, too, dread the day my siblings and I have to clean out their hoarded house.

therethere

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My in laws are like this. We get the most random useless junk for birthdays and Christmas which I keep around for a few months out of guilt then bring to goodwill. They buy books and junk at their equivalent of Goodwill non-stop. So its always non-name brand, kinda off sized, or just something no one wants. OMG the amount of books they have wasted money mailing to us! They have even sent us multiple copies of some books several times. Books we would never read or have ever shown any interest in. Then DH feels bad that they spent money to send them and just shoves them in the closet and we get stuck with them. When he's not home I squirrel them into a  box in the garage and eventually (several steps and months later) they will make it to goodwill. I could only imagine if we lived nearby.

Their entire basement is completely filled with junk, old HBA products, obsolete computer equipment and wires, and books. Literally every single wall on the perimeter of every room has a bookcase packed full. Some areas have those heavy duty plastic bookcases 2+ deep all filled. If its not in a bookcase its piled on the floor or furniture where you can barely walk. Its quite sickening actually and they are still fairly young! I've always wanted to rent a dumpster one day and help them throw it all in the trash! I want that day to come while they are still around though...
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jeromedawg

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Oh, boy, have I been there. Not only would I get the junk bought on sale (sometimes often it was even broken junk!), but my mother would use my childhood pajamas and underwear(!?!?!) that she had kept as packing material to protect the junk during shipping.

Anything that was broken got pitched, and anything that was usable got donated. I'm not sure why, but starting several years ago, the "care packages" stopped. Much to my relief. I, too, dread the day my siblings and I have to clean out their hoarded house.

LOL at the childhood PJs and underwear! I guess she figured "well, this is your stuff so might as well ship it to you" hahahaha. Maybe she ran out of your PJs and underwear to give back! They have so much crap... at least with my mom, she tries to keep it somewhat 'organized' and contained. But my dad, omg it's bad. He just has piles of crap strewn about in his "computer room" (not to mention, he probably has [and I kid you not] a combination of *at least* 10+ desktop and laptop computers at home. I have no idea what he does with everything but I'm pretty sure most them sit around, powered off and collecting dust for the most part. And if you ask him why he has so many he comes up with some stupid reason that makes no sense whatsoever... "oh I need it for the museum project I'm working on" LOL so ridiculous.

therethere

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I never understand the love the computer stashes. Both my father and father in law have them! 10 sounds like a low amount though... They both worked on computers and would take the obsolete ones from work so they could live in the basement graveyard. I mean we might need multiple computers with 5" floppy disks all at the same time right?

 In full disclosure I admitted on the decluttering thread I too now have an obsolete computer stash that I'm scheming to get rid of. Now that I think of it they are probably the reason why I can't stand looking at my pile of crap because I don't want to see it grow to that size.
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jeromedawg

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lol, I hear ya. Justifying her purchases, my mom would argue "this is a GREAT value! Normally it's $99.99 and I got it for 98 cents" LOL. She's actually quite thrifty but takes it pretty overboard. My dad isn't as thrifty and will just buy crap though. Some of it is nice crap (that he buys for himself) but whatever he buys for us is generally just crap. I don't want a $1 headlamp that you bought from Aliexpress no matter how "good" you think it is - it's actually my cousin's fault for introducing him to the site.

Your story reminds me of a friend of ours whose godfather is a crazy hoarder. He had his one-port car garage stocked full of boxes of crap. They actually had help clearing it out by her then-fiance [now-husband] and his brother and friend, and I heard that halfway through the process the godfather completely lost it and told them to stop and put all the boxes of crap back into the garage...!!!! LOL She also told us that once while she was looking for something in there she found a dead rat (apparently it was too big and got itself stuck in the hole it was trying to go through). 

My in laws are like this. We get the most random useless junk for birthdays and Christmas which I keep around for a few months out of guilt then bring to goodwill. They buy books and junk at their equivalent of Goodwill non-stop. So its always non-name brand, kinda off sized, or just something no one wants. OMG the amount of books they have wasted money mailing to us! They have even sent us multiple copies of some books several times. Books we would never read or have ever shown any interest in. Then DH feels bad that they spent money to send them and just shoves them in the closet and we get stuck with them. When he's not home I squirrel them into a  box in the garage and eventually (several steps and months later) they will make it to goodwill. I could only imagine if we lived nearby.

