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Articles from MIL’s house

(80 Posts)
Coco1 Fri 08-Jan-21 18:10:38

My MIL a lovely lady has passed away and my DH wants to bring a lot of stuff to our house - photos , books and other artefacts. My problem is I don’t mind the photos being in a box in the loft but I don’t want all this stuff in our house. He is very sentimental and also a hoarder big time whereas I veer towards a much more clean look. I don’t want keep arguing - we’ve already done lots of that but I feel unhappy about the situation and have told him . He is generally a reasonable person but the hoarding thing is a big irritant to me. Have any of you had similar problems?

GagaJo Fri 08-Jan-21 18:19:19

Does he have a space that he can do whatever he wants with? Perhaps he could have a 'man cave' he can cram as full as he likes, on the condition it all stays in there.

Ladyleftfieldlover Fri 08-Jan-21 18:19:31

OH graduated from Oxford in 1973. In our loft is a large trunk full of all his textbooks (out of date) and other memorabilia. Each time we move house it goes with us from loft to loft. He knows he will never look at it again and doesn’t care that our three children will have to sort it out when we go under the proverbial bus! He said he just likes to know it’s there. For many years I kept a pile of letters which my late father wrote when I lived overseas for two years. He wrote a brilliant letter. OH accidentally threw them away during one of our moves.

Oopsadaisy1 Fri 08-Jan-21 18:44:43

I can’t see anything wrong for him to have things around that he grew up with.

Just make the condition that for everything that comes in , something goes out.

However I agree with the other poster that he needs his own space, build him a shed or give him a room for all his stuff.

Lucca Fri 08-Jan-21 18:46:36

One of the reasons I like living alone is that I no longer have to throw things away under cover of darkness I.e. when husband was away for work. “It might come in handy “
He stayed in many hotels as a sales rep and brought home every single free soap shampoo etc . We had bags and bags full. I am not the tidiest of women but I don’t hoard clutter !!
You have my sympathy but no solution!

vegansrock Fri 08-Jan-21 19:24:01

Have you got a spare room, or box room or garage he could have as his “study”? Insist that none of the stuff comes into your shared living room, kitchen or bedroom, he can keep his stuff in his area. Shared space needs to be relaxing for both of you and not cluttered .

Thoro Fri 08-Jan-21 19:48:00

My husband is also a hoarder. Instead of downsizing when we moved we had to buy a larger house to house his collections of stamps, CD’s, cigarette cards, coins, t shirts, clothes, furniture and anything else he can squirrel away. Having a man cave or garage isn’t near enough room for him.
I have been slowly ‘helping’ him get rid of stuff by slowly moving from the house to the garage to the loft to the...dump. But that’s only things he’s not deeply attached to (like stamps and t shirts!......and some cd’s) and even then he will suddenly say ‘where is that table/chair etc we had - it might be useful 😱

GardenerGran Fri 08-Jan-21 19:59:03

Yes I have exactly the same problem as you’ve described. Things he will sell on eBay etc, it never happens, things in boxes in the garage, lots of sentimental stuff, things that might be valuable ‘one day’. Like Lucca I try and get rid of some stuff when he’s not around and he never notices they’ve gone...and as for keeping everything in one room or one place..Ha! I’ve given up and sometimes fantasise about living alone..

Luckynan Fri 08-Jan-21 20:04:27

I can relate to a few posters on here. This is my second marriage( 11 very happy years). My husband is also a hoarder whereas I quite like the minimalist look. I realised early on in our relationship that my husband is also very sentimental.
At first it drove me mad, his refusal to throw things away and wanting to put up, what I considered, old fashioned pictures Etc. But one day I woke up and just thought to myself does it really matter in the great scheme of things. Who was to say that my taste was better than his and why should I get my own way after all the house belongs to both of us.
Consequently we have reached a compromise, I have things around the house that he doesn’t particularly like and vice versa but as we get older it becomes less and less important.
What matters is that we are healthy and happy and everything else is so irrelevant. We met when we were in our fifties so obviously we already had our own tastes by then.

BlueBelle Fri 08-Jan-21 20:23:02

You really can’t say he can’t have his things but they need to be in an arranged place spare bedroom, cleaned out cupboard, filing cabinet etc so you don’t have to be part of them

Calendargirl Fri 08-Jan-21 21:00:34

If MIL only died recently, might have something to do with wanting to keep stuff.

As time passes, maybe they won’t have so much importance.

ninathenana Sat 09-Jan-21 07:28:55

We have a coffee table that DH made at school. We did use it in the early days but it has sat in the cupboard under the stairs for about 20y😕 as he won't part with it.
Also a large collection of Rugby magazines and stuff from his parents who have both been dead over 30 yrs. in the loft.

eazybee Sat 09-Jan-21 09:05:01

You refer to your husband bringing home personal items belonging to his late mother, which sound as though they would fit comfortably in a small bookcase, to 'our house.' Yet you are only prepared to allow a box of photographs on condition they go in the loft, therefore out of sight and inaccessible' nothing else to remind him of his mother, because 'I veer towards a much more clean look'..... I don't want to keep arguing........ I have told him'.
You sound a bit of a philistine to me.
Our house???

Shropshirelass Sat 09-Jan-21 09:34:43

Oh yes, I have stuff from my DM and Uncle. Let him bring it back and get rid of it slowly in his own time. It is his home too. I found it difficult to throw things out due to sentimentality, but after a short time it becomes less so. Just a few precious items. It is hard to let go! I still have a lot to go through.

inishowen Sat 09-Jan-21 09:43:43

When my mum died many years ago my husband told me I couldn't turn our home into a charity shop. Reluctantly I contacted an auction house and let all the big stuff go. I kept the sentimental things and now feel it was the right thing to do. Hopefully your husband will agree to keep his hoard under control.

