I receive a question by email so often that I made a fill-in-the-blank form for it:
I wish there was one common answer that would fit every scenario and relationship, but so much of it has to do with your family’s background, communication style, and level of drama. Some of it you can control, and some you simply can’t.
One time Megan from Faith Like Mustard commented,
That is the best strategy–to focus your efforts on what you can control instead of trying to control other people.
Because people are precious; they will always be more important than the details or the circumstances.
The simple truth of the matter is that living in relationship with people means accepting how they come with their own stuff, even if it’s not how you would like it.
So you can kindly and respectfully draw your own boundaries:
“Thanks for thinking of us, but we have plenty.”
“No thanks, we don’t have room.”
“I don’t really need it, maybe someone else could use it and love it.”
Or you exchange a gift for something that suits you better, or else pass it along to someone else, all while appreciating that someone cared to give you something.
Maybe you discreetly donate the stuff you don’t want.
Or you can close the closet door and nicely pretend the stuff isn’t there.
And you move on, so that you don’t spend your precious energy worrying about stuff that is simply stuff. It’s only temporary, and the goal is not to have the most streamlined, organized place ever. The way you treat other people is how you will most be remembered.
Be gracious. That’s what matters, and all the stuff is a detail.