Their entire basement is completely filled with junk, old HBA products, obsolete computer equipment and wires, and books. Literally every single wall on the perimeter of every room has a bookcase packed full. Some areas have those heavy duty plastic bookcases 2+ deep all filled. If its not in a bookcase its piled on the floor or furniture where you can barely walk. Its quite sickening actually and they are still fairly young! I've always wanted to rent a dumpster one day and help them throw it all in the trash! I want that day to come while they are still around though...

jeromedawg

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I'm telling you, accumulating gadget crap is the easiest thing (just ask my wife and she'll tell you about my gadget crap). I'm pretty certain he has well over 10, I've just seen 10 laying around in general at least. But it's like every time we visit or he visits, he always pulls out a new laptop and I'm like "you got another one? what for?" and he can't give a straight answer. It's pretty ridiculous. Although, I won't complain about the Mac Mini I'm "borrowing" from him LOL.

I never understand the love the computer stashes. Both my father and father in law have them! 10 sounds like a low amount though... They both worked on computers and would take the obsolete ones from work so they could live in the basement graveyard. I mean we might need multiple computers with 5" floppy disks all at the same time right?

 In full disclosure I admitted on the decluttering thread I too now have an obsolete computer stash that I'm scheming to get rid of. Now that I think of it they are probably the reason why I can't stand looking at my pile of crap because I don't want to see it grow to that size.

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Oh, what you people are describing is my worse nightmare. Thankfully my in laws mostly keep their bounty to themselves, but I do wonder every time we visit about how much work it will be one day to dispose of everything.
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katsiki

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Goodwill is the answer here.  :)  I have a parent who does some of this too.  It is usually "seen on TV" junk.
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therethere

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Yes, their garage is stacked boxes the entire back to the front. The only thing accessible is the lawnmower and the beer fridge so at least there is some priority. Although that's more junk than obsolete computers and books like the basement. I've also never seen their attic. But my husband has gone up a few times... Apparently its filled with every single item from their entire childhood (including every school program, project, and toy they every had). All unorganized and in cardboard boxes. They're always trying to get us to take some back with us when we visit. Luckily we visit by airplane and don't check bags!

One room in the basement is filled with all their old toys and board games. That room was fun to poke around in and its also the unforgotten liquor storage spot. Its like a blast back into the 80's with bonus old liqueur.
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jda1984

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My dad has a ridiculous collection of books.  Their entire living room is lined with book shelves from floor to ceiling, even over the picture window!  It's probably close to 100 linear feet of book shelves in their house.

Recently they got free housing through his work.  Instead of selling the place they own, they keep two places.  They have several bookshelves at the other house too.  The two house are ~25 miles apart and my mom works in a third town.  It's hard for them to keep track of where everything is and they have two of most essential items (basic cooking utensils, living room furniture, their bedroom furniture, etc.).  When they offer me my old stuff back, I generally take what I can since I don't want to have a ton of stuff to go through down the line on a more rushed timeline.

Yankuba

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www.aliexpress.com - never heard of it, thanks for sharing.

It has taken years to condition my parents and in-laws not to give us physical items - gift cards only. Apartment living for us!

jeromedawg

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www.aliexpress.com - never heard of it, thanks for sharing.

It has taken years to condition my parents and in-laws not to give us physical items - gift cards only. Apartment living for us!

Be careful, you may start buying [knockoff] crap you don't need! Actually, *some* of the stuff they sell on there isn't too bad depending on what you're looking for.

funcomesfirst

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So just now, my dad was showing up a pineapple de-eyer slicer thing that they supposedly use in Asia for making it easy to get the eyes out of pineapples.

My aunt.  When we were children she gave the most thoughtful gifts.  Now, I kind you not, she must go to a closet & pick out something from her Home Shopping Network stash because it's usually cheaply made, nothing we've ever talked about, and in an unmarked box.  For my birthday last year I received a pineapple corer/slicer thing.  Like you, we eat MAYBE 2 per year.  That thing went in the next donation box straight out of my house.  I don't even feel guilty anymore. 

Metta

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So just now, my dad was showing up a pineapple de-eyer slicer thing that they supposedly use in Asia for making it easy to get the eyes out of pineapples. He was like "yea this is what they use in Asia. we're going to give you this one" as if we need more crap and clutter from them. I told him we eat pineapple like twice a year so why do we need this?