NotSpaghetti Sat 09-Jan-21 09:46:36

Please don't make him dispose if his mother's stuff just now.
It feels unkind and I know you don't mean this.

But also, don't insist it goes in the loft! It will just add to the clutter that way.
Can you perhaps ask him to consolidate? Say, could he perhaps bring a couple of boxes together (probably from the loft) and have a nice new box to put the "best" in? This will roughly halve it.
I have managed to do this with lots of sentimental pieces this year and although I still have things I know should go, I at least only have half as many!

This year I will do this again until eventually it will be manageable and not a problem after I die.

Witzend Sat 09-Jan-21 09:53:48

After my FiL finally moved to a care home because of dementia (MiL was long gone) and the house had to be sold, dh and his brother felt unable to just get rid of almost everything. Some of the furniture went to a brother and SiL of mine who had just bought a 2nd home in France, and were glad of it.

Virtually all the rest inc. furniture, went into storage, and stayed there until well after FiL had died. It meant years of substantial fees for storage, until they felt emotionally detached enough - and both had the time - to go back, look at it all, and get rid of it. The cost did grieve me, but at the same time I did understand how they felt. After that time-lapse it was just ‘stuff’.

OTOH I swear that our clothes/carpet moth problem started with a couple of items dh eventually brought home!

One thing I found very poignant, though, was dh bringing home a seriously old and manky pair of FiL’s tennis shoes after he’d died. (He’d been a keen player into his 80s.)

Our dog went mad with excitement over those shoes - the smell of Grandpa! They had been such good friends.
The dog is long gone now, too. 🙁

Dorsetcupcake61 Sat 09-Jan-21 09:56:27

I wonder at the definition of hoarder. Would there be so much stuff it would impact on daily living or is it just it doesnt fit in with how you like things to look.? Both have a point.
It is horrible clearing a parents house, I felt I was throwing the person away. I am quite sentimental, well very!
Practically I just didnt have room for all their things.
I kept the most treasured items,or things i could use. Anything i found gave me happy memories but couldnt keep i took photos of.
As much as possible went to charity. I did have a bed side table that they had owned since before i was born. Great sentimental value but that was it really. We took it to one of the furniture upcycling shops and it was lovely to see it slightly changed but sold!

soozieee Sat 09-Jan-21 10:00:36

Where do you keep your things? In a shed/garage/loft/spare room? Surely it’s a joint home. You come across as a bit of a bully.

Frankie51 Sat 09-Jan-21 10:01:51

It's a sort of grieving process. He may be able to let go eventually. My MIL went into a nursing home and I'm sure my husband would have wanted to move everything into our house.. He didn't but a large kitchen table and battered kitchen dresser found their way in. I don't mind. They are a link to his childhood. Be grateful you've got off lightly with small items and not large pieces of furniture 😂

mar76 Sat 09-Jan-21 10:05:42

Does anyone out there keep their special birthday cards ie 70th 75th and New Grandparents cards? I have all mine and keep thinking I should clear them out.

Joesoap Sat 09-Jan-21 10:09:13

Dont make him throw sentimental things away.When I was clearing my parents house some years ago after my dear Mum passed away,I threw so many things away, mainly because I couldnt get them over here to the country where I live,I have regretted it to this day, and always will. We do need some sentimental things, even if they are out of sight

Moggycuddler Sat 09-Jan-21 10:10:14

It's his house too. You two will just have to compromise. Marriage is supposed to be about that, you know. My DH has posters of The Beatles and Elvis up on our bedroom wall, and takes up half the living room with his old music dvds and football books. Not my choice, but it's his home too, and they give him pleasure. This is more important than my ideas about decor.

TerriBull Sat 09-Jan-21 10:10:21

You have my sympathy OP, when my late father in law died, my husband and his family ended up filling several skips worth of what were essentially bits and bobs, things accrued over the years with "I'll hang on to that in case I need it later mentality" which I think was a mindset prevalent amongst previous generations. Husband and siblings were quite ruthless in getting rid of most of it and keeping some choice items and really as long as there remains a few things to remember your MIL by, maybe they could be incorporated into your home without changing the character too much. We did get some of my late mother's bone china, a couple of lovely, fairly old fashioned tea sets, often the sort of china used in really nice oldy worldy tea shops. I love them probably more than my husband does, somehow I don't think my boys will be interested in acquiring them one day sad I don't think any of us took their ornaments, Lladro sort of stuff, I'm definitely not keen on that type of thing personally, previous generations seemed to like ornaments around, I guess we are all of our time, the only clutter I really like are books.

PollyDolly Sat 09-Jan-21 10:12:36

When my OH moved in, I could not believe the "stuff" he had accumulated! Out of date work documents, old birthday cards, part used note books, part completed puzzle books and countless souvenirs! They were all despatched to large plastic boxes for storage in the garage. After a few years we moved house...........the chance for a good sort out, my stuff included and most of it went in the bin! We both found we just didn't needed reminding of "this and that'.
We have both kept photographs and a few books, everything else has gone and it was a wonderful feeling, like a great weight being lifted!
When I lost my Dad I did keep a couple of very precious and quite valuable items, everything else went for clearance, it was difficult at the time but I have my memories.