Author Topic: How to avoid inheriting too many items  (Read 6464 times)

gdborton

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How to avoid inheriting too many items
« on: December 28, 2012, 10:43:44 AM »
Since getting our own apartment two years ago, my gf and I have inherited just about everything in it.  I love the idea of getting free useful stuff to help get us started, but most of the stuff is really old or very niche-ey, and in my opinion it is getting out of hand (gf obv. doesn't think so, as she won't let me toss any of it).  I appreciated the help when we needed it, but we're pretty good financially, and can afford to start buying things that are higher quality structurally, functionally, and aesthetically.

Some of the things that we've recieved:
2 vacuums (one cordless, both terrible)
2 Christmas trees (we're "replacing" the original small one, with a larger one that takes a whole closet)
Christmas decorations for the house (I know there are outside lights and tree stuff, not sure about other items)
An el-cheapo dorm microwave
2 different sets of dishes, silverware, cups
A tall bookshelf, a short/wide bookshelf, night table
Tons of stuffed animals (in a box in the living room)
A trampoline
Blankets galore
Juicer, blender, food processor, pizza maker, breadmaker (never been used), george forman grill, decent sized griddle
Toaster, convectional oven (I think we have this somewhere)
A large painting (I almost understand this as it was painted by her grandma and is pretty good, but it doesn't/won't match the decor and has never been hung)
Tools (I really appreciate these as I've put them to use, but they're accumulating)
+more on the way

They even joke about giving us their gd macaw when they die.  I had to tell her mom that I'd kill the damn thing before having it my house.

I'm sure other people have had this problem, so how do you deal with it?  We've got boxes hidden away in closets that haven't been touched since we moved in.

jdchmiel

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 10:54:53 AM »
Just accept things gratefully as they are given to you, and then if worthwhile, ebay/craigslist, otherwise - goodwill / salvation army etc.
I think of it as, you do not want to miss out if they give you something worthwhile, and if they are not willing to do the minor effort of craigslist / ebay and you are, then profit.

simonsez

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 11:15:54 AM »
If they're just giving it to you, I'd guess they're able to survive without it.  While it might be a slap in the face to immediately throw it away or refuse it, the items can be donated, returned to the previous owners, or even sold after a period of time.  From my wife's and my experience, one of the main benefits of living in a 670 sq ft apartment is that our friends and family know not to give us things that they think might help us simply because we always say we don't have the space and it works pretty well.  Saying the reason(s) why you don't want/need something in a true but gentle manner can be the difference between paying to store stuff that isn't yours vs. living a de-cluttered life.

TomTX

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 11:27:28 AM »
Sell it, donate it, give it back.

No reason to have two shitty vacuums.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 12:01:53 PM »
Ditch those knick knacks and donate them at salvation army. It's pretty tough and probably not worth your time to sell them on craigslist. Often you can claim "the fair market value" of your donations, which is more than what some one will give you in 3 days on craigslist.

kudy

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 12:41:28 PM »
Seems the real problem here is an argument between you and your girlfriend about whether these things are useful enough to be kept or not - I'd suggest discussing with her all of the reasons you'd like to not keep everything.  I've had this problem in every relationship; I lean towards minimalism, they lean towards hoarding - it's not a fun conflict, especially in a small house.

James

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 01:33:26 PM »
I wouldn't accept anything that isn't functionally worth while for us to have.  If I felt the giver might be offended I might take the above approach of accepting and then giving it away, but that is extra stress and hassle.


Obviously it's different for everyone, both in what they would accept, what they would use, and how/when to get rid of things that aren't acceptable.  I would definitely work with your gf on what you want to end up with and how to reach that gaol.  Having shared goals and ideals is important, even when, or especially when, they are a compromise between two points of view.