My parents do this all the time. My favorite was when they bought us an Inuit knife used for skinning and cleaning animals. We are vegans. I can't imagine when we would ever use it. I tried using it on fruit and it was not a happy experiment.

Most of the stuff they give us goes to Goodwill after a respectful pause. I am keeping the Inuit knife because it strikes me funny. Sometimes I threaten my blood oranges with it.

jeromedawg

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So just now, my dad was showing up a pineapple de-eyer slicer thing that they supposedly use in Asia for making it easy to get the eyes out of pineapples. He was like "yea this is what they use in Asia. we're going to give you this one" as if we need more crap and clutter from them. I told him we eat pineapple like twice a year so why do we need this?

My parents do this all the time. My favorite was when they bought us an Inuit knife used for skinning and cleaning animals. We are vegans. I can't imagine when we would ever use it. I tried using it on fruit and it was not a happy experiment.

Most of the stuff they give us goes to Goodwill after a respectful pause. I am keeping the Inuit knife because it strikes me funny. Sometimes I threaten my blood oranges with it.

LOL... hilarious.

jengod

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Oh god, this is my in-laws.

My father-in-law is one of those Kohl's coupon buyers. They literally bring my kids 3 presents each, every time they see them, and it's just this willy-nilly transfer of STUFF. As the presents are handed out (usually all three over a period of no more than 45 minutes, so that the kids are completely overwhelmed and wound up), I can visualize my FIL zooming through the toy section throwing stuff in the cart.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law is a hoarder type, and she is always asking, "Would you like this Christmas decor I saved from a friend's party? Can you use any more reusable shopping bags? I saved this Folger's canister--would you like to take it home for the kids to use as a drum?!" If we do accept things, she is always checking to make sure we still have them. "Oh, where is that blanket I gave you seven years ago?"

FIL doesn't care, so after the kids invariably destroy the stuff he gives us I can just trash it or donate it, but I have learned to accept nothing from MIL because it's not worth the "long tail" that comes with the item.

They genuinely love spending money on low-cost, low-value future trash (it's only $5!! what a bargain!!) and MIL feels successful when she saves some geegaw for 20 years and then finds a use for it.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 06:08:22 PM by jengod »
Waste is lost profit made visible. #zerowastehome #permaculture

jengod

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My wife especially gets annoyed with this - my mom will give her cheapo purses and clutches that look tacky and they end up piling up in our closet because my wife feels bad not to take them or give them away but won't actually use them.

I find this excerpt from Bea Johnson's Zero-Waste Home liberating in cases like this:

"Do I keep it out of guilt? If you are afraid of letting go a hostess gift, remember that your guests do not mean to burden you or instill guilt; they just want to offer a polite gesture. It's okay to let go of something that you never intended to purchase and don't really want. And when guests ask about the whereabouts of their gift, it is totally acceptable to express gratitude and hten to let them know you are simplifying your life. Be the king or queen of your castle."
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maco

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Your dad and my dad...yep. I'm only sure you're not my brother because that didn't describe either my mom or stepmom.

Last time I visited, I was telling him to get rid of stuff. He said a bunch of it's mine. I told him I moved out for college 9 years ago. If I don't have it, I haven't missed it. By "mine" he meant things like his record player that I borrowed freshman year of college then gave back. Then he said a bunch of it was my stepsister's, who was moving out that day. *eyeroll* Her stuff was in the upstairs bedrooms, not the basement.

I think I might start taking stuff when offered and dropping it off at his local Goodwill before I even get out of town.

jeromedawg

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Oh god, this is my in-laws.

My father-in-law is one of those Kohl's coupon buyers. They literally bring my kids 3 presents each, every time they see them, and it's just this willy-nilly transfer of STUFF. As the presents are handed out (usually all three over a period of no more than 45 minutes, so that the kids are completely overwhelmed and wound up), I can visualize my FIL zooming through the toy section throwing stuff in the cart.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law is a hoarder type and she is always asking, "Would you like this Christmas decor I saved from a friend's party? Can you use any more reusable shopping bags? I saved this Folger's canister--would you like to take it home for the kids to use as a drum?!" If we do accept things, she is always checking to make sure we still have them. "Oh, where is that blanket I gave you seven years ago?"

FIL doesn't care, so after the kids invariably destroy the stuff he gives us I can just trash it or donate it, but I have learned to accept nothing from MIL because it's not worth the "long tail" that comes with the item.

