They Put the Grrr in Ingrate


Minimalist living room

Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and “unusual” social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.


Hi Tim,

I’m a 20s woman married for 4 years with a 2 year old son. My sister-in-law, “Annie,” is a few years older with a family of her own. I have always gotten along with her, and she is harmless but she has an annoying habit of giving silly knick-knacks as gifts: a wooden box, picture frames, vases, sconces and such. She puts a lot of thought into them and tries to make them personal, but all these things do is clutter up my home, and my husband and I are sworn minimalists. We have very few furnishings, prefer to sit on floor cushions, nothing hanging on the walls, and our yard is only a large matte of perfectly green grass with no plants. We meditate and don’t like clutter. We give massages, gift cards and similar gifts out of respect for others’ space. I have dropped enough hints in the past to border on the obvious, but they don’t seem to be working. I don’t want my son to think her kind of foolishness is okay. How do I tell this tacky but well-meaning soul that her gifts are no longer welcome?

- Uncluttered

Hi Uncluttered,

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