DocCyane

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 06:19:16 PM »
Just remember stuff costs money. And having to care for stuff you don't want means you're spending money to store or deal with junk rather than using it on good items you want.

fidgiegirl

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 06:39:28 PM »
In the case of my family, everything we accept (if not an outright gift such as for bday or Xmas) has strings attached.  We're never allowed to get rid of it.  Never.  It must be offered back if we don't want it anymore.  Sometimes we are then allowed to get rid of it.  It's quite tiring.  Any of this going on?  If so, discontinue acceptance of items except if it's very worth it to you.  To be fair, usually we are requesting the items since we know my parents have them just sitting around and won't use them, but we very carefully weigh these requests now.

meadow lark

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 10:09:28 PM »
This sounds like a bigger issue between you and your gf, and not so much about the actual clutter.  Why won't she let you donate these things?  If she has some collecting tendencies, www.flylady.org might interest her.

smalllife

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2012, 05:39:38 AM »
This makes me feel grateful for my extended family - lots of donated items, but they have no issue if I refuse something.  When I moved furniture came out of the woodwork: apparently giving it to family is easier than donating to Goodwill.  I only have one piece with strings attached, but I love it.

Has your gf said why she wants to keep these things? 

TomTX

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2012, 06:33:51 AM »
In the case of my family, everything we accept (if not an outright gift such as for bday or Xmas) has strings attached.  We're never allowed to get rid of it.  Never.  It must be offered back if we don't want it anymore.  Sometimes we are then allowed to get rid of it.  It's quite tiring.  Any of this going on?  If so, discontinue acceptance of items except if it's very worth it to you.  To be fair, usually we are requesting the items since we know my parents have them just sitting around and won't use them, but we very carefully weigh these requests now.

Typically no 'strings' attached to items given by my family - unless it's reaching heirloom status (typically this is "deceased grandparents owned it at least around WWII" - more often this is stuff like my grandfather's WWI cavalry items.)

sheepstache

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 07:08:25 PM »

I agree with others who said it sounds like you and your gf need to discuss your attitudes about "stuff."  Some people want to keep stuff unless given a good reason to get rid of it.  Some people like you want to get rid of stuff unless given a good reason to keep it.  The one's attitude is completely incomprehensible to the other.  In defense of keepers, I will say that while you always have the potential to get rid of something, once you get rid of something, the potential to keep it is gone, and that can be frightening.  Depending on how large this apartment is, though, I can see how you might daily be giving up comfort if it's too full.

One thing that worried me though:
I appreciated the help when we needed it, but we're pretty good financially, and can afford to start buying things that are higher quality structurally, functionally, and aesthetically.
Is it possible this is lifestyle inflation?  If something free has worked for you for awhile, what's changed that you need a replacement so badly?  I hear you about stuff that you never use, but replacements for things that you've been using seems like a different animal.  Be honest, are you one of those guys who would put off FI because he's bought into the idea that self-respecting adults don't have Ikea bookshelves?

gdborton

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 08:17:17 AM »
Lots of good advice here, I definitely need to have a sit down and discuss.  I think I'm just trying to avoid reasoning against "But it was my [dead relative]'s!"  I get that, but there is a huge difference between keeping a small object and keeping grandma's entire living room.

Quote
Be honest, are you one of those guys who would put off FI because he's bought into the idea that self-respecting adults don't have Ikea bookshelves?

For most of the stuff Ikea would be a step up :)  Also my big beef is with the random niche items and stuff like a large box full of faded stuffed animals.

SwordGuy

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 10:21:35 AM »
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
-- William Morris

kdms

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Re: How to avoid inheriting too many items
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 01:23:07 PM »
One suggestion regarding the box of stuffed animals...would your gf be averse to donating them to a good cause?  I saw another post a while back about how an unwanted box of stuffed animals was cleaned and then taken to a local police station...the toys would be given to kids removed from dangerous situations (ie domestic violence calls), by the police officers, kind of as an instant 'here's a comfort hug', and the kids would get to keep them.

Personally I thought this was a great idea - and it would get the box out of your living room.  ;)