They genuinely love spending money low-cost, low-value future trash (it's only $5!! what a bargain!!) and MIL feels successful when she saves some geegaw for 20 years and then finds a use for it.

OMG YES, this is almost exactly my parents! The other crazy thing they do is they'll save and reuse *used* take-out containers from the food they over-order and bring back home from the restaurants. e.g. used foil tin trays, used plastic containers big and small (including those sauce containers), even used paper cups + straws!! My dad has been into bringing home salsa from Mexican restaurants in those little containers so that he can use it to cook with and make "guacamole." They'll just throw all of it into the sink and rinse it out to be reused for when they cook or want to eat again. It's SUPER annoying and my wife gets so mad. Lately we've just been tossing any of that stuff we find in the sink or on the drying mat. One time I asked my parents what they were keeping used Maggianos takeout tins for and they got all defensive and upset: "those are really good containers! just keep them! don't throw them out! we're going to use them to put our food in" - it's so ridiculous.

My dad also likes to save half-used creamers and leaves opened splenda/sugar packets laying around "to use later" and almost always forgets about them. It's pretty crazy the things they do. Don't forget about the piles of napkins they'll grab from restaurant napkin holders to take back home for us. Admittedly, this is actually useful but it's funny watching them grab two-three handfuls of Starbucks or Chipotle napkins and shoving it in their pockets or to-go bags.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 03:56:59 PM by jplee3 »

CindyBS

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I firmly believe all those Kohl's deals and super coupon queens are really just shopping addicts in disguise.

This won't help your mom, but it may help you if you can get her to direct some of her "finds" to local charities.   If you talk up how she can deduct the value of the item off her taxes (and if it is more than she paid - even more of a "deal!) maybe that would help cut down on what is coming into your house.

Two that come to mind are that most food banks also accept things like shampoo, toiletries, etc. since they are not covered by food stamps.  Our local homeless shelter collects all the hotel sized toiletries and makes little kits out of them that they pass out to the homeless folks.

A good charity for all the purses and the like is www.dressforsuccess.org.  They help low-income women who are going on job interviews with interview and business appropriate clothing.  They collect donations of business suits, costume jewelry, handbags, shoes, etc.

jeromedawg

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I firmly believe all those Kohl's deals and super coupon queens are really just shopping addicts in disguise.

This won't help your mom, but it may help you if you can get her to direct some of her "finds" to local charities.   If you talk up how she can deduct the value of the item off her taxes (and if it is more than she paid - even more of a "deal!) maybe that would help cut down on what is coming into your house.

Two that come to mind are that most food banks also accept things like shampoo, toiletries, etc. since they are not covered by food stamps.  Our local homeless shelter collects all the hotel sized toiletries and makes little kits out of them that they pass out to the homeless folks.

A good charity for all the purses and the like is www.dressforsuccess.org.  They help low-income women who are going on job interviews with interview and business appropriate clothing.  They collect donations of business suits, costume jewelry, handbags, shoes, etc.

Oh I don't doubt it - scoring deals is like getting high for them LOL. My mom will admit to you that she loves shopping. She just happens to be thrifty when it comes down to finding great deals. It could have been a lot worse for them (e.g. if she was the type of shopper who spent carelessly on whatever she wanted and at whatever cost... this is actually kind of how my in-laws are - they don't really research or care to look for lower pricing and will buy at first glance).
I think my parents are stingy when it comes down to donations and charity... if you were to tell them about how it could be a tax write-off they'd probably say something along the lines of "nah too much trouble" which is actually pretty ignorant and messed up, considering it is charity after all. We've gotten better about reducing the amount of junk they bring us but it still slips through the cracks.
All the references you gave for donations are very useful though at least for my wife and I to keep in mind - that way, if my parents aren't going to cut the crap, we'll just donate it on their behalf hahaha.

mikefixac

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Interesting to read how the stuff gets dealt with once in possession. From box, to closet, to garage, then to Goodwill. Some skip a few steps.

I know this is not PC but even new stuff, including clothes, goes right to the garbage.

jeromedawg

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Interesting to read how the stuff gets dealt with once in possession. From box, to closet, to garage, then to Goodwill. Some skip a few steps.

I know this is not PC but even new stuff, including clothes, goes right to the garbage.

