Blake’s Advice Column
I’ve been trying to declutter and get rid of things, but each time I do, my mother scolds me for getting rid of sentimental items and sends them back to my room. There are clothes that haven’t fit me for years, old trinkets, even gift boxes she won’t let me dispose of or donate. Additionally, I’ve discovered that she has several dozen boxes filled to the brim with every childhood toy and article of clothing I ever had. She intends to pass them on to me when I give birth to kids “in the next four years.” I’m only 19! How do I tell her that enough is enough, and it’s time for things to go?
From Boise, Idaho
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I can feel your frustration in regards to keeping things that you feel you have no need for. It appears that your mother is showing the early signs of a hoarder, and she probably won’t be satisfied, until you are nearly entombed in your room like King Tut. Ok, here’s how I think you should handle this. Rather than tell her that you are tired of all the unnecessary junk in your living space, every time she enters your room, play the theme song to “Sanford and Son”. How about calling the local fire department, and convince them that the sentimental rubbish your mother has compiled is gradually creating a fire hazard, which confirms your suspicions that she is a closet arsonist. Or you can tell your mom that you have been feeling really patriotic lately, and you donated the clothes and trinkets to the military… specifically the Salvation Army. But if you want to take the direct and honest approach, simply tell her that when she becomes a senior citizen, you have every intention of throwing away old rickety items, and if she’s not careful, at that point you might add her name to that list. I hope this helps.