Holy cow! If you're getting rid of any "new stuff" please let me know what it is and I'll gladly drive to Brea...depending on what it is.... LOL! On that note, ever thought of using Freecycle?

Tjat

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Yes. I have in laws that are legitimate hoarders, but everything is contained in the basement (usually). Everytime we go for the holidays, we come home with some stupid kitchen appliance that we immediately donate. I think we've given 6 families electric griddles over the years.

My closest relatives buy junk as well, but seem to be getting better. Though from past Christmases, I still wonder what I'll do with a fondue set and popcorn maker

Rural

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We have my mother-in-law and stupid deferred Christmas crap incoming this weekend. I'll have to find time to drive to the thrift store next week.

funcomesfirst

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Interesting to read how the stuff gets dealt with once in possession. From box, to closet, to garage, then to Goodwill. Some skip a few steps.

I know this is not PC but even new stuff, including clothes, goes right to the garbage.

New clothes go into the garbage?  That is very sad to me.  In our neighborhood, there are organizations that will come to your house to pick up bags of things.  Or maybe one of your neighbors makes regular trips to a thrift store or homeless shelter or ???  I understand not wanting to look at something that you no longer want, but I'm sure there are people that could actually use it instead of it going to a landfill brand new.

funcomesfirst

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popcorn maker

When we gave up microwave popcorn I requested a popcorn maker and WE LOVE IT!  Super easy, inexpensive snack that can be shared with a large or small group.  Around the same time we gave up our quesadilla maker. :)

jeromedawg

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popcorn maker

When we gave up microwave popcorn I requested a popcorn maker and WE LOVE IT!  Super easy, inexpensive snack that can be shared with a large or small group.  Around the same time we gave up our quesadilla maker. :)

Speaking of popcorn, we've been making it on the stove in a regular pot (a deep saute pan or 5qt dutch oven seems to work out well for a cup of kernels). It's really easy to do, and will save you on the space a popcorn maker takes up :)

funcomesfirst

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Speaking of popcorn, we've been making it on the stove in a regular pot (a deep saute pan or 5qt dutch oven seems to work out well for a cup of kernels). It's really easy to do, and will save you on the space a popcorn maker takes up :)

I'm assuming you do that on low heat with some (a Tbsp?) oil.  About how long?  Do you have to watch it pretty carefully?  I'm open to eliminating kitchen appliances if we can replicate the result with similar effort!

Jakejake

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I'm on the coupony hoarding side of things, but it's why our food bill is down to under $1.50 a day per person here. I'm sad you don't like the headlamps, I just bought myself one from kmart on clearance for night time bike commuting. It's pretty sweet to have the regular headlight on the bike, but also a headlamp attached to the helmet so I can turn my head and get light on a street sign I want to read, or have cars two lanes over see a light high enough up that a car between me and them isn't blocking the light.

If you don't want it offer it up free on craigslist. I would have been thrilled to pick one up locally for free!

jengod

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Speaking of popcorn, we've been making it on the stove in a regular pot (a deep saute pan or 5qt dutch oven seems to work out well for a cup of kernels). It's really easy to do, and will save you on the space a popcorn maker takes up :)

I'm assuming you do that on low heat with some (a Tbsp?) oil.  About how long?  Do you have to watch it pretty carefully?  I'm open to eliminating kitchen appliances if we can replicate the result with similar effort!

This is the page that taught me how to do it. I think this must have fallen out of favor in the 1980s because "air-popped" sounded healthier than popcorn and oil, but it is soooo simple and delicious.

http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/10/13/how-to-pop-popcorn-on-the-stove/
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Abe

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My parents routinely buy me several people's worth of clothes per year as gifts. I just donate my (slightly used) clothes to the Salvation Army and wear the new stuff. It's ludicrous, but at least someone's getting nice clothes.

YogiKitti

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My family is very similar. I tried to give very specific items that I want as gifts in the attempts to channel their shopping habits into something beneficial. Nope. They don't like what I suggest, so I get several things (that end up costing the same amount) which don't work for me.

I've gotten over the guilt part and just donate everything.


This year I'm going to try telling everyone about becoming minimalist and how I don't want any stuff. I already broke the news to my mom. I'm expected it to take several years before I make any headway.

jeromedawg

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I'm on the coupony hoarding side of things, but it's why our food bill is down to under $1.50 a day per person here. I'm sad you don't like the headlamps, I just bought myself one from kmart on clearance for night time bike commuting. It's pretty sweet to have the regular headlight on the bike, but also a headlamp attached to the helmet so I can turn my head and get light on a street sign I want to read, or have cars two lanes over see a light high enough up that a car between me and them isn't blocking the light.

If you don't want it offer it up free on craigslist. I would have been thrilled to pick one up locally for free!

We have a couple of Petzl headlamps and I ended up getting a really good deal on some Energizer ones from Lowes (they came out to be $2-3 a piece after an $8 Paypal rebate redemption).

The cheapo that we got from my dad and Aliexpress is a "zoom" lens headlamp that looks exactly like this: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-3w-Led-Headlight-Headlamp-Head-Light-Lamp-Camping-Fishing-Flashlight-Torch/1999987983.html

It's a piece of junk... we may just donate it to Goodwill

Jenni

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My MIL gives my kids crap every time they visit. They don't want it but 1) she has way too much stuff and 2) it makes her happy. I finally told them to just say thank you and we'll take it to Goodwill. It's especially annoying because she doesn't seem to care that they don't want it so it's odd. I think deep down she just can't get rid of it on her own so it's a way to fool herself.

Once she said I'd probably like to just burn her house down after she dies and that is 100% true. Unfortunately she has fixed it up some. *sigh* She is a wonderful woman who views every object as sentimental.

If you need some 1980s farmwife clothes, i'l hook you up!

coin

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While I wouldn't say my mother is a hoarder, she certainly loves shopping, particularly for homeware type things like linens and cooking gadgets.

It's an ongoing joke in my family that we will never, ever run out of towels because she keeps buying them on sale. In fact, when I moved out I asked my dad if I could take some towels to keep he said "YES PLEASE DO".

They also have part of the garage filled with random bits of furniture and things that they swear they're going to give to us kids when we buy our own homes. Some of the stuff is really nice (jarrah furniture), but I'm not sure how nice it's going to be when my siblings finally move out.

I've been thinking that next time they go on a trip, I should take some time off work and turn the hoard-space into a nice work and tool storage space for my dad, because I know he occasionally despairs at never being able to find anything because there is no organisation to the clutter. Hell, maybe I'll even find that record player he swears he has lying around and finally be able to play that record I accidentally bought online (I thought it was a CD when I bought it).

Tom Bri

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But who here will admit to this being...me?
I am kind of like this, I have piles of my kids' old art from when they were little, a few old mementos from when I was young. I just hate throwing away anything that might, someday be useful, or that brings up old, positive memories. Not as bad as the examples above, but I can see myself reflected here.
Sometimes I will hunt around for some old thing, and suddenly remember that I left it behind in one of my many moves. Sad, that.

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Wow, coin's post could have come straight from my keyboard.

Lately, as we've battled the packrat tendencies leftover from my upbringing, we've given not-so-subtle hints that we don't want any more junk.  Even if it's nice junk.

I'm going to have the auctioneer on speed dial when the time comes to clean out my folks' homestead.  There's a lot of nice stuff, but there's A LOT. 

My parents grew up in households that were devastated by the great depression, and they never let go of that scarcity mentality.  It rubbed off on me, and I'm fighting to retrain my brain.  I'm slowly getting better at letting things go. 

pancakes

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Both my parents and in-laws are like this.

My in-laws are the worst when it comes to Aldi. They follow the Aldi special buys (kitchen gadgets, camping gear, homewares, etc) and if they think something is a good deal they buy one for all their kid's families.

My parents are worst when it comes to birthdays and christmas, buying cheap little trinkets which have no usefulness.

I don't keep what we don't need anymore and donate or discard ASAP without remorse.

I'm now struggling with how to be more direct with them that they should not buy us these things anymore without hurting feelings. I appreciate that they are thinking of us but I hate that they are spending money on items that we are not going to use. I had hoped that when we moved further away that they would understand that we'd not be able to take large amounts of things home with us but instead this christmas they insisted on buying us extra luggage to take the gifts home...

coin

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Wow, coin's post could have come straight from my keyboard.

Lately, as we've battled the packrat tendencies leftover from my upbringing, we've given not-so-subtle hints that we don't want any more junk.  Even if it's nice junk.

I'm going to have the auctioneer on speed dial when the time comes to clean out my folks' homestead.  There's a lot of nice stuff, but there's A LOT. 

My parents grew up in households that were devastated by the great depression, and they never let go of that scarcity mentality.  It rubbed off on me, and I'm fighting to retrain my brain.  I'm slowly getting better at letting things go.

I'm glad I'm not alone!  I am a lot better, probably because 1. We seriously do not need that many towels (what is it with her and towels?!) and 2. My partner is a bit of a minimalist - his only expenses (aside from rent and bills) are games on Steam and eating out.  He almost never buys "stuff".  This is probably a good thing because a previously-empty cupboard in the kitchen is now being colonised by a collection of high-quality cookware and The Nice Wine Glasses... gifted to me by my parents. 

Luckily they have a decent gauge for what I would like and would use, so I haven't needed to get rid of anything they've gifted me yet.  I suppose my insistence they either not get me anything or failing that requesting something really small/consumable/that I would actually use for Christmas or birthdays is working... sort of.

I would still like them to do a thorough clear out of stuff... or at least stop bringing new stuff into the house...

Another thing they do - they like to send me home with leftovers when I visit.  Partially because my mum likes cooking for a crowd but hates eating leftovers, but also because I suspect they like sharing the "taste of home" with me and my partner (my partner loves my mum's cooking).  Some dishes are just better when it's made by your mum, you know? It can be a bit of a nuisance when I've already planned out and done the shopping for meals or it is particularly indulgent (cheesecake, anyone?), but there's always the freezer. :-)

The gifts and leftovers used to make me really anxious because I thought it was way over the top and didn't want them to put themselves out for me.  Now I'm a lot more relaxed about it because I realised that they can afford it and it's their way of showing love.

jeromedawg

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One of my friends was talking about how his dad has a cabinet dedicated to all the free stuff he has hoarded from Harbor Freight: magnetic trays (these are actually really nice), flashlights, measuring tapes (these are apparently really crappy), screwdrivers, voltmeters, etc etc etc. I find that pretty hilarious as well, except if I ever need another magnetic tray, I know who to ask when I don't want to make the trek to Harbor Freight (the lines can be pretty bad there).

Speaking of leftovers, my parents are sticklers on leftovers. Even if they didn't pay for it. My mom, who sometimes subs for principals and vice principals has brought home leftover unopened cartons of milk and string cheese packets that she took off kids' trays because they didn't eat them and were going to toss them...LOL their fridge is crazy and every time they visit us, our fridge and freezer become just as crazy as theirs - packed to the brim.

appleblossom

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I used to think that my mum was bad, but you guys have convinced me othewise.

My parents don't hoard or coupon (we don't really have that kind of thing here)
But my mum does save things for me and my sisters that she thinks we might want, and then goes on about how her house is full of our stuff.

I moved out of home 12 years ago and usually I fly home to visit (it's on another island) but we have driven maybe 4 or 5 times, and each time my mum has made me go through the closets to take "my" things with me... then the next time there is more stuff.

I'm flying back next week to visit, and it's the first time since I brought my first home, so who knows what she will pull out that she didn't try to offload while I was renting.
I've told her many times that I can't think of a single thing that is at her house at all, so if I can't remember it it can't be important and she should throw it away. But that doesn't seem to get through to her.

At least we have trained her to give cash for presents

MsPeacock

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Interesting to read how the stuff gets dealt with once in possession. From box, to closet, to garage, then to Goodwill. Some skip a few steps.

I know this is not PC but even new stuff, including clothes, goes right to the garbage.

I always have a bag in one of my closets for goodwill. Charities do door to door pick up here on a regular basis. Useless stuff, even new, that I receive goes immediately into the donation bag. I don't have the desire or guilt or whatever for me to hold onto stuff for even one day.

Apples

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So just now, my dad was showing up a pineapple de-eyer slicer thing that they supposedly use in Asia for making it easy to get the eyes out of pineapples.

My aunt.  When we were children she gave the most thoughtful gifts.  Now, I kind you not, she must go to a closet & pick out something from her Home Shopping Network stash because it's usually cheaply made, nothing we've ever talked about, and in an unmarked box.  For my birthday last year I received a pineapple corer/slicer thing.  Like you, we eat MAYBE 2 per year.  That thing went in the next donation box straight out of my house.  I don't even feel guilty anymore.

I have a great aunt who does this.  I think she shops from home a lot because she is bored.  Her husband is a cranky old man who is wheelchair bound and does not like having to deal with it while out and about.  So she is home alot, with nothing to do.  She has a large and growing stash of trinkets and items from home shopping networks.  She will likely never visit our home.  Straight into the trash with the gifts.

The Fake Cheap

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YES!   My parents are big time hoarders..like bordering on qualifying for the show on A&E.  Thankfully they don't keep food items and the house is clean.  If you venture into the less visited areas of the house, basement, extra bedrooms, even their bedrooms...boxes/files/papers/trinkets/decor/gadgets/ are everywhere and not neatly stored.  Many of these areas have a little aisle you have to turn sideways to walk though with boxes and papers and stuff piled over your head. 

As for them, and my in laws giving us crap..OH YEAH!  It's non stop, especially with my parents.  They constantly bring over decor and knick knacks and useless stuff for our child.  Like stuff that he would look at for 2 minutes and never bother with again.   Decor items are constantly given to us, and my wife hates home decor stuff, and wants to spend no time nor money on it..so 99% gets given away to charity.  One of the worst things is that a few years back my wife was into rabbit* decor, so of course back at the time it came up that she was into rabbit stuff and bought a rabbit mug and a cute rabbit frame, etc.   Well guess what...any frickin' thing that has been for sale with a rabbit on it, has made its way to our house via my mom.  Napkins, t-shits, cookie cutters, pictures, stuffed animals, flip flops, drinking glasses...they've all been here and swiftly donated.  We still get this stuff TODAY, even though this was YEARS ago now.  The other day after the latest rabbit item was received, my wife asked if she could post on her Facebook "I F**KING HATE RABBITS!!!"  In hopes this may at least slow down the onslaught.

*I've changed the identity of the animal just in case my parents or relatives stumble on this.  We love you but please stop with the junk.

Magilla

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Maybe I'm just weird, but why are people so afraid of telling their parents/relatives that to not give them stuff or it ends up donated or thrown out?  Are  people's relationships with their parents so fragile that it couldn't take it?  In my experience people would rather avoid a little argument now and instead create a HUGE problem/argument later.

Apples

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Maybe I'm just weird, but why are people so afraid of telling their parents/relatives that to not give them stuff or it ends up donated or thrown out?  Are  people's relationships with their parents so fragile that it couldn't take it?  In my experience people would rather avoid a little argument now and instead create a HUGE problem/argument later.

A lot of these people have requested that their parents not give them stuff, or made very pointed statements about not needing things.  For most of the people doing the giving, it's a way to comfort themselves.  Whether buying the items is a way to handle their boredom, or they see deals and feel the need to share the "value" items they bought with everyone, or they have a psychological need to hoard, but then get embarrassed about the number of items they have so they give a few away to relatives to ease their minds.  To change that kind of behavior, if a few requests to stop doing it aren't cutting it, it usually takes intervention-level discussions and actions to get it to stop.  A lot of people don't think that's worth risking the relationship over. 

TheGrimSqueaker

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My parents, who are in their late 60s and early 70s, just moved to a bigger and swankier house. (yeah, I know...)

As part of the moving process, they cleared out and got rid of a phenomenal amount of crap they've been lugging around and storing for decades. My mother had something like six walk-in closets' worth of clothing, plus a sizable dresser and at least one hall closet used exclusively for sweater sets. My old bedroom was turned into storage, along with the attic, half of a 4-car garage, a fair bit of the finished basement, and multiple closets throughout the house. How two people could fill up that amount of space boggles my mind: they never let us kids leave our belongings outside our bedrooms, but they sure do love to buy crap and leave it set up at different stations throughout their house.

I'm grateful that I live in another country and did not get drafted into helping or taking any of the "perfectly good" hoardage.
I squeak softly, but carry a big schtick.

Sibley

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I recently found and read Captain Awkward's advice site. It really opened my eyes to how dysfunctional and/or abusive people and families work. I can completely understand now why people have some of these problems.

It's very easy to say don't take the crap, or just donate or toss it. In fact, that's my attitude. But I don't have a messed up family, I'm not dealing with family members with mental health issues (large or small), etc. I really feel bad for those dealing with this, because often there really isn't a good fix, just dealing with it. Good luck.

(I've been helping my mom clean out some, but that's 20 years of living in the same house, not hoarding.)